I am here.
Here I am.
Present & Worthy
I am here.
Here I am.
Present & Worthy
So today I choose to begin again.
I was not “all healed” yesterday.
I didn’t get everything “right”.
I messed up – a lot.
This mindfulness stuff is hard.
Feeling the emotions without reacting to them doesn’t even really make sense – yet.
I will try again today.
And maybe I will do just a little bit better.
Maybe it will make a little more sense today.
I’m searching for that “aha” moment.
There’s so many feelings going on right now.
It’s a lot “out of control”
One day at a time unless that seems like too long…
I’ve typed up a “recovery daily checklist”.
Meditations, reading assignments, journaling, exercise, art time…
and (sigh) therapy today…
This post has been weeks in the writing – written, deleted, pondered, re-written, stared at, ignored and left to sit in forlorn solitude.
What is the importance of a single blog post written by an obscure blogger sitting in a manufactured home in the middle of nowhere?
I have no answer to those questions or many other questions that I find myself asking lately.
I did find this quote by Flannery O’Connor:
“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”
Maybe that’s the answer.
Or maybe not…
Maybe the answer doesn’t matter.
I’m kind of liking this quote by Joan Didion:
“We tell stories in order to live.”
Maybe I should just quit worrying about the why.
My life feels hard right now.
It would be more truthful to say that my life has always been hard and I have decided to admit it and do something about it.
A little over a month ago I hit the end.
I no longer had the ability to go on.
I was done.
And somehow the end turned into a beginning.
I asked for help.
It has not been fun.
Quite frankly, it has been a shit show.
I have failed spectacularly over and over again.
I’m still not sure that there is any importance in a single blog post written by an obscure blogger sitting in a manufactured home in the middle of nowhere but I’m trying to figure that out.
And I’m told that the journey over the past month has been the easy part. Now the real work begins.
That is terrifying.
I’m going to keep going anyway.
“Owning our story can be hard, but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.” -Brene Brown
A little over a month ago, I hit what I’m choosing to call the end.
No luck falling asleep last night.
This morning started out with a sense of being behind and unable to catch up. As a result, I know that my perceptions of my life are skewed and everything seems worse than it is or even than it was yesterday.
Being tired and anxious and tipping into depression have a way of putting a negative filter on the way I see things:
The budgeting problems couldn’t be solved with a bevy of mathematical geniuses.
I am the only homemaker in America (maybe the world) who can’t keep a clean house.
We have the worst looking yard in the neighborhood.
the dishes, the laundry, the unmade bed, the piles of paperwork to be dealt with, the recycling, the boxes of donations, the stuff to be sorted, the unmade bed, the bathrooms waiting to be cleaned, the books unread, the projects undone, the clock is ticking and I am getting nowhere…fast
It’s time for a glass of tea and some perspective…and a talk with myself (preferably not aloud where I can add crazy to the list).
I am doing okay.
Things will be okay.
It could be worse.
There are solutions to the real problems.
Some of the problems aren’t really that big a deal.
The sun will still do it’s thing even if everything doesn’t get done so there is always tomorrow.
I can fold one load of laundry.
I can wash one sink load of dishes.
I can stack all of the paper in one place and deal with it one piece at a time.
I can clear one counter.
The lost things can be found.
And so can peace.
I can stop and have a glass of tea.
I can make the baby laugh.
I could even read a chapter of a book.
And then I can do one more thing to make our home more comfortable.
Comfortable, not perfect.
What I can’t do is everything…right now.
I feel better now.
I’m glad we had this talk.
I’m struggling today.
The things to do seem endless (and maybe a little pointless).
Some days I can just jump in and tackle the day.
Depression is crazy.
I know I’m not crazy, but the unpredictability of “depression” is crazy.
One day maybe scientists or doctors or somebody will figure it out, but for now it is something we live with.
We all live with it.
If you don’t suffer with it, you know someone who does and it affects your life as well.
I don’t want my depression (and coordinating anxiety) to define me. There is so much more to me than that.
But, I do want to continue to talk about it because we have to. We have to share our stories and support each other and realize that we are not alone…
even if depression causes you to feel like you are alone and unworthy of being loved.
So today, I have cleaned off my desk because it is a small “win”, and tidiness and order make me feel better…a little bit more in control of my life.
And I am writing this imperfect post because maybe someone else who is struggling today will happen upon it and be encouraged to seek out a small “win” for themselves.
And I will cook a healthy dinner for my family tonight, because the food we eat does affect our health and we have been working really hard to improve our diet. It won’t be perfect, but it will be good enough.
And I will offer myself abundant grace today for my depression and mistakes and grouchiness. I am human and flawed and trying. I will give myself some credit for hanging in there.
Some days life is hard.
But even in the hard times there can be grace and forgiveness and courage and kindness.
There has to be.
Two days fraught with anxiety brought on by my own lack of mindfulness. No journal pages and no progress on the house. Loss of sleep and busywork that has little to show for it.
Nobody to blame but myself, but mistakes happen and it’s okay when they do. I just need to learn (or relearn) from it and move on in a more intentional way.
I need to remember that my anxiety is a living entity that can be controlled, but never eradicated.
And one of the symptoms of my anxiety is that I tend to take personal responsibility for everything. Then the depression hits because I can’t do enough.
In a group situation where a problem is brought up, I think it must be me.
Someone says they need to talk to me about something, I wonder what I’ve done wrong.
Something needs to be fixed, I try to figure out what I should be doing.
Sound familiar to anyone else out there?
The specific situation that triggered my anxiety this time?
The border crisis, of course.
I have a lot of friends who are social activists. I have conservative friends and liberal friends. I have friends who rant and rave, and friends who quietly go about making the world a better place (I have to say that I like them best). I do believe that it takes all of us working together to get things done. but it doesn’t seem like we are doing a very good job of that right now.
This post isn’t really about what’s happening in the world right now. I’m aware of what’s going on in the world.
But the sky is not falling.
Bad stuff is happening.
And worse stuff than that.
That’s not new.
Good stuff is happening also.
That’s not news. It doesn’t sell or raise ratings.
My anxiety prevents me from taking responsibility for the world.
I can live with that.
In fact, it’s the only way that I can live.
I’ll take my philanthropic advice from Mother Teresa…
So, I’ve blocked a lot of folks on facebook. I’ll continue to use it to keep in touch with friends around the world, but not to be told that I don’t care about the poor children because I’m not hysterically posting hateful words (and yes, I was accused of not caring).
The news is off for now.
And I’m going to focus my attention on my actual neighbor that is in danger of losing her family’s home because life has been particularly challenging.
And I’m going to take care of myself and my family because I do care.
I care an awful lot.
Still feeling under the weather, but plodding along anyway.
Journal page done and posted. Yea me!
A check we have been waiting on finally came in a few days ago. I’d done lots of math in anticipation of its arrival in order to make the best use of it.
A few things were paid off and an emergency fund established.
And yesterday, our car (which had been struggling) let it be known that it was done for. A check-up at the mechanic’s verified what we had feared – the transmission is shot.
One step forward…
and two steps back.
It’s an old car and really not worth the money we would need to put into it to fix the transmission. It also needs some work on something that makes the front wheels and the back wheels go round and round together.
I know that was a pretty technical description of the problem, but let me put it in simpler terms…probably well over $500 for that fix.
And the air conditioner doesn’t work.
So, it looks like we will go car shopping.
On the bright side.
We have an emergency fund. We only had it for a couple of days, but it still counts, right?
It’s not enough for a car, but it’s something, right?
It’s all going to be okay.
Nope, it’s definitely going to be okay.
Life is too short for bent and dull sewing pins, fabric I no longer love and dried up paint. I could add a hundred and one other things to this list and never even leave my studio.
I’ve decided that it all comes down to FEAR and it’s constant companion ANXIETY. There is no simple button to press and make those two disappear from my life. I just need to continue to work towards a peaceful home where we can exist together harmoniously.
That’s where I have been for the past couple of days. Not for long periods of time, but little visits so I can work out a way to want to be in there…
To make stuff again.
I’ve identified two specific things that I fear with regards to that room:
Fear of getting rid of things because I might need them someday and the accompanying fear of using things because then I won’t have it and it might work better in another future project…
and that hypothetical scenario leads to the next fear…
Fear that anything I make won’t be “good enough”. I can’t even explain that one.
Is it a fear of someone else’s opinion? Maybe a “real” artist judging what I’ve made or…
Am I really just afraid of my own inner critic?
– that voice that does such a good job of telling me that “I can’t”
In any event, the result of this fear is that I’ve become more of a collector of possibilities rather than a creator of them.
I have fabric, canvases, paint, brushes, ephemera, stamps, ink, adhesives, buttons, threads, jars of fascinating little things, pencils, pens, paper and more paper and a hundred and one other things. All of this was purchased, found and gifted to me because of it’s potential to become something more.
I’ve even collected quotes about creativity…
But I’ve made enough lists for today.
I have fewer responsibilities to use as excuses.
Today, I have decided to start a summer journal project and publicly declare it’s existence.
Fifty-seven journal pages this summer.
One for every year that I’ve been alive.
Instead of saying that I want to make stuff over and over again, I’m going to make stuff.
Make pages with no excuses or apologies for what they look like or don’t.
Process, not product…
Along the way, I’m going to get rid of anything taking up space in there that doesn’t work for who I am now as an artist.
starting right now!
What the hell does that even mean?
I wish I had an answer or some profound advice to share with you.
What I do have is my stories and maybe that can help…
I’ve been writing for quite some time about my desire for a simpler, more intentional life.
I think I may have even written that exact sentence before.
Today, I am frustrated…
that the house is still a mess
that we are still in debt and struggling
that I always seem to have something to worry about
and that I seem to be making no progress towards my goal.
And yet, as I look back over this year’s posts at this (almost) mid-point of the year, I realize that I have done a pretty good job of sticking with my “motto” – being grateful and letting go.
I have become better about experiencing gratitude in the midst of life…even when it wasn’t easy. I am more grateful for what I have and more patient with dealing with the challenges than I used to be.
(most of the time)
I’m still not grateful for dog hair…lots and lots of dog hair.
I am grateful for my dogs (again, most of the time)
I am grateful that my dogs are not bald…that they have hair, but once it comes off of them…
Not grateful (at all).
I suppose if I took up spinning yarn I could use the damn stuff, but I suspect the fibers are too short and then what the hell would I do with the stupid dog hair yarn? I don’t knit or crochet and I sure don’t need any more projects…
Nope, not grateful for dog hair.
Maybe that gratitude will come with more practice.
I sincerely doubt it though.
And, as far as the house goes, I am still decluttering.
Sometimes, despite my best intentions, too much comes in.
But, I haven’t give up (totally).
Some days (weeks) I don’t even try.
But, some days I do a lot.
If I wasn’t decluttering at all, what a mess it would be!
Again, the journey continues.
I’m not standing still.
Although I’m doing a better job of resting when I need to.
So, it turns out that I needn’t be so frustrated today.
I’m doing an okay job of moving forward on this journey and letting go of that which is heavy and for that…
I am grateful.