St. Philip’s Day

I’ve been trying to write a minimum of 500 words a day. Can’t complain that it’s been difficult, but I will admit that when sitting down to write, I haven’t really known where I’ll end up. I suppose this is okay, that I shouldn’t judge myself for wandering without a map or directions. Allowing things to become organically is a positive thing. It means I’m not trying to control the flow of words and images, that they are arising naturally from my subconscious.I tend to think that this will take me to places that I’d otherwise not venture on my own.
I’m going to simply begin where I am. It’s overcast and humid today, the kind of afternoon where you have to have lights on in the house in order to read. Most of the morning, I’ve been listening to music and remembering other times. I’ve also been worrying a bit about starting this new job next week. I wonder who I will meet in this new position, I wonder what kind of experiences I’m about to have, what challenges will present themselves to me. I’m curious and a little anxious, fearful of whether or not I will be able to rise to the occasion and do what needs to be done. When you struggle to understand what your strengths are and what you might be capable of accomplishing, you’re naturally a little nervous. I wish I had some kind of certification—some documents that told me what I have achieved and what I am able to do going forward. Like a tattoo inside my wrist that I could look at to know what I can count on. Like checking your wallet to see you have two fives, two tens, and a twenty, and knowing that despite the cover charge, you’ll still have money left for beer. There aren’t such guarantees in life. You go in hoping you have enough and if not, you’ll be able to find an ATM to withdraw more.
Thinking about this stuff doesn’t help me much to remain present and live in the moment. This means I look up at the clock, shocked that it’s already past noon and my bathroom still isn’t clean, the trash hasn’t taken itself out, and my hair still needs to be washed. There’s a post office run and prescriptions to be picked up. Cigarettes to be smoked, coffee to be sipped and some semblance of a life to be lived. There’s positive thoughts to be affirmed, negative to be discarded, the constant reshuffling and redealing of my brain’s hand. Passing ache of loss and the sigh of being alive, as I tell myself that it’s worth it, keep going, all will be well, despite flashbacks and weird head trips and bad dreams. I’ve got to find reasons every day to keep going, nothing is assumed and at this stage, nothing is taken for granted.
So close. Keep going. Don’t stop. It’s worth it. Even if you don’t know what’s coming or when it will come, it’s thrilling to have another chance. I’m relieved I survived another dark winter without going David Foster Wallace. We’re all living the tedious ordinary moments of our lives to get to the passing, transitory victories.

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Ch-ch-changes

This is our last day of a long weekend together. The partner and I have had a good time, relaxed with family, enjoyed great food, worked in the yard and took long naps during the intermittent rain showers. I have no legitimate complaints other than the fact that this is the last week I’ll have unstructured time. Work begins at 8am on the 1st of June, and it’s back to the grind of 9-5 for me again. I should be grateful; having been unceremoniously fired from my job the first week of May, I’ve had a generous month of relaxation and reflection. I’ve been somewhat sloppy with how I’ve used that time, which didn’t seem precious until now. There’s never enough, and I’m not sure why that is when I honestly waste so much on things that probably don’t count in the big scheme of things.
If there is one thing I’d like to change about my life it would be that I’d like to find some sense of urgency—something to drive me along the road a bit further than I choose to wander on my own. In many ways, I tend to do the bare minimum of what is expected at home. I frequently opt for shortcuts in my life, settle for less than my best, opt out of things rather than push for more. I judge myself as lazy, but I wonder if it isn’t truly exhausting to have to constantly monitor and adjust myself to my environment to make room for my emotional responses. I am constantly on watch for signs of returning illness, discombobulated thinking, hair trigger feelings that can set off a firestorm of words and ineffective actions. I don’t want to be that person anymore, the one who walks off a job, ends a relationship or says something she cannot undo. I don’t want to be the nutjob at the center of a scene. I work hard to stay on top of things as they arise and talk them through with trusted partner, friend, or therapist. Sure, I have the chemical assistance of two or three different medications. They help to dull the razor’s edge of my words and behaviors, and allow me to sleep most of the way through the night. Ultimately though, it’s up to me to intercede on my own behalf when things begin to unravel emotionally. That’s something that requires a great deal of thought and energy on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis.
I’ve heard it said that one’s house is a reflection of one’s interior landscape, the contents of one’s head. If that’s the case, I’m in deep trouble. My laundry is a constant, losing battle, and my bathroom is lousy with stray hairs and soap scum. My thoughts range from hopeful and generous to paranoid and self-indulgent. My brain has a ring around it, if you will. I worry about the future and grieve my losses, but try not to get stuck in one thought for too long—an express ticket to crazytown for me. Too much rumination leads to fear and sadness, and inevitably inertia creeps moving up slowly. So it’s all about finding a balance between being here in the present, which is not always flowers and cupcakes, and allowing for past and future thoughts to move through like clouds overhead. This is “non-attachment”. This is full and radical acceptance of myself and my life, with all of its fragrant buds and imperfections and garbage. It’s all part of some greater whole that I seek to understand and embrace.