lost saturday

You know you’ve had a rough week when you discover–during a bout of mad insomnia–that today actually isn’t April 1st. And that you’ve thought today was April 1st for most of the damn week.

Um, yea.

Had it been April 1st, I would be getting ready to take Fogg in for her fructosamine test right about now.  But I’m really glad that didn’t happen because I didn’t sleep last night.

Now, this is not a new thing for me lately.  Sleep has not been attainable with any sort of regularity for quite a while.  But at least I was getting a couple hours.  Last night?  Um, nope.

Usually, I’m just wake because my brain never shuts off.  And I’m in a constant state of exhaustion, so I run on adrenaline.  I haven’t really been doing anything for the adrenal fatigue I was diagnosed with years ago, mostly because the herbs my old doctor recommended actually make me MORE wired and less able to sleep.  It’s a vicious cycle.

People say–oh, just go to bed.  Oh, do these rituals.  It just doesn’t work, and laying in bed for hours is not something I have patience for–so I usually just get up and do stuff.

The problem is stress and the thyroid crap and messed up sleep cycles and how much I require to sleep and stay asleep.  See…I can’t be cold at all, but I can’t be hot.  And the thyroid crap makes me really sensitive to temperature and also more likely to always be cold.  And then effing hot.  But not in the same places.  And I can’t have any light in the room.  It’s the worst.  Where I live now?  There are street lights right outside my bedroom that light it up all night long, and I cannot hang blackout curtains.  So, the vertical blinds are it, and that’s an epic fail.  I use an eye shield, but that falls off or makes me hot.

There are lots of other things, too.

But last night?  It was the most godawful achy pain ever.  My broken toe hurt.  My carpal tunnel hurt.  My legs hurt.  My knee’s been bothering me since the toe.  My shoulder.  And my sinuses kept clogging up.  Oddly, my tooth was totally fine.  And has been fine since I started doing my own lymphatic drainage massage.  So, I did that.  And that helped the head clog.  But the damn achy owws.  Was I getting the flu?  It was bad.

So, I started Googling possible causes of this shit.  And then I googled side effects of a new enzyme I’ve been using for an unrelated matter.  I’m pretty sure this enzyme–which hasn’t worked for the problem I’m using it for (but it’s only day 2 at half recommended dosage)–is the culprit.  A lot of people mentioned severe aches and pains.  And some people said, “Well, that means it’s working.  It’s a healing crisis.”  OH GOD.  Not another one of those!  I really can’t take hives again.

But this appears to be similar to the type of healing crisis that happens when you take antibiotics or cut out sugar.  Basically, this enzyme breaks shit down that your body is holding onto.  In my case, it’s a clogged thing that isn’t really bothering me–but could if it got bigger–and it was getting bigger.  The fix for Western doctors is cutting it out completely (because that’s always their fix) or opening it (but it’ll recur in a year, probably), or putting a catheter in it to create a new opening that won’t clog.  But all of that is pretty damn expensive and painful.  And lots of people report this worked within 2 weeks, so why not?  It’s also really great for sinus infections (which I have), heart issues, and etc.  You just have to get through the healing crisis.  I knew something was up yesterday because my occipital lymph node doubled in size–which happened during the hive attack 2016.  It feels normal this morning.  So, clearly, things are moving.  But–man–my legs are killing me.  Even after a really hot bath and covering myself in essential oils.

I’m pretty wiped.  So, my Saturday plans are probably scrapped.  I was going to do the vet thing, but I’ve been living in the future too much this week, so nope.  I was going to cook a lot and do groceries.  Well, I ordered them and then rescheduled to tomorrow because I just don’t feel like cooking.  And my stupid toe hurts when I stand.  And yesterday was like the worst of worst days–so I do kinda deserve some cuddle time with my best kitty and Netflixing.

I had earmarked tomorrow as a big self-care planning day, but some days, you just need to be quiet.

I’m contemplating getting a Chicago style pizza for lunch. Or maybe some sandwiches to last for dinner, too.  Mostly, I have a date with Monkey and his fuzz.

Happy day, y’all.

 

the western way

I woke up around 5 am, as I seem to do lately–even though I rarely get to bed before 2 am.  I was hot and sweaty and had to use the restroom.  I got up, turned the AC on (just barely), and went back to bed.  (It always amazes me how humidity changes my experience of temperature.  In Denver, I’d be turning on the heat).

The problem with waking up like that is that my cats immediately think it’s attention time.  Especially this one.

mumford

His name is Mumford, but I call him Monkey.  He likes to sing and head boop and kiss-kiss.  And man, he was pulling out all the cute this morning.  Then Fogg decided to play Queen of the world and mounted my thigh.  Then, Rilly decided to play with their new toy–the roller ball thing that lights up and chirps.  And then, Monkey decided to join in and Fogg decided to get under the covers with me–which meant she took most of the covers–and now I was cold.  Then, Monkey and Rilly did this loud fake attack thing they do that sounds like an angry mob of felines mauling each other.

So, about an hour before my alarm went off, I gave up and busted out my phone–only to read some infuriating shit out of Texas regarding women’s healthcare, and then I raged on Twitter.  As one does.

Mostly about how fucked people are.  And about how our Western bullshit is affecting our ability as a species to survive.  And about how healthcare in this country is basically the ultimate in bullshit hypocrisy and the opposite of healing or care.

And then I read something about the Westernization of grief.  The author basically talked about how fucked we are about grieving, even though 100% of us will experience loss at some point or another.  And how those who have not experienced grief inflict even more bullshit on the grieving.

Yes–that was my experience.  Yes–that IS my experience.

And how so many people think therapy is the ONLY way for us who don’t move on in a year to get better.  As if you CAN get better.  Don’t get me wrong.  Therapy is great.  I have a huge belief in it as I navigate that journey myself.  It’s effective when you have conditions (often caused by grief and how we condition ourselves to grieve) that need attention.  But the thing that pisses me off so much is how people see you as broken rather than just fucking living.  Like–if you’re grieving more than the prescribed amount–you MUST have some fucking mental illness.

Um, no.

Now, I DO have a mental illness.  It’s called PTSD.  But my mental illness was not caused by grieving.  It was caused by NOT grieving.  By postponing grief.  By stuffing down pain and moving on before I should.  My shit happened when I was a kid, but the PTSD started before that when I was a child living in poverty with people who were either addicted or formerly so.  With people who had generational depression and anxiety.  Who had no tools to cope.  Who never fully grieved anything.  I was taught not to feel.  I was taught to get on with it.  And because of all of that, when immense loss happened, I grieved in a way that allowed me to survive in that dysfunctional environment–an environment not unlike the Western world.  And by all accounts, for the next 20 years of my life–I was doing fine.  I achieved.  I was a good person.  I was “normal.”

Only I was slowly dying inside.  I had no idea how to connect with people.  I was incredibly alone.  And when I found love, somehow, I had no idea what to do with it.  And then I was hit with another massive loss, and my world literally shattered.

I’m actually grateful it shattered.  But it threw me.  Hard.  And I spent a long time just trying to exist and figure out who I was.  Which was–by the way–absolutely normal.

I was lucky.  Most of my friends didn’t judge me for it.  Very few people–other than strangers–told me to move on.  I was still high functioning, though.  Because my PTSD taught me how to do that, oddly.

But I will never forget–and still find it hard to forgive–when an ex broke up with me and told me I needed to get therapy.  He had suffered a loss in his past, and to him, it was significant.  But until you’ve lost both of your parents in pretty traumatic ways–telling someone to get therapy because they still grieve every day–is pretty rich.  I was so heartbroken by the whole thing that happened between us and so angry too–by this little suggestion–that I never confronted him.

Years later, this morning, I was reminded of that.  Of how pompous others can be in doling out advice about mental health or grief.  The thing is–I DID need therapy and had sought it out, but had never found a match.  Mental health in this country is not an easy quest.  To get help, I have to fork over 1/4 of my monthly income.  I have to take time off work.  I can’t go see someone on weekends or even evenings.  My therapist isn’t covered by insurance.  So often, the quest for sanity is one you have to create for yourself.  And when I finally found my soulmate therapist, she was super impressed by all the shit I did myself.  How all my instincts were right on the money.  How I was actually the healthiest PTSD survivor she knew who hadn’t been in therapy.

For me, that conversation with my ex was an example of shaming masquerading as concern.  My constant grief was hard to take, I’m sure.  Even now, years into therapy, I grieve daily.  My mother is always in my thoughts.  And this isn’t a PTSD thing.  Most people I know who have lost a parent or a child think of them absolutely every day, all day long.  Often.  We exist through it.  It becomes an appendage.  And we can live our lives just fine–can be happy and okay–but still grieve every day.  And that’s pretty goddamn normal.  But it often makes others in our fucked up world uncomfortable.  Because it reminds them that this is what is waiting for them.  Whether they want to be honest about it or not.  And so, they try to say we’re wrong or we need help, so they don’t have to deal with it.  Because acknowledging our pain requires an empathy they just don’t have.

I do still have a hard time forgiving my ex for that one.  But I’ve let it go.  Mostly because I suspect he is feeling (or will feel) something like what I’ve gone through eventually.  And I have no interest in shaming him for what he couldn’t know when he hadn’t gone through it.  I have often told friends who haven’t lost people really close to them that, while I appreciate their attempts to sympathize and understand–they can never really understand until they go through it.  At the same time, I don’t want them to go through it.

The only thing I share now is–please please please stop trying to make yourselves more comfortable by controlling other people’s pain.  It’s not okay.

acts like summer, walks like rain

The last few days, there’s been a physical heaviness–like a dark rain cloud–over me.  It’s not exactly been depression, though it has manifested depression-like symptoms in me.  I’ve felt soul tired in a way I haven’t before, and I just instinctually know whatever this is has to be related to my worth work, my grief over my mother (in particular), and shame.  It’s something that felt overwhelming and hard to carry–but something I also know is moving out.  I’m processing it.  But it’s also something I can’t even put into words.  It feels like a physical thing, too.  So, yesterday, I looked into rolfers out here and decided to make an appointment to start the 10 series again.  It’s not something you do lightly.  1) It hurts.  2) It’s a big commitment.  and 3) It brings shit up and out.  For me, oddly, it’s usually replaced by joy.  Unmitigated joy.

My therapist said she felt like whatever this cloud was came from a time when I was pre-verbal.  That it may be generational even.  That made tons of sense for me.  I expressed how I have always had a hard time identifying emotions–which surprised her because I am always so specific about emotions and how I feel–so transparent.  I told her it took a lot of work to get there.  That made sense to her.

Then, we talked about the fact that my emotions have been right on the surface lately.  How my eyes were full of tears all weekend.  And that led us to revisit something I said last time about how there seemed to be two mes at play.  The achiever and the free spirit.  And how hard it is for me to allow the free spirit to be.  And how the free spirit is more me in its purest form.  And how miserable I am when the achiever is running the show–as she has been.

So, we explored it a bit today.  Only this time, we really dug deep.  A summary:

  • The emotional one–aka the free spirit–is strongly linked to my artistic, nurturing side.  She is sometimes embarrassing, cries often, and is an advocate for both herself and others.  She is very close to my functional adult self.
  • As I described her, I was unconsciously conveying that she oversteps boundaries; can be mean in her truth; and is dangerous/irresponsible.
  • Then I clarified.  No–she is pure.  She is courageous.  She wants the best for me and for everyone.  She never means to hurt anyone, but is just trying to express her truth.
  • She has been told she doesn’t have a right to exist, and this just makes her fight harder–talk louder.
  • She pities those who judge her.
  • Then, there’s the Achiever, who I actually referred to–at first–as the Nun.  She’s the mean one.  She’s terrified.  She is the perfectionist.  She’s manipulative.  She is seeking safety always and never feels safe.  She is very much stuck in past trauma.  She kept me alive for a long time.
  • So, we’re talking about what these two parts of me need.  The Nun needs information.  The whole story.  She needs details–to understand.  She needs stability.  She needs loyal, trustworthy folks who show up.  She needs patience and empathy.
  • The Free Spirit needs respect, freedom, and acceptance.
  • Sometime during our discussion, I realized this are two archetypes that have always been present in me–since I was way little.  Only now, I am changing what I call them.  The Achiever is the Scientist.  The Free Spirit is the Artist.
  • And my therapist asked, “What if they looked at each other with curiosity rather than all the other things?”
  • That sparked something big.  A value for both.  A driver.  Oh, that felt right.  Like an exhale.
  • I realized today that these parts of me have been fighting for a long time.  About every aspect of my life.  And that the fighting has produced a lot of shame.  And that, actually, these parts of my self come from the same place.  They are actually twins, with different vantagepoints.  Both trying to keep me safe.  Both trying to find their truths.

The funny thing is that one of my exes used to say that a certain song reminded him of me because it embraced both of these parts of me.  The scientist trying to explore and the artist trying to discover new galaxies.  Another ex also expressed a similar thing.  So, maybe, they haven’t been so far apart when I am most myself.

Understanding that the two parts of me exist and are not better or worse has helped me relax a bit and choose to think about myself in a more grateful way.

Last weekend, I worked on some self-reflection.  Namely–trying to figure out my values.  I came up with a bunch of things…and all of the things each part of me needs?  They were on the list.  My therapist loved that I did that and loved my plan to really look at my daily activities to see what supported my values and what didn’t.  I’ll be doing that this week along with creating some mission statements for myself.  And then doing the hard work of tweaking how I live my life based on these values.  I’m feeling a lot better.

the infinite heartbreak

Whoosh.

I’m crying.  For the second time in about 14 hours.  It hasn’t happened in a while.  Such emotions have often caused me to do crazy things–things that expanded my heart and also invited chaos into my quiet life.  And maybe last night’s rash decision was no different.

When you find yourself googling shit about your mental health at 1 am, that’s troublesome.

But today, this is what did it.  I’ve seen it before, but a friend’s friend reposted it in a call for reading recommendations–and I just so happened to be binging on books this morning.  A rare thing for me, these days.  I read it while drinking my favorite version of boba: jasmine milk tea.  And it reminded me that I don’t have them enough.

For me, the post underscores this idea that–we all think we have time–when we really don’t.  That those precious things and moments and people disappear faster than we think–that we waste so much of our lives not being present during these relatively rare events.  It made me love my small little jasmine milk tea even more–made me sad I’d slurped it down so quickly at first.

But–really–this was on my mind already.  Because of last night.

Sometimes, I get this feeling that I am going to be forever alone–that no one would give any kind of a shit if I left this planet.  That the only person I ever loved with my entire heart–who ever loved me with her entire heart–has been gone for a decade plus, and maybe I’m just never destined to find my family again.  To find great love.  To have those dyed-in-the-wool friends.

That isn’t to say that I am not, actually, loved.  I know I am.  And it’s not to say I don’t have friends.  I do.  It’s just that, too often, I feel like I don’t–that I’m not.  Because everyone is so scattered–racing around–and I seem to be the only one yelling, “WE DON’T HAVE TIME.”  I seem to be the only one who sees us falling apart and rifting and not being here.  And I get so frustrated and sad about it.

But I’m just as guilty.  That loneliness hit me hard last night.  But I realized it was mostly just grief.  Another fucking headpunch that I didn’t see coming.  That invaded what had been a decent night.

I had already earmarked this weekend as a massive self-care weekend.  Not just Netflixing and eating tacos.  No.  I was going to plot out the things I wanted to invest in.  But that activity felt even more urgent last night as I am not one to wallow in misery for long.  If I’m doing something that furthers my unhappiness, I change it.  One of my exes never understood that about me.  But it’s a relatively new thing in Almaland.  Something that started when my mother died.  Because I stopped thinking I had time.  So indulging bullshit became unacceptable.  And that meant I became somewhat unreliable.

But, actually, if you pay attention, it’s a pretty easy thing to predict and is actually pretty reliable.  I will bail if I don’t see things improving.  I will give something a chance or two, but then I’m out.  I think my ex thought I was hasty.  That I didn’t give it enough of a chance, but then, he had absolutely no idea what I went through.  Mostly because I was incapable of saying anything except–this SUCKS and I can’t do it–and he saw it as me just giving up.  Not me fighting like Hell FOR me.  For once.  And I suppose that’s part of why we fell apart all those years ago.  Because in the throes of that shit, I need to just bolt.  And I need it to be okay.  I need that feeling to be okay.  And it wasn’t for him.  It was a disappointment instead.  But it had less to do with me and more to do with him.  And I figured that out years after, after feeling guilty and ashamed for honoring that emotion–for honoring the intuition that it was not going to be better and it would kill me if I stayed.

In the end, that was a blessing too, though…because if he wasn’t able to see that then, he would never be able to handle me.  And I knew that.  And I think that’s why I slowly withdrew.  He broke up with me, but as much as I was processing my next move and healing my heart after that trauma–I was unconsciously bolting from him.  Because I knew that.  So, he did me a favor.  And it took me a long time to be grateful for that.

A while before I met that ex, I had a night like last night.  It was my birthday, and I was in that forever alone mindset.  I wrote a craigslist ad quoting Donnie Darko, for fuck sake.  And it brought lots of interesting detours that still exist to this day.  But mostly, it proved something to me.  I’m only alone because I’ve embraced alone so much.  In the beginning, it was because there was no other option.  I did it to survive.  But now?  Now I do it because it’s what I know.  I actively choose it, even though it often underscores that heartache inside me over being a forgotten child, and now, woman.  And last night, I realized I’ve been actively choosing the shit that has been hurting my heart so much lately.  The lie that I am not worth loving.  The lie that it’s better to be by myself.  The shit I got from being abandoned because of alcohol and death when I was so young and so perfect and had no idea who I was or that I mattered.

All that time wasted.

Man.  It just breaks my heart.

Trauma is a fucking bitch.

So that reminder today was a good one.  Reach out.  Stop giving shit your time.  Drink all the bobas you can.

Last night, I probably did something unwise.  I joined a dating app I hadn’t heard about before–convinced it would be an utter shit fest.  To my surprise, there are actually plenty of great guys out here.  (Just not on OKStupid!).  And oh, hey–a bunch of them like me.  The app is female oriented, so you only connect with men you like.  And the ball’s in your court to email first.  Which I usually do when I like someone anyway.  But on OKC, the guys who like me are ones I don’t like.  Or the same assholes I always attract.  And the ones I reach out to are the same patterns who do what causes me the most trauma.  This app is cool because it’s not too in-depth.  A few photos, 300 words.  Do you like this person enough to say HI.  And there’s a friend option too.  So, I can use it to meet men and women platonically.  Something I really need, I think.

I’m actually pretty heartened.  I haven’t swiped right on any writers either!  I didn’t like them!  Just teachers and tech guys.  I’m optimistic–mostly because I have zero expectations.  And I’m not aiming for forever.  Too much pressure and not realistic.  But it doesn’t mean I can’t still try.

I think that’s what I want the next chapter in my life to be about: trying.

the what i want bit

I mentioned earlier that this past week has been a week of learning what I want, professionally.  Well, that’s been true of the last six months, too, in terms of my personal life…especially when it comes to love.

I’m at a point where I know what I want–a solid, stable, awesome relationship that leads to marriage and babies…if that’s still a possibility.  I feel like I’m ready for it–even the baby thing–though I’d like to not live with roommates when that finally happens.

But I have some dilemmas and thoughts and etc that are making that finding a suitable mate thing difficult.  When I was in Denver, it was the fact that I was leaving.  Out here–it’s the fact that I’m probably not staying.  I really don’t know how long I’ll be here.  And I don’t really make a ton of money, so it’s not really a place I want to stay in for long.  Raising a family out here isn’t what I want.  That’s for damn sure.

But this time in my life has also meant living with a couple for the first time since my parents were alive.  Which is odd in SO MANY ways especially because one of the parties is an ex who has basically been my bratty brother for a long time.

I’m an observer.  It’s what I do.  I see things, note them, then reflect on them.  I’ve seen a lot of things that have highlighted for me things I’ve seen in other couples–including my parents during my childhood.

It’s really, really opened my eyes to dysfunctional behaviors–particularly codependency and how toxic it is.  I’ve been able to recognize the patterns in myself and reject them wholeheartedly.  As a result, I’ve found most of my friendships are much stronger–and the thing I’ve struggled with most of my life?  Boundaries.  Well, they’re easier.

And it’s made me reflect on love, in general and in particular.

I don’t really have any malice toward any of my exes anymore.  Even the one who stole my identity and did other horrible things.  I don’t even have malice for the Canadian.  I hate what he did and what he continues to do, but he’s a non-starter for me.  Some exes, I’ve made relative peace with, despite circumstances I once thought impossible to forgive.  None of them–except my roommate–are people I really speak to.  And I’m alright with that.

But here’s the thing…I wonder–often–why…HOW…am I so alright with that?

A few things to know about me…I love super hard.  Often dysfunctionally.  I’m too loyal.  Too forgiving.  When I let someone in, they’re usually in forever…no matter what shit they’ve done to me.  It may be weird.  It may be painful.  It may be awkward.  But I’m always me with them.  Even when they’re not them.  Even when we’re not us.  And those things still exist.  Because for each of us, we will always be the person we were–with them–to them–no matter how much they change or we change or it changes.  And the relationship evolves too–but remains what it was as well–sort of locked in some time capsule of memory.  You either acknowledge that–or you don’t.  And it’s harder when one does and the other doesn’t.  I used to get frustrated with this.  I used to try to drag them to where I was.  Force the issue.  Poke the Hell out of them to be REAL, for God’s sake.  Now, I shrug and accept what it is: not mine.

And witnessing coupledom up-close for the last few months–I’ve figured something out–something I knew when it happened.  Something I felt guilty for knowing and saying aloud.  Something that I was still angry enough to use as a maiming tool rather than just embrace as the God’s honest truth.

When things end, there are times when it’s easy to admit.  Like with the Canadian–I just didn’t love him.  I wanted to love him more than I actually did.  And while I think he loved me the first time–he definitely didn’t the second time.  I was just something to do.  And that’s why it was easy for him to lie–to do what he did.  And that’s why that boundary I pulled up was easy to enforce.  And why I was more angry than hurt by anything he did.  Because truthfully–oh, well–onward.

But then there are the relationships that mean more–that never got to really be what they could have been.  Those are the ones that stung most for me.  The ones where I had hunches about what happened, but those who had the answers iced me out for reasons unknown to me–that took me years to either accept or figure out on my own.  In my search for answers–in my hurt–I often discovered this question–was it actually love?

And bitterly, often, I would proclaim it wasn’t.  And then later acknowledge it was.  Until recently, when I started thinking about how okay I was with not remembering their birthdays.  How okay I was with not sharing major news with them.

Because I’m not one to give up on people or let them go, really.  But I actually really have.  I don’t even really care if they’re having good lives.  Not really.  And maybe it’s because they pushed me out of theirs and probably don’t care if my life is good either.  But even that–which should feel hurtful–fucking isn’t.

They were mistakes.  Regrets.  Like TFA.  Things I thought I was sure about–things I thought were written in my soul–but things that felt bad and abusive.  And can something actually be love when it batters you?

That was the thing I always had a hard time with.  Reconciling how people who said they loved me could just erase me.  I don’t operate like that.  And the fact that I can erase them now too says less about healing and more about what we had, I think.

And it honestly makes it hard to date right now.  While I know how to love, I think, and am way better at it than I was–and know what I need…I also see all the stuff that isn’t healthy or good.  And I wonder: because of how I was taught to love, am I doomed (haha) to never find a love that actually stays?  Because last year–I went after it wholeheartedly–and was clean on my end…felt actual things–and still found liars and cheats.  And I was strong enough to end it before it mattered.

So is it just not out there for me?  Do I need to work on me more?  Which hey–sure–probably.  But how much more because nothing has changed even though I have changed so much?

I don’t date anymore really because of the reasons I mentioned early on.  About here.  But even if here was forever–I don’t know that I would either.  I can love.  Am capable of it.  But it doesn’t stay.  It’s isn’t honorable or healthy.  Even when I am impeccable with both.  It’s not a me problem, I don’t think–and I usually blame myself–so that’s something.

As far as the whole have I loved anyone thing goes–I loved them in the ways I could–and vice versa–no shade.  But it wasn’t my definition of love now.  It was a sad replica of it.

And I guess I’m alright with that, too.

I know that sounds pretty cynical, but it’s true.  Anything I actually love has claw marks on it.  And that’s none of my exes.  No love based in disrespect and being less than truthful is actually real.

So, I guess all of this is just to say–I want the real thing.  And I haven’t had it. But I’ve been ready for it–for a long time.  But maybe the Universe doesn’t think so.  I’m not about to try to prove shit anymore though.  That worth thing I talked about before?  Well, it seems like I’m finding it.