Archives for posts with tag: metaphorically speaking

I woke with a smile this morning. My dreams were filled with love and images of some vision of the future, and as I recall there was a kitten involved, somewhere, or perhaps an avocado tree – I’m not sure. It was, after all, the content of dreams. 🙂

The morning feels good. The recollection of a long pleasant phone call with my Traveling Partner lingers, and mingles with the content of my dreams, and the smile on my face feels quite reliably part of my experience. I’m not in much pain, which is another excellent quality of the start of this particular day, and I pause to wonder if it has to do with the acupuncture I’d tried for the very first time this week? It was a strange experience, perhaps a tale for another time, and I am turning it over in my mind whether to go back for more… I dislike pain, and it may have helpled. I prefer “evidence-based medicine” – but have no requirement that the evidence be guided by, limited by, or informed by, “western medicine”. Medicine is medicine. Practices are practical inasmuch as what matters most is “does it work”? Even placebo effect can bring an individual real relief from real suffering… so… I don’t know. I suppose the time-money-pain variables and some committed study will eventually make my decision easier than it is at the moment. lol

I am beginning to feel quite settled in to the new place. I feel fairly at home here. I am pretty continuously aware that it is not actually mine. It makes me ache sometimes; it’s very much what I’d like in most respects. I could so easily make it my own. I smile understandingly at the thought. At 54, I should be planning my retirement, and I guess I sort of am, though I do not feel particularly well-prepared for it. Retirement is something we would do well to be planning as soon as we begin our professional lives, in early adulthood, but I suspect most of us are far too busy figuring out how to get enough laundry quarters together, pay off student loans, figure out how to make rent and utilities payments every month… Retirement is so far from our experience we foolishly believe we can put it off. There are a lot of folks, like me, who end up counting on their Social Security income as the bulk of their retirement planning. Scary. Still… I don’t want to work forever – hell, if I were financially prepared, I’d retire today. lol

One possible future is spent at ease in a garden…

I don’t know what the future looks like. No one does, really. We make all that shit up. Our “vision of the future” is hand-crafted narrative from start to finish, sometimes supported by fantastical unchecked assumptions and expectations of others that aren’t at all realistic. I find it hard to let go of the beautiful daydream of a future in which I’ve retired to write, and paint, and garden, happily sipping my morning coffee with my Traveling Partner, making conversation, making love… never mind that we’re both super cross before our coffee, and that I really like writing at that early morning hour while I sip mine (neither of which is conducive to conversation)… the fantasy future remains what it is. Where does it come from? Why does it linger? Is it truly what I want? Is what I want likely to fill my days with joy, or is that also just one more untested assumption?

One possible future is spent hiking remote trails…

I smile and let go of that daydream future long enough to contemplate the weekend immediately ahead; I will be The Traveler on this adventure. I will make my way to my partner’s home, and enjoy the weekend with him. Fuck, I love this guy! There is something ruinously amazing about being romantically sprung over my best friend. I’m eager to see him. Eager to chatter away about all the things he’s missed, to hear about all the things I’ve missed, to share and connect and get “synced up” again. To feel that natural rhythm of loving each other. To live and work and play together. To discuss. To create. To share. I could happily spend every waking moment in this human being’s company, and dream away every minute of every night in his arms… if I were a different person. LOL That’s the weird thing about daydreams of the future – just as often as I may overlook realities of other people, or realities of circumstances, when I dream of the future, I often also overlook very real qualities about the woman in the mirror, who she is, what she wants, what she needs – and how she actually experiences life and behaves day to day! Damned inconvenient. lol He’s right; I do thrive living alone. I’m right, too; I miss living with him, terribly. There is no particularly obvious or easy way to reconcile those observations. Silly human primates. I wonder what the future holds? I’m content with wondering.

One possible future includes leisurely travel with my Traveling Partner, seeing the world…

I sip my coffee and entertain myself imagining “alternate futures” with equal detail to what I might infuse in my favorite future fantasies. I keep my focus on the woman in the mirror – on being the woman I most want to be – and let the scene around me change. Am I living in poverty? It is one possible reality. I let myself imagine finding contentment alongside privation; I have been poor. I know what that feels like. I understand some of the constraints on my comfort and wellness I would likely face. It’s not my favorite daydream of the future. Am I living with a partner? Am I alone? Do I have a quiet little place of my own? Am I sharing a room in an adult care-providing establishment of some kind? Am I immobilized by unwellness of some kind? Am I stronger, fitter, funnier, angrier, thinner, fatter, happier, sadder, solitary, or the powerful matriarch of a vast social empire? (That last seems wildly unlikely, but somehow it made the list nonetheless. lol I recognize that as a common enough tendency of fantasy; go for the extreme if it promotes a chosen narrative.)

How many shards of daydreams of the future become choices in the moment, and eventually… memories? “I’m in the same place you guys are.” Seriously, aren’t we all? I mean – we’re human. It’s a very human experience. What will you practice? Who will you become?

What does the future look like?

Another morning suitable for beginning 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. 😀