Potentially Nonsense

No one expects the duckie inquisition.

Category: Self care (page 1 of 2)

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 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.

But I’ve just done my nails, darlings.

I couldn’t possibly type a single word, today. I’ve just done my nails, darlings.

I mean, look at them. Utter perfection, non? There are perks to keeping my nail license, and all of them involve professional discounts, and access to professional products.

Look at those magnificent googly eyes. And with that color, I now nearly match my car. (My car is brighter. You can see it from space.) My nails also match my debit card, because I’m stylish like that. Très chic.

Yes, it was gel polish, so yes, it’s perfectly dry. But come on, who can type with that kind of beautiful distraction? Not me, that’s for sure. I mean. Just look at them.

So that’s why I’m not writing a post, today. I’ve just done my nails. I couldn’t possibly.

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.

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.

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