Archives for posts with tag: welcome to my home

Fatigue still seems to be catching up to me unexpectedly easily. I wake comfortably this morning after a restful night, and not overly concerned about it, but it turns my attention to a number of life’s details that were quickly shifted to ‘later’ during the move, and attending to them makes sense, certainly putting them off indefinitely is a poor choice.

After yoga, a shower, and making coffee I remember that the quantity of coffee on hand is quite low. I order coffee, and recall that the wall heater uses considerable energy (costly) and that I had planned to get a second oil heater to keep the more spacious apartment comfortable; I make a note for later. While I am involved thus, I make a point of identifying assorted other quality of life details that need to be adjusted or refreshed for the new living space, and if nothing else, I give each sufficient consideration to have an idea what I will do about them, and when. I take time to consider my ‘breakables’ – a collection of delicate glass, porcelain, and crystal objects that I enjoy displaying and using; I made a point of boxing them all up for safety when it was clear that the environment was putting them at risk (before I moved into Number 27), and they have remained packed up since. No curio. (They used to ‘live in’ my sideboard, unless they were out, here and there.) I’ve bookmarked a couple lovely pieces to finish the dining room – a lighted glass door cabinet, and a cute chest with drawers that will serve well as a smallish sideboard; they compliment the light wood of the table. I find myself regularly brushing my hair out of my eyes and recognize that the more immediate need is for a haircut; I have Monday off, and book an appointment.

The day starts in this very grown up way, taking care of the needs of the moment, planning out the future quality of life improvements, and smiling that there is any sense that my quality of life actually needs any ‘improvement’. The smile pulls my attention, somehow, back to the quality of my life, generally, and the moment of contentment and appreciation finishes, rather amusingly, with the recollection that I don’t have a good mop for the much larger kitchen/dining room floor. I order one; that’s a ‘sooner than later’ detail, since a dirty floor will render a home seemingly filthy even when that is the literal only messy detail. (I am no longer that woman who has no will or energy available to live beautifully; I have the verbs for that.)

I feel relaxed and confident in my space and in my experience – and this feeling doesn’t feel ‘alien’ or unfamiliar. It feels more as if something treasured that was missing has been found. I think over my recent nightmare, still clinging to my consciousness, and the epiphany that followed and weave it together with the recollections of times past when I felt my most whole, my most adult, my most capable, and the when/where of those experiences – unsurprisingly nearly all of them at points in my life when I was living alone, however briefly… (with one notable exception; my relationship with my traveling partner, which tends generally be to very adult-to-adult with the exception of an extraordinary period of care and support when I needed it most, struggling to wean myself off of poorly chosen psych meds, and later when we were both working through issues associated with my injury, or my PTSD).

Trying to force myself to live comfortably in a pair-bonding cohabitation model of existence hasn’t worked out well for me, in any relationship. Attempting to cohabit with multiple adult partners (and their multiple very human issues) didn’t work out very well, either (although I could see myself trying again with a more rational choice of partnerships – a choice of more rational partners?). I find myself again and again allowing myself to be lead into over-compromising my needs, my values, or my quality of life solely to avoid confrontation, when I live with other people. It’s silly – and not a very efficient way to live harmoniously. Festering resentment is super unpleasant to live around, and to be quite reasonable about it, my anger is not something to be trifled with, but that’s a truth that is often not heard between primates until shit goes really wrong. Then it’s all neighbors on the news with quotes like “well, she always seemed very pleasant, I’m very surprised…”. It’s not a place I want to find myself, frankly. So. Other choices.

I am still getting used to the spaciousness here. Gone the utterly necessary compactness of … everything. Am I rambling? If I am, is it because there is so much additional room here? More than enough – which feels a tad strange very often, still. The roominess here, for one person, is ‘ample’. Perhaps even ‘ideal’ (for me). The idealness of it is taking some getting used to, and there is some point in my consciousness I occasionally catch discontentedly searching for ‘the worm in the apple’. Freaking human primate negative bias issues – like I need that bullshit! 🙂 Meditation works well to address that… I think I’ll do that.

Begin again... And then again. Each dawn is a new beginning.

Begin again… And then again. Each dawn is a new beginning.

Today is a choice day to begin with good choices. Today is a lovely day to spend the day on loving, and being love. Today is a fine day to reflect on the woman in the mirror, and the opportunity to live well that stretches ahead. Today is a very good day to take care of me, and in doing so I am changing my world.

It’s a bad idea to get inadequate rest with a brain injury (new or old). I worked hard on the move, and did a lot more manual labor than I am used to at this time in my life. There were deadlines to hit, and there was a cost to my general well-being; I am tired. Less so this morning than I was at the end of a busy work week. Friday night I slept about 12 hours. Yesterday  I added two decently long naps to that – and still crashed for the evening quite early. This morning I am up before 6:00 am, and feeling actually fairly rested. Certainly, I was not able to return to sleep, and the day begins.

"Morning" came early today. :-)

“Morning” came early today. 🙂

Truly excellent self-care requires considerable self-awareness. I feel fairly rested, and I know that once my coffee hits, and I have a shower and start my day in earnest, I may have the energy and enthusiasm to feel impelled to head out for adventure: a hike, some shopping, a visit elsewhere, or just to go or to do. It’s tempting just to think about it, and let my consciousness move beyond the planned additional rest, and mundane tasks that support self-care less directly, like housekeeping and laundry, and preparing for the next work week. This rested feeling, though, is misleading; I’m only barely there, yet. If I grab hold of this rested energy now and run with it, I will predictably run out of steam by midday or so, and when Monday morning comes I’ll have done myself no real service at all. I so commonly miss on this detail!

Today I remain committed to taking care of this fragile vessel and doing all I can to make a really good recovering from the laborious move. That much is behind me. There’s very little yet to be done at all, aside from hanging paintings (a time-consuming slow project that builds on ‘vision’ and settling in over time), and putting the studio in a state of artistic work readiness. There are curtain rods to go up, and curtains to hang. Those are the sorts of details remaining, and I think I may have listed them all. lol The stereo is hooked up, too, except the sub-woofer, which needs a cable end put back on properly. All so very much within reach. I’ll easily be busy enough today doing some housekeeping, and perhaps hanging some paintings, and baking some cookies. 🙂  The goal, though, is not busy-ness – it’s rest. Whatever I do end up doing today, I’ll do it gently, and take care of me.

Coffee time...as with moments, each cup is its own experience.

Coffee time…as with moments, each cup is its own experience.

I am listening to music this morning, and enjoying having an empty unit next door for the time being; I can play the sort of music I like to wake up to at a volume that feels very appropriate to being awake for the day, even though it is not yet 6:30 am. The community here has a firm noise control standard, stated as ‘not loud enough to hear outside your own unit’, with quiet hours from 10:00 pm to 7:00 am, daily. I’m very strict with myself to stay within those guidelines; I calibrate my environment with care, checking and checking again, and at different times of day, then marking the face of the amplifier around the dial with markers for max volume settings. It’s handy, and no one has ever complained about my music, which is sometimes playing comfortably loud for my enjoyment, even at odd hours in the night, and frequently early in the morning. I am fortunate that the shared wall, in this instance, is living room to living room, instead of living room to bedroom, or bedroom to bedroom. I enjoy being considerate of my neighbors; they respond by being considerate of me as well. It’s a community – we build it ourselves. 🙂

Yesterday, I took the recycling out, and on the way back in I met one of my new neighbors. She is an immigrant, from Libya. She gave me a friendly hello, seeming ever so slightly self-conscious, as if uncertain of my response. I made a point to cross the parking lot to be at a friendly distance to build a connection, and we exchanged names, and some conversation. My new neighbor is pleasant, educated, and every bit human. She is part of my community. We talk comfortably together. We recognize cultural differences without focusing on those; she asks if I have children (I don’t), while keeping a close watch on her young daughter at play. I see her assess my solitary living as something noteworthy (an artist? a childless woman living alone? a former soldier in a Middle Eastern conflict?). I notice the headscarf and make a point of respecting her religious freedom (and privacy) by not asking personal questions; I know that people open up when/if they choose to, and that we are each having our own experience. She politely refrains from asking probing questions about my military experiences; she seemed pleased that I know where Libya is, had heard something about the circumstances there. I offer my help if she needs it while settling in, and she invites me to come have a coffee some afternoon, interested in my art and writing. We are people, only that. We come from many places. We all live on this one round speck of molten metal, rock, and mud, hurtling through the cosmos so much faster than our finite lives can truly embrace. It’s all so very temporary, and there is no time to waste on being dicks to our fellow human beings; we’re all in this together. Becoming.

When we limit our perspective on the world, we put ourselves at risk of living in fear.

When we limit our perspective on the world, we put ourselves at risk of living in fear.

My coffee is nearly finished. The clock tells me the day is begun, although the sun is not yet up; it’ll be almost another hour to daylight. Seems a nice time for meditation, for yoga, a shower, and a second coffee… It’s a very good day to take care of the woman in the mirror.

 

Yesterday the internet was connected, with some effort and a very tall technician from Argentina. Originally from Argentina, I mean – it would be silly to send someone so far, literally, to connect FiOS. 🙂 I found his exotic accent pleasant.

This morning I found my internet connection… wasn’t. 😦 Funny how little stress that ever really causes me, and I find myself wondering if that is a byproduct of having once worked technical support for a connectivity provider in my very first call center job… 18 years ago. I ponder the passage of time and sip my coffee while I power cycle the router and restore my connection to the world. It’s a simple thing, each moment of self-sufficiency in life is another opportunity to chill, to be content, to feel safe. There is something so powerful in self-reliance – without it, what do I have to offer the world reciprocally? There’s something there to think over… maybe another time.

Another day dawns

Another day dawns, and change is.

My desk here is next to a window looking out on the park, and positioned very near to the corner of the unit – and the building – and the sound of rain on the eaves this morning is loud enough to hear very clearly. I go with the stillness and the sound of rainfall this morning, adding only the percussion of fingers on keys. At one point, I find myself ‘feeling it’ almost as music, tapping my toes along with the sounds of morning. Smiling at myself when I notice, it is a moment of pure pointless joy without reason or excuse required. This room feels good for writing, for painting… it is the ‘master bedroom’ no longer. This is my studio. 🙂

I feel pretty settled in and ‘at home’ here already, which is such a different experience for me – is it really just that I slowed it down and moved in more completely while I was moving out, sparing myself weeks of upheaval and disarray? Is it that I did so much of it entirely myself? I grin thinking about the thousands of pounds of goods I moved, and the legion of tiny bruises from bumping this thing, bracing that thing, hauling some awkward bit over here, or over there; I got it done as planned, almost precisely. There’s a strange delight in seeing things unfold as planned. I think briefly of another experience – not the ‘unplanned disaster’ or the ‘unplanned but awesome’ experiences, instead I think for just a moment of the ‘carefully planned experience that becomes completely derailed, fully failed, no effective alternative, shit just going sideways on every detail full on panic’ experience… scary. I realize as my mind veers away from the sense of that experience how very frightening I find it, and far more so than the outcome of anything unplanned. I use the moment to consider how I can better appreciate qualities of the unplanned experiences in life to ease the stress of failed planning in other moments; instead of feeling the pain and fear of the planning going to pieces in some horrible way, learning to take a needed step back, a few deep breaths, and take the opportunity to let go comfortably, to go ‘off script’ in those moments, and let it become unplanned at that point – instead of fervently holding on to the failed planning, grieving the discomfort or turmoil of the changing situation, instead learning to embrace it as a chance to do something wholly new and previously unconsidered – or to find the value in what had been rejected before. I make some notes – real pen and ink on paper notes – to consider this further, later.

Yeah...but still some work to do.

Yeah…but still some work to do.

I pause to make another cup of coffee and return to my desk. I’m very aware this morning, as I sit in this one room that is not yet ‘totally moved in’, that my moving in is not yet completed; this is the one space in which that is quite obvious. There are books stacked everywhere, strange vaguely lop-sided towers of books in varying sizes that show off both some skill at balancing objects, and also some lack of good judgement. Almost on cue, a precarious stack of books topples over. I wonder that I didn’t notice that I’d brushed it on the way by, or somehow shifted it. I laugh, because it’s not as if they’ll be damaged. I feel a moment of appreciation that these were not my first editions (which are already put on shelves) and recall a conversation with someone who asked me ‘why is it a big deal if a book is a first edition?’ It isn’t of course, and that was my answer; it’s merely an unnecessary way of making a book seem special, or ‘collectible’. The words within are truly enough.

Speaking of words… On the other hand, let’s not. At least, not this morning. I do have words and language on my mind lately. Thoughts to think over about how I communicate, why it matters to feel heard, and what it says to me when someone silences me – certainly, I am a studied expert on what I understand it to mean when I am silenced. It’s likely both an experience that is specifically part of who I am myself and how I take the world’s messaging, and also probably very common and very human.

The rain keeps falling. I’ve run out of things to say. The stacks of books, and a couple of small boxes of ‘desk stuff’ that are not yet unpacked now have my attention. I’ve some time before I head to work… and it is a lovely morning to live beautifully and take care of me. I think I’ll do some of that. 🙂

I haven't even left for work, and I am already eager to return home.

I haven’t even left for work, and I am already eager to return home.

Today is a good day to be here in this moment, now. I’ll be getting on with that…

I am sipping a cup of tea and enjoying a quiet morning. My traveling partner sleeps just beyond the closed bedroom door for another few minutes. The weekend was nothing like plans made in advance at all, and somehow still quite delightfully restful, and unexpectedly romantically magical. Definitely a weekend to savor and hold in my memory. 🙂

Although my traveling partner’s own unexpected changes of plan were driven by the chaos and upheaval quite commonly associated with [an other partner’s] mental illness, the outcome in my own experience this weekend has been pleasant and in no way regrettable. The day running errands, the evening hanging out, a lovely home-cooked meal together, and that rarest of delights; sharing the night, sleeping harmoniously, and waking again to this calm gentle space knowing that in some moments, I will share the morning with my love before I head to the office to begin the work week, and he heads off to… places. Seeing people, doing things… A season of travel and adventure, perhaps?

The path isn't always obvious, nor the intended lesson always clear - the journey is very much worth traveling eyes wide with wonder.

The path isn’t always obvious, nor the intended lesson always clear – the journey is very much worth traveling eyes wide with wonder.

There were some points here and there, yesterday, when I found myself a tad taken by surprise by the luxury of such unlimited time together, and feeling vaguely unsettled and uncertain, as though this man and I don’t reliably combine like ham and eggs whenever we’re together. lol I smile at the woman in the mirror with some understanding; he captivates me, and his presence takes hold of my heart, and I would sit contentedly for hours in his good company while the household decayed into chaos around me, probably. It was good practice for practicing good practices while also in his good company. 🙂 Over the day, I hit all the health care and self-care basics: hygiene, meditation, medication, calories, exercise – there were so many opportunities to miss some important detail, considering he arrived within minutes of my waking yesterday, and is here even now. 🙂 Yeah – lots of smiles this morning.

Today the apartment manager will inspect my unit – a wise step before moving into a newly remodeled one, I think. I face that without concern; I live gently and in a state of day-to-day order resulting in no need for panic, or frantic cleaning. Nothing of the sort. I made a point of vacuuming and taking out the trash; it was a holiday Monday before a work week, and I’d have done so regardless. I’m excited, though, because the inspection is a next step toward a unit that is different in one very important respect; my traveling partner will be at less risk of his allergies flaring up when he visits, because the carpet will never have had pets on it. 🙂 For me, that alone is worth the increase in rent – the knowledge that my partner will be sufficiently comfortable to spend more time at my place is a big deal.

Today is a beautiful day for an adventure. Today is a good day to savor every precious moment. Today is a good day to put love first, and to take care of me; turns out I can do both at the same time. 🙂

Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday for me, although I don’t celebrate much ‘pilgrim vs indigenous people’ stuff.  For me, this is a holiday about feasting, gratitude, hospitality, welcoming, and acceptance. Today I’ll cook a fairly lavish meal compared to the day-to-day, as is traditional for so many. It’s a rare year that I don’t have a handful of others invited to join me for the holiday meal, and today the celebration is not dependent on a guest list at all. It’s still a holiday, still about gratitude, and still about being welcoming and thankful – and I care share all those things with the woman in the mirror, too. There have been far too many times I didn’t appreciate her, or even welcome her in her own experience. This is a year to celebrate how much I value the part I play, myself, in my experience, in my choices, and in my opportunities. It’s a year to be thankful, appreciative, and welcoming – of myself.

I begin the holiday season reflecting on gratitude, and good fortune.

I begin the holiday season reflecting on gratitude, and good fortune.

I am sipping my coffee, enjoying the slow encroachment of sunshine on carpet near the patio door, and planning the day’s cooking; small kitchen, small spaces, one oven, no microwave… I’ve had it far worse. Here all the burners work, I have a functioning dishwasher, and every surface is sparkling clean and available for food prep. I am grateful for my tiny kitchen, and all of its convenience – including the pantry almost as large as the kitchen itself, and having everything I’ll need within easy reach. I will happily spend the next hour or two making final recipe choices, smiling over the memories that surface with each recipe card, cookbook, or saved article from some ancient newspaper or magazine, handed down woman to woman over generations. I am grateful for the recollection of so many wonderful home-cooked meals over the years. I am grateful for this smile.

Planning the day has become organizing the cooking, and soon all the planning and organizing will become action – there will be verbs involved, and practices practiced. Safety with knives. Food-safe preparation, and clean-as-I-go practices. Proper food storage practices. Kindness and compassion will be practiced today, too. There’s not likely to be any drama on this holiday – but I could make choices that leave me feeling run down, blue, and angst-y later in the day. Being kind to myself, and compassionate with myself as a human being worthy of consideration and love will make just as much as much sense for me, solo, as it would for me entertaining a crowd. I will take time to treat myself well. I will pace myself, today, and remember that enjoying the day, the meal, and the moment, is the point – not the success of any one dish or the timing with which the meal is served. There’s nothing to be stressed about; this is a holiday about appreciation, sufficiency, and thanks – it’s not a competition, and there are no winners besides the people who put down their stress and agita and simply enjoy the day, present in the moment, and grateful for all that they have.

Facing the approach of winter, I feel fortunate in my cozy home.

Facing the approach of winter, I feel fortunate in my cozy home.

Today I take time to give thanks – I have more than enough.