Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Independence Day

I want to try everything
even though I could fail
even though I could get hurt
even though I might learn it's not right for me
I'll never really know unless I try
I'll never really succeed
if I never really risk failing

I want to push through the low self-worth
find my worth, claim it
cherish it
I want to say yes to friends more
be places I might get asked more
go out with friends more
invite friends more
Dare to throw a party
even though no-one might come

I want to learn to swim
Even though I am scared of the water
Go to the fair
Go to a ball game
Go to a concert
Even though I am scared of the crowds

I want to be with people
who make it feel safe
to risk embarrassing myself
maybe even a little fun
to risk embarrassing myself
People who love me

I don't want to leave
until I've tried everything
even though I could fail

--j.r.m.b

Monday, April 16, 2018

Potential

There is a seed
that is yet to sprout

There is a flower
that is yet to open

There are wings
that are yet to be tested

There is a spark
that is yet to light its flame

There is a spring
that is yet to carve its river

There is a Star
that is yet to become a Sun

O Lord, O Lady, Great Divine
May I have courage, may I have strength
to

let go

and allow

the possibilities

to become

reality

--j.r.m.b.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Resuscitation

I was going to make another Facebook status update, but I decided it felt right to come dust this off and write here instead.  I may write here in place of Facebook more often, now; I think I often like to write longer and deeper entries than the Facebook platform is really for.  And that's not even considering the recent "trust issues" surrounding that site.
So, the past few months in a nutshell (which will not be news to people who are connected to me on Facebook) is that I got referred by my doctor to a sleep specialist, got diagnosed with severe sleep apnea, spent a month waiting for insurance to approve treatment, and have now been on APAP therapy for two weeks.  I'm doing very well with it as far as adjusting to sleeping with the equipment, and it's really helping with the severe chronic fatigue I was suffering from.

Now that I'm really starting to feel better, I feel like I'm at a bit of an impasse, or maybe "crossroads" would be a better word.  Maybe it's that I'm not taking this energy for granted, right now, so it feels like a momentous decision when I'm thinking about how I'll want to spend it.  I've given a lot of thought toward getting serious about starting to sell on eBay again, both to declutter and let go of things that don't fit anymore, and also in connection with my new numismatic hobby.
I've also been feeling, though, that I'd like to focus on simple things, especially at first.  Just working on getting the house and the yard back in order, after letting things go while I wasn't feeling well, will feel nice, I think.
I'm also thinking I'd like to get back to cooking for myself; the thought just occurred to me tonight, I'll really be re-learning how to cook, this time cooking for one.  Maybe it was a blessing in disguise to be out of the Kitchen for a while, so it will be a new beginning, instead of trying to adapt what worked when I was cooking for two.

And because I decided to write here, I ended up re-reading my last entry, which this one seems to connect with perfectly.  Ultimately, I don't want to pick the one thing from the list that I want to do, I want to balance things to create a nice, simple, and fulfilling life for myself.  That said, I think I often make ambitious plans for myself; I think I will just need to make sure I ease my way into things so I can find where that balance point is.  I can't go too far wrong with cleaning the house, of course, except by overdoing it; it didn't get this way in a day and I can fix it gradually, too.  I don't have to create a whole bunch of eBay listings, I can start with one or two auctions just to get the confidence going again.  I can find some simple recipes to make on days off, I don't have to jump straight into cooking every night no matter what.

I guess this means I'm at the same place I was a few months ago, just with enough energy to have a chance of getting it done.  I just have to pace myself.  It's funny, I can be extremely patient, in most ways, but not with things like this--I end up thinking of the girl from the Willy Wonka movie, "I want it now!"
I probably still haven't even gotten the full effects of the sleep apnea treatment yet, honestly, so I know taking everything slow and steady would be sensible.  But, to quote another kids' movie, "I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it."  Who knows though, maybe I will surprise myself this time.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Nesting in the Tree with Strong Roots

Every time I decide it's time to write here, I get a little surprised at how long it's been.  I don't suppose it's good or bad, though; I certainly don't want to think of it as an obligation.  If I need to write, then I will.
And since this is my first time of the year writing here, it's certainly not too late to talk about New Year's stuff, even if we are two weeks in.

I've been thinking a lot about goals, recently.  Mostly about how it feels nice to be starting to even want them again, after Joanne passed, but getting past that, thinking about what they should be.  Right now, I'm imagining that my real goal for this year should be to create balance.  I feel like I want to work on "nesting," this year, giving myself a place where the roots sink deep into the ground.  Not that I won't still flow back and forth, because I have to be what I am, but to find the center so I can keep from going off course.

Right after Joanne passed away, I think my "hobby" was investing, for a while.  I inherited her retirement savings, and the whole concept of having a net worth (one that wasn't a negative number, at least) was new and exciting to me.  I wanted to learn all about how stocks worked, and do everything I could to make sure I was a good steward of Joanne's savings, to make sure it kept growing and would be there to provide for me, like she always said she wished she could do.  And I did have a goal in mind, thinking it would be good to be able to retire at 57 and 11 months--the age she was when she passed--which, coincidentally, would have me retiring on her 73rd birthday, in 2031.
But of course, that can't be everything.  The question I never asked myself then was, "And then what?"

Since then, I've been off on other things:  I relived my childhood a little and bought toys, for a while.  I got myself all into self-protection and learning how to shoot, for a year or so.  I turned irritation with busy stores into a goal of stocking enough food to avoid shopping during next year's holiday season.  Most recently, I let a decision to diversify my savings with bullion coins turn into an infatuation with round shiny objects.
The common thread with all of those, is that I have a tendency to make each one of them "all there is," while they're the New Thing.  But of course, none of those things can be everything, either.

I want my goal this year to be to fit those things together.  It feels like they should fit together.  The coins feel like they should fit into the investing; the investing and the self-protection feel like they should fit into the preparedness.  (The expensive and space-consuming Japanese toys can probably go on eBay, which will make them fit into the investing too.)

Then, if I can get things fitting together without focusing too much on one single piece, maybe I can find other things that fit, too.  Finally get back to doing some crafting, and finishing some cross-stitch projects?  Maybe try my hand at gardening?  Even just finding an enjoyable way to donate time to my church.  But first, I need to make the foundation--I need to build that nest, in the tree with the strong roots--so that those things have a strong base to stand on, and fit with, and won't fall apart as soon as I'm on to the next thing, anymore.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Alone in the Crowd?

Back here after another couple of months, it looks like.  It's interesting to me that this entry will unintentionally carry on from the last one.  It seems like I am in a similar place, although it feels like I am in a better place.

Last Sunday, I had another agoraphobia episode at church; fortunately I hadn't been silly enough to have obligations that I signed up for, this time, so the idea that I could leave if I needed to gave me enough strength and feeling of safety to be able to stay--in the building to hear the message, at least, if not in the main sanctuary.

The main trigger was that a lovely and caring, but apparently extroverted, lady decided to sit in the seat right next to me (right up inside my personal space bubble, despite there being enough empty seats to "spread out") and started engaging me in conversation.  She said she was concerned about me because she always sees me sitting here off to the side by myself, and she worried I wasn't making friends and connections in the church, and could she join me so she could get to know me better?

I agreed, naturally, because that's what reasonable people do, even though my mind processed her request as, "You always stay over here where it's safe; why don't you ever plunge into this tortured, chaotic, indecipherable mass of writhing bodies with us?  Can I try to convince you how enjoyable and non-horrifying it is?"  And I think that would have been okay, if quaintly misguided; but then a man I didn't recognize* sat down in my "blind spot" on the other side, and I started to feel the light-headedness coming on.

I'm thinking today about the original assumption that was made:  That I must be somehow less happy, less connected, because I gravitate toward the edges, not toward the middle.  I found it surprising, because I didn't feel unhappy; to me I was in the perfect spot--not at home being truly isolated, and not in the middle of everything being overwhelmed.
It makes me think of how I love where my (formerly 'our') home is; far enough out that it feels secluded, but close enough that within a half-hour I can be at Alderwood or Bellevue, or almost to Seattle, where there is more shopping and activities than anybody could possibly stand.  I think it's perfect.  When my mom visited me, though, she found it oppressively crowded and busy here.  A friend from the city, on the other hand, might comment, "Wow, you really live out in the middle of nowhere, don't you?"
It makes me realize, my idea of "too much" is somebody else's idea of "not enough."  And it doesn't mean either of us are wrong, it means we are different and beautifully unique.

Getting back to church, you know, I can see why someone, especially someone extroverted, would imagine that.  It's true; even during the after-service "coffee communion," I tend to just find a seat away from the crowd, with lots of personal space around it.  I'm happy to engage with people if they break away from the pack to come say 'hi' to me, and I'm also content to just sit and watch the crowd, taking in its energy as it flows this way and that, in and around and through itself like a grand subconscious dance, if no-one does.  Either way, I'm happy there, in that perfect-for-me spot, connected enough, but not overwhelmed.

So, don't worry about me too much.  I don't stay on the outskirts because I'm unhappy or grieving.  I'm out here because it's right where I like to be.  It always has been.  You might think it wouldn't be enough for you.  If so, we are beautifully different, and I won't mind if you join the dance.  I might even go with you, every now and again, but only for a short time, because it's not where I belong.  And if you ever need to rest, if only for a short time, by all means, feel free to come sit with me in safety, for a while.


*I almost wrote "scary-looking man", but realized that's pretty much implied by "man I don't recognize", so I doubt that objectively he was any more threatening than anyone else.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Relapse

I think I might need to just accept that I have issues with agoraphobia.  Specifically, the kind that triggers on being in a crowded space, whether or not the space in question is especially 'open' or not.  (Though I do notice, with a true "wide open space" like a parking lot, even an empty one, I compulsively check behind myself a lot.)

I write about this now, because I gave myself another panic attack this weekend.  I made a commitment (and even re-confirmed it) which set me up to not feel able to leave, in a space that got way too crowded.  I even tried to make the space feel less crowded by adding more tables and seats, but those filled up too.  So I retreated to a smaller area, which also got crowded and hectic, and then I started feeling dizzy and short of breath, and had to go outside and sit in the woods until it passed.  I did go back in and try to help a little to finish up, but after going home, I spent the rest of the day feeling too exhausted to even sit around playing video games, and barely found energy to make myself something for dinner.

If I'm honest, I've always had an aversion to crowds; I've never really been up for sporting events or fairs or that sort of thing.  (The fair always sounds like fun, but if I go, the crowd always gets to me.) Even shopping is only really enjoyable if I go when the stores aren't very busy.  And I think two is the perfect number for a social engagement; the larger the number, the more I end up staying in my shell for the most part.
It's only been this problematic with real panic attacks recently, though; I'm guessing it's because now I have grief overlaid onto it.

Last night while I was trying to work up the notion to get up out of the recliner and get ready for bed, I watched some funny dog videos on my tablet, that came up on Facebook.  It made me laugh harder than it had any right to, and somewhere in the middle of it, the giggles turned into a huge wailing sobbing fit of grief that caught me completely by surprise, and left me wondering, "Where did that come from?"  It made me feel about half crazy.

I don't know, maybe I am.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Anomalous

How silly of me
to have imagined
I belonged someplace

The only place
I have ever felt
I truly belonged
was with my Joanne

but now
she is
gone.