Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.

20Dec/200

Last Class

Today I taught one of my Super Soothe workshops, these focus on a warm up, restorative movement and held shapes, then 30 minutes of Yoga Nidra, a guided meditation. I've offered several of these over the years, especially for the Winter Solstice.

This year it was online. Like everything else. I foresee many online workshops next year, so teaching 2 at the end of this year helps me plan for how to do these better going forward.

Now for a couple of weeks off. CK and I are going to work on taxes, sending out some holiday gifts, delivering some gifts to friends & family in town, and house chores. We're also planning to make art, play games, watch movies, and play with the kitten.

Tomorrow I'm going to suggest we work on a rough daily schedule to give us both some structure. While she's on-call next week and kind of working, she's not expected to do many of the usual tasks that fall to the primary on-call person. We'll both be off for a while together.

I included a "process" shot from a greeting card I'm making for the Reddit card exchange. Showing the way I deconstruct things like advertising postcards to remove elements for my collage.

15Dec/200

Unhappy Mail

I received a letter today I have every reason to believe to be unpleasant. The writing of this letter was triggered by one I had sent. In response to my letter, the writer quickly wrote his response and mailed it out the same day he'd received my letter. I shook my head at this since writing my own letter took a few weeks of effort.

The letter, the response composed within a few hours, perhaps minutes, after reading mine, sits unopened on our dining room table while I decide it's fate.

The same day it arrived the writer of this letter found a place to live to go with the job he does onboarding for this Wednesday. Oddly enough, my letter suggested both of these actions as a way to salvage a friendship.

The friendship is gone. I've been seen as taking sides and I'm sure am lumped into the category of "worthless friends" he was recently complaining about.

I have begun to believe that nearly all straight, white, cisgendered men are one breakup away from becoming outright abusers.

I'm pretty sad about it.

4Dec/200

Difficult Letter Day

Sometimes I decide that a company or a person is worth the energy to educate, or at least attempt to communicate clearly with. Because I don't like conflict I often will just disappear, ghosting as they say now. Occasionally I'll write a letter.

When I decide to write one I'll find my brain wants to get in a loop of writing a small epic. I don't like rehashing stuff that's made me unhappy, so I'll avoid writing the letter because I don't want to get pulled into it to deeply.

The problem is, this process of trying not to think about it to much for fear of setting off the epic Russian novelist part of my brain, this itself is taxing. It gets in the way of writing letters advocating for health or postcards to friends.

Yesterday I sent out a few postcards. Today I decided to tackle the most pressing letters. One essentially ends a friendship; I can't remain friends with someone who's behavior reminds me of my ex-husbands. The other attempts to improve care at a business we may need in the future; the things that weren't alright with Puck's end-of-life care. I was going to have a third about a policy at my favorite Japanese bookstore, but I can't find a mailing address. Instead I made a sternly worded request through their website.

I have drafts to review tomorrow, these letters will benefit from sleeping on them.

Tonight we put up our tree which was a good antidote to working on the letters.

10Nov/200

Extreme Wife-ing

I took care of something unpleasant today that involved talking with the IRS.

I also confirmed that there IRS still is working their way through the backlog of taxes submitted during the period they closed down last spring. Which is to say the 2017 taxes might not be truly lost, just under the pile waiting to come up.

It brought up the Shame Monster and got in the way of making dinner, I got us takeout.

CK spent time telling me what a good job I did, am doing now. That it means more than the job I wasn't able to do well before.

Obie is increasingly social and sweet. I spent some time laying by him in the yoga room.

23Oct/200

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.

24May/200

Gardening for Hope

I got another raised bed prepped today! Tomorrow I can plant some lettuce and kale starts CK has waiting.

We've been dealing with home repair issues too. Our washing machine needs a new cord. We've managed to diagnose the issue and next weekend will fix it. We got it running fine, we think part the problem is the outlet.

This simple stuff has been good to bring focus on what is most needed. Or top priority is our well-being.

"Us first."

We started saying this after getting my Mother out of our home and lives. She'd done her level best to undermine and destroy what we'd built together, but we're stronger.

That said, these pandemic days are far more frightening than family drama. This is saying something given what a horror show my family was.

We're at nearly 100,000 people dead of COVID19 in the USA.

9Mar/200

The Gift of Comfort

I’m wearing a hoodie my wife gave me. She’s given me several over the years. When I’m feeling low one of her hoodies or one that she’s given me will help me feel comforted.

I was thinking the other day of my ex-husband, AP, who once took me on a shopping trip where he bought me a strapless party dress to wear out to an event he was taking me to. We had a polyamorous marriage and over the years I watched him repeat this act with other women. I recently saw a social media post that referenced that this is still something he does.

It was not a comfortable dress. It required a special bra and I was often worried about a “wardrobe malfunction”. I felt, as I was meant to, all dolled up. I made a great accessory, I was pleasant to look at and could decent conversation.

This felt so familiar. My Mother regularly dictated my clothing choices to me, either through manipulation or the financial control parents exert over children. When I’d display my own flair, she would copy me.

She had almost no boundaries and raised me to be afraid of establishing any with her.

I was folding hoodies on Sunday, putting away the laundry, and thinking of all the gifts she’s given me over the years. There’s been purely ornamental, decorative items, artwork, beautiful scarves, and jewelry. Many really clever, helpful, thoughtful tools and toys. Art supplies, even adding out to her wedding vows to keep me stocked! Many comforting, comfortable things, like hoodies.

Gifts of comfort, gifts to bolster me on hard days*, gifts to build up my creative side. The gift of supporting my non-lucrative second career. Gifts that demonstrate how much attention she gives my happiness.

Not gifts to turn me into a suitable ornament.

*The image is the gift she gave me this past Tuesday, after a tough session of trauma therapy. These are sleeves for our Magic cards, I like arty ones. This “Easter Dragon” is adorable!

29Oct/170

Learning from Others Gratitude

Today I've managed to finalize a draft of an article I've been working on, publish a post to my business site, do some social media prep for posts this week, create a card of classes in town this week, and prep a new blog post for my business site for later this week. No wonder I'm feeling tired out.

I began this flurry of computer-related productivity this morning, reading a post from a friend online. A response she received hinted at how to fix the communication between two social media applications, enabling easier cross-posting. I started digging into this, fixing something I've been meaning to figure out. The ensuing conversation on this post gave me some other great resources for using media via web pages.

I just love this kind of sharing of information. The ability to learn things from people, via random connections in online conversations, is one of the things I love about the Internet.

I love to learn stuff, on my own for certain, but particularly getting to learn from someone else is particularly great. I am filled with gratitude for the connection and for the knowledge. I love it when people share their passions with me, not only do I learn more about them, but I often learn about things I might never experience.

19Oct/170

Space to Grow: Gratitude

There is a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in.
― Leonard Cohen

Today's been a little easier, very busy but I'm feeling better about the day overall. I've been thinking about something I was sharing in therapy about my relationship with my wife.

Most of the time, despite us both living with c-ptsd and her managing ADD as well, we connect well and work well together. We have real synergy at times when we're working together. When we're not, when we get off and end up at such opposites it is if we're magnets pushing each other away. She gets bigger. I get smaller and try to disappear.

I even joked, in reference to a tree in a storm I'd drawn, that "I make myself small enough to hide in that gap, down in the roots."

"So you disappear?", my therapist asked in response.

"Not exactly." I responded after some thought, "It is more that I try to find some place dark, warm, and safe until it is safe to come out."

Making myself small and scarce, only doing things that would please my Mother (like silently cleaning the house), helped me survive her rages. For so long, I have perfected making myself small enough to go down into the cracks until the storm blows over.

I want to think of those cracks now, not as places I go to hide, but places I am reminded of the light. Places where I grow from, until I grow out of this reaction to get small enough to disappear from view.

I'm grateful for all the times that pushing myself down into the cracks kept me safe. It was a useful skill.

I'm grateful for all the light that came in to me during those times since it helped me to find ways through the darkness.

 

16Oct/170

Willingness Gratitude

I've had another tough day, so much so that I've really had to start writing to figure out my gratitude for today. For a moment I thought it might be the fact that tomorrow is another day and I can put this day to rest. However, as I wrote a little bit, it occurs to me that I'm grateful for my willingness to unlearn old patterns of behavior that now, at age 48, really hold me back from flourishing personally, professionally, and in my relationships with the people I love.

Sometimes I really feel like a badly programmed robot.

Having been an isolated, only child and my Mother's predilection for moving nearly every year of school, I often am left feeling that I'm lacking in communication skills. Beyond the isolation of being an only child, my Mother used "grounding" as a frequent form of punishment, limiting me to my bedroom except to go to school and the bathroom. I believe I often would even get a plate fixed in the kitchen and eat by myself in my bedroom. I never thought of sneaking out as a teen, by then I was too afraid of her to even consider trying it.

People who know me primarily as a yoga teacher might be surprised to know that I don't feel like I'm great at communicating. In my years in technology my communications skills were always credited as a contributing reason for promotions, raises, and bonuses. In the realm of more public communication, those connections that feel a little less personal and intimate, I'd say my skills are better than average.

My teacher likes to use the phrase, "Professional Extrovert", which is pretty apt. I can be fairly easy with a group of people in front of me, but one-on-one interactions often feel so much harder and I'll find myself thinking, "How do real humans do this connection shit?!". In the worst case scenarios I freeze up and fall back into old patterns of behavior that don't really help in the present day, and often create more problems.

Knowing it, being aware of it, and being any good at stopping it are all every different parts of the work to do to change behavior. I'm still on the first two and trying to figure out how to get good at stopping it instead of stopping it through painful communication failures. How do I reprogram the routines that convince me that quiet retreat and productivity are the answer, because they always did improve things for my abusive Mother?

Today it feels like there are no answers, however, I am willing to keep digging into the mess of it all, to do the rewiring of old patterns.