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Was it me? Was it them? Is anyone at all “right”? Is anyone “the good guy”? It doesn’t feel like it. We’re each having our own experience. Really listening to each other – both of us, reliably – is not a thing right now. This shit went so wrong that even the neighbors are awake with it. It’s not okay. I can tell I’m not “the good guy”. It’s pretty much a given that I’m not the good guy, any time shit blows up; complex PTSD is nasty shit, and most of the time, in most circumstances, when things fall apart this badly, this fast, it’s on me. I’m not being hard on myself, or sarcastic, or fatalistic, or catastrophizing. It’s just statistics. If something goes this badly, this quickly, I can reliably assume with considerable likelihood of being correct that it’s me, because far more often than not, it is. My words. My actions. My reactions. My… something. My PTSD. It’s hard to take, as answers go, and at least right now I’m feeling mostly despair and that bleak sense of “this again?” I feel like I’ve fallen and I can’t get up. Metaphorically speaking.

…I’m so tired of it…

…I’m so tired of me.

Is this “who I am”, when it comes right down to it?

I’m tired of PTSD. So tired of it. The unexpected flash of unreasonable anger/frustration/rage/tears that sweeps in out of literally nowhere, and just lays waste to every fucking thing that could ever have been good about a moment is beyond comprehension, and seems defiant of management or control. It leaves an emotional film of unpleasantness and sorrow over everything that follows for some time.

…But… I have all these excellent practices… all this therapy behind me… all these good intentions… all this fucking work. My demons howl with laughter and general merriment. I can hear them like a Greek chorus, “Fuck your practices you stupid meat puppet! We fucking own you. We will own you until it kills you or destroys everything you love.”

Sure, there’s shit my Traveling Partner fucks up, too. He’s human. I think it’s easy enough to acknowledge his humanity. Sometimes he’s wrong. Sometimes he’s an asshole. Sometimes he’s not either of those things, and shit still goes sideways. I’ve got to acknowledge that he definitely loves me, too; how else could he have stayed through so much of my bullshit? How else could he continue to approach me, seeking to calm things down and soothe me when he is hurting, himself?  Is it enough? Is love actually enough? Can it really keep me trying? Can it really lift me up? Is love enough to get me to hang in there through another freak out? Another break down? Another fuck up? Another moment of missed communication, sabotaged joy, lost delight? Is love enough to endure more of this shit? Is it unreasonable to expect it to be?

What do I even do right now? (What do I even do right, now?)

I’ve lost my appetite. My coffee tastes sour. My head aches. My tears just keep slowly flowing down my face. This is an incredibly painful moment. We’re on the edge of doing something really wonderful together… and I continue to suck as a human being. God damn it. Fucking hell. This is miserable.

…Why am I choosing misery?

(Breathe. Exhale. Let it go. Breathe. Exhale. Let it go, some more. Breathe, exhale, let it go, be here – present in this moment. I remind myself that I am “okay right now”.)

So, now what? I don’t know. I know my partner is hurting in the other room. Emotional pain because this was a painful moment. Physical pain because he’s a human, and aging fucking sucks; old injuries hurt worse as we age than they did when we were recovering from them. Both of us are hurting. There’s no physical violence in this relationship, but we sometimes treat each poorly. Harsh. Unkind words are for sure “better than a punch in the mouth” – but they aren’t good. It’s not what I want from myself. It’s not want I want for myself.

…I just want my pleasant relaxed morning back. I want to roll back the clock and treat my partner well, and feel well-treated in return. We missed our moment. I can’t refuse to own my part in that. I can’t turn away from my critical failures. The way out is through. We learn best through our mistakes and failures. Growth is uncomfortable.

“Begin again.” It’s feeble, but I heard it. That’s something, I guess. I think I want to, too. I just don’t feel confident about the outcome, right now. 😦 That’s even okay. It’s enough to make the effort. It’s enough to begin again.

…and again…

…and again…

We become what we practice. It’s time to practice calm. It’s time to practice loving words. It’s time to practice listening deeply.

…It’s time to begin again.

 

I slept badly. Restless dreams. Woke ahead of the alarm, feeling… alarmed. I turned over and got comfortable again, just in time to hear the alarm go off. I felt stiff and sore getting up, which has persisted beyond a few minutes of yoga. I made my coffee in the dim ambient lighting of various household indicator lights, and a small lamp left on. The morning feels chilly, and my bones ache. The pain in my neck is a pain in the neck, slowly becoming a headache. I remind myself to take something for that, before the work day begins. I sit quietly, for awhile, wondering what’s missing from my experience of the morning, this morning. Something feels missing

…At some point, after some reflection, I accept that I just “don’t feel into it” today… like… disengaged from my experience, and generally… uninterested. I try to tempt my consciousness to be a tad more joyful… or at least minimally appreciative to have another shot at living life… Minecraft? I shrug silently. “Whatever.” How’s the coffee? Fine, I guess. No enthusiasm. I’m in pain, and I slept badly, and this entire day ahead of me, from the vantage point of right here, right now, can just… yeah, I’m not so into it, this morning. I at least manage to avoid feeling altogether bleak.

So…okay. New day, old practices. I breathe deeply, and sit more upright. I exhale and feel my aching cramped shoulder, perpetually twisted in an impression of being a rock of some kind, relax just a bit. Another breath. Another exhalation. I let thoughts drift in, and I let each one go. The pain in my shoulder is connected to the pain in my neck, that becomes the headache at the base of my skull – and just on the left side, leaving the right side taunting me with what life could feel like if I didn’t hurt like this. I tear up a bit. Breathe. Exhale. Relax. I let that go, too. These honest tears that threaten to fall aren’t shameful in anyway, I’m just… also not into that. lol

Time spent on meditation helps me gain some perspective. I know this is only “emotional weather”, and may source with unremembered dreams and poor quality sleep. It’ll pass. I remind myself to be kind – to myself, too – and give myself some support and consideration. The sky beyond my window reveals a gray rainy-looking day ahead. No wonder I hurt so much, I think to myself. Damn, …this headache, though…

I sip my coffee, and half-listen to a video I only half-wanted to watch, anyway. It doesn’t seem to matter. I find myself rather earnestly wanting to simply fold up into a pile of warm heavy blankets and just… cry. Or sleep. There is a work day ahead of me, and much adulting to do, on an utterly ordinary routine day in this life in the time of pandemic, and it’s not going to wait on a headache. I sigh quietly, and breathe. Exhale. Relax. Let that shit go… again. Feels like it may be a long day, today. I remind myself to let the moments unfold without pre-loading them with expectations and assumptions, and to give the day a chance to be more than this moment is, right now.

Practicing healthy practices that support emotional wellness day-to-day doesn’t mitigate my fundamental humanity, or erase the challenges I have – and my results vary. There is no “perfect” to get to, no “finish line” to cross with a champion’s raised arms, triumphant in victory. The journey is the destination… and sometimes the path is rough going, and poorly illuminated. This too will pass. It’s a moment. Like other moments, it is finite, and of limited consequence taken all on its own. I make a half-assed attempt at shrug. One day of many – sooner or later there will be one that isn’t characterized by contentment and joy. That’s just real. I let that go, too.

Another deep cleansing breath. I exhale. I relax. I think about a second coffee. It’s time to begin again.

I’m relaxed and smiling this morning. I’m happy yesterday is behind me. Though I had gone into it expecting the day to be in some small way “celebratory”, the day had something very different in mind for me. I spent much of my morning in a state of frustration (because, reasons) and grief (over my Mother’s death last summer), bouncing between tears, and a roller-coaster of (mostly) negative emotions of various sorts. It was hard on me, and hard on my Traveling Partner, who was, let’s be honest, having his own experience, too.

…Turns out grieving colors our experience, and socks that are too tight can wreck a potentially delightful day. Who knew? (Well, probably most of us, but nonetheless, we can all be taken by surprise over such things, and that is what is so unexpected.)

Once my partner and I recognized that I was struggling with grieving (and feeling fairly foolish about it, some 9+ months after my Mom died), dealing with my bullshit was easier. Dealing with his? I shrug it off, now, as “humans gonna be human”, but yesterday was hard for both of us, for a variety of reasons. At some point after I went to bed last night, he realized that his physical discomfort (see “socks that are too tight”, above) was wrecking his mood. This morning he was merry and comfortable, his usual loving self. I was over whatever (grief) was biting my ass, yesterday, too. Very different experience of each other. 🙂

Building a life characterized by contentment and sufficiency does not, ever, guarantee a smooth easy ride to the end of a happy life. lol There are verbs involved. Results may vary. We’re each having our own experience. Bullshit and drama are a very human experience. So. Sipping my morning coffee this morning, feeling infused with perspective, and decently well-rested (although short on sleep). Will it be a good day? No idea – but it is a new one. I get to begin again. 🙂

Sipping my coffee and thinking about the day and week ahead. Time to get my head out of the studio, and back in the office. Very different scenes. Very different language. It’s a bit of an adjustment. lol

I find myself thinking about “the future” just generally. I think about recent conversations with my Traveling Partner. I think about plans we’ve made to do things together in the year ahead. I think about choices already made, and choices yet to be considered. A substantial portion of “the future” is built on as-yet-unmade choices. The rest? Well, a hash of circumstances, and choices already made, and not yet seen to their conclusions, I suppose. It’s not a static image, like a picture, or a calendar page, though, “the future” – however modest or grand – continuously redevelops, as new choices are made against changes in circumstance. So… yeah.

What are you doing to build the future you want to live in? What are you choosing, in order to get to that place?

It can be frustrating having to accommodate, or adjust for, the circumstantial bits and pieces of a developing future. Same for choices made by other people that result in change for us, ourselves. Nonetheless, it’s part of the puzzle. The most complicated piece of the challenge of “planning for the future”, I think, is about the verbs in the present; our choices right now, our actions right now, our words right now, all become part of what our future is built on. What are you doing about it? I ask, because the literal only piece I directly affect, myself, is the piece built on my own actions, my choices, my words. I’d love to shout back “I’ve got this!”, but I’m not that certain, honestly. 🙂

It is sometimes difficult to hold onto awareness that my choices right now, here, in this moment, directly affect my future. It’s a pretty direct connection, too. I’ll give an example; yesterday I did laundry. I chose to defer the last load (white towels) to “maybe after work tomorrow”, when the hour grew later in the day than I cared to be doing laundry. No problem there. I can do it tonight after work. That was yesterday’s decision-making (made in the present, yesterday). This morning, I hopped out of the shower having forgotten about that decision-making, yesterday… no towel. That’s right. No clean, dry towel waiting for me when I finished my shower. lol Damn it. I was fortunate there was a clean dry towel in the hall bathroom. Still. My decision-making in the present, yesterday, directly affected my (near-term) future. That’s how it works. 😀

The awareness that my decision-making right now affects my experience of some future moment is also a potential anxiety-driver. “Over-thinking” can become indecision and dithering, and all of that just makes the anxiety worse. What the hell?? That hardly seems right… is this some sort of bug in the code, here? Huh. I chuckle and sip my coffee. “Not today, Demons.” I say to myself, contentedly. I breathe. Relax. Let go of my own bullshit – and begin again. New day. New choices. Each choice potentially inching me closer to being the woman I most want to be, living a future life that meets my needs over time. 🙂 Some choices, maybe not so much; my results will vary. lol

 

Just three work days to go. It was my first thought as I woke. My second was “damn, morning already?” My enthusiasm balances against my obligations for the week. Eagerness balances against fatigue. I take a few deep breaths. I meditate before I write, enjoying the slow lightening of the pre-dawn sky.

I chuckle at my self for a moment and enjoy my self-directed merriment while it lasts; life has far too few such moments, and I find them well-suited to being savored. Every one of life’s destinations, goals, and benchmark moments, seem also to be beginnings. Endless beginnings, even though from the moment we are born, our clock is also winding down. It’s definitely felt more stressful to view life through a filter of being goal-focused and purposeful; the frustration that often results is an emotional kick in the groin every time things go a little sideways. Viewing life more as a journey, a solo hike through time, across experiences, with the “purpose” being to make that journey, nothing more, feels much less stressful (to me). Your results, of course, may vary.

My plans (and my alternate plans) are made with as much care as I can bring to that process. I’m eager to be able to take other actions. I am bored with packing things in boxes, perhaps. lol This morning, anxiety creeps in around the edges, and I second-guess myself over my morning coffee. I remind myself, for perspective, that getting the keys is not the end of the journey (by far). It’s a good idea to keep it in mind, to prevent ending up feeling frustrated and lost, or overwhelmed emotionally, by the very predictable challenges of moving to a new place. Some shit is going to go wrong. Definitely. No idea what, but this is still happening in the context of real life, so… it’s a given; something will go wrong. lol But… It isn’t necessary to deal with whatever that is in advance, because I won’t know what it is until it happens. 🙂 I take a deep breath, sip my coffee, and let it go.

I look out over the meadow. 3 days until I have the keys, but there is another count down happening in the same head space… 7 days until this is simply no longer (ever) my morning view, as I sit and write, or while meditating on a cushion in front of the patio door. The short expanse of lawn, the summer-tall grasses of the meadow beyond, the park, the playground, the trees on the horizon… I pause to really soak it in. I listen to the red-wing blackbirds greeting the day, and the crows, ducks, geese, and doves, and the early morning commuter traffic on the not-so-distant freeway. I watch a neighbor’s cat stalking something along the edge of the meadow. I watch the sky change colors as dawn approaches. I breathe the breeze filling the room with the scent of meadow flowers. “More ‘and’ than ‘but’…” I hear myself think, rather oddly and apropos of nothing particular. I like the way the phrase sounds in my head.

I glance at the clock. Mornings are shorter on Sunday (from this address) due to the hours I work, and limitations of public transportation. I smile and remember that I have the car. I smile more thinking ahead to getting home earlier in the day; there are a few more things I can box up, a few more boxes…and all I need to get that done is a little more time. 🙂

The sun begins to peak over the horizon. It seems a good time to begin again. 🙂