Potentially Nonsense

Postcards from places I've never been.

Category: Five Minute Friday (page 1 of 2)

And then, the snow.

This week’s writing prompt is: NEXT

Next is both a rock in my shoe and a double-espresso to my soul.

Next is cherry blossoms and leaf buds and rhododendron fireworks. Next is the marvel of infant garter snakes at both ends of twilight, soaking the last of the day from the sidewalk.

Next is sun and heat and stiff skin telling me I’ve definitely got a sunburn.

Next is humidity and heat that matches my own body, so it’s hard to breathe and hard to feel real and hard to know if I’m breathing at all, a stratified lake turning over, up and down suddenly a dizzying match.

Next is long days and pleasant nights and feeling the air like a cool drink as the leaves start to whisper a colorful change.

Next is the shock of realizing the leaves have changed, and the ground smells rich and the earthworms are out at night and pumpkins start popping up on porches like grinning mushrooms.

Next is wet feet and telling myself again that I should get a raincoat and the mud tries to steal my shoes. Next is the longing for fairylights and a snap in the morning air and the ancestral pull to migrate or die.

And then, the snow.

Some days are just green beans and mustard, and that’s OK.

This week’s FMF writing prompt is: CONVENIENT

What a prompt. My head’s going all over with it.

The first thing that comes to mind is convenient food. I hate it. I’m no food purist – more than one dinner has been cold canned green beans dipped in mustard and mayonnaise mixed together. I’m classy like that. But convenience food tastes good for a moment, then tastes bad, and I physically feel bad afterwards. I’ll take my I-grew-up-poor-and-this-is-soul-food-for-me green beans any day.

I will admit to having a weakness for someone else doing the grocery gathering. For about $5.00, there’s a grocery store here that will find and bag everything, and all I have to do is pick it up. I only get groceries every 4-6 weeks, so it’s not a big expense for convenience. My anxiety and (currently managed) major depressive disorder salute you, Fred Meyer.

Convenient. When I moved into my apartment in late 2014, the rent was $935. Now it’s $1275. It’s going to $1325 in September, and I’ll absolutely have to move. I’m not making as it is and have sold everything that can be sold, and breaking the lease would be about $1900. Who has that kind of money lying around? Convenient is staying, and I wish I could. I live in a third floor walk up. I don’t have people here to help me. I’ll have to sell what remains of my furniture, because I can’t move it. It’s going to suuuuck.

Convenient is typing my complaints instead of solving them. Luckily, I’ve been working on solving them, to help me get by until my lease is up in September. Again, if it could be sold, I sold it. I don’t have internet or a TV, and I share Netflix with a friend. Yes, that’s a luxury and not a necessity, and I feel guilty about it. The lights are only on when I need them, and the heat is not on. Coffee is rationed, y’all. Not where I thought I’d be at this point in my life. I’ve reopened my Etsy shop in an attempt to slow the sinking, and am listing things every time the sun shines enough that I can take photos. Rainy pacific northwest, anyone?

It’s definitely not convenient to work a full day at children’s services, which is emotionally exhausting (and rewarding), then go home and hunt for a second job. I’m tired just thinking about all the applications I’ve submitted over the last few months. I took FOUR HOURS of evaluations just to qualify for an interview at one of those jobs, then didn’t get the job after interviewing. Not convenient.

I’ve really overrun my five minute limit, haven’t I? How perfectly inconvenient. Thanks for dropping by. Sorry about the rambling rant.

Window and Freeway

This week’s FMF writing prompt is: INFLUENCE

Not gonna lie. The prompt doesn’t speak or spark, for me, but the point of the exercise is to build discipline around the practice of writing, to some extent. So. Here I am. Rock me like a hurricane.

Influence. I influence others. I am influenced. The environment I’m in on a daily basis has an influence on my life.

Ah.

There it is.

Living in Eugene, I can’t get away from the noise. I’m sitting my office in my apartment, and I can hear the road noise right through the wall. I’m in a residential area, and quite a ways from the freeway, and I can hear it at all hours. There’s no quiet.

I work in an office building where, for the first time in my entire career, I have access to a window. I work in the quiet, not having to listen to music someone else picked. I work with people who are competent and professional on the phones and when interacting with adopters and sponsors, and who are silly and fun when interacting with each other.

Reader, that environment has changed my life.

I went from abuse at home and abuse at work, to a peaceful home and a healing workplace. I won’t spell it out, but will just say that I’m learning to have peace in my heart, and to feel safe for the first time in a very long time.

Life is better.

The first FMF writing prompt for 2019 is: BETTER

Life is better.

It’s full of struggling to balance two jobs with taking care of elderly pets and trying to squeeze some time to live into that life. It’s getting up at 5:00 and going to bed at 10:00 even when I really really try to go to sleep earlier. It’s that threatening text from the ex that makes me panic and wrecks me for days. It’s struggling to find the calm inside me, even though the path is overgrown and someone changed all the signs and I’m not sure it’s even still in the same place I remember it being.

Life is better.

It’s better than living on eggshells wondering what I’m going to do/say/think/breathe wrong today, and what consequences it will have. It’s better then being locked up in anxiety all day, for days, waiting for the proverbial hammer to fall. It’s better than not knowing if I can count on help if I really really need it. At least now I know.

Life is full of sweet moments with pets and friends and new friends. It’s strung with finding out that I can still feel joy and interest and curiosity and actually am still capable of feeling contentment and safety. In this life there are fumbled ukuleles and long walks with friends and loving texts from friends, and a friend who, every time they go to Winco, plays the claw machine to win me a rubber duck. Life is full of Soon, and Look Here, and Have You Tried This, and Remember Doing This and Yes. Yes. Yes.

Life is better.

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 . 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 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 anger and resentment. 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.

« Older posts