Archives for posts with tag: putting my needs on my agenda

This morning I woke to a welcome cloudy sky, a cool morning, and an already prepared ‘to do’ list for today. Generally that’s a comfortably pleasant experience.

A cotton candy sky ends a lovely day.

Yesterday’s cotton candy sky ends a lovely day.

This morning… I am at odds with myself, in the sense that my list and my calendar reflect a purposeful nature I’m not feeling [at the moment]. It frustrates and annoys me [before the day even properly begins]; there’s certainly nothing on my list for today that needs to be handled before 8 am. Nothing on my calendar begins before 9. I just don’t want to. I. Don’t. Want. To. I’m in no mood to adult today, thanks… only… am I not? Really? Or is it more than I’m not yet really awake, haven’t had my coffee, haven’t ‘figured me out’… and so, don’t really know what the ideal ‘order of operations’ could be… or… something? If I allow myself to accept the premise that I don’t want to adult today – will I lose the opportunity to handle my agenda skillfully, and take care of myself well? How do I best take care of me, and meet my needs over time?

Beginnings

Beginnings aren’t always easy. My results vary.

Yesterday, when I left the house for my planned activities, I felt purposeful and calm. When I later went to an interview, I felt eager, and a little anxious. When I returned home, I felt accomplished, productive, and ready to be at leisure for the day. I made my list then, while the things I’d need to do today were in my thoughts and fairly organized. It felt good. Natural. Comfortable. The list made sense. This morning, I haven’t even actually reviewed my list – it is still so early that there is no point (nothing on that list needs to be started before 8 am, and some of the things on that list can’t be started before 9 am); I’m not even awake yet. The awareness of the existence of the list is enough to find my consciousness shying away from all responsibility entirely – for the day. Wow. That’s clearly an over-reaction. 🙂 I am pretty sure I can safely adult more than that. lol I’ll get to it. Coffee first. 🙂

Most of my days begin with coffee.

Most of my days begin with coffee. Your routine may vary. 🙂

Dueling elements of my nature keep me pre-occupied this morning. I was over taken by artistic inspiration late yesterday afternoon (after my interview) and the idea lingers in my thoughts, stealing my focus from anything less emotionally engaging. The excitement of feeling so inspired competes with the subtle tension of maintaining professional readiness of another sort, in the background, alert for call backs, interviews, calendared events relevant to job searching…and that inner conflict erupted late last evening as yet another wave of inspiration. Ideas colliding with notions, competing for attention with practical matters… all facing off with the awareness of a sort of alternate reality within reach, made up of favorite cartoons, YouTube content, and hours hanging out with friends – in lieu of all that other practical ‘adult’ stuff.  Right now? This morning? First things first – I’ve got to sort out who I am, where I’m going, what my needs are, how my goals fit in with those, how my opportunities and choices are affected by my values… and what I want to be when I grow up. Right after that? Everything else.

That's a lot of details to sort out in one morning...

That’s a lot of details to sort out in one morning…

It’s not going to be that easy, today, is it? 😉 (Hint: mostly none of it is, in a practical sense, approximately ever that easy.) I’m so fucking glad I no longer put the full weight of solving every damned thing on my shoulders each day! It’s too much to carry, long-term.

It's okay to put some of that down, for now.

It’s okay to put some of that down, for now.

I sip my coffee. Listen to bird song. I commit to being; it’s an excellent starting point for most things. 🙂 I think over conversations and connections lingering in my memory, most from very recent days. I take time to savor the insights and understandings I’ve gained. I consider meaning, context, value – and realize that now, instead of being caught up in all things future (goals, plans, lists of tasks) I am now tangled up in the past. The past is not ‘now’, any more than the future is.

Like dandelion fluff, the past lacks substance, but can be a little distracting. :-)

Like dandelion fluff, the past lacks substance, but can be a little distracting. 🙂

I sip my coffee. Listen to bird song. Smile at the wildflowers blooming beyond the window. Breathe the cool morning. I notice cold toes and fingers. I notice cold coffee. I notice slouching and sit taller, straighter, more comfortably. There is time for now. Failing to take that time generally results in feeling overwhelmed, rushed, less prepared, more aggravated – and definitely less willing to ‘stay the course’ when there is work to be done. 🙂  [Your results may vary.]

Not so very wild - still flowers. :-)

Not so very wild – still flowers. 🙂

This morning I feel a bit like a cat on a leash. Have you ever tried it? Putting a cat – a grown cat – on a leash? One that’s never been leash trained, specifically? Oh, the hilarity! Yep – and that’s me, this morning, a human ‘cat on a leash’ – and that leash is adulthood. lol Hell, I’m sitting here with a mostly empty cup of very cold coffee, still in sleepwear, barefooted, hair unbrushed, knowing damned well I have things to do today! My mind veers away from all of it – even the artistic inspiration – although I don’t feel down, or upset, or in any sort of distress or ill-health, or tired. But… There’s no one here but me to put that damned leash on, and get me to go on with the day. I’ll have to take care of that, myself. (I don’t want to!)

IMAG6952

… And listen deeply, even to your own heart.

With a last swallow of cold coffee, I pull myself out of the chronic slouch that routinely plagues my already messed up back, again. I take some deep breaths of cool morning air, and let the past fall away – and the future too. It’s not even 8 am, the day barely begun, and there’s no reason to be so hard on myself while I wake and start the day. Seriously? ‘Now’ is a nice moment, today [any day], worthy of time and attention. Worthy of embracing without rushing. Worthy of presence.  ‘Now’ needn’t compete with that very complete ‘to do’ list at all, its time is not now, as it is. I allow myself the power of my choices, and commit to simply being for some little while – no really, put down that god damned list [and even the thought of it] for a few more minutes! – and enjoy these precious moments of stillness and simple beauty. There’s time to be quite productive and busy a bit later, I promise myself. Hours yet to come.

It's not just okay to take time for 'now' - there is real value in this moment.

It’s not just okay to take time for ‘now’ – there is real value in this moment; overlooking it is a major source of stress.

Today is a good day to take the time. Today is a good day to choose. Today is a good day for being and for becoming – and for recognizing our journey doesn’t always take the path we’ve planned. Today is a good day to acknowledge that I am the cat, the leash, and the person holding the leash – and I am all those things now. 🙂

Disclaimer: This post is about emotions. I sometimes work through them more easily with words, in text, that I can see reflecting the experience back at me. It is a way of getting perspective. This post, though, may be a downer – I say that before I even write it, because I am having my own experience, and I feel what I feel in this moment. I am so very human. So…do yourself a huge favor, take a moment for ‘informed consent’; if you are in a place emotionally where someone else’s pain and struggling may wound you, throw off a good vibe you are enjoying, or change your experience for the worse, I recommend skipping this one. Hey, if nothing else, the writing is likely to be of poor quality, and angst-y, and rife with spelling errors and weird grammar fails – who needs that on a Friday morning? I’ll understand, I promise.

Still here? Okay…

Some other morning, a coffee.

Some other morning, a coffee.

I woke crying this morning. I fell asleep crying last night. In between, I found myself ambushed by Demons in The Nightmare City. This is not an emotional space I want to occupy. I am frustrated by my lack of resilience, my lack of emotional regulation, and my lack of perspective. I feel sad. I feel angry. I feel resentful and let down. I feel. Yeah. I definitely feel. I feel mistreated, and mislead. I feel set up and I feel sabotaged. I feel hurt.

“That’s a whole lot of feelings there, lady, what gives?” I’m a human primate. I am an emotional being more than a rational one – it’s a balance. Today it isn’t balancing as well as I’d like. Stress kicks my ass, being hurt kicks my ass, abrupt change kicks my ass – and it takes me a little time to recover, even with some support. Emotions are not criminal actions. Assaulting people with them is, I hear, avoidable. That sounds like fine thing to me, and I turned the little sign on my door this morning to ‘do not disturb’, meditated a while, had a shower, meditated some more… I still don’t want to be as disturbed as I feel, right now. The sign didn’t do much to help with the feelings, but by design it may prevent anyone else from walking through the mess I woke to, within, this morning.

Meditation, mindfulness practices, good basic self-care are all going a long way to improve my experience of me, very nicely. I feel a momentary hurt, recalling with sadness how quickly encouragement turned to criticism, a few months after I began this journey. I was taking a moment to feel proud of my progress, and I was feeling pretty impressed with new tools and practices being effective at helping me on a level nothing else ever had… I got called ‘smug’. I was incredibly hurt. Admittedly, I had been foolishly trying to explain or share the experience with someone else… maybe they hadn’t asked? (I suck at that – put a person in front of me and I will probably just start talking. Are you aware that your executive function manages that for you?) It hurt, nonetheless, and since then I am self-conscious about feeling encouraged by progress, and reluctant to share positive feelings about it in conversations. (Sticks and stones? Fuck right off; words matter.)

I feel confused. “Emptied out”. I feel overburdened by unmet emotional needs piling up over time. I feel like I am not making the progress I could be, right now. It’ll be okay, I think – I hold on to that tightly. I’ve got the hotline number in my pocket, just in case it gets too hard.  I lost a beautiful niece to suicide this year, and I see how it hurts my cousin every day she is without her daughter; I won’t put my traveling partner through that, and I can take the steps to avoid it. Despair is a motherfucker – it is part of our human experience.

...and another...

…and another…

I can’t be certain that the intensity of my emotions this morning reflects something ‘real’ or necessary; they are only emotions. For all I know, this is a 100% bio-chemical experience with no grounding in events or experience. Does that matter in the moment? Well, sure. It matters the way anything true ‘matters’. One true thing is that my emotions are this intense, and unpredictably so. Another true thing is that my emotions, and lack of top-down control, are incredibly uncomfortable for some people to live with. (I don’t get a choice, myself; this is my experience and I live it.) Unfortunately, in a live and unscripted real-life environment, I also don’t get much compassion specific to the ‘invisible’ issues associated with my TBI or PTSD. I rarely fight for it; if it isn’t there to be offered, begging for it, pleading for it or wishing it were there will not make it appear. Compassion can be taught – but that phenomenon also requires an active learner. Change is, but forcing it on someone isn’t appropriate – and generally isn’t effective.

My traveling partner encourages and supports me – he frankly provides a level of emotional support that I can only describe as ‘super human’ – but the environment in the household, generally, is unhealthy for me. I feel aggravated and moody about looking for a place of my own, because I’d honestly prefer to continue living with my traveling partner – he’s wonderful to live with [for me]. I am painfully aware, though, that living with me can be hard on him. Right now so much of what I am working through touches on sexuality, gender, individual identity, boundary setting/management, and relationships with others that it’s harder to treat each other gently in moments when we need it most from each other. So…yeah. I need to be on my own a while – not a break up, not even a separation, just a different living arrangement. It still sucks to hurt over it. I hope by day’s end I am embracing it in good spirits.

I leave other household members out of this, generally; I am writing about my own experience and the other people in it are entitled to be free of public scrutiny of their values and choices filtered through my chaos and damage. But…I am not willing to continue to over-compromise my needs, or undercut my values to keep peace, and the time I spend in the arms of my loves is too precious to taint it with OPD, or games. As a population of individuals, we don’t want or need the same things, and at 52 I have no time to waste on fighting to get the most basic emotional needs met; we are not all equally committed to that endeavor. I don’t yet have the emotional resilience to hold enough in reserve to continue to take care of me when common place bullshit goes sideways, and often find myself without any emotional reserves left to care for me, myself, by the time I have a moment to do so. I feel positive about the choice to get my own place…and for the moment, sad that it is necessary at all.

You know what I don’t feel? I don’t feel guilt or shame over the choice to move out, it needs to happen; I don’t thrive in an environment in which my emotional quality of life is poor. Hell, right now in this moment… I’m okay. (Thanks, Dearheart!) My tears have dried. I’m not feeling social, but I’m not enthralled by Demons in The Nightmare City.  (If I knew that I would have the kind of nightmares that I had last night, in nights to come, I’d never sleep again.) I don’t have the headache that followed me around all day yesterday, which is a huge improvement.  My coffee tastes good – I feel a pang of sadness sweep over me when I realize I won’t have an espresso machine in my kitchen for some time to come after I move; it will be a frugal lifestyle, focused on painting, meditation, and love. Wow. Suddenly that sounds fucking amazing – and all over again I wonder why this hurts at all. I enjoy solitude. I dislike drama. I have musical and culinary tastes that are not shared in the household at large… and I miss a good French press in the morning; it’s a lovely ritual to prepare coffee that way, time it carefully, enjoy the outcome at leisure… I miss living a gentle life. (The most humorous thing about that is how little time I have ever spent living that kind of exceptional quality of life – across years and relationships, I can’t really pin down more than a total of about 18 months that qualify as ‘gentle living’ in 52 years!

I’ve already found my way to a better place. It’s nice. No rushing, either; I’ve made changes to my schedule, effective this week, intended to dial down some of the fatigue-related stress, and don’t have to rush off so soon on Friday mornings. Have you actually read this far? Are you okay? Thank you for being interested, curious, or concerned enough to come all this way with me – whether just this morning, or over these past couple years. I appreciate it. You help me feel heard.

Yeah. Some days, the nightmares win. Today they didn’t. 🙂

Because love matters more. "Emotion and Reason" 24″ x 36″ acrylic on canvas w/ceramic details and glow 2012

Because love matters more.
“Emotion and Reason” 24″ x 36″ acrylic on canvas w/ceramic details and glow 2012

Today is a good day to put down some baggage. Today is a good day to practice good self-care. Today is a good day for self-compassion – first, not last. Today is a good day to enjoy this amazing woman I am becoming without competition, dread, or games. Today is a good day to treat others well, and understand that they are walking their own path; their story, and experience, are not mine to endure, to manage, or to criticize – and participation is a choice.