Potentially Nonsense

No one expects the duckie inquisition.

Category: Anxiety (page 1 of 2)

Repeat: The quick, quick version

This week’s Five Minute Friday writing prompt is: REPEAT.

Hi. My name’s Jae, and this is my brother Pete, and my other brother Repeat.1

You guys. Holy cow. I’ve taken three run-ups for this OS class, and failed every time.

But this time I’m screaming through the class like a Bentley on fire, while “Bohemian Rhapsody” plays loudly in the background.2 I just thought my brain had broken. Too old, too dumb, too much a failure.

It literally never crossed my mind that having my home life constantly filled with conflict and confusion was taking up most of my brainpower, with nothing left over for anything else.

I’m kind of stunned by this thought this morning. I really just thought my brain was broken. And, I mean, I’m not 20 anymore, and to be honest, I was more than a little worried about the dementia that runs so strongly in my family, although I was trying not to be. Huh.

All those money fights, and the fights were partly responsible for my struggle to make a better wage. Life is hilarious.

Life is also more hopeful, now. I like that. Maybe my brain didn’t break in my 30s, causing me to have to leave a job I loved. Maybe things will be OK.

Insane courage, lodgepole pine, and having a voice

Today’s Five Minute Freewrite prompt is: VOICE

I’m not writing today because my voice is not important. My voice got me in trouble when I used it as a kid, and as a wife. My body and heart are quick to remind me why it’s a bad idea.

My voice is not important, and when I’ve used it, it’s brought me pain. So I’m going to stay stuck in my past and keep doing as I’ve always done, living a silent life, because who would want to listen to me? And if they do listen, the consequences are going to be painful.

^^ These have been hard thoughts to get past. That bit of bad coding is in there deep, and two years of good therapy has only begun to help me get it figured out. It might be a life-long habit, this breaking of old habit.

So I’m not writing today.

But if I were writing today, and did have a voice, I would want it to be made of earth and air. I would want it to feel like wind in a dry pine woods, with at least one thin Lodgepole creaking as it leans in the wind. I would want my voice and my higher self grounded in earth, and flexing around obstacles. It should be a necessary nothing that nonetheless moves, shifting things before and after it.

If I had a voice, I would want to talk about deeply important trivial things, because in the words of The Crow, nothing is trivial. I would want to use it to laugh too loud, and to laugh with other people.

Part of this Write 31 Days project, for me, is just getting past the initial block in my brain that stops my voice. If I can do that, I can say anything.

Listening to The Minimalists podcast, led me to look up Jeff Sanders talking about 20 seconds of courage. (Apparently this is from “We Bought a Zoo,” but I’ve not seen it.) Who can’t be brave for 20 seconds? This concept has done more to help me over my blocks than almost anything else. Often it brings some dissociation with it, but I’m getting better at accepting that disorientation, and quicker at bringing my self back. That’s where all the grueling work of healing and therapy has come in.

This is a Post of Nope, and a double serving of overcoming my own nope (writing and speaking).

Do you struggle with feeling your words, your voice, is unimportant? How do you speak up for yourself, for others? Any advice for someone trying to find theirs, and to heal in this area?

Your voice is important, y’all. And so is mine.

Now get out there and use it! I can’t wait to read blogs and hear your textual voices, this morning.

In case you’re having a bad day, here is a photo of my Jaynie, being so very helpful.

This blog has been taken over by the 2018 Write 31 Days challenge. Here’s the sweet, sweet index of all my posts of nope.

Personality defrag

The Write 31 Days prompt for today is: The struggle is real. What’s yours?

For nearly the last two years, I’ve been doing the work of pulling myself together. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a chameleon, and I hate it. There was an art to being safe in my childhood home. It was mostly Bad to be noticed. It was Good to be helpful. It was Good to be quiet. It was Bad to let anyone outside the family know what was going on inside the family.

Awesome, right? Right. I’m not alone in this experience, but I sure felt alone at the time. I think that isolation was part of the point, looking back.

All six of my siblings and I learned to give different faces to different people. It was a survival thing.

Our senses of reality were f*cked with. I’ve continuously kept a journal since I was twelve, because I was told so many times that something happened that didn’t, or didn’t that did. My siblings and I still, still sometimes check in with each other, just like when we were kids. “Did that happen? Do you remember? Mom says it did/didn’t.”

A journal was unchangeable. Ink on paper was reliable. I still sometimes go back and check an old journal, and sometimes I remembered it right, and sometimes I didn’t.

We all learned to wear carefully crafted faces, different for each person watching us. We learned different sets of memory, different for each person we were presenting to. We fragmented for survival.

The thing is, we are our memories.

It’s like I took a dozen different jigsaw puzzles, and shook them together in a box, and nothing goes together quite right, even though some of it does. Sometimes. Kind of. The story the puzzle tells makes no sense. Memories don’t quite work together, and it takes some outside help to make sense of it all, and sort out the stories we were told to remember, and the ones that actually happened.

So I’ve been doing some head chiropracty, trying to pull everything as straight as possible. It will probably never all quite fit, but it can be better aligned. My therapist was worth twice his weight in gold, for having the patience of a god. EMDR and therapy has changed my life, y’all. It’s dangerous to go skull spelunking alone. And thank goodness for modern medicine to correct my brain chemistry so I could start therapy.

During this 31 day challenge, I had a real thunderbolt moment. I’m a whole, fully integrated person when I’m writing. All the fog clears. The puzzle pieces make sense. I can think more clearly. I can remember more clearly. I knew this, but I didn’t know it, you know? Since you’re taking part in the Write 31 Day October blogging challenge, it’s even money that you do know this. I don’t know if it’s because I originally began writing to track my own reality, or if that’s just how brains generally work.

My continuing struggle with integrating and with running a personality defrag is made easier by writing, and writing is easier when I’m less isolated. I’m grateful you’re here with me, traveling through this writing challenge like we’re all on the yellow brick road, waving to the pixels as we skip past.

Thanks for being here with me.

In case you need something to smile about, here is a Corgi in a scarf.

This blog has been taken over by the 2018 Write 31 Days challenge. Here’s the sweet, sweet index of all my posts of nope.

My own private Ida-nope.

Today’s post is short1. I’m going to go to bed early. I’m going to get up later than I’ve been getting up this week, because I’m writing this ahead of time. I’m scheduling it.

In the morning, I’m going to take a longer shower than necessary. I’m going to have two, two cups of coffee.2 I’ll take the dog on his constitutional, and then I’ll go to work. After work, the doggo and I are going for another walk. How decadent!

That’s what my self care looks like, today. That’s how I’m going to take care of myself. That’s how I’m going to protect my self, today. I may come back later and post pics of the walk, or I may not. It will be a surprise for both of us.

So I’m not writing a proper post today, because I’m opting in for a little nonproductive time spent taking care of myself.

Are you doing anything intentional this month to look after or protect your own wild and precious self?

This blog has been taken over by the 2018 Write 31 Days challenge. Here’s the sweet, sweet index of all my posts of nope.

It’s my first ex-anniversary, and boy are my arms tired

Twelve years ago today, I made some vows with and to another adult human. The vows were real flippin’ easy ones, and they were the same for both of us. They were so easy, and the ceremony was so fast, that the photographer missed the kiss for the first time in his 50 year career.

You wouldn’t think they’d be that hard to remember then, right? Alas.

To be honest, I had originally planned something heartbreaking and angry for today, but after processing so much this month, I just… don’t need to. Thanks for helping me work through so much, y’all. The set up costs of blogging are much cheaper than therapy.

I woke up this morning with a giddy thought. I CAN UNPACK ALL THE THINGS. All the boxes we never unpacked when we moved here years ago, because every time I started to clean or set our home up, I was met with a wall of resentment and silence, and I was afraid of the repercussions of that anger, so I did everything I could to avoid it.

I stopped living, I stopped being me. But… now? I can unpack my stationery and pens. I can unpack my quilting supplies and embroidery supplies and all the activities I’ve loved since I was a wee bairn. I come from generations of makers and builders. I was working in my mom’s wood shop as soon as I could handle a tack hammer and had enough dexterity to unravel rope.

I don’t think I can be me and not be making something. So instead of griping today, and doing something largely symbolic, I’m unpacking. I’m taking up space. I’m going to create. I’m going to make. I’m going to rebuild, stronger, faster, better.

This is going to be glorious.

So that’s why I’m not writing, today. It’s my first ex-anniversary, and I’m celebrating by finding myself amongst the boxes and bubble-wrap. No time to write! Things to do!

In case you could use a smile today, here is my teacup chupacabra in his Halloween costume.

This blog has been taken over by the 2018 Write 31 Days challenge. Here’s the sweet, sweet index of all my posts of nope.

This post was filmed before a live imaginary audience.

Today’s Write 31 Days prompt is: Audience.

I’m constantly trying to sneak things past my own internal censor. She’s a fiend with a massive sharpie. (Sometimes a sharpie is just a sharpie.)

I have what my biopsist described as a “nice crop of nodules” on my thyroid. It’s uncomfortable to swallow, talk, and/or breath. Makes hiking a real treat. I don’t think it’s a coincident that I’m having issues with my throat. Verbal wording is hard.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had trouble talking in a way that’s transparent. I’ve had trouble living in a way that’s transparent. I’ve talked about being a chameleon before. It’s not so awesome. Especially the having to lick my own eyes part.

My internal censor is oh so very concerned with not offending the imaginary audience.

The thing is, I don’t need to connect with everyone, and not everyone needs to connect with me. That’s chameleon talk. That’s my child-self, scared of being abandoned or threatened or physically hurt. I feel for that kiddo. She needs more fuzzy blankets and hot cocoa than I remember to give her. I’ll do that, tonight.

But while I feel for her, I can’t be her. I can’t let her steer me around. She’s a terrible driver, and can’t see over the steering wheel. She can’t see the horizon. She can only imagine it.

With this writing challenge, I catch myself up with, “but what will people think?” Can I really say that? What if someone doesn’t like it? What if I offend someone?

Dude. If this blog causes pearl-clutching, I’m doing something horriby, horribly right.

I just have to trust that a few people may find resonance with what I write, just like I find with a few of the other participants. Not all of them are writing for me, and nor should they, nor should I expect them to.

I need to quit editing out all the juiciness in my writing, worrying over guessing what an imaginary person would like. I need to write for myself, and my own needs. It’s OK for art to serve the artist. The rest is gravy. Tasty, tasty gravy.

This blog has been taken over by the 2018 Write 31 Days challenge. Here’s the wild and crazy index of all my posts of nope.

Sundowners in Whoville

This week’s Five Minute Friday writing prompt is: WHO.

I really want to write something about Doctor Who here, but my brain is too tired to be clever. There isn’t enough coffee in the world, after being up most of the night with my Maggie Mayhem cat, who is 18 1/2, and has the occasional bad night. That’s when I give her muscle relaxant, and hold her. The vet says she’s just developed a cat version of sundowners. It’s bonkers. 98% of the time, she’s great. Happy, mischievous, and with a spring in her step. Maybe every three-ish months we have A Night.

See? Tired enough I can’t stay on target. Where was I? Better still, who was I?

Losing my husband to his own midlife idiocy has been even more bonkers than a cat with sundowners.

So many years have been All Him All the Time. Two of those years he was going through cancer treatments, and needed a lot of help and care, so that was as it should be. It was a lot of pressure and exhaustion for me, but he got to live, so it was worth it.

But the expectation that every day be All Him All the Time didn’t end with the cancer being cleared. If he wasn’t the center of attention, if people weren’t waiting on him, if he wasn’t excused for all bad behaviour, if anyone asked anything of him? Criminy.

If I so much as asked him to take the trash out, while I was cooking dinner, he literally stopped speaking to me for a week. A WEEK. He’d come home, glare at me, and go straight into the bedroom. Where he’d stay except for coming out to eat. He was the only one in his world allowed to be a real person, and everyone else was a nonplayer character.

And I went along with it, because He’d Had Cancer and Almost Died. Which was true, but at some point, can’t we start being a married couple again, and not a caregiver and care-ee?

I wasn’t allowed to be a person, with opinions and needs and feelings. I had no “who” in Whoville. I didn’t exist as a separate person.

And I went along with it. For years.

I went along with it, until I just couldn’t anymore. And I got some help, and I tried to get us to a marriage counselor, because me not caving anymore led to days and weeks of him just not speaking to me. The sheets of resentment baking off him locked me up with anxiety. I was on eggshells so constantly it was making me physically sick.1

Who can live like that?

After not having a who for so many years, it’s strange to have one. It’s like standing up and stretching after sleeping on the couch all scrinched up.

And now I’ve gone into eight minutes, so I guess that’s the end. Thanks for coming to my stream-of-consciousness Ted Talk.

ps.

I guess I’m going to sneak this in there after the timer, after all. I had stopped writing, years and years ago. I just didn’t have anything in me to write with. All my spare energy and time was spent taking care of T, in order to avoid his rage. This writing challenge is a tiny act of rebellion and reclaiming of self.2

This blog has been taken over by the 2018 Write 31 Days challenge. Here’s the sweet, sweet index of all my posts of nope.

I don’t wanna. You can’t make me.

I’m not writing today because I don’t feel like it.

I’m just not in the mood. I’m not inspired. The motivation fairy hasn’t rapped me over the head with his wand, today1.

And we all know I don’t go work or feed the dog or clean up after myself or go to the doctor unless I feel like it. I never do what needs to be done if I’m not inspired to.

What happens if I only do what I feel like doing? My life unwinds. Been there, done that, bought the major depressive disorder t-shirt, which was too expensive and the neck was too tight.

Depression makes living feel like absolutely everything is uphill. Anxiety makes it feel like everything is uphill, and it’s an ant hill. These two things take a lot of energy to compensate for and work around, and it doesn’t always leave much to spare for improving my life.

This writing project, though? It’s interesting. It’s an exercise in both discipline and self-care. It costs me about an hour of sleep a day, because I’m getting up an hour earlier.

I love feeling connected with you writers, and visiting what you’ve written is something I look forward to each day. I love the glimpse into other lives and places. Living alone, going to work at a job that discourages personal connection, losing my therapist because my new insurance doesn’t cover him… my days feel so isolating. Doing a group project like Write 31 Days and Five Minute Freewrites has helped with this.

So no, I don’t feel like writing this entry, today. I’m not in the mood to get up an hour earlier than usual to knock out 300-600 words, today. I don’t feel like it. And I’m not listening to that little voice that tells me I don’t have to do anything I don’t feel like doing. That’s the voice that tells me to eat what’s bad for me, and watch “Lost Girl” all day without leaving the house. It’s my inner brat2 teaming up with my good buddy, Depression3, and even though it’s tempting to listen, I’m not going to.

How are you handling your “don’t feel like it” impulses? Also, what kind of milk and cookies do you put out for the motivation fairy?

No, seriously. I think maybe he doesn’t like 2% and gingersnaps. Help?

This blog has been taken over by the 2018 Write 31 Days challenge. Here’s the sweet, sweet index of all my posts of nope.

I know I’m not writing today, that’s for sure.

Today’s Write 31 Days Prompt: Five things I know for sure.

There isn’t much that I know for sure. There just isn’t. I don’t have immutable truths in my life. I don’t trust immutable truths.

So what do I know for sure? I know I’m not writing today, that’s for sure. Nope. Not going to write today. Nuh-uh.

Things that are a sure bet:

1. I know for sure I’m not going to write today, because the last time I stuck to a writing schedule was the Write 31 Days challenge… in 2012. SIX YEARS AGO. I’ve proven plenty of times that I don’t have the discipline to have enough stick-to-it-ness to stick to it.

2. I know for sure that it doesn’t matter whether or not I write today, because I’m just screaming into the void. I should save my breath for better things, like sighing with longing when I think about how it would have felt to complete this challenge.

3. I know for sure I shouldn’t be doing this glorious writing challenge, because that’s time I could spend looking for a second job, because the first job is only covering half my bills, and time is ticking. I have serious financial stress, y’all. Who can write under that kind of stress? Not me, that’s for sure.

4. I know for sure I’m not going to write today because all the other posts I’ve done so far this month were flukes. I’ll fail soon enough, just watch.

5. I know for sure I’m not going to write today because I am an utter space-kabob. There are so many other things I could be reading/writing/cleaning/watching/doing. Oooh, look! Shiny!

Those are the truths in my life, this morning. The five things I know for sure.

A mans feet sticking up out of a sunflower field.

Here is an example of how not to bury a body. You never know when this kind of information will be useful. Photo credit goes to Derek Thomson.

This blog has been taken over by the 2018 Write 31 Days challenge. Here’s the sweet, sweet index of all my posts of nope.

You’ve got this.

This week’s Five Minute Friday writing prompt is: PRAISE.

I think, as adults, we don’t get nearly enough of this. I don’t mean for accomplishments or goals met, but just about general life.

When I was finishing up my last temp job, which lasted six months, I asked someone if they’d mind being a reference for me. She said, “Yes. You’re a good worker.”

And I found out the meaning of the word “stunned.” I think it’s been since college since a peer said anything that matter-of-fact kind. It was effortless, like she’d said the day was sunny. It made me realize just how long it had been.

Since then, I’ve tried to do more of it with friends and peers. Worried about whether you’d messing up as a parent, because you don’t miraculously always know what to do? “You’re doing great. Everyone learns as they go.” Stressed out over job hunting? “You’re a catch. You’ve got this.”

Just simple, truthful, matter-of-fact, not making a huge deal out of it. Because it is simple and truthful. Praise doesn’t have to be earned by moving mountains. It’s the day to day acts that move mountains, not the grant written to get an earth mover and get digger permits. So why only praise when the relocated mountains are done with a magician’s flourish?

Did you go to class? Did you go to work? Did you make sure your kids have shelter? Did you do something to take care of yourself? Did you drink water? Maybe today was harder than usual. Did you take meds? Did you take steps to not self-harm? These things are important. It’s not the mountains that will trip you up – it’s the inconspicuous rock in the middle of the road.

You’ve got this, fellow writers and readers. You’ve got this.

And if you don’t got it? Please, reach for help.

(ps. This is part of what inspired weekly Weekend Link Love.)

This blog has been taken over by the 2018 Write 31 Days challenge. Here’s the sweet, sweet index of all my posts of nope.

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