I Made This

The weekend was okay. I guess. I’m still depressed, damn it. Not full-on, which i’ll take and i’m grateful, but maybe not grateful enough. It may seem as if i’m always up and celebrating my accomplishments, but i assure you that is not the case. I’m so often disappointed and frustrated with myself that it feels like part of my skin and has proven to be a rather sticky and sensitive issue to treat.

That is what you witness on these pages. I mean, i know intellectually that i’ve come a long way, but i have so far yet to go. I also know that comparing myself to others is nothing short of a mental minefield, requiring my full awareness and absolute attention whilst navigating, lest i trigger a trip wire and anti my personnel. Comparison can be inspiring and motivating if done correctly. It can also keep one from veering too far off the main road, if you follow; i’m odd enough as it is, thankyouverymuch.
An emotionally jaundiced eye such as is the current state of mine however, renders my vision suspect, and the reward not worth the risk.

So today i will remember that i was intended for evil purposes that i will never fulfill.
I was raised to do as i was told and not ask any questions and today i do as i wish and i demand answers and doggedly pursue them.
Life happens and there has been joy in the tragedies and mercy in the pain – but only because i decided it was so.
I have created the life that i live today. No one gave me this. Some of it may have fallen into my lap, but i (ME!) had the sense to see it for what it was and hang on to it.
I chose to look for the lesson.
I decided what and who to let go of and what to keep.
I picked agony over avoidance.
I picked truth over safety.
I chose being happy over being right.
I sought knowledge instead of acceptance.
I chose myself over relationships.

Today i love myself first so that i might love you better, but i love myself today because i loved you first.

I did need a gratitude adjustment.
Thanks H. Good job.

 

Bother

Woke up the same damn way as i have for over 2 weeks now. Once the hubs and our Kiddo were gone, i was sorely tempted to go back to bed, so tempted in fact, that i brought out my body pillow to cuddle with on the couch, by way of compromise.

If we don’t go back to bed, i’ll let you cuddle with the big pillow, okay?

I’m always “we”, but i only use the pronoun when other parts of me are directly involved in what’s happening, which they were this morning. Some were active in my dreams last night, and sometimes that will result in some more conscious interaction continuing on once i’ve woken up.

Dreams are a very potent aspect of how my brain works, and always have been.
My dreams have been an outlet and a safe place and an alarm bell and a movie based on real life events, and even my very own episodes of This Is Your Life, masquerading as dreams. So, while i remember my dreams with varying levels of recall, from vividly to barely, if i wake to someone close-talking* me, there’s a fairly good chance that i’ve been dreaming rather intensely.

So i wake up and someone is close-talking me, and their commentary is negative and constant. Luckily nobody talks much around here in the mornings, so i don’t have to filter them out in order to hear anyone else. I let her drone on because she’ll fade soon enough if i do, but by the time my guys have gone to work and school for the day, i’m already running low on energy and feeling heavy with depression. I sit in my recliner, put the body pillow on the arm, place my wee fluffbutt on the pillow so he’s giving me intravenous puppy shnuggles, place my laptop in position and begin to write.

My dreams are incredibly thematic and rich with meaning, and have been since i can remember. My earliest were of being chased through a neighbourhood that looked very like the epitome of middle class suburban life in the 70s – by a nameless, faceless terror that was always right behind me. I’d run into a house that looked like my grandparents’ looking for help, but no one was ever there. No matter how hard i tried to stop myself from going down into the basement i’d inevitably end up there, facing away from the stairs, on my knees, and i’d place my face in my hands  in submission to the thing that was about to touch me from behind.

In my early 20s i began to dream about being in a group of popular young people, and we’d hang around town and go shopping and eat out, but i would always get separated from them somehow, and spend the rest of the dream trying to find them – feeling so alone and hopeless. In my late 20s it morphed a bit into me winning my place in the group by impressing them with either my singing, or my secret superhero powers, but i still managed to lose them along the way, and even mutant abilities couldn’t find them again. I would be left with this same feeling that i’ll invariably end up alone, with nothing and no one. The young girl inside me that feels that way all the time is the one that was talking to me when i woke up this morning.
She’s all Eeyore, all the time.
I cannot muster up Tigger for her today. I don’t feel up to Christopher Robin, either.
I try to Pooh for her. Heh.

I almost went back to bed. I thought of lying about it, too.
I thought about it. And then i thought about how it would make it easier to lie again.
Of course i can’t do that. Not to myself, and not to anyone who reads this.
So i’m sitting here and tapping away on this blasted keyboard, not about anything in particular, and not with any other purpose in mind save not going back to bed. It’s funny, i don’t do that often anymore, but once i’d made the commitment not to do it for a month, i supermega want to. Like, a LOT. Fortunately, i know myself well enough at this point in my life that i knew it was a distinct possibility, if not practically a sure thing.

Dear Eeyore-Girl,

“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.”
You dreamed your dream, now go to sleep. We’ll still be together when you wake up.
I promise.

Love,
~Pooh-ish~

*Have you seen the Seinfeld episode about the close-talker? Well, my bits n’ pieces can do that, too. It’s when they aren’t fully in the face**, but i can hear and feel them one or more of them as if they’re standing directly behind me.

**In the face means that i’m either not there at all and someone else is working the crowd***, or i am there, but i’m the close-talker.

***Whoever the world outside is currently interacting with, is “working the crowd”.

Ping Ponging and Peach Cobbler

I didn’t go back to bed this morning. So yeah, yay.
Having an epiphany and getting back to blogging and sharing it yesterday did not make the depression i seem to be fighting magically disappear. So yeah, boo.

I know this is part of it, though. This is what real life looks like for a lot of people. I don’t mean that no one but me has problems of course. I just mean that there are a lot of people out there that manage to live a productive and functional life despite their problems, and that is what i’m working towards.

So i get the husband off to work and the Kiddo off to school and i busy myself with breakfast. I really want to go back to bed though, so i remind myself that the last time i tried that (ah, does yesterday ring a bell, H?) it made me feel worse. Then i thought to myself rather pointedly, How do you think you’re gonna feel if you go back to bed after what you thought and felt and wrote yesterday?
It worked.
I treated myself to some extra computer time after i completed my morning routine of making the bed, tidying the kitchen, doing my morning toilette, and getting dressed.

It didn’t take too long before i felt like i was wasting time and needed to be doing something. This is progress. Most of my life i’ve been kinda faking the functional thing. I’d watch what other people did in their regular day-to-days, and then i’d try to do that, with varying levels of success for inconsistent periods of time. Ten years ago though, when i made the decision to let myself fall apart, i could not even manage the bare minimum, and frankly i didn’t trouble myself much about it. It’s hard to let yourself fall when there are still things to hold on to like, Look how great a housewife i still am!

Speaking of which… My 10yrs of abject brokenness, i mean. I’ve recently begun to wonder if that’s no small part of why i’m pinging back and forth so quickly between feelings of oncoming depression and then mania. Before i gave in to it all utterly, i fought it. I fought it all the time. Mostly i didn’t realise i was fighting, because that was all i’d ever known and i lacked the insight to move beyond that, but i was always resisting very powerful feelings and urges. Things i knew weren’t right or were too much or even dangerous; i knew i had an impulse control problem. So i kept myself very tightly bound with the help of my Peanut Gallery, which i was largely unaware of, and massive quantities of food.

When i had a gastric bypass over 10yrs ago, the fat was the cage that had contained my bipolar disorder, and as i lost weight, i also lost control. Deciding to fully acknowledge my past of abuse and my multiplicity and finally deal with it all head-on did nothing to ease my symptoms of mania or depression. I was tossed about on an emotional tidal wave like an old ship that should have sailed her last a while ago. But in this analogy i’m not only the ship. I’m also the map to buried treasure being fought over by a bunch of pirates driven mad by too much time at sea without sight of land, and whoever holds the map is captain of the ship. (If the map song from Dora the Explorer popped into your head then friend, i like the cut of your jib.)
And here’s the really fun part – i’m a slow cycler.
I started out in a mania that lasted over two years.
Then i got slammed by a 2yr depression.
And then whizz bang! another mania took hold for a bit longer than the last one, which was very kindly and predictably followed by another agonisingly long depression.

So if you’re following along, i’ve been fairly steady for the last two years. No hospitals for either long term visits or forced commitments. The thing is though, i can feel them coming on and have worked assiduously to keep them at bay, and although i’ve been successful, it seems that i’ve only staved off the one to be quickly confronted by the looming possibility of the other.

And frankly, i have wondered WTF?!

The best i can come up with is that parts of my brain have become very accustomed to having their way with other parts of my brain, and now they’ve become like the neighbourhood brat that no one will play with anymore. They knock on everyone’s door and ask if so-and-so can come out to play, and sometimes the father fills up the doorway with his scowl and his shoulders, and his basso profundo voice bellows out a No, now go home! And other times the mother comes and looks very sorry as she sends him away with a sad smile and a warm cookie.
And well, sure he’s a brat, but he has crappy parents so it’s not really his fault and he’s so lonely…

So i didn’t go back to bed.
I did a lot of normal housewifey stuffs.
I bashed out some self-reflection in a blog entry.
Tonight there will be peach cobbler for dessert.
Right now, i’m going for a walk in the snow with my dog.
Today has been a good day.
I don’t know what i’ll bash out tomorrow, but maybe you’ll come and see?

Love and Peace to You Regardless,
~H~

If there is a place you got to go
I am the one you need to know
I’m the Map!
I’m the Map!
I’m the Map!

If there is a place you got to get
I can get you there I bet
I’m the Map!
I’m the Map!
I’m the Map!

Like Swimming

HELLO, GOOD AFTERNOON, AND WELCOME TO THE MONTH BEFORE MY BIRTHDAY!

If you read that like Terry Gilliam stepping out of a Zulu suit in The Meaning of Life, then you’re reading it how it was written.

In one month i’ll be fifty.
I’LL BE 50 YEARS OLD! (That one was Sally O’ Malley.)
Pardon me folks, but holy shit.

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not ageist. It’s not that i’ll be old, or too old, or washed up, or a failure. None of that applies.
Number one is that i never thought i’d make it. My whole life i have assumed i would die young. At this point 50 doesn’t seem that old anymore, but when i was 4yrs old, staring at myself in the mirror with a bottle of poison in my hand and contemplating suicide for the first of countless times, 50 was inconceivable.

There are other factors of course. The regular ones that most of us go through. I have regrets, and i wish i had accomplished more. Both of these things, oh, so very much. I try not to trouble myself with these thoughts overly, because what i have gathered from most of those who’ve been here before me is, honey, it’s de rigeur. As Socrates is said to have uttered, if “the unexamined life is not worth living,” then my life is chock full of value. Heh.

I’ve been feeling like i’m being slowly pulled down under. Like i’ve been fighting the current for too long, and i’m close to exhaustion. It’s largely due to the personal issue to which i’ve alluded a number of times, but some of it is because of something else i’ve devoted much of this blogging process to, and that is my certainty that i am at a pivotal place in my personal growth. I’ve done a tremendous amount of work over the years, but it has all been tearing down the old and laying the foundation for the new. Now it’s time to build. The junk’s been cleared out and the old structure razed. The basement’s poured and the framework is done. The rest is all sweat equity, and this house ain’t gonna build itself.

I’ve shared how i started with teeny tiny little baby steps. I’d take a wee and wobbly stumble forward, and immediately rest, congratulate myself, and do it again. The rest in between stumbles was not insubstantial, either. I mean, i rested. Starting with weeks. It was a long time before it was even days. It’s only been this last year that it’s become hours. Today, one month before i turn fiftyholyshityearsold, i don’t even need any time at all between some of those steps. I regularly do some of them one-right-after-the-damn-other.

Lookit me. I’m swimming. I’m stepping. I’m building.

This morning i felt the same terrible drag on my thoughts, my feelings, and my body that i’ve felt for a couple of weeks now. I thought, I’m fighting another depression. Well hell, that sucks a dirty penny, but hey, i’m just gonna keep fighting. I’ll just keep schleppin’ along, doin’ what i been doin’, and it’ll be all right.

It hasn’t been all right though, and it’s been troubling my mind and disturbing my sleep and stirring up my Peanut Gallery and i haven’t been able to write a goddamned word.
So like i said, i felt it again this morning, like more than a dozen other mornings in a freaking row, and so i went back to bed at around 10 or so.
I had the troubled dreams i’ve been having for the same amount of time, and i woke at 12 feeling worse. Worse.
Naps usually make me feel better. They are one of the things i can do between stumble-steps if i need to rest. I rarely nap anymore, though. Usually my rest/reward involves playing on the computer or watching something on telly. Naps are specially reserved for those times when i really need it.
But it didn’t bloody work.
I dragged my more-depressed ass out of bed and forced myself to shower like i haven’t had to force myself to shower in a long time. Which made me feel worse. And anxious.
Great, now i’m anxious too. Wonderful.
I shouldn’t have had leftover cheesy noodles for breakfast. Too many calories and heavy carbs. Ohai Inner Critic. I was definitely needing some self-hatred to add to this toxic brain-milieu, so thanks, ever so.

I’m still in the shower at this point, but already the doing of something positive, that is hard to do, starts having an effect. Rather than just thinking, i become aware of the fact that i am thinking, and i am, quite suddenly, keenly conscious of precisely what i am thinking. I practise a bit of mindfullness: i bring my awareness to the water spraying my skin, my hand with loofah, exfoliating, the scent of my bodywash, my fingers massaging my scalp, brushing the conditioner through. I watch everything wash down the drain and imagine that it is not just dirt and skin cells and soap, but also the psychic weight of all the negativity i’m carrying is sluicing away from me as well.

I’m standing in front of the mirror and i look at myself and what i’m doing. I’m towelling off, i’m moisturising my skin, i’m doing my morning toilette and i treat my skin to a deep-pore extraction and my hair to some keratin creme. I’ve been practising looking at my body -really looking- while i do this, and so i find myself doing so out of habit.
But today… Today that work bears fruit. My body bears the scars of a childhood full of beatings and sexual abuse, and the resultant war of self-hatred that i waged against it for the majority of my life. Years of morbid obesity have not been kind, and now that i’ve lost most of the weight, my skin looks as empty and hollow as i might look on the inside if it were possible to see after all the psychological fat i’ve shed.

But i look, and today i see. And today i don’t hate it. Today as i was standing there and really seeing my body i thought i looked okay. I accepted what i was looking at in a reasonable and rational way, and i was kind to myself. It was not a you’re-a-beautiful-fucking-goddess moment. That’s not who i am, nor who i want to be. I saw myself as nakedly as i’ve ever seen myself and it was more than okay. It was fine. 
And it was then that my brain asploded with a lovely epiphany.
I don’t seek them and i don’t need them, but they sure are nice to have, sometimes.

I know what’s going on and i know what i need to do. It’s a lot and i’m scared AF, but i’ll even tell you.
I need to do MORE than i’ve been doing. It’s okay that i haven’t been doing enough because i didn’t know that i wasn’t. I’ve been progressing along the road to mature functionality admirably well, all things considered.
But now my brain is telling me to do more, and i didn’t understand, and so my feelings tried to help by telling me something was wrong. This is how it’s supposed to work.
I have been working the way healthy people generally work.

I need to start acting just a bit more like regular folks though.
So i won’t be going back to bed after i’m already up for at least the next month.
Weekdays i’ll be getting up at 5:30 like usual, and i’ll be going to bed at 10:30, which i try for, but it’s a bit spotty (maybe because i can go back to bed?)
And i’ll be blogging too – Monday to firetrucking Friday. (I know i cussed a fair bit for this post, so i’m trying not to overdo. Heh.)

I don’t know how terribly concise this post was, but welcome to how my brain works. This is who i am and this is all i have to offer. If you’re still here i thank you, and maybe i’ll see you tomorrow.

Be as well and as happy today as you are able. I’ll do the same.

It’s a lot like swimming first time over your head
It gets easier when you move your arms and legs
And for air you lift your head, why don’t we try right now
Yes right now
Yes right now
Well
~Like Swimming, Morphine

Love and Peace,

~H~

To Past Or Not To Past


To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?
~To Be Or Not To Be, from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act 3 Scene 1

Some people journal a lot. I suppose i could be considered one of those people, but with me it was sporadic. I’d pick it up for a few months or a year or so, but eventually i’d drop it. Consistency is not one of the hallmarks of my life.
Some people regularly look back over their journals to see what they’ve learned and how far they’ve come.
I should not do that – at least not now. Perhaps never.

One of my sons asked me for a recipe yesterday. I knew i had it posted online somewhere, so i set about finding it for him. While i did find it, i stumbled across some other things. I also found journal entries and posted social media rants. My brain, which has been full of background mumblings lately, fairly exploded a la Scanners (1981 Canadian horror film from David Cronenberg).
Yesterday was an absolute shit of a day.

What i see when i look back at old journal entries depresses and scares the hell outta me.
It’s the same thing, over and over:
I know i’m not right, somehow.
I’m doing the things i’ve been told are good to do, and i’m seeing some progress.
I think i’m finally on my way and i’m hopeful for the future.

It’s the same fears, the same struggles, the same words on the page.
What if this is just the same thing again? What if i’m still screwed? What if i’ve always been just blowing smoke up my own ass? What if i’m full of it, and i’ll always be full of it, and i’ve just convinced myself over the years that i’m not? What if i’m just pathetic and deluded?

Oh, and then there was the other thing.
Social media.
Fuck.
I’ve been so angry.
So bloody angry.
And the drama. The dramatic pronouncements and the histrionic outcries.
“This is the most important thing i’ve ever written.”
I read that yesterday, and it most certainly was not. It was childish, was what it was.
It read like a prepubescent diary entry.
And here’s the thing – i am just SO embarrassed. All of the rants and the diatribes that i put on my social media. So much anger. Hostile towards everyone, save a very, very few.

Hang on. I’m having trouble pulling out thoughts and putting them down with any kind of logical flow. It’s all tumbling around in my head, with the occasional geyser out my mouth/fingers. It’s so hard to rein in my bits and pieces when i’m like this.
There are some things that i may not be able to convey well, unless i first provide a basic understanding of how my brain works with regards to my Peanut Gallery.
I really, really don’t want to do that.
It’s taken forever for me to even use the word dissociative.
I use a euphemism for my alters, and using that word makes me cringe. Alters. *shudder*
I’ll share what i will, but you may still be nonplussed. Please know that i’m sorry and i’m doing the best that i can.

I don’t know where to begin. When my head gets full like this i either go to sleep, use drugs, or switch. I don’t want to do any of those things anymore, but this is bloody hard. It feels like too much, it’s too real and too fucking personal. Who wants to know all this shit anyway? Blargh. I can feel the separation starting. It’s like i’m pulling away from the rest of what’s going on in my head. Distancing myself from the mass of crawling thoughts and emotions. Dissociating. I can’t allow that to happen though, because most of the last few years has been dissociative writing, and i want that to stop. Maybe not for always, but definitely for now.

What i wanted when i first started this blog was to help myself stay in control of the way my brain works, and motivate and inspire myself to keep improving. I was depressed over what i saw as wasted years, and so i also thought sharing my life might help someone else. That’s all.
Well, maybe one thing i knew i did not want. I didn’t want to be the subject of morbid fascination. One need only think of how many television shows and movies have used multiple personalities as a cheap plot device to get an idea where i’m coming from. I want to find healing through being understood and find purpose through helping others, but i have no desire to be a sideshow attraction. (Much respect to those over the years who have done so, however.)
I never want this to be some kind of bizarre soap opera with the entire cast being played by me. I don’t want to be a train wreck that you can’t look away from, and besides, some people are just trying to get somewhere else and they have no time for a traffic jam.

Which sort of brings me to the next thing that bothered me while i was looking through my notes yesterday. I am deeply and profoundly embarrassed. I was so obviously dysfunctional for so long. Gah. Like, hermitting is easier since yesterday – and honey, it wasn’t hard. I never want to go out again. I only looked through a few things, but they were enough. After that i thought about the pictures there are; so much evidence of all my antics, and i think, This is a pretty nice rock i live under, i could stay here forever and not be sorry about it.
I’m ashamed that i’m only a couple of years out from acting the perfect fool. The obnoxious try-hard that fancies herself the centre of attention when she’s really just tolerated and pitied. Ugh. A woman who, from her late 30s to late 40s, acted more of a teenager than her own children.

This is where i start to cry as i type, because this is very, very personal. And frustrating, because i don’t know that i’ll be able to communicate well enough for anyone to understand. There are a lot of voices in my head wanting to be heard on this matter, and they’re all trusting me to get this part right.

When i finally accepted my diagnosis i made a decision to stop trying to control everything (it wasn’t working anyway), and to allow myself to fall apart. I don’t think i could have stopped it if i’d tried, looking back. I was entering my first full-on mania, which hit me like a tornado in a trailer park. I had no idea what i was in for. My past had come out in little drips and drabs, but not the whole story all at once, and there were many things that i’d never told anyone. It took a while, but i told my husband all of it. Plus, i disclosed to some friends on a personal blog i kept for a few years. I haven’t spoken much about it since then. The details, i mean. I can refer to some things in a general way, but i don’t go back to specific incidents and i try not to focus on details. I see no positive reason for reliving my abuse any further.

But that’s now. What happened then was i devolved. My level of function went way down at home, and mania took me out of the house, along with a bunch of people who’d been cooped up in my brain for too long. And they wanted to get out and get some fresh air and exercise. What they did was nearly destroy the half decent life i’d managed to build.

I’m ashamed, but what good does the shame do me, or anyone i love for that matter? If it’s a stepping stone to sincere regret and a genuine attempt at amends, fine. I’m already there, though. I have been living my amends for some time. The shame i carry now can do actual harm to people i care about. My people. The parts of me that are me and yet not me. I don’t want to hurt them with my shame and embarrassment. They saved my life so very many times. They took the abuse at home, they took the bullying at school, they handled the nighttime activities, they covered for me when i was too traumatised or triggered to function. Without them i would either be permanently committed, or dead – whether by my own hand or an abuser’s. They’ve done their job and they did it well; i’m here and i’m better than i’ve ever been and now it’s my job to take care of them.

On an intellectual level, i know all the things i need to know in order to get through this.
Reading those things i posted though… I’m gonna be 50 in a couple of months and the lack of maturity i’ve displayed is mortifying. And i know a more mature person would not be so impacted. I should be calmed and comforted by the truth, that i was doing the best i could with the tools and the information i had available to me at the time, rather than wanting to take to my bed with a case of the vapours.

Let me tell you something, writing stuff down and sharing it can have some unintended effects. For the writer and for the reader. I can take the edge off of the evil and the ugliness by writing about it. For me it can seem like it’s okay, or at least less terrible because now it’s prose – it is attractively arranged sentences with flowery descriptors, creating a pretty turn of phrase. And for the reader? Well i don’t know how you’re reacting of course, but i know how i’ve reacted to similar pieces like these, and i also have some feedback on what i’ve written from people i know personally. Therefore i feel confident that some who read this may come away from my blog thinking i’m doing so very well. That i’ve really got my poop in a pile, or my ducks in a row, or whatever.

Let’s neither of us allow ourselves to be fooled, shall we?
I am only now starting to function on a level that can sustain a healthy lifestyle, including relationships. Barely.
I’m talking about things like cooking meals, keeping house, and doing laundry.
Things like showering and brushing my teeth.
Eating a balanced diet and exercising.
Taking my dogs for a long walk every day.
Going through dozens of boxes filled with goodness knows what and organising my space.
Not drinking or drugging to cope with people, feelings, thoughts or memories.
STAYING PRESENT, IN THE FACE ALL DAY.

There is a trail of wreckage behind me. The last 10yrs i’ve ended every significant relationship i’d managed to maintain or tolerate except my husband and my children. I’m amazed that my children have forgiven me for scarcely being present. I’ve been utterly unable to forge new friendships that cross the line into comfortable intimacy. The only friendships i have that are still strong are with an online community of people that i wouldn’t have allowed that close to me had i known them in real life, and maybe they wouldn’t have minded.

I needed to lose these last 10yrs. I maybe could have found another way, but i’d already tried a lot of different things. All i need for proof is my journals. Yes, the journals i shouldn’t be looking at, but they sit in my drawer bearing paper witness to many attempts by me to figure my shit out and get well. It took what it took, i did what i did, and here i am. But the more clarity and presence of mind i gain the more i realise how much of these last years is either blurry or blank. Booze, drugs, and a constantly rotating cast of players that are all me have made it so.

I should be further along in my personal development as a human being, but i’m here.
I should have been raised in a safe and loving environment, but i wasn’t.
So to answer my own question: I past-ed, but am not currently past-ing.
It is what it is.

I don’t know what the hell the point was to all this, but apparently it needed to come out.
How this hodge-podge could help anyone besides me, well – i can’t imagine, but here it is, regardless. If you read this, you’re a champ. Thanks.

Love and Peace,
~H~

Ice Cream As Kudos

There’s a bit of panic in me these days. I’m living a less chaotic life, stumbling towards something like normalcy. What i wrote the other day about no parades or kudos has been like scratching a record, scrubbing across the vinyl and playfully warning me that there are No kyu-doze. N-n-n-n-no kyu-doze. Just little victories noted by me and mostly only me.

This is my life today, and though it’s a good life and i’m heartened by my progress, i can be suddenly overwhelmed by the enormity of the work in front of me. I stepped back to get a break from the mood i’ve been in, and as i did so i looked up and caught the big picture. Based on results, that was not a good idea.

I was in the kitchen when it hit me. I’d been putting off little things here and there, trying to give myself some space, to nurse my mood a little. I saw a life of cleaning up the same messes, over and over. Making the same meals, scrubbing the toilet, doing the laundry…

And then i cast both my literal and my figurative eye around myself, my house, my life.
THAT i should not have done. It’s too much for me to bear. The enormity of all that lies before me, waiting to be done, to be cleaned up, to be put right. In mere moments i’m in the grip of an anxiety attack; i’m crying, it’s hard to catch my breath, i feel physically weak, like i’d suddenly picked up a huge burden. Which i had.
Many have either heard or made some joke about trying to manage all the bags of groceries in one go. We want to get it all over at once, but we often end up hurting ourselves or dropping and damaging household items. It might very well have been faster to take what we can easily carry and just go back for the rest. We’re not injured, the supplies we needed are intact, and hey, we got a little more exercise – which most of us can always use.

The fact that i am well behind many of my peers and contemporaries when it comes to the day-to-days of what i see as a relatively normal and functional adult life, cannot be denied. I’m not sure exactly where i learned it -and by that i mean i have no wish to ascertain blame- but i grew up believing that only those doomed to fail offered up any excuses. More than that though -and this is where blame can certainly be assigned- i believed i had none to offer.

They would be excuses if i offered them up and then did nothing. As that is clearly not what i’m doing, what i have are reasons. I have a legitimate basis upon which to build a case for my status as a late bloomer. But even a sincere acknowledgment by me of that truth cannot gird me well enough to step back and absorb the monumental work that lies before me.
So it’s too much to look at it all, and it is also not enough to only look at what is in front of me.
So it’s to be balance, again.
I don’t need a parade, but maybe a small celebration is in order.
Just me and my Peanut Gallery.

There’s no poetry in this and i don’t have a clever literary device to use in closing.
I’m just putting in the blasted work.
I’m paying attention to what’s going on in my brain and i’m regularly checking in to see what we’re feeling. Roll call. Heh.
I’m learning what thoughts and feelings need to be addressed and i’m facing them and following through.
I believe i have earned a small dish of ice cream and a cat nap.
Huzzah.

I shall keep on keepin’ on, and i hope you do, too.

Love and Peace,
~H~

Thoughts About a Friend

Well, if it’s so deep you don’t think that you can speak about it,
Just remember to reach out and touch the past and the future.
Well, if it’s so deep you don’t think you can speak about it,
Don’t ever think that you can’t change the past and the future.
You might not, not think so now,
But just you wait and see–someone will come to help you.
~Kate Bush, Love and Anger

I have this friend. We weren’t always friends, but we’ve known each other for a very, very long time. We knew the same people, so i heard a lot of stuff about her and i’m sure she could say the same. We don’t talk about that, though. We don’t talk about those people either. She knows i don’t want to talk about them, and she respects that.

She respects me. She said so last week.
That is one thing that i don’t get in my life – or at least i don’t accept it.
Respect.
I have been a dysfunctional mess for most of my life. The only thing i’ve had going for me is my somewhat charming personality.
But she respects me, and so we don’t talk about those people.
She respects me, and that means that she has respected my space. She has this way about her that i don’t quite know how to describe. She’s calm. She has a soft and gentle voice, that always sounds as if the next sentence might just be sarcastic, although it mostly isn’t. Her eyes are kind and intelligent, and her face always looks so serene. She’s got that Mona Lisa face. Like she knows a lot and doesn’t mind at all that you don’t. Not smug though, she’s welcoming. She makes me feel welcome. I feel like i’m enough and i am okay just the way i am when i’m with her.

As you may know from other posts, i have slowly withdrawn from people, until i pulled out of the human race entirely over 15mos ago. The only people i associated with were my children and their families. I needed time to figure out what i wanted from others, and what i was willing to give. She would come by every few months, even though she knew i wasn’t peopling. I’d send my husband out to cut her off at the pass and i’d go hide in my room. She’d leave coffee and doughnuts. She’d tell my husband that it was okay that i didn’t want to come out, or she was sorry i was sick. A lie that i made him tell her, that she probably knew wasn’t true. Yet she would stop by again a few months later – like it was okay for me to lie.
“Just tell her i love her,” she’d say to him.

One day she came by and i went outside to meet her. I don’t even know how it happened. I was just out there and i was saying Hi. She only stayed for five minutes. It was like she knew that was all i could take. She respected me.
She’s going through some serious crap in her life. I knew it, but i didn’t think i could do anything. I’ve been standoffish with our “group” of people for many years now. I couldn’t imagine what i had to offer that she would want. She stopped by one day, and i let her in the door. All she wanted from me was a hug. There were tears slipping down her cheeks, but we didn’t talk about them. I hugged her for longer than i’d hugged anyone in years, and she said she loved me and she left. It took all of five minutes.

She accepted me and loved me for exactly who i was, precisely where i was at, every time she saw me, all the time she was with me. She made me feel welcome and that i was enough, just the way i was at that moment. I felt like everything was gonna be okay.
And when i knew that i wanted to go back out into the world and try being the person that i really am inside, around real life human beings – she was the first person i contacted. Because she respects me. For who, what, how, and why i am. And i know that is an incredibly rare quality. She is a quality human.

I feel honoured and privileged to know her and so very fortunate to be loved by her.
She is one of the best friends that i have ever had. I respect her more than just about anyone else i know.
It’s her birthday, and i hope she has a great one.

Love and Peace,
To Her and To You,
~H~