Archives for posts with tag: you know it ain’t easy

Time to get back to the office. I’m okay with that. My Traveling Partner is pre-occupied with work right now, and when I am at home working, focused on work, the day-to-day communication challenges associated with my brain injury can be a little more obvious, and, I guess, a little more frustrating. Neither of us need that headache right now.

…Having a TBI that affects how I communicate is more than annoying, sometimes, for everyone dealing with it (not just me). It’s doubly hard when so much about “me” makes it super easy to forget, most of the time, that I have some of these issues…then… fuck. There they are. “Issues”. Damn it. I’m not sure which thing is more frustrating… is it that I often ask for clarification because context is not enough to narrow down the meanings of words to just the one thing intended? (So many words have multiple, or nuanced, meanings, and I “hear them all” when people are talking.) Maybe it is that I sometimes “answer the wrong question” (Okay, I do this a lot, and it is super comical until it becomes super aggravating.) – meaning, that, if you ask me a “when” question, I may give you the “why” – and yes, if you humorously reply by asking me the “why” question, indeed, without skipping a beat, you’re likely to get the “when” of it, without me immediately noticing what I’ve done. :-\ I wish it always just stayed funny, though. It’s not like I’m “doing it on purpose”.

…Then there is the seeming “evasion” when asked a question, and I literally just… go blank. Overloaded trying to both understand and answer, usually in circumstances where there is a clear expectation that I will “get it right” because it is “easy” and “should be right there”. I catch up, sure, but by then I’ve somehow communicated a lack of trustworthiness that can seep into even those interactions with people familiar with me for a long time, and aware of my injury. Aggravating for all concerned. Super painful for me to deal with. Way too many opportunities for hurt feelings, all around.

…And how about those opposites? Omg, yeah. I work with numbers – and this particular challenge is painful, and common; I sometimes say the literal opposite of what I am actually thinking (positive vs. negative, yes vs no, even “opposite colors”, and concepts). Like a cruel prank on myself. Fuck that shit. At least this is one I commonly catch, in the moment, myself. It’s just so hard, sometimes. I want to be heard, valued, and accepted, and I want my words to do credit to my thinking. Realistically, I’m not going to get that any more often, or any more easily, than anyone else. Sometimes, it’s just not there for me. Real talk. Sometimes I sound like a complete dumb ass.

My head aches with trying to manage my headaches, on top of staying on top of all the cognitive disarray, get complicated, and although I do okay sitting here at a keyboard… if you’ve been paying close attention, you’ve probably seen it, too. :-\ It’s not getting better as I age, I assure you. In fact, in spite of continued rehabilitative work, specific to improving these sorts of things, I recognize that there are some indications some of this is getting worse, very slowly, over time. Certainly, that last transient ischemic attack (July? 2013? 2014?) was notable, and obvious, in my writing, and I still see it in “wrong endings” of words – a type of “spelling mistake” that isn’t about spelling at all, and cropped up immediately after that TIA, and persists, to a lesser degree, even now. Brain damage? Yeah. Brain damage. It is what it is.

…How long before the frustration of friends and loved ones isolates me completely, relegated to fond memories, and deliberately patient, tolerant, excuses for putting up with me… or… just… not. Just quiet sorrow, and regrets…

I sigh heavily in the quite room, listening to David Bowie, “I’m Afraid of Americans” (but only because it was next on this playlist, although… yeah). Glum thoughts over good coffee. Feeling a bit anxious about life, generally, and about aging, specifically, and what it may mean for my relationships. My brain attacks me immediately, and with real force, “he’s not going to love you forever, not like this, not if you can’t communicate; you’ve already lost your looks, what’s even left now…?” My brain whispers my worst fears and insecurities to me.

“Fuck. For real? Right now? I’ve got work you know.” I silently chastise my personal demons, and have another sip of coffee as the tears slide down my face. “I’m not having it, you vile bitch, just go ahead and head on back to The Nightmare City, I just don’t have time this morning.” I frown into my coffee, annoyed with myself, my insecurities, my vulnerabilities… my humanity.

I switch up my playlist to something lighter, and hope for the best as my tears dry. It’s a place to start…and it’s time to begin again. This morning, that’s got real meaning; it’s an opportunity to acknowledge my fears and insecurities, accept that these are experiences and feelings I need to address in an authentic, honest, and gentle way with myself. I take a couple of deep cleansing breaths, exhaling slowly and evenly after each, until it feels comfortable. I feel myself relax a bit. I make a point to fill my thoughts with recent positive interactions with my Traveling Partner, and the delight of a recent long email from a dear friend, and the recent triumphs and achievements at work… there’s a lot to be grateful for, to be satisfied with, and to enjoy.

I finish my coffee. I start my day.

Sipping coffee on a quiet President’s Day holiday morning, and contentedly relaxing, letting go of baggage and bullshit lingering from jobs past, preparing for a future that begins in earnest, tomorrow. (Doesn’t it always?) I breathe. Relax. “Fuck my bullshit,” I think, smiling.

This seems relevant today (and many other todays as well). Far more experienced and expert words than I could offer. 🙂

I’m comfortable telling my own bullshit to fuck right off. If I don’t, I’m sure someone else will, but… what would I learn from that besides rejection? It’s too easy to excuse bullshit because someone else called it out, and the resulting feelings of defensiveness, hurt, rejection, and possibly resentment and anger, will quite likely blot out my ability to easily recognize that there is real truth to it. It’s important, I find, to be awake to my own bullshit, as much as possible, and do that work myself. It’s peculiarly far less lonely. 🙂

While I’m on about it… fuck your bullshit, too, damn. Can you do a little something about that? (Yes, you can. Choices. Verbs. It’s a lot of work I know.) I’m being somewhat playful, but also quite serious and purposeful. When was the last time you did a serious self-inventory? Who are you? Where are you headed in life? Are you wasting your resources and potential as if there is no future? Are you playing a grand game of Let’s Pretend and failing to understand how very much control you actually do have? Are your thinking errors preventing you from being emotionally and physically well? Are your addictions degrading your quality of life in return for a few minutes of something like pleasure? (Fine, fine, you’re not addicted, it’s just something you do… whatever. Fuck your bullshit.)

Seriously. Fuck your bullshit. Let it go. Change something you don’t like about yourself – because you don’t like it. Change your circumstances, if they suck. Seriously. Make choices. Use verbs. Don’t just party through your heartache or the wreckage in your head that’s holding you back. Educate yourself. Read a fucking book. See a damned therapist. Make every possible effort to be the person you most want to be! This is your life. Live it well, for fucks’ sake – because it is yours.

Why? Well, damn – because it’s what you want. Did you not already catch on to the fact that when what you want (of yourself, and of your life) is very different than what you are providing yourself, a deep despairing unhappiness can set in, an ennui that can destroy your ability to act – or to care – leaving you vulnerable to yet another evening/weekend/week/month/year of going… nowhere. Stress that never ends because you never choose in favor of your own long term interests and needs. Are you on a path that leads somewhere? Are you “wandering purposefully” seeking a greater truth? Or are you sort of just… killing mortal time? You could likely do better, for yourself. Your will to do so will matter a great deal. There are verbs involved. It’s a lot of work, and at least initially (maybe always, just being real; there’s work to do), damn little in the way of obvious pay off. It takes time. Incremental change is slow.

Anyway. What I’m saying is; this is your mess, you clean it up.

…And also? Fuck your bullshit. Damn.

…And also?…

Begin again. ❤

Getting ahead is easy! In just three easy steps, you too can get ahead!

  1. First, and this is key, be sure you are moving forward.
  2. Okay, once you are moving forward, keep doing that; keep moving forward. Maintain your momentum!
  3. Lastly, and this is critical; don’t fall behind.

Followed quite precisely, and this is true; you’ll get ahead. 😀

…It’d be nice if life were either that obvious, and that effortless, or even both. I mean, sure, at the most basic level, perhaps, this is what getting ahead could look like, only… it doesn’t. Not generally. Not spiritually. Not economically. Not with regard to wellness. It’s just a way of describing what our forward path could look like, absent all likely obstacles and challenges. lol Not helpful.

Are you down? You can choose to get back up. Doesn’t make it effortless, it’s just a starting point. Still, starting points are a positive. You can move forward from a starting point. That’s something.

Are you stalled in life, somehow, unsure of the path forward that will be best for you? Choose something. Do the thing. Note the outcome. Be present for the experience. Learn from it – whatever the lesson may be. Repeat. Regularly. At some point, you’ll either be in a very different place as a person, and no longer feeling stalled in life, or you’ll have done, and learned, some interesting things, and still be working all that out, over time. It’s not everything. It’s not a quick fix. Still. It’s something. It’s a place to continue from.

Do you feel as if you are literally falling behind in life? Failing? Experiencing setback after setback? (I’m there, now and then, lately – it’s not pleasant.) I’ll just say it; this is more commonly limited to our perception than being an actual part of our experience, and as experiences go, it can be so terrifying to deal with, that we find the mere perception that it might be our experience quite… terrifying? Humbling? Anxiety-provoking? All of that. Resolving this uncomfortable place to be is tricky, sometimes; if we’re really falling behind, our choices and actions would need to be different than if we only feel as if we are. So… sorting that out necessarily comes ahead of doing something about it, only… generally the things one might choose to do about the experience of falling behind are pretty powerfully positive choices and actions, regardless, and we may favor them all along life’s journey. 🙂 Things like… self-reflection, and understanding what matters most (to us), and practicing the qualities, behaviors, and skills, that support our vision of great quality of life. Things like… making good choices about our work, and recreation, that tend to be supported by our logistical and economic limitations, without undermining future goals. Things like… doing the humbling work of mindful service to our own needs, goals, and plans. Verbs. All verbs. Not effortless, but generally helpful in resolving that feeling of falling behind. That’s something.

More often than not, any of these experiences in life (being down, feeling stalled, or feeling as if I’m “falling behind”) have been supported by a combination of circumstances (which I’m always quite ready to blame, if I’m honest about it) and a lack of verbs (on my own part, actually, which I’d prefer to overlook, as doing the verbs is… work). I can’t always immediately change my circumstances for the better, but I can, almost always, change my choices – and the verbs. I can act. I can evoke change through living change, choosing change, and accepting change.

Sometimes changing things is as “easy” as the choices I make, and the verbs I put into action. “Easy” being understood, in this context, as… um… relative. Sorry. I wish “easy” were easier. 🙂 While some things may be, in fact, “easy”, this doesn’t imply “without effort”. There’s real work (and practice) involved in picking ourselves back up, in moving on from feeling stalled, and in stepping forward from feeling as if we are falling behind. Sometimes it’s only the work of realigning our very subjective perception of our experience with what reality offers us, but I don’t necessarily find that “easier” work than the work of learning a new skill, or the work of finishing that project I’ve been lazy about, or the work of saving money, or the work of day-to-day tedious task completion to maintain good quality of life. It’s all work.

Our effort matters to our success.

It’s time to begin again. 🙂

I had gone into the office yesterday, and I stuck it out for more than half my shift before calling it a day and going home to be sick more efficiently. I crashed out and slept most of the day away, waking briefly for tea, broth, or a slow woozy chills-and-sweats journey to the bathroom. I slept through the night without waking, when the time came. I woke this morning, still feeling symptoms, struggling some little bit with a stuffy head. Better, but not over it. Today I’ll work from home.

The hard part right now is not over-working myself when I do start feeling better. There are sticky notes all over the house reminding me to slow down and to pace myself. lol A short and unexpected bout of coughing catches me by surprise. Time for a cup of coffee or tea – some hot liquid of some kind.

…And I manage to somehow screw that up… coffee ground, drip cone ready, kettle on; I let work distract me as soon as I logged into work tools, and never heard the kettle’s quiet “click” letting me know the water was hot. Yep. Still sick. I paused when I realized what I’d done (or more accurately, failed to do) and quickly restarted that process, and sat down with a satisfying hot cup of coffee, that went cold before I drank it, because I got caught up in work. LOL Oh my. It’s gonna be like that, is it?

So, I resign myself to work, and capitalize on my early morning energy and willingness to focus on it. The headache I’ve still got, and the stuffy head, suggest I won’t be working any long hours. Probably for the best. 🙂

The self-care details do matter. It’s a complicated puzzle, though. On the one hand, I know that taking contagious illness into the office drives absenteeism as other people succumb and call out, day after day. On the other hand, there is nearly always also the subtly conflicting messaging that we have an obligation as productive adult citizens to commit to the agenda of our employers and show up. There’s work to be done! Are we really that sick??! It’s a weird and counter-productive conflict that seems to be so commonplace most of us fail to even gain traction on the idea that maybe, just maybe, our employers have a specifically pro-work agenda they are focused on that doesn’t support wellness at all – and can’t. I’m fortunate to be able to take the work-from-home option when I need to, but can’t help but also take notice of my own discomfort with making the choice to take care of myself. If I were a school kid, I would not be going to school today, and I’d stay home bundled up in bed. Period.

Is adulthood defined as “having reached the point in our maturity when we can efficiently take over the day-to-day management of our own employer-serving exploitation”? Well… that sucks. 0_o

Today I’m working on taking care of me, and making the attempt to make that the focus of my day. I’m no good to my employer if I am too sick to function. I’m no good to myself if I work myself literally to death.

Self-care matters. I do, actually, care about myself. So… there’s that. 🙂 Time for a hot cup of coffee that I can enjoy while it is still hot. 😉 I’ll just have to begin again.

 

I admit I love the increasing cultural encouragement to embrace our authentic selves that I see popping up everywhere, often in the form of a response to some thing or other, phrased as “do you”. I like that. Definitely. Do you. Be you. Invest in you. Grow your brand – and your self. Explore who you are. All that sounds pretty awesome, and very supportive and encouraging… but…

…It also sounds “too easy”. I know, I know. Authenticity is actually pretty fucking daring, even now, and it requires self-awareness, self-compassion, openness, honesty on this whole other level a lot of people are not prepared for, and a willingness to let go of attachment to our own assumptions about who we in fact our, when those conflict with who we in fact are. It’s not actually easy to be our authentic selves in a culture built on controlling people through their insecurities, fears, and doubts. It’s even… brave. There’s still another “but” to move beyond…

…It’s also not enough to just drift in a sea of our own filth and basic bullshit. It’s not really the ideal “do you” scenario, is it? To just… stall in life and make no attempt to become the person we most want to be? To just… rest, assume the most slack possible approach to the question “who am I?”, and just… not bother doing more or being better? I mean… aren’t we capable of more?

This morning I am thinking about what it means to “do me” and how I can become the woman I most want to be. I know there are choices to make. There are verbs involved. I know my results with vary. I know that being authentic – truly frank and real – with the human being in the mirror has to come first, and be reliably a thing I do for myself, without fail. I know I have more questions. More opportunities. More chances to begin again.

I guess I’ll get started on that now… 😉