Archives for posts with tag: use your words

Damn yesterday was… unexpected. Such an auspicious beginning to the day, and still – it went rather horribly sideways. I’ll clarify that by “horribly”, I mean that my Traveling Partner and I had a falling out, raised voices, hurt feelings, deep sorrow, frustration, and lingering feels of emotional damage and despair, from which we had to work our way back to some sort of stable comfort with each other with great care, commitment to our lasting affection, and real effort. Many verbs involved. No violence. I make a point of saying that because a) I’ve for sure known far worse and b) it’s important for me to stay positive and aware of how good things actually are, but also that yeah – it’s still super shitty when we’ve been provoked into raising our voices with each other. It wasn’t a good day, although, to be fair, no one was injured in the making of our shitty experience together. I guess that’s something. I know I’m truly grateful that this is the state of “horrible” these days, vs more extreme “horrible” experiences I have known.

…The gratitude I feel, and my appreciation for my Traveling Partner’s day-to-day patience with my chaos and damage doesn’t do much to prevent bad days like yesterday. That’s unfortunate. One of my challenges is that domestic violence – real, ugly, physical violence – leaves more than physical scars. The psychological scars and the emotional scars are by far more “lasting” and “deeper” sorts of wounds, and I know I am not alone in the experience of struggling with those lasting trauma-based changes fucking me up all the g’damned time in my current otherwise quite healthy relationship. If it were “just me” we’d probably both have an easier time of things, but he also has his PTSD crap to deal with, his own “chaos and damage” to heal. It’s rough sometimes to “be there for each other” when it feels like we’re at odds with each other in some moment. It’s “the hard part” of loving someone who has been dealt grievous injuries by others.

I’m glad yesterday is behind us. I’ve got a few things to make amends for. Apologies, at some point, don’t quite fix things. It’s more important to “go forward doing better”, but it’s hard to trust the process – for either of us. It’s complicated.

I’m not sharing this seeking to bitch or seek sympathy, just saying; it’s real, it happens, it’s hard, and yeah – I’ve still got to pick myself back up, love myself and my partner, clean up the fail sauce that’s spilled just every-fucking-where, and begin again.

…Sounds so simple…

My back aches. My pain is through the fucking roof after yesterday, because that level of stress almost immediately uses up my resilience – it “empties my glass” right away. No spoons left. My ability to “bounce back” is impaired. It’ll pass. I remind myself frequently that it will, and make a point to attend to the details of every small improvement. It helps to “refill the glass”. (This can be much harder for “glass is half empty” folks, and maybe just a tiny bit easier for “glass is half full” folks.) I make a point to stay on top of my medications. To eat when I need to. To choose activities with care and self-consideration. To be kind to myself and my partner.

This morning we had our coffee together. It was pleasant. We spent the morning playing a video game together on his computer (him playing, me “helping” and making participatory conversation) – it’s a new game for me and I like it so well I downloaded it to play, myself, later. These shared experiences are very healing; they restore our emotional connection and rebuild a feeling of intimacy. They strengthen our bond. Practical and useful. We could do anything that is a shared positive experience – we could cook together, play a board game or a card game, walk or hike together… those things all work. The “secret” to success here is that the shared activity should be an engaging distraction from the shit that went sideways, without being “evasive” or “avoidant”, and works best if it is fun and positive – uplifting. This seems to be what works best for us, at least.

So… here I am on what feels like a very pleasant day. I hesitate to take the lovely day for granted after yesterday’s… side quest. Still… we did begin again, and we are here, now. It’s enough. I’ll keep practicing. I’ll keep working on being the woman I most want to be, and keep working to clean up the chaos, and heal the damage.

Weird weekend. (I could stop right there, honestly…)

“Baggage” is a tough challenge for people who have been traumatized. It can be super hard to put that shit down, and properly “begin again”. Our baggage tends to linger in our hidden corners, tucked away carefully where it’s difficult to see how problematic our thinking has become. We struggle with decision-making and outcomes that create an unpleasant experience or prevent us from thriving in our lives. It’s hard sometimes.

I’m hopeful that a particularly painful and difficult conversation with my Traveling Partner really does have the promising positive outcome it appears that it may… I’ve just got to set down some baggage and back away from it, then do some things differently going forward. Him too, I suppose, although in this instance the focus was for sure on me and the chaos and damage I sometimes struggle with.

Love and words. So many words. So much love.

Once we were “on the other side” of that difficult conversation, we enjoyed our evening together. I woke this morning feeling loved (and hopefully he did too). I’ve got a massive headache, still managed to enjoy a cup of coffee with my partner before I left for the local co-work space I sometimes work from. So far a promising start to the day and week. Nice.

Moving back into my studio was a sort of mix of manual labor and thoughtful work and careful selection. Now that it’s finished, I can’t fathom why I stalled for so long. I find myself returning to my studio again and again, thinking about creative projects. I’ve rekindled my eagerness to finish a particular manuscript that has been languishing in a file on my hard-drive for awhile – almost a decade. Long overdue, and I did not understand that two things were holding me back: 1 poem I had included that I had serious second thoughts about, and those journals tucked away in a bin. Funny; I took care of the journals, and now project after project that had been stalled seem to percolate to the surface for their moment.

What’s holding you back? When will you tackle that?

How much baggage are you dragging along every day? How much can you “just set down” and walk away from? Are there things you could let go of, that you… just don’t? What is that doing for you? (Seriously, you probably wouldn’t cling to some of that sticky bullshit if you weren’t getting something out of doing so, if only the strange comfort of familiarity – which is totally over-rated.)

I’m no therapist, just saying – lightening the load makes for an easier journey. 😉

I sip my coffee and think my thoughts. There’s a garden to plan. A life to live. Love to embrace and nurture. Already time to begin again.

I am sipping my coffee and watching the sunshine beyond the window brighten the stucco of the wall across the street. I think of my spring garden; it’s time to plan the new year’s crops. It’s a small garden, and the planning is a considerable portion of the fun in it for me. I look forward to contented weekend moments with seed and plant catalogs open to page after page of brightly colored flowers and tasty looking fruits and memories of gardens past becoming a plan for Spring. It tempts my attention away from work for a moment. Healthy. We are not our jobs. 🙂

I open a separate tab while I write – my “to-do list” – and jot down notes as the thoughts drift through my mind. Why wait and risk losing a worthy idea? I make notes. Just a handful of words. The names of specific spaces.

In spite of the obvious sunny day beyond the window, my arthritis shrieks at me about it being winter. I’m in pain. I take steps to make it as manageable as I am able to do. I grief myself momentarily over my nails – I need a manicure but don’t feel like dealing with it at all. I let that go. It can wait, and giving myself shit over something so petty makes no sense. I’d rather read a book. lol More likely to distract me from the pain I’m in, too.

…I think I’d like a nap…

I sigh out loud in this quiet room. It sounds louder than I mean to be, and I hear that expression from deep within alerting me of unmet needs of some sort. I think about self-care. Damn, a long hot soak in the hot tub would be nice… the water needs changing. It’s that very strange time of year in winter when thoughts of Spring get ahead of the weather a bit too far. I’ll settle for a hot shower later – and a plan.

…I like having a plan…

A handful of years ago, I completed a manuscript of my poetry. That’s honestly the end, right there. That’s as far as I actually got with it. I just… stalled. I’m not even sure why. I let myself think it was to do with a painfully angsty and adolescent poem I included and had second-thoughts about… but no, when I was inspired to revisit this manuscript last night I discovered I’d already removed that. Then I found a spelling error. Then I remembered the poetry I salvaged from my journal destruction project on New Year’s this year. Then I noticed a formatting error. One detail at a time I corrected the errors I found, and cleaned things up a bit. I reached out to the friend who had written the original forward for my manuscript (“Can I still use this?”) and got his enthusiastic approval. I feel far more ready to see this published than I had previously… this year? That’s what I’m thinking, yeah.

My Traveling Partner asked me what I was working on at some point. I shared. It was a sort of “why now?” moment… Yeah… Why now? I’m not sure, really. I think, like the destruction of those old pen & ink journals, it’s just that the time has come to clean up loose ends. Put down old baggage. Finish stalled projects – or toss them in the bin. Clear the clutter. I need the stronger foundation to support my emotional wellness. Clutter is an impediment.

…This weekend I’ll start with getting moved back into my studio now that my new desk is built. 😀

Already time to begin again.

Change is. I could stop there – I’ve even said it before, in those words, on a cold, slushy winter morning, before I started out on my commute to work on that day. I’ve written so many posts about change, specifically, that I lost interest in counting just the ones with “change” in the title long before I reviewed even the past two years (more than 7 with some scrolling). LOL

A recent “change” – a tree came down during a recent storm. Sometimes we expect change, sometimes it catches us by surprise.

Today I woke in a good mood from a pretty unsatisfying night’s sleep. It’s not that the sleep I got wasn’t good quality – it was lovely, just not enough of it – it was more about failing to actually fall asleep until well-past midnight, and waking up quite early. The night before, a passing storm kept me awake – it was windy and noisy. I had plans though, sort of, and I got up, showered, dressed, and headed out as quietly as I could hoping to avoid waking my Traveling Partner. His sleep was interrupted too, and I knew he needed more; he’d asked me to start my day early (and elsewhere) so he could sleep in. I planned ahead; I put my camera and handbag together near the door, and had my coat ready for the likely chilling morning departure. I had a list of possible stops – fun and adventure, mostly, nothing serious or properly an “errand”, I was just heading up the road for a lark, with my camera and a list of places to stop, including some holiday reconnaissance.

I grabbed a coffee on the way and enjoyed the drive. Early on a Sunday morning there’s very little traffic. The morning was chilly – but also delightfully misty, without being really foggy or icy. It was a fun drive. I went… to the grocery store. LOL No kidding. That was my first stop; a bigger, fancier, more specialty-goods-oriented grocery store a couple towns up the road. I rarely go out of my way for the grocery shopping if I can avoid doing so, and it’s usually not at all necessary. This, though, this was just a fun outing. I walked up and down the aisles feasting my eyes on the vastness and selection, and ooh-ing and ah-ing over the holiday items. I bought a small quantity of real Prosciutto di Parma to use in holiday cooking. I picked up some excellent imported die-cut pasta that I know is really great in recipes. This wasn’t a day to buy “all the groceries”. This was an adventure! 😀

I went up the road further along, and visited another favorite-but-distant grocery. (Let’s be real; there’s very little open at 7 or 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning.) There, I walked the aisles wide-eyed by the selection, again. This time I had a couple items I had an eye out for, specifically, although my expectations were low. Still, I did okay. I picked up a big container of the household (domestic) favorite soy sauce I use in day-to-day cooking most of the time (hard to find closer to home). I even found…


…I was going somewhere with this. Something to do with change, and adjusting to my new meds well and how nicely that’s working out so far… or something… my Traveling Partner comes in to check-in with me about my breathing. I check my oxygen. A few minutes later, he comes in again, same question. Then a third time. I feel myself start to get frustrated with the interruptions breaking my chain of thought. I breathe, exhale, and let that go. I turn my attention back to my writing… I “find the thread” and feel myself pulled into the flow of my thoughts…then… I feel his tender touch on my shoulder, and smile; I feel so loved. My brain is working out the end to the sentence in progress, just as my partner’s frustration with my lack of response boils over as harsh frustrated words. Fucking hell. I pull off my headset and turn to him; I’d gotten “stuck in my head” pretty quickly – it happens – and I hadn’t quite grasped that he was explicitly seeking to get my attention – to tell me communicating with me is easier on the new meds. God damn it. That is frustrating. (For me, too.)

He goes away frustrated and mad. I try to turn my attention back to what I was thinking about before I found myself thinking about this mess… I fail, so I write about that. Don’t know what else to do, besides begin again. We are such human creatures, full of failings and missteps. I imagine for a moment tripping over my own feet just trying to walk down the sidewalk – then I imagine picking myself back up again, and getting on with the walk. This is not the sort of thing worth becoming mired in or catastrophizing – and in that thought, I realize I’ve come back around to my point; change is.

Making even a subtle change (in medication, in behavior, in circumstances, in environment) can kick off a chain reaction of… changes, not all of those anticipated. Even in something so basic as how I communicate with my partner, or he with me. We’re both getting used to things. Most of it is quite good. Some of it is a bit strange or a tad awkward. So far, I haven’t noticed any “down sides”. Oh – one; I need to change the timing on one of my medications from before bed to first thing in the morning (which is the more common approach in for this one); I think that’s what may have been making it hard to fall asleep. It’s a small detail. Another change.

So, I breathe, and I pay attention, and I am patient with myself (and my Traveling Partner), and I let change be what it is. And I begin again. 🙂

I woke in a cold sweat this morning, heart pounding, feeling that sensation of “being late” and feeling massive amounts of anxiety over that very subjective (and in this case wholly illusory) feeling. There wasn’t anything at all amiss. I was not “late” – and didn’t have anything scheduled on my calendar with other people on this particular work day, to even be late to. I got up and took a leisurely shower before greeting my Traveling Partner (already awake, though I didn’t realize it when I got up) figuring I’m might be walking around in a cloud of stress pheromones. His greeting was soft, pleasant, and merry. I made coffee. We enjoyed taking our morning coffees together. It was quite lovely.

…My anxiety was pretty serious that entire time, though I initially said nothing about it. I could feel myself fighting with the physical features of anxiety while we chatted over coffee together: tight chest, shortness of breath, feeling vaguely nauseous, increased awareness of arthritis pain, a subtle feeling of having trouble breathing – and a not-so-subtle feeling of wanting to bolt from the room. I kept “letting it go” – more accurately, I kept suppressing it each time it surged, hoping it would just go away. Finally, I mentioned it out loud. Just observing the experience, and sharing those observations with my partner. We talked a minute or two about the anxiety, then moved on to other topics. I noticed every few minutes after that, my partner kind of “checked in” on how I was feeling, what he could do to assist, what kinds of things were adding to my feeling of pressure or anxiety? I shared and we talked, and the morning seemed fine honestly. No tears or tantrums, no escalation of some small misunderstanding. No impatience. No frustration. Just two adults aware of each other’s baggage and limitations helping each other through dealing with that shit – together. It was… productive? That seems to under sell the value in just speaking up in an open and trusting way. But, sure, let’s go with “productive”. My day was off to a good start.

I decided to go to the co-work space to work, just based on how bad my anxiety felt, and my desire to work skillfully in spite of it – which I know can potentially reduce my ability to interact with others comfortably, and I for sure did not want to start my partner’s work week mired in my bullshit & baggage. We missed each other almost immediately… and also found ourselves each working on our own work at a high level of efficiency. Win.

It can be seriously uncomfortable to talk about how we feel. Emotions can be complex and very subjective. Individually, we’re not all equally comfortable with emotions (our own, or other people’s). Still worth it. I feel like I understood myself a bit better, and that my partner understood me better, too. Worth it, worth it, worth it.

…Then I began again, and it was easier, and the day so far has been a good one.