Archives for posts with tag: you decide

Most of the time, these days, I’m writing from a contented, emotionally fairly comfortable place. Life is pretty good day-to-day, in spite of the pandemic. I don’t have the terrifying, chronic, so-frequent-as-to-be-routine, issues with emotional volatility that I had 8 years ago. I’m fortunate. I also “work hard” at this. There’s a lot of practice. A lot of very necessary restarts, do-overs, and new beginnings. My results vary. I am entirely 100% made of human, from the soaring heights of the most delightful moments of great joy and celebration, to the lowest depths of the most grim, bleakest darkness, the most despairing moments of sorrow, ennui, and futility. Anger gets a turn in there, somewhere. Frustration, too.

…So does love. So does hope. So does happiness – yep, even happiness gets her day in the sunshine. Doesn’t happen to be today, but today this moment is apparently not about feeling good. At least not right at this very moment, right here, right now, which mostly sucks.

…This too shall pass. It sure will. Eventually. I wonder sometimes if that’s actually a good thing at all. Storms pass. The weather clears up. It’s so tempting to just move on from the things crying out for attention during stormy weather, once the sun is shining again. Something to think about.

I’m not sure what to say “about” this moment, right here. I feel…angry. I… feel hurt. I’m annoyed and frustrated. Not just with myself and my own limitations. Not simply with “not being heard”. It’s complicated. I don’t have a healthy relationship with anger. I am aware of that. Mine or anyone else’s; it’s not specific to whose anger it is. I’m uncomfortable with anger. I’m especially uncomfortable with mine. That’s true. Today, I’m angry with my Traveling Partner. (This may be the first time I’ve written that sentence in this blog, I’m not certain.) I haven’t lost any affection for this human being I am so fond of… I’m just angry right now. I don’t know what to do with/about that… it just is, and I’m incredibly uncomfortable with it. So. Here I am. In a separate space, door closed, headphones on, working on “being alone right now” – which is very tough in a small house during a pandemic. As I said; uncomfortable. I’m not lashing out or escalating. I’m maintaining a self-inflicted disciplined calm, because I just don’t know what else to do with or about my anger. I clearly can’t act on it. I’m also having trouble conversing through it to resolve things with my partner; I start weeping. It makes conversation difficult and needlessly, unproductively, emotional. Not okay – and I’m frankly not at all interested in taking the risk of damaging anything I own by having some tantrum, or finding myself in the middle of further emotional escalation and angry words with my partner. Anger feels like emotional poison to me. I know there are ways to process anger more skillfully than I do. I haven’t finished that work, yet. I am unskilled. It takes a lifetime to process a lifetime of trauma, apparently…Or, at least, I have not, personally found a shortcut to the work that must be done to heal the damage that already was done.

Yelling at one’s partner is mistreatment. I work to avoid raising my voice. I don’t even like “yelling across the house” in a conversational way (seriously seriously dislike that shit – if I’m not in the same room, let’s just not converse, or hey, it’s a small house, join me in a shared space). I’m human, though, and I am more easily provoked than I want to be. If I raise my voice, I’ll also apologize for that, and having accepted responsibility for that behavior, immediately seek to bring the volume back down. It’s hard. I don’t always succeed. I struggle with anger – particularly when I am not feeling heard, or when I am being interrupted, or when I feel mistreated myself, in the face of mockery, insults, or other such (also very human, unpleasant, not okay things, but I particularly detest mockery). I work on not yelling. I ask people in relationships with me to not yell. It’s a choice. Take a kind tone. Speak gently. Choices. Encourage each other. Worthwhile – but, yeah, there are verbs involved, and it takes a lot of fucking practice, and it’s got to actually really matter. No one can do the work for you. Hell, you may even find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to choose to make these changes or do this work without much encouragement or reciprocity. Hard, right? Sometimes, yeah. For anyone.

What makes any of that shit worth it? Why is the ongoing effort – and ongoing frustration with having to make that effort – worth it at all, if it won’t placate an angry partner, or restore the peace, or diminish the chaos, or create calm? …I think about that question a lot, and I’m pretty clear on my answer; it’s about being the woman I most want to be, myself, for myself. I’m okay with feeling anger. I’m not okay with losing my shit and yelling at someone I love. Doesn’t matter how provoked I feel. Doesn’t matter who is “right” or who is “wrong”. Doesn’t matter whether I am in pain, or exhausted, or absolutely 100% justified in my opinion, or my understanding of the situation. What matters is … who do I most want to be, and is my behavior consistent with that standard? How does that woman respond to such a situation? How does that woman maintain her calm, stay balanced, and process strong emotion? I think that over, looking for answers, and a next step to being that woman… more so today, than yesterday. More so tomorrow than I am right now. We become what we practice.

…That’s true for everyone, and everything we choose to practice (or fall into habitually). Just saying. Choices. Practices. Beginnings.

Again.

…I hear the tv in the other room. My partner bravely checked-on me, and expressed his desire to hang out – in spite of the chaos, what matters most is our affection for each other. It’s hard to be vulnerable. Hard to set down the baggage. Sometimes it’s even hard to begin again. I take a breath, and steady myself to take that step…

Someone else’s powerful poetry serves this moment up to me, this morning. (Thanks, David Bowie.)

Still don’t know what I was waitin’ for
And my time was runnin’ wild
A million dead end streets and
Every time I thought I’d got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I’ve never caught a glimpse
How the others must see the faker
I’m much too fast to take that test

Surfing the waves of joy and anxiety crashing over my consciousness this morning, celebrating change, reveling in agency, and…but… yeah, also having to manage the anxiety that comes with full throttle adulthood in real-time. Scary. Deliciously unpredictable. My sleep is disrupted, and I woke groggy from having too much to dream. I’m already walking that fine line between “enough coffee” and “what the fuck was I thinking having all that coffee?”

Choosing to make a job change (or career change, depending on how those words are defined, but either way, a change of employer) feels a bit strange and disorienting in this moment. It’s “the right move” for me right now, a good choice, based on sound decision-making (from the only perspective I have in this moment, which is… this perspective, now). Still, willfully acting on that perspective, taking full advantage of personal agency, and acting with clarity of purpose in the context of living the life I want to live, that supports my long-term needs and goals, still shakes me up a bit, and causes me considerable anxiety. Maybe it always will. The anxiety isn’t stopping me; this feels right. A good practice; don’t take my emotions as facts upon which decisions must be made.

…It’s still sort of nerve-wracking, now and then. Small stressors loom larger than they need to be. I find myself sort of “holding my own hand” now and then, and seeking out favored colleagues for moments of connection, sharing, and support. Taking time to acknowledge their importance and value to me before I leave really meets some needs, for me, and seems to for them as well. A good practice; connect with people. Authentically. Even, if I dare to use such words in the context of work, tenderly. With care. Consideration. Gratitude. Joy.

It’s a slow sort of celebration. There’ll be a few days between the one and the other, which I definitely need in order to ensure that I leave any baggage and old business behind, before I start on a new adventure. Another good practice; get my head right, let go of baggage.

I’m taking myself seriously – but not taking my bullshit personally. 🙂 Or, at the moment, anyone else’s. It feels pretty nice, overall. Each dawn brings a new beginning… some beginnings are bigger than others. Some are chosen with great care. Some are simply circumstances presenting opportunities. Some are all those things.

I slept late this morning. I had awakened during the night for no obvious reason, and woke breathless, heart pounding, in the grip of anxiety. I forgot to take it at all personally, or to read anything whatever into it, these were simply sensations I woke with. I got up. Opened some windows to let cool night breezes blow through the apartment. I took a seat on my meditation cushion, and gazed into the night sky, obscured by clouds that roiled and shifted, a kaleidoscope in shapes and shades of gray. The world was very quiet. Some time later, apartment cool, heart soothed, content and comfortable (except for this aching knee), I returned to sleep quite easily.

Moments are neither magical nor cursed, not really. They are what I make of them, myself, with my choices, my perspective, my baggage… What I do with any given moment is what makes the moment what it seems to me to be. That probably seems crazily obvious. I need the reminders, sometimes. 😉

Yesterday, after plans to hang out with my traveling partner fell through, I found myself inspired artistically, and spent the afternoon painting. My knee is not really happy with me this morning, and I pay that price in continued pain, instead of feeling it eased today. It’s peculiarly a price worth paying, although a wiser voice in my head suggests that had I approached the work differently, I could have also taken better care of this knee while I painted. Choices. Practices. Verbs. I keep at it, and continue to improve on how I approach such things. I don’t get much chance to be smug about successes…if I stop practicing, I generally forget fairly quickly how I was managing something. LOL These days that’s more a humorous inconvenience than any reason to treat myself badly.

I find myself thinking about the vast potential that exists in life – in my life – and how little of that potential I’ve tapped, even though I’ve been wandering around for 53 years on this gigantic jawbreaker hurtling through space. There’s so much more. It’s really no wonder life can seem so busy, or overwhelming, or mystifying. I’ve spent most of my life just bumbling along from one moment to another, occasionally doing some things (or people) I’ve really enjoyed, but without any really clear plan (or map)… and there’s so much to do and learn! I’m grateful there’s no expectation that being intelligent, well-read, or entertaining to know, requires me to learn everything, because… it’s not really possible. At all. Much of what I think I know, when I reflect on it, actually amounts to acceptance of what some other person has discovered, proven, noted, analyzed, stated more clearly, theorized, or observed, and written down, considerately enough, for the rest of us to benefit from. It gets called ‘education’, and I suppose it serves me well enough. I’d love to see particles in motion… I’d love to hear now-dead languages spoken by native speakers… I’d love to visit all the exotic remote places of great beauty, wonder, historical significance, and mystery, in person… Ah, but it’s not about time, or even money, in so many cases the things I have the good fortune to learn about don’t even exist in this moment, at all. How fantastic that I can learn about these things!

Human experience holds so many potential choices, options, circumstances, and perspectives… live a million lives and I would not have lived them all. There are no duplicates. There are no ‘do overs’. There is this fragile vessel, this mortal lifetime, and this very long and varied menu of choices and possibilities.

What matters most? Is it a diagnosis I don’t yet have? Is it a job I no longer work, or am not yet working? Rent? Bills? Housework? Is love what matters most? Or is it… now? This moment? This one pin point in time that gives me the power to choose my adventure?

Choose. Begin again.

Choose. Begin again.

Another new morning, another new beginning, another great cup of coffee after a good night’s sleep; it’s a lovely morning so far. I sip my coffee and think about choices.

Each day shows me a new horizon. Each morning I see it with new eyes.

Each day shows me a new horizon. Each morning I see it with new eyes.

Each morning I wake to choices. I choose whether to turn on the aquarium, or go straight for the bathroom first. I choose whether to put on music – and what music it will be. I choose whether to start the water boiling for my coffee before or after my yoga…and before or after my shower…and before or after I dress; now that I am using an electric kettle, there is no risk of boiling over or leaving a burner on. I chose that too.

When I first see my reflection in the bathroom mirror, I choose how I treat myself, and what observations I focus on, or make time for. This morning I found myself so adorable I made a point of trying to get a picture of how approachably sexy my tousled hair and sleepy smile strike me, myself. I choose whether to enjoy the experience of who I am, or to change it, or to wallow in the misery of ‘I can’t help it!’ – all choices.

When I roll out my yoga mat, I choose whether to take my time or to choose a shorter sequence. I choose whether to focus on the pain and what I can’t do, or to focus on how good movement feels and what I can do. Each morning I choose whether to take an opiate painkiller, even after giving them up completely; this will be a necessary choice to make until I am “completely over it”, and I respect and value myself enough to make it willful, and part of an authentic experience of life, struggle, and change. Each morning I choose, and each morning I move on from that choice content with other options; medical cannabis is enough. That too is a choice.

Pain isn’t a choice, how I deal with it is. Emotions often work that way too; the immediate reactive emotion of the moment may not be fully chosen, but whether and how I express it most assuredly is. I’ve come a long way, in very small increments, from being that woman crying “I can’t choose how I feel!!” to having the understanding that I can choose how I manage my emotions, how I treat other people when I am emotional, and I can choose practices that over time help me become less reactive. Nice choices…and yeah… my results have varied, and there have been verbs involved. Still are.

I choose the clothes I wear. I choose the name I use. I choose where I live, and where I work. I choose whether I smile, and whether I am cross when an unfamiliar man in a public place tells me too smile on a difficult day – I even choose whether I understand that stranger to be ‘encouraging’ or ‘an inappropriately demanding asshole trying to force me into some cultural role comfortable for him’. So many choices. I chuckle thinking about the upcoming election; there’s choice there too, and yes my vote ‘counts’ – if not because someone will be elected, then because it is an expression of who I am, through my choice. Choice, I realize, isn’t exclusively about the outcome that results – it is a statement of self. Well, damn…that makes choosing well, and in accordance with my values, kind of a big deal; it makes a statement about who I am. 🙂

You, too. Unavoidably. Even in the refusal to choose, or the desire to stop others from choosing.

I know, I know, “it isn’t that simple” (isn’t it?); we don’t always get what we choose! Actually…we don’t always get what we want. Choice isn’t a getting, it’s a more active process, and because my own will and my own choices are not the only will and choice in action moment to moment in my experience of life, sometimes… things don’t go as desired, intended, or planned. I chose to move to this bigger apartment – but the landlady chose to approve that change and allow me to do so. Clearly my own choice was not the only choice involved…but…in fairness, reaching back in time all the way to moving into Number 27 in May, every action as a rent-paying tenant from that point built the landlady’s likelihood of approving me to move into the bigger unit less than a year later, didn’t it? That’s a lot of intermediate choices, and I certainly didn’t make them with a future move in mind; I lived my life. From my own perspective, that’s where the future exists – in the choices I make every day, along this journey; when my choices are consistent with my values, and my values support and nurture the woman I most want to be, the resulting life… is mine. It’s mine regardless, but I like to suppose that when I live it authentically, based on values that have served me well and represent the best woman I am capable of being, the life I live on that basis will suit me and I will have a sense of ‘things going my way’ – even when they don’t. 🙂 So far, things seems to be working out pretty much that way.

Bad days are bad days. I have some. Being a human primate comes with some challenges, some difficult moments, emotions on tap, and frequent puzzles and frustrations. Being a human being comes with some amazing opportunities to grow, and to transcend the petty bullshit I could choose instead. The choices are a constant in the midst of continuous change.

How beautiful that each new day I can choose to begin again!

How beautiful that each new day I can choose to begin again!

Today is a good day to choose.