Potentially Nonsense

Postcards from places I've never been.

Category: Self care (page 2 of 2)

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.

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.

Can’t write. I’m too busy healing.

I had a Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA) meeting to go to, so I couldn’t possibly write for the 31 Day Challenge, today. Nope. Can’t write. I’m too busy healing and learning. Big job, healing.

I shared for the first time. A few others had shared on the topic of trying to be helpful, easing the path of others, and how it’s problematic. Earlier this week, I had my “but I’m just being helpful!” flipped back at me by an utter stranger.

I like second-hand puzzles. I like getting them from thrift stores and yard sales for $0.50. I like the risk of it. Will all the pieces be there? What will I find when I open the box? Sometimes the puzzle inside will be completely new, with the pieces still in a sealed bag. Once there was a dart game in the box, instead of a puzzle.

So I opened this particular box’o’puzzle, and… someone had left it neatly sorted into baggies. In fact, the border had been left assembled, to spare me the work. The previous puzzler was helpfully trying to do a kindness for the next person, and it robbed me of some of the fun of solving the puzzle. It wasn’t helpful. I wanted to solve my own puzzle. The act of solving it is the whole point.

And all week I’ve been puzzling over this puzzling puzzle predicament.

Picture of Crowley from Supernatural captioned, "No one in the history of torture's been tortured with torture like the torture you'll be tortured with."

Obligatory Crowley.

How many times have I tried to be “helpful” and make life easier for someone else, and actually robbed them of the joy and challenge of solving their own puzzle? My compulsive need to help, to be useful, kept them from finding out how capable they are of guiding their own needs, wants, and life. One of my biggest struggles has been stepping back and not meddling. Not trying to fix things. Even if someone else wants those things fixed, it might be something they really, really need the experience of solving themselves. Maybe they need someone to tell them they can, instead of doing it for them.

My mind keeps coming back to it, rolling it over like a stone in a river. The point of solving a problem is to solve it, not necessarily the solution itself. I need to stop trying to jump in to help, unasked.

And that was my CoDA share this week, and the first time I’ve shared. So I can’t write this post. I’m too busy being gobsmacked by my realizations.

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.

A most sincere haiku of nope

Today’s Write 31 Days prompt is: HAIKU.

I write nothing, while,
In this October of nope,
I write all the things.

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

VACUUM ALL THE THINGS

I’m not writing today because I need to clean. There are dishes to do, meals to prep, carpet to be de-furred (three cats + one dog = pet hair tumbleweeds overnight), and basically everything looks important and more fun than writing, right now. It’s great to avoid writing by being productive at something else. It’s such a convenient reason! Thanks, dog footprints on the carpet. You’re the best.

Yes, there are definitely more important things I need to do today than write.

Look! Look over here! The bathroom sink clearly needs a good scrub. Maybe a baking soda soak, while I’m at it. Look. Go on. It’s all so fascinating.

It’s self-care! That’s what it is. Self-care. It’s not procrastination or fear of failure at all. I’m just taking good care of myself. And, really, who can write with a sink full of dishes staring at them? Not me, that’s who. No siree.

When was the last time I washed the cat beds? Too long ago, that’s when. I have time for a load of laundry while the dishes run. It’s not like I need to watch it. I just need to get it started. There will be plenty of time to write after that. Plenty.

Should I run the carpet shampooer? I mean, maybe I should? I did already vacuum three times, to make sure I got up all the pet hair. If I’m going to do that, maybe I should go ahead and run the shampooer. Might as well, right? I’m halfway there, already.

Oh, oh! I could sweep! The entry way needs a tidy up. Groceries? How am I for groceries? If I’m going to pick up groceries, I’d better clean the fridge, first, and if I’m going to clean the fridge, I need to take the trash out, and if I’m going to take the trash out, I might as well empty all the trash cans.

And… and… and….

VACUUM ALL THE THINGS.

So that’s why I’m not writing today – I need to vacuum.

Absolute credit where absolute credit is due. Besides, “Hyperbole and a Half” is hilarious. She said it first, and the internet was never the same again.

In case you’re having a bad day, here is an emergency Hank.

A photo of a woman wearing glasses, sitting on a couch, with a small dog resting his head on her shoulder.

Responsible for 100% of the dog hair and pawprints in this apartment.

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

It’s sunny.

Great googly moogly, look at that sunshine. What a shame it would be to be stuck indoors on this lemonade-and-sunglasses kind of day. The temperature is perfect. It smells amazing out there, after yesterday’s rain.

Nope. I can’t possibly spend even 15 minutes writing, today. The sunshine. I must be out in it.

This is when I desperately miss having a garden. Pots on a balcony are nice, but to have an entire morning to myself, shoveling dirt, pinching off leggy plants, finding surprise bugs and volunteer plants, feeling the strength in my back and legs and arms.

Oh man. This is when I’m tired of living in an apartment. I love my apartment neighbors, and the fact that I can have company whenever I crave it, but I do miss the physicality of being able to work on a house and a yard.

In fact, this is a perfect day to go to Spencer Butte. I think I’ll do just that.

So that’s why I’m not writing today. It’s gorgeous and sunny out.

In case you’re having a hard day, here is a dandy lion.

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

Sometimes you fly

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 warm-up before throwing myself headlong into the writing train that is Write 31 Days.

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

When I move something that’s in danger of falling, like a glass too close to the edge of the counter, I generally think of it as removing some of it’s potential. It’s just an old snippet of high-school surfacing, when that was a running joke between my friends and I, picked up from an introductory physics class. We weren’t moving something, we were “removing its energetic potential.” We’re removing some of the risk that it’s going to fall, and reducing it’s energy.

And my mind moves to one of my favorite quotes, and strikes a spark against the first thought, from potential to falling to flying.

“Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.”

― Neil Gaiman, Fables & Reflections, Sandman

This leads me to thinking about how, when I oh-so-carefully curate my life, I reduce my risk of falling, and I reduce my risk of flying, and I reduce the potential of my day, and rob my life of its energy, both useful and damaging.

And I think about how I’m like an abused cat I fostered years ago, that had to be taught to play. Gentle reader, I do not recreate well. At all. Work is fun, because that’s how I was raised, and how I’ve been shaped to live my adult life. No time for unproductive fun. I’m the first to offer a hand when someone is painting or remodeling or moving, but if they invite me to a housewarming party, I’ll usually find a reason not to go. I don’t gravitate towards fun. Here, in my 40s, I’m trying to learn how. I don’t even know what I like to do. I have to concentrate to notice what enjoyment is.

This is SO not the life I want.

Which brings me to an episode of Doctor Who I watched recently:

Bill: You know what I mean. Every choice I make in this moment, here and now, could change the whole future.

The Doctor: Exactly like every other day of your life. The only thing to do is to stop worrying about it.

― Doctor Who, Thin Ice

It’s only in fiction about time travelers that we worry about how our every action affects the future, but that’s every day, right here, right now. Today. Everything we do today affects our future. Every. Little. Butterfly. Flap. Spending a little time on a class instead of Twitter could entirely lift a life from one set of tracks to another. It raises potential and risk and the chances of falling and/or flying. Because there’s no separating them from each other. Time to start guiding that pesky little chaos butterfly, instead of just letting it get blown around.

I think about a ceramics class half a lifetime ago, where the instructor laughed at my worry as I shaped clay, and said, “You have to allow for the possibility that it might turn out well.”

I suppose that’s my takeaway, today. I have to allow that today/tomorrow might turn out well. There’s the potential of flying just as much as there’s the potential of falling. They can’t be separated. There’s no flying without some element of falling.

***

In case you’re having a bad day, here’s a photo of a man local to Eugene, who flys kites every single day. On the day in the photo, October 12, 2017, he was celebrating his 1,000th day in of a row of kite flying. I love when I run across him on walks.

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