Potentially Nonsense

No one expects the duckie inquisition.

Category: Five Minute Friday (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.

Taking a moment

This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt (and Day 26 of 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes) is: MOMENT.

This has been such a long, long week. I’m not even quite sure why, except that it was a Two Migraine + Dentist Visit Week. Actually, that’s probably why, right there.

Today I’m not writing for the Write 31 Day Challenge or Five Minute Free Writes because I’m too busy taking a moment, or two moments, or many moments, to read and comment on everyone else’s lovely work. Seriously, have you read what you’ve written? I just love it. I love the community of this challenge. I hope someone picks up the mantle for next year.

So no post today. This post is a figment of my imagination. This is not the post you’re looking for. Move along.

Time to go on virtual walkabout and say hi to everyone.

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.

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.

Weekend Link Love #2

Time to share a little love, this weekend.

Things I’ve listened to this week: Radio drama and the like is life.
Wolverine: The Long Night (FREE PODCAST, people!)
The X-Files: Cold Cases

Here are a few of my favorite people:

* Penny, who is stumbling along in the most interesting way possible.
* XKCD, which pretty much always makes me smile.
* Post Secret, for breaking my heart weekly, in the best way possible.
* The Coffee Snob, who wrote this gorgeous and devastating piece that might or might not be about a hat.

And shout out to the US Postal service, just because mail carriers are my heros. And also because I love working in the mail room every chance I get, and I only get that chance when the usual mail person has a vacation. RACK UP THAT PTO AND TAKE A VACATION, ALREADY.

OK, fellow Write 31 Day-ers and Five Minute Free Writers, we’re nearly at the halfway point. C’mon, we can do this! Everybody pull!

Close enough.

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.

It’s my birthday, and I’m sad.

In 2012, I made a list of 37 birthday wishes, and the first one was this: I wish for a second lifetime with my Travis.

This is my first birthday post-divorce. I can’t say it’s the first one without him, or the first one I’ve spent alone, because if I didn’t plan something for my own birthday, then we wouldn’t do anything. I always made his day nice, with a surprise party with friends the year he went through cancer treatments.

My day tended to go by like any other day, without notice. This was a bitter thing, last year, because I’d looked forward to my 42nd birthday since I was 9 years old, and read The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for the first time. And we did nothing, even though I asked. Honestly, a happy birthday hug would have gone a long way.

This imbalance of care was one of the many things that finally destabilized our marriage. I didn’t feel loved. He went out of his way to take care of any woman who wasn’t me. Turns out he took special care of one particular 23 year old. In fact, he made sure she had a couple of nice birthdays, while he was at it. Because of course he did.

But I digress. It’s my day, and I’m not going to spend it talking about them.

I’m not writing today because it’s my birthday, and I’m sad. I can’t possibly write while sad. I definitely can’t use writing to help me process it, right?

Writing is the best way for me to process anything. This is something I seem to have to relearn, over and over. Is it a safe bet to assume, since you’re also participating in this writing challenge, that your mind works the same way? The act of writing indexes my memories and makes them richer. I get to enjoy the experiences again when I think about them in detail while writing. Often I don’t know what I think or how I feel until I write my way through it. I think more deeply, and feel more easily with a pen in my hand. When I don’t write, I don’t process anything. It just kind of pings off me, instead.

This day is so hard. I’ve decided to let myself grieve the situation, but also look for a way to enjoy the day.

Here’s what I’m doing:
* Candles for warmth and comfort. (Saint Poe)
* Calling family and friends for connection.
* Pie and coffee, because pie. And coffee.
* Load ink into each fountain pen, and put it next to a new journal.
* Sponsoring a child in need. I want to make a difference in my one wild and precious life.
* A fuzzy blanket from a friend, wrapped around me. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy. Literally. (I texted her to tell her how special it is.)

I’m doing things to mark the day, instead of pretending it’s not happening. I’ve never minded aging. I don’t really think about it, honestly, the same way I’m not shocked when I get up and the world is still turning. I felt older and more tired in my 20s than I did in my 30s. I’m going to make my 40s into a good life.

Today I will try to soften into feeling what comes to me, instead of shutting it down.

And I’ll write, even though I’m sad.

In case you’re having a hard time today, too, here is a sad-funny. I think this snake and I would be buds. Such a sweet little danger noodle.

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.

Tasty, tasty grief marinade.

Today’s Five Minute Freewrite prompt is: COMFORT.

Beginning last Friday, I’ve been marinating in grief. I’m grieving my husband, marriage, and previous future, and that’s opening me up right down the line to grieving the various dads who have left over the years.

What tipped me over was something so simple, it’s embarrassing. I’m losing my therapist of the last year-and-a-half, because my f*cking insurance changed. So right when I really, really could use the self-harm and mental health safety net, I lose it. What a contradiction. I need support because I’m freaking out over losing support. Humans are weird monkeys.

So I’m concentrating on comfort.

Fuzzy blanket? Check.
Ratty quilt I made a few years ago? Check.
Lavendar and lemongrass candle? Check.
Healthy food in the fridge and freezer? Plentiful coffee beans? Check, check.

More importantly, am I taking 10-15 minutes every day to practice calming myself down? Am I regulating instead of letting emotions steamroll over me? Am I checking in with myself, instead of checking out from feeling entirely? Am I walking? Getting daylight? Talking to friends? Taking appropriate actions so I don’t transmute emotional pain into physical pain?

Those are harder tasks, and they’re also deeply effective. I was given some excellent tools by said therapist, and I can honestly say I’d be in some real trouble right now, without them. He changed my life for the better.

All I can say is, I’m mostly OK. I’m doing better than I would have been, two years ago. I put all my long-sleeved shirts in the car, so I can’t easily put them on in the morning. That helps, too. I’m also taking my own advice. There’s a reason I have this page on my blog, and some of that reason is to keep it handy for myself.

I’m practicing comfort, and I’m practicing softening enough to feel things. Turns out emotions hurt less when I just let them through. Did everyone know this except me? It’s like the difference between choking and drinking. Great mother of walnuts, that’s hard. I’m just so good at slapping emotions away like mosquitoes. It’s only recently that I’ve managed the trick of feeling better after crying, instead of feeling worse. I didn’t even know that was a thing.

Thanks for the tools and for caring enough to have patience with me, Mr. Therapist. You’re the best, and I’ll miss you.

***

In case you’re having a rough go, too, here’s something that made me literally bounce from happiness.

The “Good Omens” trailer is MAGNIFICENT.

I really really really really REALLY hope this is a print I’ll be able to pick up.

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.

Weekend Link Love #1

This week, I realized how much I appreciate that the Write 31 Day-ers and Five Minute Free Writers are helping me create movement in my life. I desperately want that movement. Life should have texture, and you, fellow writers, are out there with spackle guns vigorously decorating the internet, right now. Spray on, you crazy diamonds.

People who commented, or otherwise caught my fancy this week:

* Ruth, who runs The Nerd Factory, where readers think, and thinkers read. Also, she’s wicked interesting.
* Jen, who is holding space and befriending dragons.
* You have got to visit Actual Conversations with My Husband, because her writing keeps making me laugh at work. Sorry, cubicle neighbor.
* Neta, who is enjoying The View From Here.
* Wendy, who makes a darn good waffle.
* Maxine, who finds happiness in the chaos.
* Cheryl, over in her online corner, storying away.
* Miccah, who thinks all the thoughts.
* Gattina, who has a beautiful case of writer’s cramps.
* Lee Ann, at the Unfocused Life.
* Margaret, who has set out in quest of truth.
* Diesel Noogies, who is writing about hiking in a way that will knock your wool socks right off.
* Albarclay: Have I mentioned how very much I love reading hiking memoirs? Cos I do.
* Julie, who is planting a garden.
* Andrew, at Blessed are the Pure of Heart is frickin’ awesome, and you should go check out his blog right now. I’ll wait.
* Miauw Chan, purely because I find their writing to be thought provoking.
* Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess, just because I love her, and her writing makes me Feel All The Things.

I’m so glad you’re all here with me.

In case you need a smile, here’s something that made me smile.

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.

Five Minute Friday: Share

This week I’m participating in Five Minute Friday. FMF is pretty much what it sounds like – set a timer, write for five minutes on the prompt provided. It’s been a great tool for getting me up and writing, before work, on this, the most holy day of the workweek.

Today’s Five Minute Friday Freewrite prompt is: SHARE.

I’ve worked for myself for a lot of years. I took care of the hands and feet of marginalized and vulnerable people, like those in the trans community, and under-served people, like veterans, and people who were physically unable to do so for themselves, like those with cerebral palsy or dementia.

It was humble work, and it (mostly) paid the bills.

^^ It’s the “mostly” in that sentence that’s concerning.

When my (now ex-)husband quit yet another job without a word, because he didn’t get along with his manager, (“It’s like she’s not even trying to figure out how to make me happy!” Seriously. Those words were spoken.) I finally snapped. I knew I didn’t want to live like this for another 14 years. And that meant taking on traditional employment.

I had to leave my clients. That was so, so hard. I called so many people, trying to find anyone else in town who does what I did. I did my best, but most techs only serve out of spas, and few take on the extra training to become a medical nail tech. My heart was so broken to leave them. I’m still broken about that. Is this a taste of how therapists feel when they have to let a client go?

After six months or so of job hunting and contracting and temping, I finally got on at a great place. The work is meh, but the mission is amazing.

But… it’s an entirely different kind of work environment. There’s no hugging someone who looks like they need it, or prompting them to share more and to work things out talking with me. There’s no hand holding. It’s not a place where I can hold out a hand and “oooh” over someone’s sparkly nail polish. There’s no deep sharing of life stories, or unburdening while I give someone a foot massage.

It’s a Fairly Serious and Professional Place.

The sharing that takes place, physical, verbal, and emotional, is so different from what I’ve been doing that my instincts are all wrong. I have to constantly remind myself it’s not appropriate to touch someone on the shoulder, after years of working with people who were touch-deprived. It’s not appropriate to smile and call someone “sweetheart,” when they’re having a hard time and could use comfort.

I’m constantly monitoring myself to make sure I don’t share or ask for too much information. It’s strange and exhausting and kind of lonely. It’s been the hardest part of going back to office life, which I hadn’t been expecting at all.

I went from working in IT to taking care of people, and now am back to working in an office. Have you had to make an unexpected, major career transition? Because, dude. I could really use some tips on this.

In case you’re having a bad day, here’s something that made me smile.

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

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