Today

Okay, maybe recovery from a depressive episode isn’t a one and done deal…

And maybe honesty with oneself about how hard life has been is a good idea…

I think I’m really back in the light again this time.

I feel good.

I’m writing.

The past days have been about rest and art and changing bad habits into better ones.

My eyesight isn’t better and I have a stack of medical bills that have increased the debts I’ve worked so hard to reduce.  I calculate that every trip to a new specialist will add thousands of dollars in debt.  We have insurance.   It doesn’t cover everything. Since I’m not dying of a brain tumor and I don’t have multiple sclerosis, I’m taking my health into my own hands for a bit.

So, the plan is to work towards improving my overall health and continue to work towards reducing stress and changing the way that I react to the stress that is inevitable.

Step one…acknowledging that life has been challenging the past year.  Most of those challenges are here to stay.  My sister’s health will continue to be a responsibility.  We haven’t won the lottery.  The house has not improved itself.  My son will be jumping out of an airplane in a few months and then will move on to being shot at.

But, I have the summer off from teaching and that allows for rest.  And I have come to understand that ignoring the reality of the stress or pretending that it is not a big deal is not helpful.

Step two involves removing as many chemicals and additives from my environment and diet as possible.  Label reading has taken on a new priority!  Our grocery bill has increased, but I figure that I’m either going to pay for healthier food or more medical bills.  The junk food is gone and vegetables and fruit are filling the majority of my plate.

The transition has not been as hard as I anticipated.  If I were to be completely honest, it’s possible that in the past I might have considered a box of Little Debbie snack cakes to be an adequate meal.  Let’s just keep that little confession between the two of us…okay?

Step three relates directly to the house and yard.  I am continuing to declutter and assess the amount of stuff in our house.  But, more importantly, I am trying to be more realistic about how the house looks…and worry less about what other people might think.  A lot of living happens here.  It’s not a magazine photo shoot.  And I am not Suzy homemaker.

Honestly, some days I don’t know who I am…or who I want to be when I grow up.

So, I’m going to keep trying to figure that out.  And work towards being the best “me” that I can be.  I’m acknowledging that looking like Cindy Crawford is probably not realistic. I’m working on that expectation.  I working on a lot of things…

including this..

Still a long way to go.  I’ve figured out the meaning (for me).  I don’t normally comment on what a work means to me, but I might make an exception this time…once it’s done.

Today I am doing laundry.  And making more paper.  And sanding and scraping off the paint that I just added to the canvas above.  And (sigh) figuring out our finances and paying bills.

and reminding myself that life is good and that I am an okay person most of the time…

and that I will write again tomorrow even if it’s hard.

 

The New Beginning

Well, here is yesterday’s journal page where I began to work out the details of my New Year slogan that  I wrote about yesterday:

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Yep, that didn’t go so well.

Here’s what happened…

In celebration of the success that was our Christmas Day, I decided to take a short nap.

I define success by reaching the conclusion of a big holiday event without verbal disagreements evolving into a physical altercation.

If there is more than one person present in the house during a major holiday, I feel this is a somewhat hopeful goal, but probably doable.

I don’t like to set the bar too high.

I avoid all possible Christmas advertisements featuring magical Christmas festivities or any sappy Christmas movies that feature perfection as their story-line.  I have found that these are not representative of real life.  I personally like Chevy Chase’s Christmas Vacation.  I believe it to be a realistic goal to strive for.

Anyway, I decided to reward myself with a nap.  That fit within the parameters of my New Year Plan, right?

Taking a nap in this house yesterday was akin to meditating on the Titanic.  It wasn’t a complete waste of time, but it wasn’t very successful either.  Between the telephone calls, the knock on the door, the barking dogs, the dog fight over the plastic container of leftovers stolen from the counter, and the set of cabinet doors that got knocked down during said fight…it took almost 3 hours to get  30 minutes of sleep.

The journal page did not get done.

I did think about it though.

Points for me!

I woke up this morning in a determined and optimistic mood.  Today was a new day.  The journal page beckoned!

Then there was the bad tire on the truck. Oh yea, and the missing key-lock that allows one to access the spare tire on the truck. No access to the spare. Great for theft protection.  Not so great when husband needs to be at work in an hour…and work is 45 minutes away.

And the missing keys to the other car.  They have since been located…in Houston in my daughter’s car.  Not helpful at all.

Today will be a day to be a taxi service.  Unless I can journal while driving, it is unlikely that the page will get done today either.

It’s a good thing that I started my New Year a week early.

At this rate, I just might get started before 2018 arrives.

 

 

Nothing.

I talk a lot here about goals and dreams and plans.  Things I want to get done.  Things I need to get done.

I realize that I have a definite inner voice (or critic) that I am constantly trying to please.  Where that voice comes from doesn’t really matter anymore.  Maybe some of us are born with it attached to our perfectionist gene.  Maybe it is recorded in childhood from the voices around us – intentional, careless, or misunderstood language that we recorded as children and carry around with us.

Does it matter?  What’s done is done.  The past is the past and no amount of striving, obsessing, or analysis can change it.

All I know is that I have a choice.  I can choose to continue behavior that doesn’t bring me peace and joy once I have identified it, or…

I can change.

What am I striving for?

For everyone who comes into or might come into my home to think I’m doing a good job as a homemaker, wife and mom?  My family already loves me – just as I am with all my flaws and faults and potential. The love me even when there isn’t a clean towel or two vegetables at the meal (maybe especially then).

For the world to see me as a “real” artist?  I like to make stuff.  That should be enough – to create for the sheer pleasure of it.

For the world to acknowledge that I do enough, I am enough, I have enough…

Unrealistic expectations.  Stupid even.  This is not the first time that I’ve had this realization and I’m sure that it won’t be the last.

Affirmation from the people around you and the world at large is meaningless if you don’t believe in yourself.

What brought all of this on?  Yesterday, I started feeling ill – reminiscent of my emergency surgery almost two years ago.  I was scared enough that I went to the doctor voluntarily today.  It turned out to be nothing significant.

I now think it was stress.  I’m not good at relaxing.  I suck at it.  I always feel the need to be doing something productive.

I have a choice.  I’m going to make the choice to start practicing doing nothing sometimes – Scribbling, coloring, staring, thinking, telling the voices to be quiet,  just being.  Decluttering my possessions is not enough.  I need to declutter negative behavior and unnecessary stress also.

I imagine that this will take some practice.

I have enough, I am enough, I do enough.

 

 

I Shall Get My Hands Dirty

Some days you wake up with a head full of dreams and a heart full of hope and…

the day doesn’t measure up to your expectations.  Maybe it couldn’t because your expectations were too high – you hoped and dreamed of too much, but…

I’m not going to dream smaller dreams or hope for less and…

instead of feeling down and giving up, I’m going to get my hands dirty…

I’m going to make something and paint something and fill up the empty spots within myself by creating and doing…

I shall get my hands dirty.