Archives for posts with tag: my home my rules my way

I’m sipping my coffee and smiling this morning. The day begins well, and doesn’t seem to be complicated by any of the crap and minutiae that had been weighing me down last week. I feel… lighter. It’s a pleasant feeling.

I scroll through my feeds a bit; I spent the weekend mostly disregarding social media and enjoying the good company of my Traveling Partner, instead. It was a worthwhile change to make. We relaxed, laughed together, watched some great super hero movies, and enjoyed a weekend of intimacy, connection, and merriment. No drama. No bullshit. It was quite lovely.

The headache I had on Thursday robbed me of any particular inclination to write. Friday wasn’t much better, although by day’s end, it had finally gone. I could have resumed Saturday, but decided on a weekend wholly dedicated to love and loving. (I knew you’d understand.) This morning feels more than little like the weekend was a firm “reset”, returning me gently to what works best, more aware of what matters most. I hope that’s more than a feeling. I sip my coffee, while a certain merry smile plays at the corner of my lips; there are verbs involved. No dodging that.

I struggled with my mental health for years, before I understood how much my partnerships also mattered. I tried this treatment, that treatment over there, and assorted bits of pieces of woo cobbled together from the assurances of others and things I read. I’m glad I kept trying – it eventually led me through failure after failure to a distillation of desperation, fear, and futility that happenstance eventually dropped on my current therapist’s desk. That was a life-changing appointment. It began a domino-effect of changes in my life, job changes, changes in self-care, changes in day-to-day practices, and even including ending relationships that tended to invest in the damaged bits more than in my wellness.

Keep trying. Begin again. Start over. Keep practicing the things that do work. Let go of the things (and relationships) that don’t. Over time, things get better. Life gets better. The chaos can begin to be sorted out. The damage can be healed. We become what we practice; inevitably, as we learn practices that support our wellness, and lead us to becoming the person we most want to be, we “find our way”.

Keep trying. Begin again. Start over. Find your way. It’s slow going. I won’t lie. It can feel pretty pointless sometimes, when it seems like all the successes are so small in scale, and the chaos and damage so… vast. Don’t lose heart – most of that is an illusion. The scale of the chaos. The magnitude of the damage. Our relative value in the world. The worthiness of the journey. We make up a lot of our narrative, in our own heads, so our own mental un-wellness sabotages the very clarity we need to assess our mental wellness in the first place. Harsh.

I start coffee number two as a Monday begins. Every day a new beginning. Every new beginning a chance to be the woman I most want to be. No doubt a good opportunity to begin again. 🙂

I’m “taking a media break” from news feeds, streaming contact, social media – pretty much most of the digital distractions available have been paused, logged off, or shut down for the weekend. I suck at this, so it is a constant effort to be vigilant about the potential time and bandwidth drains, and to choose wisely – and consistently. This? This right here is part of who I am. If I were not writing this blog post, I would be perched on a sofa, chair, or rock somewhere, with a hardbound blank book in my lap, still writing. Probably about the same number of words. This is a thing I do – and have done so since I was quite young (12?13?).  No point, really, in trying to halt the flow of words, entirely; it would be an endeavor with (historically) limited success. 😉 Gnothi seauton.

Today I’m spending the day (and likely the weekend) in my studio. Painting. Sorting through years of stacked canvases to select inventory for sale. Giving thought, too, to the installation at the gallery where I am presently showing my work. I could rotate something out, put up something different… or… not. 🙂 I could paint all day, instead.

In the studio, I’ve got a couple larger, time-consuming works that I am working on slowly, with care, but today “feels like” new work…

I sometimes find it tougher to get started on new work than I expect to. I have an idea in my head of where the work should finish, what I want to see, but the “point A to point B” of that journey rarely seems to straightforward. Do I begin with a finished background, already painted? Will I “ruin it”? (Which really only amounts to painting something different than I’d planned on – which happens a lot. 🙂 ) Truth is, like any beginning on any journey that seems to have a fixed destination, but an uncertain route, getting started sometimes feels… hard. So, I put a fresh canvas on my easel, much the same way I’d write an observational first sentence when I’m unsure what to write, and grab a big brush, a tube of glow in the dark, and a bunch of glitter. “My first sentence” on this weekend’s journey isn’t written in words – it’s done on canvas, in glow-in-the-dark and glitter. 🙂 Just a bit of fun, loosely inspired by summer mornings, and fireworks shows, and a chill, happy place within myself that is purely okay with who I am. It’s an excellent beginning, lacking in performance pressure, crafted of coffee, birdsong, and personal delight.

…a beginning has to start somewhere… (an unfinished work of glitter and glow, begins the day).

What makes your day – or your life – “sparkle” for you? What do you yearn to make, build, or do? What do you resent your job over, that you wish you “had more time for”? I get it… we’ve got to get out there in the world and hustle, make some motherfucking money, pay the bills, “get ahead”… but… what about what matters most? What about your passion? What about that spark in your soul? Write a novel? Poetry? Paint? Sketch? Sculpt? Craft? Build? Create? Restore? Grow? What excites you about life? Who are you when you are not at work? There’s time for that, too – there has to be, otherwise, what’s the point of living? The thing is – sometimes we have to set a firm boundary, snatch our time back from those who would have it in service of their agenda, instead of our own. Don’t forget that person in the mirror – you matter. Take care of you. Live some tiny fragment of even your boldest dreams!

“All that glitters” is most definitely not gold – some of it? Some of it is actually, literally, “just” glitter… but glitter has its place, too.  (My Traveling Partner calls it faerie scabies, and some days its “place” does seem to be… everywhere. lol) 🙂

Enjoy life’s sparkle!

Start somewhere. Begin again. 🙂

 

 

I’m sitting here rather numbly with my morning coffee. I sip it now and then. I’m not exactly groggy, but my brain hasn’t quite fired up yet, either. I’m in that limbo between engaging the world and sort of just… coasting.  I’m tired. My mind is foggy. I still have shit to do today that some portion of my consciousness really wants me to focus on, even though it is well before 5:00 am, and too early to actually do any of it. My acid reflux resents my morning coffee, today. My arthritis pain objects to being up, at all. I feel annoyed with myself, in a vague unsettled way. I feel the discontented, uncomfortable, frown on my face – I know the look; it’s on every toddler, ever, who was being directed to do something they don’t care to be doing. The frown before the tantrum. Fucking hell. This? This morning?

I have another irritated sip of coffee.

I really wanted to sleep in this morning. I would like to spend the day relaxing in the garden, or painting in the studio. Like most folks, I have to work for a living. One more day, then the weekend. I’m ready for it. I’m aware that my feeling of “too much to do” is more a matter of “anything to do that isn’t for/about me just at the moment”. It’s a feeling that signals failing myself on self-care, in some way.

I sip my coffee and think over my self-care of late, and find I’ve wandered into a quagmire of small oversights and compromises labeled “2018”. Well, shit. It’s not a real thing to “make up for it” – time has passed. We become what we practice, and when I fail myself on my self-care over time, I pay for it in mornings like this, and feelings of being burdened, overwhelmed, overworked, overtired… and I’m over it. lol 🙂

I take a deep breath, then another, and sit more comfortably. I clear my developing “to do list” and begin again – with me. What do I need to feel rested? To feel satisfied that urgent matters are handled? A very different list begins to take shape, and I start to see where my compromises have developed, and what they are costing me in wellness, in rest, and in accomplishments. Too much drama and craziness in a particular portion of my social network has taken a toll on my energy and my emotional resilience. I need to “reclaim my time” from the soul sucking vampires of OPD (Other People’s Drama) and media content. I could use a break, too, from “reruns”; content so familiar and well-loved that I lose time and bandwidth to it, without really watching/listening anymore. Distractions from… from what? Life? I don’t really want to be distracted from that. I begin to feel lighter and a bit more free, merely acknowledging the concerns. It feels good to “be heard” – and possibly especially by the woman in the mirror.

I think about a colleague who has grown dear to me over time. She’s “putting in the hours” – but I caught her crying at her desk, overwhelmed, and overworked. Her choice? Not if she is being obligated, or pressured, clearly – but perhaps it just hadn’t occurred to her that her actual life has value outside the office? She’s young. Committed. Earnest and passionate about her craft. On my way out, I rather sternly insist she call it a day and go home, get some rest, and remind her that life is not about what we do to earn the money to live it. Fuck, I’ve been there, though. You, too? Working harder than necessary, for less than the respect due, fully knowing it isn’t going to be valued – only expected, going forward. Fuck that bullshit. The contract says 40 hours. You get 40 of my fucking hours. I have my own life to live, and the time left over is already heavily compromised. Not enough work getting done in those 40 hours? Guess what that means? The job takes more people. Period. When we attempt to shore things up through pure human effort at the expense of our own wellness, we’re not actually fixing anything at all – and we won’t be appreciated for it, only exploited. 😉

Take care of that fragile vessel. I smile and sip my coffee. Self-care is a pretty big deal. I didn’t really “get it” until I was living alone; having to fully handle 100% of my self-care, myself, was a new thing – and I didn’t realize how much there was to do, or how much I was handing off to partners, to friends, to therapists, to strangers on buses… Self-awareness is an important starting point for really good self-care. When we yearn to “be heard”, it’s often that person in the mirror who is not listening. Getting past the guilt we so often feel when we do attempt to care for ourselves is probably the first real challenge in practicing good self-care. “Who am I to put work aside and leave the office “early” (after 10+ hours), when I could do more…?” Yes, well… there are unfortunately quite a few employers, and people, who count on us to abuse ourselves with our guilt and misplaced sense of obligation; it makes us so much easier to exploit for personal gain.

I make a frowny face as I finish my coffee, and remind myself to practice the same exceptional self-care I encourage my colleague to practice. I’m quite human. Feeling numb, tired, and a bit overwhelmed is a warning – failing to heed it, and really take care of myself, would be fairly stupid, at this point in my life. I make a plan to disconnect from the internet, social media, content reruns, and drama – and instead, spend the weekend “here for me”, at home and in the studio. In doing so, the things with some urgency that remain on my “to do list” seem rather less overwhelming, and more just a couple things I need to get done. It’s an improvement. It’s enough.

I’ll probably always be practicing; I need the practice. We become what we practice.

It’s time to begin again. 🙂

I slept in. Woke gently, and although I still feel fairly groggy, the day is off to a pleasant start. Sipping coffee in my news feed, my consciousness is being tormented by a common turn of phrase that irritates me. “I feel like…” followed by words that do not communicate either emotion, or sensation, and therefore – not feelings. C’mon, People, do better! Use your words with some skill. Fuck.

How about “I have the impression that…” if what you are communicating is, um, a largely unsupported subjective impression?

Or, if you are communicating something that you feel pretty sure of, but are aware maybe you don’t have all the information, a handy “My opinion is….”?

Maybe I can interest you in a lovely precise “I’ve observed…” to precede your anecdote?

There’s also, tried and true, “I think…”. Yep. If you’re sharing your thoughts, it’s wonderful to make that quite clear, because you know what? “I feel like people just don’t know how to…” is not a fucking emotion!

“Well, that’s just how people talk, though.” Fuck that lazy bullshit. Words have meaning. Do better. Are you not grasping the idea that the sloppy use of language, undermining the meaning of words, and even gas-lighting the entire fucking nation by way of the media’s sometime also similarly shitty use of language is part of the bullshit we’re all struggling with? Seriously.

This is not hard.

I feel rested. I feel a bit groggy. I appreciate my morning coffee. I feel the cold iced coffee on my tongue. I enjoy that sensation (and don’t have to say “I feel” anything at all to communicate that impression; I can actually use words that are about sensations and feelings, themselves). I recognize that people can be less than ideally clear when they speak (which is certainly more true than saying “I feel like people aren’t very clear”).

Just… yeah. Fuck. Please? Stop using the language of feelings to attempt to communicate your thoughts. Firstly; people may not understand you. Secondly, it’s not accurate. Thirdly, it undermines language, generally. Fourthly, it’s a lever that allows influence over your consciousness. Lastly? It’s just not well done. Do please share your actual feelings and sensations. Do share your thoughts. Just stop mixing them all up like that into some surrealist word salad. Do better.

End rant. I’ll just head for coffee #2, and begin again. I’ll be over here, able to distinguish the difference between my thoughts and my feelings. 😉

This morning, before I quite realized what I’d done, I’d gotten lost in my newsfeed within moments of sitting down to write. I didn’t write. Well, I did write – but I wasn’t writing in a rational, purposeful, helpful way that supports me as a human, or shares something of value. I was mad. I was… posting replies. Oh my.

Once I noticed I was putting myself at risk of an angry screed, I pushed my chair back, sat fully upright, and took a couple deep deep cleansing breaths, and let myself relax. I held on to the awareness of that moment, breaking free of the tantalizing sticky trap of opinion, pulling myself free of the outrage machinery. (There is so much to be outraged about this days, no lie, that’s real.) Differences of opinion so easily become anger. We each feel so certain we are “right“, and that if only we could share the nuances of our personal perspective, everyone else would get it, too! While that may be true, now and then, it mostly just isn’t, at all. We are each having our own experience. It’s not actually fully share-able.

Don’t misunderstand, I’m not a “relativist“. While I do recognize that context, culture, and variations in human understanding and experience can change the truth of a proposition, I also understand the nature of reality to have unchanging elements (that I may or may not be fully able to recognize or understand, myself). I think how we define the terms we use matters a great deal, and definitely affects our ability to have meaning dialogue, generally, every bit as much as “the nature of reality”. I have an ethical framework, as an individual, that suggests to me that some actions and choices are “wrong” – meaning, not consistent with my ethics, as an individual. So far so good. Where things get messy, and I think this is true for a great many of us, is when my own sense of “wrongness” pressures me from within to make a point of calling it out when I see others taking those actions, or making those choices. Do I really get to decide right vs wrong for anyone but me?

Yes.

…Also, no.

So… “yes”, in the limited sense that I’m utterly free to express my opinion on the matter. However, in doing so, I’m a wiser happier human if I can also remain aware that my opinion on such things is not likely to a) change anyone else’s opinion (or actions) or b) have any great persuasive weight in the world, generally, and also… c) it’s not for me to decide what everyone else will think or do. I’m just saying. I mean that – I’m literally merely, simply, only, and “just” saying words. Someone may hear my words and change. Someone else may hear my words and double-down out of pure resentment and fury, because in their view I am clearly wrong. Still someone else will disregard my words without ever hearing me out,. We are each having our own experience. I don’t really get to decide what anyone else understands right or wrong to be – but I am not required to respect, value, share, or appreciate their perspective, beyond hearing them out, and accepting their agency.

I don’t personally take any of this to be an expression of futility, or as a reason to “stand down” or “keep my opinion to myself”, because humanity’s culture has formed around our opinions and understanding of the world. Our shared ethical commitments become our shared understanding of right vs wrong, and ultimately informs entire communities, and whole nations, allowing society to enact change. We do need to share our individual sense of right vs. wrong with each other to help steer this cultural ship through the waters of change and growth over time. It’s the anger and outrage of social media specifically (before coffee) that is problematic; too much noise, not enough signal. So, I give myself a break, sip my coffee, and bring my moment closer to home. I have plenty to do to make change happen right here. I have work to do to be the woman I most want to be. That’s a project I have real influence over – every day. My example, as an individual, has meaning without extending my reach “to the world” by replying to all manner of media detritus in a reactive moment. Hell, I don’t even respect the opinions of 100% of every human; some are worth far more than others (this is likely true for you as well), and we each “rate” the value of another person’s opinion on different criteria!! (Totally true, too.) So… another good moment to practice non-attachment. lol

I finish my coffee and begin again.