Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.

10Jul/200

Anger and Shame

Today we had a surreal experience. Our doctor drew blood from each of us from the car, with our arm stuck out the window.

A whole bunch of tests for CK and a more extensive lipids panel for me since my cholesterol was a little high this past winter.

I'm trying hard not to obsess over it.

On the drive home I told CK about getting stuck in my anger at my peer. She's had her own "nemesis" experiences, so she really gets it.

When I shared how I'm feeling a lot of shame because it's anger about yoga stuff, she said the best thing.

"Never be ashamed of your anger!"

I was floored and got all weepy and needed hugs.

My session this week looked at how I learned very quickly to compartmentalize unacceptable emotions. Anger was near the to of the list of emotions I was forbidden from expressing. When I feel angry, I always feel shame.

She then suggested I have a more restful day, that it was OK to rest today and play video games even if I want to do that tomorrow too.

29Jun/200

Everybody Mask

Statewide mandate came out today that everyone, everywhere across Oregon must wear masks. There's a lot of anger. I'm sure there must be others, like us, who are relived.

Saw my doctor online today. We backed off the plan to begin tapering off my antidepressant medication. 2020 is not the year to change that since I'm having days where it feels physically difficult to move.

Aside from bouts of depression and anxiety in response to the times were living in, my mental health feels better. My health is better than it has been in a long while; sheltering in place has curative powers.

23Jun/200

Incremental Progress

Teaching was slightly earlier today. Trying to work on things. My brain functions in fits and starts, I get a a few emails answered and then I go to therapy and I'm done for a day or two.

This memory from age 4 isn't quite ready to integrate. Some details slipped in again today, one sad thing that provided more insight into my lifelong insomnia. Another glimpse of me in the woods, alone, soothing myself. I was tremendously resourceful and resilient as a child.

I still am.

Today I made the first of a few special dinners for CK's birthday tomorrow. Something light and cool for the very summery, hot day we had. I shared her birthday wish with folks on Facebook and one of her college friends immediately got in touch.

14Jun/200

Toxic Women

My peer wrote a passive-aggressive post what're she doesn't name me, but shames me. She uses language my Mother used. She lies in her framing.

I also told off people posting misinformation anchor wearing masks. Another, different white yoga teacher.

CK helped ground me past the triggering language. I've got a lot to unpack about the way white women use shame and manipulate to make themselves always look like the virtuous one.

In response to this I submitted two proposals to present at an online yoga therapy summit.

2Jun/200

Telling

I went to the dentist and he cleaned my teeth toast and I didn't cry before, during, or after!

I got to practice telling a new care provider at the practice how my anxiety is heightened at the dentist due to intersection of multiple traumas. She was awesome about it and so was my young, less experienced dentist. Again.

It will never be easy revealing trauma history. I am learning that sharing it can be helpful. I'm really touched at the consistent patience I'm down. I never am made to feel like I'm overreacting.

Over 1000 people lay down on the Burnside Bridge this evening. I gave advice to a protestor on using a neti pot to help recovery from tear gas. Students asked me to facilitate a discussion on, essentially, how to be better white people.

29May/200

Worthy/Unworthy

Had a friend tell me today they had scheduled the whole day around a call with me.

They said something along the lines of, “Tell that to your sense of unworthiness!”

In response I felt good about for a short while but the rest of the night I kept catching myself in moments of self-loathing about my body, my ability to keep house, about past actions I regret.

I know it isn’t really me, it’s the trauma and the pandemic, but the work to keep reminding myself that I’m safe feels just exhausting today.

27May/200

So Tired

The CDC website doesn't yet report 100,000 deaths from COVID19, but that's only because numbers are taking time to come in after the Memorial Day weekend. We're already there.

We watched How to Survive a Plague tonight. It was both uplifting to see what the work of activists accomplished. Sad because as we're watching it the current time feel even worse than during the AIDS epidemic.

It reminded of the anger and grief I felt then. How much deeper, stronger, hotter both those emotions are right now. We're at a number of people dead in this country in a matter of months that took AIDS years.

I'm just exhausted by it all. I needed a nap today and yesterday, I'm reminding myself I went to therapy yesterday and it really sucks energy out of me. Trauma sessions are always intense and all the grief, anger, and fear right now, with the related exhaustion, is a normal response to these pandemic days.

26May/200

Resilient Always

I was writing something else, will use tomorrow.

Trauma Therapy Tuesday was my big day out. I enjoyed my little post-session walk and was glad to keep working a little at integrating a terrible memory from age 4.

It's one that had unfolded new memories, it was worse. The last few sessions have me appreciating how remarkable I was as a child. I was brilliant at figuring out the least terrible option then getting through it and getting myself out of the house for a while.

I'm also marveling at how well I am, considering what examples were put before me as a child and what I endured.

I was, and am, a resilient bad ass.

22May/200

Harvest

The garden gave us Sugar Snap Peas today. Just a handful we ate while playing a game together this evening. They weren’t amazing, the way very freshly harvested produce is sometimes, but they were good.

I picked up the mail. It contained a handmade card and a linocut print, both made by students. “That’s a pile of fan mail”, CK commented when I got home.

I am, again, deeply moved at the offerings of my students. I’m also really impressed at how well people are adapting and growing.

Now that I’ve spotted the backdraft of shame in response to these mail days, I’m hoping that will begin to ease. Sometimes recognizing, then articulating these insights to CK, a friend, and/or my therapist, starts to break up the hold the Childhood Logic has on me.

Tomorrow is Dinner 70 and I have no idea what it will be, nor do I have anything thawing for CK. It might end up being very easy if we garden a lot. We’re also spending a bunch of the weekend playing games and discussing more ideas to make CK’s 40th extra special.

18May/200

Exhausting

Same calendula today. Taken during a break in the rain.

A friend is dealing with complex rental issues and asked about moving and school districts online. They're from another country and were surprised at the way a move disrupts schooling and how you have to plan moves around it.

Well, that's why summer parents think about it.

My Mother was never satisfied. Once she got to something she wanted she'd immediately start in on all the things that were not living up to her expectations. She also burned bridges often. Usually all of this would result in us moving to a new place that would fix everything.

Between first grade, age 6, and graduation, age 17, of attend 17 schools. There's a couple middle-to-high-school transitions in there, but even with that it represents 15 moves. We also moved repeatedly before age 6 and experienced a period of homelessness when we sheltered with my Mother's sister.

Another friend shared thier high count. We comiserated over being asked if we're from a military family and having to respond with, essentially, "No I had a terrible childhood."

The original friend noted they were sorry I'd gone through that, it sounded exhausting.

"Yes!", I thought. Life with my Mother was exhausting. She was an energy vampire. Years after her death I’m still remembering new, terrible things and still resting to recover all the energy she stole from me.

All this is so heavy, when you layer on the pandemic it explains why I have days like today where my body feels like I’m made of rocks.