Potentially Nonsense

Postcards from places I've never been.

Category: Self care (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.

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.

Attack of the Needle Organizers

This last weekend I got my hands on some felt a friend was rehoming, and well, I went a little bonkers making needle books. It was fun, pretty quick, and I didn’t need to dig out my sewing machine. 1

I wasn’t expecting it to lift my spirits like it did. I’ve missed making things.

Is it just me, or are reds and oranges just needlessly difficult to get to look right in photos? So, of course, I just had to use a lot of red materials. ARGH. These are in my Etsy Shop if you have any interest.

So here’s to another small part of my life I’m starting to reclaim, post-divorce. I’m tempted to look up a pattern for a felt voodoo doll, but I’ll resist. 2

Digital clean slate

I’m making room for new dreams.

Today I went through my Amazon account, and completely wiped it clean. No wishlists. No subscribe‘n’save. Nothing in the cart. Nada.

I emptied my IKEA wish list. Clean as a whistle.

Absolutely everything is gone that I have ever thought about bringing into my old life. Everything is gone that I dreamed of putting in a future house. Everything is gone that I had put in a list to get my (ex)husband for holidays. It’s completely bare.

It was hard to let go of those future plans. Much harder than I had thought it would be. But now I have a fresh start. Now I get to choose what I dream of. I get to pick my future, fresh from the yet-to-be-imagined garden of dreams.

Then I went to my Pinterest account, and deleted every last board. All of them. Every. Last. One. That was painful, too. I aaaalmost didn’t do it. I deleted my “someday” house board. I deleted my “someday” garden board. I deleted the hairstyles and skin care and DIY boards. I deleted my holiday ideas board, and my tattoo coverup board. I deleted my “want to visit someday” boards. I deleted my “nice things to do for my now-ex” boards.

I emptied my Netflix “to watch” list. Yes, all of it.

In the interests of having more reciprocity in my life, I unfollowed everyone on Twitter who doesn’t follow me back. Ditto Instagram.

It’s like a hunger, now. I’m wondering what else I can erase from my obsolete digital woulda shoulda coulda somedays.

My life has changed, and my course needs to change, too. I don’t want to feel regret every time I look at Pinterest, and see all the dreams and opportunities lost. Clean cup. Move down.

Photo courtesy of Danielle MacInnes

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.

Too busy making soup.

Hmm. Let’s see. Am I going to write today, considering I linked up with one October writing challenge called Write 31 Days, and another called 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writing Prompts: 2018 Edition?

Nope.1

I’m not writing today, and I’ll tell you why. I’m too busy making soup. See? Perfectly reasonable reason to not write. Tasty, tasty, warm, lovely soup.

I was going to make the Internet-Famous 44 Clove Soup, but then thought nah. I’ll stick with something I already know how to make. I’ll come for you someday, intriguing garlic soup, but today is not that day.

I make potato leek soup in a big batch in order to freeze it. If you want to eat it right off, don’t put it in the fridge.2 You’ll need to use an immersion blender or something, instead of pouring boiling hot soup into a blender. Obviously. I mean, you wouldn’t actually do that, right? Pour boiling hot soup into a blender? Please don’t do that. I like you, and don’t want you to be horrifically scarred.

Potato Leek Soup

3 T butter
4 leeks, roughly chopped (just the white and light green parts)
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic (From a jar. Because I’m fancy like that.)
2 # Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (Peel or don’t peel. Up to you. I don’t, but I’m a casual cook.)
7 C chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 C heavy cream or half-and-half (whatever’s easy and handy)

Melt the butter in a big ole soup pot. Add leeks and garlic, and cook until they’re tender (about 10 minutes).

Add potatoes, stock, bay leaves, thyme, and bring to a gentle boil. Cover and simmer over low for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. You want them to be mashable.

Fish out the bay leaves. Allow to cool, then put it in the fridge until it’s cold.

Add the heavy cream or half-and-half. Run it through a blender in batches, or mash it up well with a potato masher. If it’s too thick, add water or stock to thin it out. Bag and freeze in the portions you’d like. After thawing, salt and pepper to taste.3

I’ll spare you a food photo. I don’t know how people on Instagram manage it. Anytime I try to take a photo of food, it looks utterly nauseating.

So here is a happy doggo, instead.

Photo by Andrea Reiman.

TLDR: No writing today. Only soup.

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 . 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.

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