Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.



I asked students this morning what they were grateful for. When silence greeted me, again, I asked if there was anything anyone needed held in community.

A student spoke up about how uncertain and terrible everything feels to them. I noted that everyone was nodding along. I reminded them that what we're experiencing in the United States is unique and we're months into living in this state of heightened stress response, which is to say, trauma.

Tomorrow I'll be working on a new video, possibly two. One detailing the "legs-up-the-wall" restorative yoga pose and another where I talk about what a Self-Care Plan is.

I'm going to look for stuff around the house for the kitten and make a list of what to get. I'm also going to spend some quality time in the garage sorting all the stocking up I've been doing. I want to see if there's any last bits I want to get before Tuesday.

I want to be wrong about all this preparation. I really do.

CK read me news reports of armed Trump supporters harassing a bus of Biden supporters in Texas and cops refusing to help. There are armed people harassing the folks protesting another Black man who was killed in Vancouver, Washington, yesterday and the cops aren't helping.

I better make a list of what to check in on before Tuesday.


Could Have Been

I had a hard time getting to sleep last night. My brain just wanted to keep on going. Thankfully I stayed asleep until Obie woke me up at 6:45.

I went back to bed after making up some food for him, but felt not only tired when I woke up, but down too. The down mood has persisted all day.

I'm sad friends are leaving. I'm more sad that I can't hug them goodbye. I'm sad that inviting people over for Thanksgiving is reckless.

Is saw a tweet today that noted that what what we're feeling right now, the anxiety in the country right now, is as if, "All of America is waiting on biopsy results."

CK was watching something about the fight to exonerate an innocent, Black man on death row. At the end, seeing statistics for how many innocent people are killed, she said, "We could have been such a different country."

That sums it up so well. The dread/hope cycle around the election combined with a grief for what might have been, an America that might have been.

Then again, the deeper I go into the history of the founding of this country, perhaps this is the only place we could have ended up.


Donuts & Kittens

I got to visit a couple of friends today, safely outside of course. I also got to see tiny Ursa Minor who is working his way towards 2 pounds. There were also delicious donuts.

I found out another friend is leaving the state in the next few weeks. I was extra grateful to have suggested the donut date today. It was a sunny, beautiful Autumn day. Perfect to be outside and catch up with a friend.

I'm going to miss being able to do this when the rains start. I'll really have to bundle up on clear days and find reasons to see people outside.

Everyone is in a limbo state of anxiety.

There's all the things I want to do next week, including (hopefully) getting to bring Ursa home and taking a run of toxic materials to the transfer station.

Then there's all the things I'm trying to get done before November 3rd in the event there's civil unrest and general strikes.

It made the donuts extra delicious and I'm feeling especially grateful to have our home.


Leveraging Resources

Just before going to therapy today I read this article by Alissa Quart about resilience, a need to reframe it because it becomes a kind of victim blaming. Instead we need to consider the resources people had access to, how they were able to leverage them; that's a measure of resilience.

It felt like a door opened, letting in a gust of air and light on the memory from age 5 where I am hearing JJ abusing LJ and TJ. The sound of TJ is so haunting that at first it was the only part of the memory I could call up. It blotted out all other memories of JJ's apartment, taking me several minutes until I could come up with a visual to anchor onto.

JJ became my caregiver when my Mother worked once we moved into the apartments in Gladstone, after leaving my Aunt's home in Redland. She lived in the apartment across from ours and her boys were very close in age, LJ being a bit older than me and TJ just a little younger.

A few years ago I went looking for these brothers, I found LJ. He told me that several years ago TJ killed himself. LJ had cut off their Mother many years ago, but TJ remained in contact.

As I've worked to integrate this memory I have felt caught in a whirlpool of grief about TJ. Why did LJ and I get "enough" resilience and TJ didn't? In a memory that's filled with injustice, this feels so terrible.

Today I remembered that TJ was dyslexic and had ADHD. I was already seen as "gifted, even though it would be 3 more years before it was acted on in school, and that got me special encouragement and praise from teachers. It set the stage for my getting extra support from teachers that I couldn't get from my family. I figured out how to leverage that resource right away. At age 6 I was already good at leveraging resources, just as I was at managing the emotions of unstable adults.

I had a vivid memory of TJ being berated by a teacher for not being able to make a "B" the right direction.

That's where the resilience gap is.

My therapist thinks that this meet might get fully integrated next session of we can get a good block of time on it. Need to focus on not talking about the election and get this memory done. Age Six's memory has been knocking on the door, so to speak.

Got to float today too which helped my pain a lot!


Monday Redux

Oh yeah.

Yesterday I woke up thinking it was Sunday. My brain keeps generating nightmares to alert me to my body's need to pee, which doesn't help me sleep well.

I wrote a longer post and accidentally deleted it. Then I gave up on posting and went to bed, so here's the comic.



I finally took the neighbors up on their offer of a glass of wine and conversation outside. Masks were worn, aside from sips. It was nice and I'm glad we connected more. I made sure they knew we were both around in the event of an emergency, especially now.

I didn't make it under the weighted blanket, but I'm doing ok.

It's very cold, getting our first frost tonight. CK and I got the hoses put on the shed and hurriedly picked anything in the garden worth picking. I've got a stack of greenish tomatoes in the kitchen window, I'm hoping they'll ripen.


My Brain, the Jerk

I'm having an night where I feel like I didn't really accomplish much and that's why I couldn't easily think of a title for this post. I had a similar moment trying to figure out what to make my comic about.

It's false, I did a bunch today.

I did the usual morning stuff, plus fed Obie first at 5:40. I prepared and taught a Yoga of Freedom class, got us lunch, made art, played my game, read my book, put up some Autumn decorations, made tasty dinner, hung out with CK, made a comic.

A pretty full day. My Inner Jerk is at it again. Fatigue and anxiety are the most likely culprits of this mind state, I know that. Despite trying to rest, I feel more anxiety about it.

Tomorrow I'm going to make a point to spend some quality time in the hammock or under the weighted blanket. Maybe both! There will also be kitten planning since Ursa has had a growth spurt and will be coming home next week!


Basic Unemployment Benefits

I got home from physical therapy to find a letter from the State Employment Department letting me know if exhausted the basic State benefits. It has been months since I've worked, but still, the reality hits.

I'll look at the other benefits being offered. I feel even more urgency to finish the budget combined with dread at determining how much I need each month to pay for needs, therapy & floats, and some pleasures, art supply blind boxes mostly.

My physical therapist found that my lower back was likely the cause of hip pain that was causing me pain lying on my side! She also worked more on my jaw; we speculated that all the ringing in my ears and the infection might have kicked off the increased pain, leading to increased sensitivity, triggering somatic flashbacks. It's complicated, the body remembers what the brain could not process.


Debate Nope

We gave the debate about 7 minutes. Apparently the muting was only on the first statement? We then turned on The Vow, a documentary about a cult turned multi-level marketing scheme with sex abuse and human trafficking.

Our ballots were accepted for counting today, we're definitely not undecided. Still, we usually watch the debates, it's what we have done together for several years.

It's just too horrible. There are too many people who want to believe what the GOP is saying is true. It doesn't matter that so much of what they say is demonstrably false, their voters want it to be true, so it is. There's no logic to it, no sense.

This has been feeding my existential dread today.


Democratic Process

Dropped our ballots off at the library today. In the book return, which feels pretty weird, but it is clearly marked as a real drop-off spot. Waiting on a text to see that it's arrived to be counted.

Picked up another round of food for the freezer. We're certainly set if we're snowed in or civil war begins.

I'm only half kidding. Not even half. I'm dreading election day and the days in between it and the inauguration, and that's if Biden wins. If Trump wins, I believe my reducing stuff will kick into high gear so we're ready to leave when we get any kind of go-ahead.

Managed to kick the footstool and bruise a toe and break a nail on another. Not my best moment; I'd rushed away from putting slippers on and was walking around in my stocking feet.