Archives for posts with tag: relationships

I have been sitting at my keyboard now for some time. I occasionally take a sip of my coffee. My thoughts occupy my attention. I’d often be putting those into words and dropping them onto this previously blank page… this morning I am mostly just sitting and reflecting. There’s quite a lot to consider, and I am in this co-work space quite early, and it is quiet. I am alone. It’s a good time and place for thinking thoughts.

…How is it I still have not ever finished Proust? I’ve restarted In Search of Lost Time dozens of times… never even finished the first of its seven fucking volumes. LOL I reliably start it with enthusiasm – even find it captivatingly beautiful and wholly engaging – but some interruption or another will inevitably distract me, and honestly it’s very much the sort of thing that wants one’s full attention. For seven volumes. LOL I barely sit through full length movies anymore. I sit with that while, and it brings me back to this CGP Grey video, “Thinking About Attention” – I recommend it.

Why are human relationships so… challenging? I mean, it often seems that the closer we are I am with someone, the more difficult it can be to communicate clearly. It often seems as if I’m fighting to be understood through a fog of their assumptions and expectations, or that one or the other of us is more “waiting to talk” that really listening, and oh-my-fucking-god I am so over being interrupted and talked over (says a woman who constantly interrupts and talks over people – what the hell??)! (I could do better on this one, for sure. I keep practicing.)

My back aches this morning, and I’m cross. I also adjusted the timing on one of my prescriptions to better fit the whole picture of when/what I am taking, and that likely has something to do with my mood this morning. I slept through the night mostly, other than getting up to pee, and once when my partner rather randomly woke me up for some reason – that, unfortunately, is getting way too common, and I find myself frustrated that I’m not comfortable setting a boundary that I really really really want to make super clear; “I want to sleep, I need the sleep I get. Please don’t wake me for anything that isn’t an emergency.”

My car has a flat tire. I noticed yesterday – a Sunday. No place local does that kind of work on Sundays, so this morning I am driving my Traveling Partner’s sedan instead of my SUV. It’s fine, but that may be one more thing affecting my mood (the flat, I mean), although I am fortunate to have that option (to drive my partner’s car) available instead of finding myself having to be late to work or taking a day off to deal with a flat tire.

The new meds are definitely an improvement on a lot of things. The change in my thyroid medication seems to be a bigger deal than I anticipated; I have the energy to give a shit about more things more of the time. I’m not used to that. The result is that I’m taking more attentive care of my health (watching calories more closely, making a point to get more exercise, being more committed to my meditation practice), which seems like a very good thing. The new meds are also calming my anxiety (win!) – but neither my partner nor I are actually used to “this version of me”, yet.

I get lost in the background picture on my desktop right now. It’s a slideshow of pictures of a specific vantage point of the Portland waterfront, seen from the Eastbank Esplanade. In this picture, the sun is bright in the sky, and the water sparkles around a sailboat silhouetted in the bright sunshine. The sky is intensely blue, with a few white clouds low on the horizon, behind the skyline. Only today do I notice that the sailboat is flying no fewer than three American flags on it. I find myself scanning the waterfront for crowds – was this the Fourth of July weekend? Was it a festival weekend? What’s up with all those flags??

The stress leading up to finally getting my anxiety medicated got so intense I tore my poor cuticles to pieces. Small hangnails and spots where my cuticles simply split (my last manicure was not great) became things I couldn’t stop picking at absent-mindedly in anxious moments (which were most moments). My hands looked pretty bad by Friday. I struggled with the embarrassment of that, and my concern that no ethical manicurist would want to work on those terrible looking fingertips. Eventually, though, I got over it sufficiently to stop into a nail shop and get my hands cared for. My new manicure looks great, and my hands feel better. Worth it, although the sparkle and shine are sometimes distracting. lol

My Traveling Partner’s new CNC machine is on the way. This is not a replacement for the one he has, it’s an addition. I’m excited, but also keeping half an eye out for an opportunity to slip away to the coast or something, to give him room to work while he sets that up and calibrates it. I just don’t need to be around complicating that process, and don’t benefit from being on the receiving end of his frustration or distracted moments, myself. lol (I jot down a reminder to ask him when he expects it to arrive, so I can perhaps make reservations somewhere.)

“What a day.” I think to myself, then laugh – the day has hardly begun and there is literally nothing wrong so far. Fucking human primates, always making things hard on themselves.

…I think I’ll begin again.

I woke early with a headache. I didn’t sleep well, waking several times for (sometimes) no obvious reason. More than once I woke from dreams of … noise. Just that. Car noise. Truck noise. Construction noise. I would wake to hear only quiet. No real noise. Back to sleep, to dream of noise. It wasn’t a great night.

I woke earlier than the alarm would have gone off by a bit more than an hour. I got up. Meditation. Some yoga. I felt restless and annoyed, headache persisting. I put on my boots and went for a walk. It was dark, quiet, and still. The chilly morning air felt wonderful. The quiet was lovely. The silhouettes of trees and shrubbery created fantastical scenes ahead of me along the way. The headache persisted.

I returned home, still before dawn and no hint of sunrise visible. I made coffee, and sat down with that – and my headache. I finished off the water in my water bottle while I waited for my coffee to cool enough to drink that, instead. About half-way through my coffee, I admitted that “nothing else” had worked to improve this headache, thus far, and took something for it. My Traveling Partner woke, perhaps I banged the drawer or rattled a pill bottle? We spent a pleasant half an hour or so hanging out with our morning coffee before my work day began.

I started my workday with this headache, and it is with me, even now. A soak in the hot tub in the chill of an autumn morning was lovely. Didn’t help with the headache. Lunch with my partner and his son was quite pleasant, too. Still enduring the headache. I’d taken a stronger headache remedy shortly before lunch, and it’s now about an hour later than we finished that meal. I’ve still got the headache, but… maybe it’s improved a bit? It only hurts when I move… and when I sit still. Sometimes it fades into the background for a moment (that’s definitely an improvement).

…I’m not really just whinging about this headache as much as I mean to be pointing out how important the self-care is, even though it isn’t helping the headache much. The self-care is keeping me from becoming a fucking monster and treating everyone around me badly. That’s worth something. It’s not so much that I can feel any notable improvement where the headache is concerned (I can’t) – but I’m not snarling at people. Not blasting anyone with negative emotion over some small thing. I haven’t lost my sense of humor, or become stern. I’m mostly enjoying my day, mostly being someone I can appreciate in my interactions with others (from my own perspective). I’m in pain. I’m not enjoying that, but I’m also not devolving into some shattered broken down thing, or causing a fuck ton of chaos for everyone around me. That’s worth something. Apologies only go so far, so often – sooner or later we have to take steps to change problem behavior. For real. Headaches and all.

Fuck this headache, though. Damn.

Today is off to a rough start. I’m writing early, with tears on my face. This morning begins with a challenge. I’m not always ready to measure my words, to smile accommodatingly at the world, or to be prepared for things to skid sideways unexpectedly over some random thing and handle it with grace and diplomacy. I’m not that skilled or resilient, yet. I’m taking my coffee in the studio, this morning, as far from other human beings as this house permits. Fuck humans. This morning I have already had enough of people.

…That didn’t take long…

An innocent seeming remark, taken personally, wrecks what had some small shot at being a good morning. It sucks. Weekday morning. I’ve got work in a little while. I’m wreckage. God damn it this sucks all kinds of completely.  We’ve got a house guest too, on top of just sucking generally, so on top of the general sucking – we’re having an argument at 5 o’clock in the morning while a guest tries to sleep through our bullshit. Fucking hell. Not okay. On top of the stress of this, generally, I’m also deeply embarrassed by our basic rudeness.

Fuck people. Fuck relationships. Fuck having to deal with any of it, ever, at all. I am feeling bitter, and I am feeling blue. I am angry that a small well-intentioned observation that was emotionally neutral at the moment it was spoken, turned into this shitstorm of emotional sewage so early in the morning. I feel robbed of a pleasant morning. He does too, enough to make a point of expressing unhappiness that I would choose to be in my studio, writing, instead of hanging out with him, even as things are right now. (I admit, I don’t get that – I don’t even want to be around me right now.)

…I slept like shit…

…I woke up feeling cross and headache-y…

…I was already “not in a good place”…

…I’m in pain…

Realistically, I can’t put this morning on my partner. My emotions? Mine to deal with. I apologized to him. He didn’t hear me. He apologized to me. I didn’t hear him. We repeat the cycle. Eventually apologies are audible. We hear each other. We acknowledge those words. He wants to talk. To engage. To restore emotional intimacy. I want to withdraw to the safety of solitude. He feels hurt by my rejection. I feel hurt by his lack of understanding that I want to provide myself with some basic self-care right now. We repeat the cycles we’re most familiar with. Doing differently is serious work.

…I haven’t even had my first cup of coffee…

Making predictions about the day may tend to “lock in” the assumptions I’d have to make to do so. It’s a poor choice. I breathe. Exhale. Let it go. I keep at it. Breathing. Exhaling. Focusing on my breath. Letting my shoulders relax. Pulling my posture upright. Breathe. Exhale. Relax. I hear my typing cadence begin to become even. Regular. A steady beat. Less chaotic and tempestuous. There are choices here. Verbs. Effort. Will. The journey is not always an easy one. The road ahead is not always smooth under my feet when I walk it. There is no growth or forward momentum in what is easiest, only joy and contentment. My results vary. I need more practice.

…I’ve gotta admit, I do like the joy and contentment, though…

I sip my coffee. Contentment can be built. More verbs. A lot of practice. We become what we practice. What am I practicing? (I can’t do a fucking thing about anyone else’s practices, only my own, that’s just real.) Am I, as I sit here, the woman I most want to be? (I could do better.) Still human. So human.

It’s a fairly shitty morning so far. I could definitely do better. I guess I have to begin again.

…Time to get on with that…

Yesterday was very productive. I got an exceptional night of rest, and looked forward to a day fully at leisure. I guess I’ve had that…sort of… an errand that I counted on to be sort of short turned into half the day, and I overlooked that I’d committed to going to the store, too. I end up here, in early evening, at long last taking some time purely for me. It feels good – enough so that I’ve already looked past how brief it turns out to be. I’m too tired to waste precious time on bullshit. 🙂

I drink some water. Listen to the soft whooshing in the background of the air conditioning. A bit more distant, faint and in the background, I hear a power tool of some kind… a saw? A grinder? I don’t know – I just feel a certain comfort in it. It is the sound of my Traveling Partner and his son, happily productive in the shop together.

I smile. Life is not complicated at the moment. I mean… mine. Right now. Not complicated. Slow and easy. I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

Blue skies after days without.

…I hear the neighborhood dogs begin to bark and carry on dreadfully…

…Already time to begin again, is it?

I woke abruptly from an unpleasant dream, this morning. It was much earlier than I needed to be awake, but I couldn’t go back to sleep. After a few minutes, ruminating over my dream, I got up. My Traveling Partner and I shared coffee. The day began.

Now I’m sitting contentedly in my studio once again (no, the repairs have not yet been done, and the wall and closet are still “torn out”, waiting on those repairs). I was inspired to get moved back in by my unpleasant dream. The details are not critical here, the fundamentals were what got my attention, and I woke motivated to act on what was “suddenly so clear”; I needed to have my studio back, like, immediately. Having my workstation (and conducting my day-to-day work) in the dining room was an acceptable short-term solution while the water damage in my studio was being addressed. (The big air movers that were shoved in to the smallish space were reason enough; it was way too loud for work.) That’s all over with, though. Right now, it’s just a room waiting for some dry wall to be replaced, and some finish work. I’d cluttered up the opposite side of the room, making haste to move paintings to safety, and bookcases out of harm’s way, and the big deal at this point was that I couldn’t get to my desk! I woke from my troubling dream with a clear plan how best to regain the lost space and move forward.

…And it’s not as if I have any expectation of the repair crew coming this week…

It feels particularly good to be seated at my desk. I smile, and gaze out the window, content with the small view of pear-laden trees on the other side the fence, and a wedge of sky beyond my neighbor’s house. My desk is clean, tidy, and looking around the room with some satisfaction, I note that things are as well-managed and neat as before we noticed the leak that caused me to be temporarily kicked out of my studio. In some ways, it is tidier, simply because most of the canvases were moved into another space in the house (permanent solution still tbd).

My Traveling Partner was also inspired to begin “putting things right once again”, and between coffees tidied up his workshop, and rehung the sun shade “sails” that make the deck so pleasant on sunny summer days. They had been taken down during a wind storm, and we didn’t bother putting them back up while the air outside was indexed at “hazardous” – we weren’t spending time outside!

We each (both) remarked how much difference it made to our general feeling of emotional wellness to have the dining room restored to it’s ideal function (as a dining room), and my workstation back on my desk where it belongs. Reclaiming that living space was a big deal for both of us. Reclaiming this space (my studio) was critical for me, and probably pretty fucking helpful for my partner, too. It was getting beyond annoying to have business calls going on all day, in the shared living space where one might expect to be able to just relax and watch a damned video, or read the news. I know it was messing with my partner’s morning routine. It was challenging for me to deal graciously with life and love being so intimately present in the midst of work – my attention was unavoidably divided, and however much I might prefer to turn my full attention to matters of home life and love and my lover every minute, every time, I also felt the tug of the paycheck; my time is not my own during those working hours. It was hard on us both. I had started to feel pretty trapped. My partner made it explicitly clear he was having some feelings about it, himself. It was not a sustainable arrangement.

…I’m almost eager to face Monday’s calendar, from this seat, in this room, looking across my monitors to this window, and those trees beyond. Once again, I feel “at home” – which is much nicer than feeling chronically uneasy and displaced, for sure.

The morning was fairly merry. I find myself ready to begin again. 🙂