Archives for posts with tag: TBI

Well, today is properly “the day”. The computers will be shut off, packed in their boxes, and prepared for the move. The last of the significant packing and boxing will be done, in preparation for the moving truck (that’s tomorrow). We took a day to rest up and hang out, yesterday, and got to bed “at a decent hour” to ensure we have taken care of these fragile vessels to be at maximum readiness for a couple days of significant manual labor. I slept restlessly. I’m not surprised. I won’t be surprised if my Traveling Partner’s sleep was also restless; we’re both excited, and eager to get the move done and start this new chapter in our lives.

I woke early. It was an attack of vertigo that woke me, the room seeming to spin like madness, in spite of my closed eyes. I opened them and attempted to hold back my nausea by grabbing the edge of the sofa, where I was sleeping, when I woke. I straightened my body with great care, and stifled the panic that comes with the vertigo, reminding myself it is only a sensation, not representative of any sort of “reality” outside my own impaired sense of balance. I breathed through the panic. Exhaled, relaxed, double-checking with each breath that my spine was straight, and that my muscles were relaxed. I waited it out, reminding myself to make a note for my next doctor’s appointment. I already know better than to attempt to get up and walk when I have vertigo. lol

Once my vertigo passed, I got up and made coffee. I have an early morning errand, then back to the house to pack things into boxes, alongside my Traveling Partner. He may not even be up when I leave. I find myself hoping he rests deeply, and maybe even sleeps in. We can have coffee together when I get back. 🙂 Tomorrow feels peculiarly far away, and also almost upon us. Funny how my sense of time and timing works, and how subjective, and even abstract, it can be. Even the vertigo seems to simply add a surrealist twist to the already peculiar moment-between-moments. I sip my coffee contentedly, and with some caution; if the vertigo isn’t entirely and completely cleared up 100%, I can’t safely risk driving, at all. That would fuck up any number of details of our careful planning; my morning errand involves letting contractors into the house to do some “before we move in” things we’d like to have done. 🙂

Receiving the house keys was a pleasant moment… I somehow managed to return to the rental (definitely no longer feels like “home”) without taking even one “share-worthy” photo of our new home… just pictures of smoke detectors, appliances, the fuse box, the FiOS box… basically just detail photos of things that need batteries, or that we’d want to know what the model numbers are, and those sorts of very practical details. lol I took one selfie for my Traveling Partner of my big big smile with the forest beyond our deck in the background, and sent that to him before I got in the car for the return trip. With the Independence Day weekend just ahead, there feels like more pressure to get things done “on schedule” than truly exists. I breathe. Exhale. Relax. I sip my morning coffee. I smile, and glance at the time.

Move out priorities often differ from move in priorities. We’ve held back from packing the things we reliably use every day, because we’re still using them. At some point, all that has to be packed, too. The moving in needs also revolve around what we need first, but the needs change a bit. I don’t think our computers will be a high priority until after our bedroom is ready for sleep, our kitchen ready for cooking, and our bathrooms ready for personal care. Entertaining ourselves has mattered greatly leading up to the move out. The move in, though, is more than a little entertaining (as well as laborious), without connectivity, without computers, without videos, music, or games. I find myself feeling far more relaxed that with previous moves, and prepared to be comfortably flexible with the different approach we each take to the move. My Traveling Partner has a plan for the move. I have a plan for the move. Our plans overlap in spots, but emphasize different details. I work consciously on “staying in my lane” and trusting he has details handled, just as he does for the details I’m handling. It feels fun, and emotionally safe, and secure. Team work. I sit smiling quietly, sipping coffee, grateful for this partnership, and this (so far) easy move.

I’m finding it a bit hard to finish my writing this morning…but it’s most definitely time to wrap it up, and begin again. 🙂

Moving day gets closer every day. The boxes neatly stacked in the garage continue to multiply. Working together on move details is creating a fun distraction from the routine, and minimizing stress, for both of us, it seems. It’s certainly the easiest, and most pleasant, move I’ve undertaken in the past decade. 😀 I’m grateful to have the driveway space to park my car; using the garage to “stage” the move was an excellent idea (my Traveling Partner has had several great ideas upon which this move is built, and I’m grateful for that, too).

So many boxes, all neatly labeled and ready to move. There’s still more to pack.

We spend some time every day packing things, moving what we don’t use every day into a convenient position to move it to a truck, and from the truck into our home. Keys in hand, we’ll be standing in our own home this weekend! I smile every time I think about reaching this milestone, with my partner.

Yesterday I was grumpy as hell. Not moving related, just having a rough day, and dealing with a lot of pain. My Traveling Partner was patient with me, supportive, and good-natured. I crashed hard a little earlier than usual, and slept deeply through the night, waking once for a drink of water after a parching nightmare, and finally rising to begin a new day only moments before the alarm went off. So far, so good. 🙂 New day.

The kitchen is packed. All the books are packed. My studio is (mostly) packed. Our computers continue to entertain us, but the moment for packing those will be “now” quite soon. I’m impatient to move through the days. A couple more work shifts, and then… moving. Understanding more about how my PTSD and my TBI affect me as a whole human being (than I once did), I’ve planned to take enough time off to get entirely moved in, and also to get acclimated to new noises and new shadows, a new route to travel from bed to bathroom, a new view from new windows… everything new. I’ll no doubt “get lost” in the new house more than once before I have the “map” in my head right. My Traveling Partner assures me with much love that it won’t take long, and encourages me to return to work earlier, if I want to. 🙂 I don’t expect to sit around the house feeling bored, in any case – there’s so much to do! 😀

…I’m looking forward to coffee on the deck on a summer morning…

…And the squirrels. The squirrels are here on my deck. 🙂

Change can be so terrifying and disruptive, most especially when it is unexpected, or perceived as a challenge, limitation, or unpleasant whim of circumstance. This move could have felt much different… the limitations presented by the pandemic, on top of my landlord telling me he would be asking me to vacate as soon after pandemic restrictions on doing so were lifted (so he could, himself, move in to this duplex), on top of the realities of finite resources… it could have been incredibly scary. My move from #59 to this duplex felt rushed, forced, aggravating, and very stressful (even though I chose it). I was unhappy to have to leave, I would have been unhappy to stay, and I was very grateful to find this lovely alternative in a seemingly quiet neighborhood (turned out to be much noisier than my initial impression led me to believe). It’s been a good place to live, in general. This move, though? This feels like a great move, and the timing feels pretty good, too. 🙂 I sip my coffee feeling grateful and contented.

I listen to the traffic beyond the window. Busy street. I won’t miss that. Noisy house. I won’t miss that, either. Listening to my neighbors on the other side of the duplex wall? Not going to miss it. My Traveling Partner? I sure won’t have to miss him – we’re moving together (and into a home that is more suited to our shared needs). 😀 I sip my coffee. It’s gone cold, and I don’t mind; it’s a good cup of coffee. A pleasant Thursday morning, a routine work shift ahead of me, and one more tomorrow… then… moving day. It’s coming. There may be a break in the cadence of my writing, as I shift from one residence to another, new routines, new floor plan, new timing. I’ll get back to the routine with new inspiration. 😀

A gray dawn lights the room slowly. I finish this cup of coffee. It’s time to begin again.

 

I was sipping my coffee on a morning after my Traveling Partner had returned home from some trip or another. It was quiet in the room, and in our home, and even out on the street beyond. I woke ahead of the alarm by quite a bit, and there was no hint of dawn-to-come in the sky. Not at that point. My coffee was too hot to easily drink. Based on a couple hesitant, testing, sips, it was also not very good. I pondered the variables in a cup of coffee, mystified and still groggy; how is one cup so crappy, and another so sublime? Don’t I make them all the same way? Do the tiniest subtle differences in timing or process make that much difference? (Are the differences, perhaps, not with the coffee, itself, at all?)

I sighed quietly, a measured, careful, observed exhalation, slowly released following a deep breath. I felt my chest expand as I inhaled, contracting as I exhaled. A cough interrupted the quiet. Another sip of coffee. That moment was okay, and I remained with it, centered and calm, for a while.

(This particular moment was almost a year ago – a blog post written, never published. It finishes thusly…)

It was an okay homecoming. I knew, when I arrived home, that my partner was wholly exhausted, having driven 1800 miles straight on home, then on arriving, unable to actually sleep (coffee is an excellent tool to keep one awake for a long drive, and the risk to our sleep, later, is often one we find acceptable at the time), until much later – shortly before I went to bed, myself. I made dinner. We ate it. Shared a couple of anecdotes. Managed to be contentious and at odds with each other for a moment, and got over that. We are, unavoidably, quite different people, and also quite similar. Neither of those things is an assurance of always being comfortable together, or always being in genial shared space, or even holding the same opinion about literally anything. We’re individuals.

The evening passed gently after dinner. We entertained ourselves with conversation and videos. Eventually, he called it a night, and later so did I.

I woke easily, and well-rested. I’ve already forgotten some useful habits for shared space. lol I think about the commonplace usefulness of any basic tool, whether it is a screwdriver or a habit; lacking the most appropriate tool for any given task is likely to result in greater than average difficulty, increased task complexity, frustration, and time lost to struggling with pieces that don’t fit. In the same way a screwdriver isn’t the correct tool to fit a pipe, good self-care practices are not likely to also be good communication practices (although good communication is a part of good self-care, when it comes to boundaries and expectations). It has been a common (and way too real) experience on this healing path that my own wellness does not change the general state of wellness for any one other person – and they still live their life, and see things through the lens of, their own perspective on life, on circumstances – and on the relationship we share. We are each having our own experience – and we’re not all using the same tools to get any given job done. It’s pretty complicated stuff, and a lot of human beings are barely managing their own bullshit; it’s a lot to ask that people also be kind, compassionate, patient with one another, assuming positive intent… it starts to feel more like juggling than living, at some points. It’s still worth making that attempt, in my own experience.

…It also takes practice. As with using any unfamiliar tool, it definitely takes practice, and some basic knowledge. Your results may vary – particularly where relationship skills go! (You’re not doing that job alone, and even such things as “getting along” and “communicating” and “sharing” require practice, and a commitment to learning and growing, and you can only do your own.) It can be seriously frustrating, however familiar and commonplace a task seems, to grab that screwdriver, and once already frustrated, realize that the damned thing is a Phillips-head screwdriver not a flat-head. Well, shit. That got complicated fast. True in life, love, and home repairs. LOL

So… I guess I keep practicing. 🙂 Honestly, in every practical way, I only need to practice my own practices, and handle my own self-care. The relationship stuff works out much more easily when I give other people room to be themselves, care for themselves, and we’re open to both the differences, and the things we share – while still understanding that however close we are, or may become, we are nonetheless quite individual. I smile and drink my coffee; nothing new here. I struggle, mostly, when I forget to let go. Attachment to assumptions, expectations, or internal narrative can quickly sabotage an otherwise good time.

…Strangely timely as we two individuals prepare to move. I found it “by mistake” (or at least not looking for it) moments ago, as I considered writing something that, oddly, feels pretty well-covered by the draft I opened with an errant mouse-click. Helpful circumstance. One that puts me gently “back on the path” feeling I’ve understood myself just a bit better in this moment right here, right now… I settle myself into work, and begin again. 🙂

My duplex neighbors were partying hard last night. I slept hard, but poorly. I woke, abruptly, at 6:30 am (on a Saturday), for no obvious reason. I got up and made coffee, waking my Traveling Partner, too. This morning I take a few minutes to wake up slowly, in the quiet of my studio. I can see the CPU fan on my computer spin; I don’t hear it over my tinnitus. I am in pain. My arthritis does not appreciate the higher humidity of recent days, and I ache. I’m stiff when I move. My head hurts. Rough morning, physically, and I’m a bit cross over it – thus the self-enforced moments of solitude, giving me a chance to be a better human being before I have a chance to snarl at my Traveling Partner over something pointless or petty. It’s a practice that works for me.

I get through the waking up portion of the day one practice at a time.

My “to do list” for the weekend is now sorted into “outside stuff” and “inside stuff”. I’m not certain why I bothered with doing that; it’s obvious from the listed tasks, and they were already grouped thusly. Simply proceeding down the list would like have been sufficient. Still, it seemed, in that moment, a distinction worth making. I was not yet entirely awake. lol

I sip my coffee, correct my posture, stand up, stretch, sit down, breathe, exhale, relax… and correct my posture again. It doesn’t do anything for the pain immediately. It’ll help later on if I’m not slumped over my keyboard like some sort of mythical writing monster.

I find my mind wandering to brunches out. I fucking miss brunch. lol Life in the time of pandemic… Brunch is the thing I think I miss most.

I gaze into my half empty coffee mug. I’m already thinking about a second cup. It’s already time to begin again. There’s an entire day ahead of me, and plenty to do. 🙂

There have been a lot of rainy mornings, lately. Spring in the Pacific Northwest is often rainy. It’s rainy this year. It’s been raining, mostly, for what feels like weeks. I’m not even complaining; I like the rain. I sit here sipping my coffee contentedly, listening to the rain spilling over the clogged gutters on this rented duplex. It’s been pretty comfortable here, generally. The few things that are not as I’d like are, unfortunately, things the landlord takes care of, and that’s been complicated by the pandemic. I sip my coffee and think over which ones matter most, and wonder whether I will live up to my commitment to myself to take care of those things with greater skill, care, and timeliness as a homeowner? I like to think I will…

…The rain falls. I sip coffee. The morning shifts from “before work” to “work”. It’s an easy adjustment these days; it has become routine. I’ve grown comfortable with working from home. My Traveling Partner is considerate and supportive of the change in lifestyle. (I’m fairly certain he enjoys having me home more… I know I enjoy not having to commute through traffic.) Hell, I think I enjoy my job even more, working from home, which I did not expect at all. 🙂 Bonus.

We continue to prepare for the move, and I continue to count down the days. I’m often distracted with it, occasionally scrambling to pull my consciousness back to “now”, when I realize I’ve been considering, again, some small specific detail that honestly can’t be sorted out properly until the time comes. I smile to myself. Managing my excitement gives me lots of opportunities for practicing mindfulness – just as managing my anxiety would. I definitely prefer the excitement to the anxiety. I notice again how similar those states can feel, physically. I breathe, exhale, relax, and let it go.

Incremental change is. Practicing the practices works. I’ll just stay on this path right here…one step at a time is enough.

I think back to that painful move out of a shared living situation, into my wee solo domicile at #27. It wasn’t that long ago. It’s been 5 years, now. I put my will and my energy into “embracing change”, and finding my own way. In the five years since then, I’ve done a lot to heal and grow. I find myself embracing change again, moving again, and feeling content and prepared. It’s a lovely change from the heartsick uncertainty of that abrupt move 5 years ago.

“Stay on the path” was a regular reminder to myself then, and it served me well (then, and since). No map, though, and this path is not well illuminated. I’ve stumbled a time or two. I’ve taken some wrong turns, and made some “route changes” along the way. Life does not come equipped with “GPS” for our decision-making. 🙂 It’s a very human experience.

I smile, sip my coffee, and reflect on 5 years of progress. I remind myself, again, to “stay on the path”. My results may vary, but I can always begin again. It’s enough. 🙂