19 February 2019 @ 08:22 am
I am not okay. If a breakdown is the breaking down of normal function and abilities, then I am having a small one. Thankfully, I got in to see Jan last night on a cancellation, and I'm so glad I did.

Cut for mention of abuse; please read or don't with your own self care in mind! )
14 February 2019 @ 05:09 pm
“Write less about how you suffer, and more about how you survive.”
~ Mary Karr.

Cut for mention of child abuse )
13 February 2019 @ 07:51 am
I realized last night that another memory I've been . . . coralling? . . . for want of a better word likely has some unfortunate implications. It's a memory I haven't ever forgotten, exactly, and I frequently think of, but only last night did I realize that the way my body and brain and breath react when I think of that memory likely mean some bad things. The memory just ends, you see, with no specific resolution of why I feel afraid - but then so many of my memories end that way, my brain protecting me from the exact details of what came next.

I wonder why all of this is bubbling to the surface right now. What combination of real world triggers and mental headspace has told my brain 'hey, we should poke at this one!'

I spent four hours yesterday, knitting a series of cowls to give to people today as Galentine's Day gifts. It was so lovely. I felt a little bit possessed as I knitted, I was so focused on it, but I'm realizing in retrospect what I was focused on was nothing - the beautiful act of simply zenning out to a repetitive task and my brain not churning. I wish I could knit today! But instead I have work and financial therapy. Well. At least it's Galentine's Day and I have little gifts to give out to people throughout the day, which will be cheery. I can focus on that.
13 February 2019 @ 07:47 am
Happy Galentine's Day to all my lady friends (defined as expansively as imaginable)! What fun thing will you do for yourself or your friends today?

11 February 2019 @ 07:32 am
A new memory surfaced last night. Mention of childhood abuse under the cut. Pleas read or don't with self care in mind! )
09 February 2019 @ 08:18 am
This has been a tough week. I'm still weathering being triggered, and yesterday at lunchtime I ended up so deeply nauseated I couldn't function. I came home and slept for two and a half hours, and then felt a bit better, but I'm still feeling nauseated this morning. I think it is very likely this is my body saying "no" and "stop." I'm glad to have a weekend where I can listen.

I went to Wisconsin last weekend to visit M and her family, and I had such a wonderful time with them all. But the drive there and back is five hours each way, so I started Monday absolutely wiped out from driving. And that dug up some anger - anger that mine and M's relationship will never be the same again, and I didn't get a say in that. I can't just drive up and back on a weekend on a whim - it's too much. And that means the fabric of our relationship is materially different - no popping in on each other; no happy hour cocktails; no days spent cooking together. I recognize that my anger isn't necessarily fair - she should be doing what's right for her and her family - but I think I've been ignoring it, and so it's festering. So I need to just sit with that, let myself be sad over it.

Things feel hard right now in a way that I don't know how to wrap my head around. But perhaps I don't need to. Perhaps if I just keep ministering to the physical manifestations of all of this, I'll be giving myself the mental and emotional space to process the week and all that it's connected to.

I had a dream that I kissed Chris Evans last night? So you know, brains aren't all bad.
08 February 2019 @ 07:18 am
On Wednesday night, my place of work held a dinner for LGBTQIA folks, and since so many junior colleagues were going to be there, I went - I want them to feel seen and supported. But I didn't really want to go for lots of different reasons, including my feelings that doing work things in an evening feels profoundly wrong.

Anyway. I went. I sat with a friend and two junior colleagues, who were both delightful, and then someone at my boss's level (not my actual boss) sat down at our table, too. Immediately, things were super awkward. I do not mind being an open book at my place of work, but there's something about having someone in a position of power at the table that really borks things up. Everything felt forced, especially talking about our identities.

Because the event was in part about checking in with folks and trying to gather information about how to best support the community, there were a list of questions on the table we needed to talk about and then write down answers. So THAT was super awkward, because there's nothing like pointed questions that don't necessarily apply to why anyone's in the room to make conversation flow. And we're all at very different points in our lives and careers, so it's not like there could really be consensus on anything. And all I could really think about was the boss-level person at the table getting to know parts of me I would not have shared with her under normal circumstances.

I think what I'm struggling with is that the whole thing felt very forced. Once the dinner was announced, it was assumed that some of us would be there whether we wanted to be there or not. There was an implicit expectation for us to show - and I definitely felt pressure about it. My motivation for being there wasn't about authenticity or joy, but about duty. And once we got there we were forced into groups we wouldn't have chosen, and to share things that we may or may not have wanted to share.

All this by way of saying - I woke up triggered yesterday morning, and I'm pretty sure it was that event that did it. I slammed into a giant wall yesterday and am a fairly mangled version of myself now. I've been tending to the physical symptoms of the triggering, using scents and tastes and textures to ground and soothe myself, and that's been helpful. My discomfort is profound, both intellectually and physically (and emotionally) and I just . . . well, in writing this I just figured out the root of it. The entire thing felt coerced. And that's not how I ever want to feel.
25 January 2019 @ 09:56 pm
19 January 2019 @ 10:35 am
Thank you to everyone who was so kind on my last post, and once again, to everyone who donated in the post before that. I've been living on your donations - which became more crucial yesterday when my place of work did not reimburse me the $315 I'm owed for the conference I went to earlier in January. (Every reimbursement person I have ever worked with seems to imagine everyone floats around on a cloud of money or credit and can just not be reimbursed on time. How do they have such a profound disconnect from people's realities?) Anyway - thank you. I have groceries because of you.

I went to a yoga class last night (that I paid for back in November - thank you, November me) that was focused on restorative and relaxing poses. We used lots of props, and did a lot of meditation, and it was a really lovely way to end a trying week. We had to set an intention for the class, and mine was "let go." I wanted to make space to let go of my resentment, anger, grief, and frustration, and while it was certainly no instant fix-it, I did feel good by the end of class for having made the attempt. (I did have a flare of graaaaaah during the class when the guy next to me moved his bolster away, and instead of being very careful about placement like everyone else in the class, just shoved it right into me. I mean. My dude.)

I am still in my PJs. It feels delicious. Sending warm vibes to everyone getting walloped by snow. ♥
17 January 2019 @ 01:49 pm

M's husband B was in town overnight to turn in the keys to the house, close bank accounts, switch off the utilties etc, and I saw him this morning. It was lovely. And then we said bye, and I got in my car, and I started to cry. I am a broken record on this, I know, but there is just a big damn hole in my life where that family was and it's not getting easier.

My counseling practice told me that since they have no evidence on their end that I was charged $150 by mistake, they can't refund my money. (I have sent them my bank statement showing them the charge.) This has been going on for days. I am now disputing the charge with my bank.

My boss took back several promises he made to me about ways in which my work life would improve, including rescinding travel opportunities.

My boss also says I can only miss four days of work to go to South Africa. Which . . . that means no South Africa.

I have to do a thing at work that I really, deeply, profoundly disagree with, but which I discovered I have no say in. I also had to have an hour-long meeting about that thing.

A colleague was indescribably ableist. I did not let it pass, but they didn't get it. At all.

I just heard that I did not get an interview for the job that I was head-hunted for.
14 January 2019 @ 03:30 pm
Thank you to everyone who helped out re: my last post! You are freaking angels, no lie, and have sustained me through the back and forth with the counseling practice today. (They maintain they did not take $150. I have sent them my bank statement *clearly showing* they took $150. Oy.)

The irony of my financial therapy company causing me financial hardship is not lost on me.
13 January 2019 @ 05:44 pm
Friends, I hate to do this, but my financial therapy practice just charged my checking account $150 instead of my Health Flex account, and I am left with $50. I will straighten this out for sure, but I am presently Big Time Stuck. OY. Please do not feel obligated and know that I absolutely understand anyone who's sitting back and judging me right now! *hands over head*
13 January 2019 @ 02:35 pm
Well, I crashed out this weekend in multiple ways. I went to lunch on Friday with a friend who asked about being in Appleton before Christmas, and I promptly burst into tears. On reflection, that's a good thing - it opened the door for me to come back down from my "ACHIEVE EVERYTHING!" high and actually occupy my body again.

My body also helped by aching all over. My PTSD pains are usually only in my elbows, so I don't know that it was that - but it could have been my body just protesting, or grief, or me fighting something off. I don't know. It was terrible on Friday night and into Saturday, but now it's an echo of what it was. Whatever its source, it made me slow down - I spent yesterday cooking and resting and reading, helped along by the snowstorm outside. It was a good day to be lazy and cozy.

(My snow guy came and plowed my driveway at 2am last night. And my neighbor's. Oh lord. I'm so grateful to him for doing the job but 2am!)

Today I felt utterly not myself, grumpy, increasingly nauseated as the morning progressed . . . and then I realized I hadn't taken my meds. At least it was an easy fix! On the downside I also forgot to put yesterday's chicken stew in the fridge last night, so I've had to pitch it today. That's frustrating. Today I've mostly been reading for work, and trying to finagle numbers, financially, to make ends meet this month, and doing some cleaning and laundry. I feel so very . . . well. Money continues to confound me. I have practiced excellent habits since the relapse, and I take some consolation in that. But I can't make my whole mortgage payment this month and that makes me feel low and ashamed and worried. I can see where I incrementally went wrong, and also where the fact that it was incremental meant I didn't notice it happening. There's no golden goose I bought foolishly, just extra money on gas and groceries and a drink out and a missed receipt and so on and so on. Ugh.

Oh, and my old yard guy was doing his yearly accounting and found I still owed him $140. I got that letter yesterday and looked directly into the camera like Ben Wyatt.

Tomorrow is a new start. I like new starts.
10 January 2019 @ 06:57 am
In financial therapy the other day, my therapist suggested that my spending in December (and January so far) was a relapse, and that we should treat it as such.

I'm fascinated by the language of addiction being applied to how I spend.

Again, I don't know whether we're using that language because my spending habits do point to an addiction, or whether it's simply adjacent language that's useful to the work we're doing, but either way it's thought provoking. It's especially useful to me because it suggests that there's a thing that happened - a relapse - and the solution is to put back into place the strategies I had before the relapse, not simply throw up my hands and go "I'm just screwed, what is the point." I think about the analogy to alcohol - that if I had an addiction there and relapsed, throwing up my hands wouldn't help anything, just dig me in deeper. So the language really kicks up my thinking a notch, forces me to confront how often I *do* want to just throw up my hands.

This relapse is going to take some serious digging out of. I'm going to have to pay off bills in pieces, and delay some things over a few months. None of that makes me happy. And the original problem that sparked my spending choices is multi-faceted - Christmas, for sure, but also travel (I never quite factor in the cost of tanks of gas) and the conference I was at, and food and drink etc. Which is not to say the position I'm in is inevitable. But understanding the thing that kicked this off is part of spotting it in the future.

This week's homework is to make a family tree with all the financial associations tied to each person on that tree. Fascinating stuff. It goes back two generations, which is interesting - I'm looking forward to sitting down and really thinking what I learned about money from my grandparents.

Sitting down and doing anything is not something I've had the time to do since I got home - unless that sitting down involved work. But I'm also beginning to grasp how much the do things do things do things energy I have right now is tied to complete emotional numbness. I can get so much done if I'm not having feelings, but that is of course absurd. Feelings are important. So I'm doing one last push to get a lot of things done at work today and tomorrow I plan to start the day with some meditation. I also have a yoga class I signed up for tomorrow evening - part of a six week series on restorative and relaxing yoga, which sounds perfect right now. I'm not exactly looking forward to discovering what's on the other side of all the feelings I'm holding off? But I am interested. I suspect a biiiiiiig emotional crash is in the offing.

The sun is just starting to come up. There's snow forecast for the weekend. I like the quiet and stillness of these early hours.
08 January 2019 @ 07:20 am
It has been a whirlwind since last I wrote. New Year's Eve was a bit hit and miss. I love the person who hosted the celebration, but between her sending out the invitation (and me seeing who she invited) and the actual event, the crowd of people attending changed completely. What was meant to be a gathering with chill folks whom I know and love turned into a less chill gathering with people I didn't really know at all. Worse, we played a game called What's That Nasty Thing, which is a lot like Cards Against Humanity, but you write your own answer. It got crude fast. There are words and phrases I do not need to hear from people I barely know, and most of them got used in that game. *shudder* Anyway, I ended up leaving about 11.15 because I realized that seeing in the new year with that particular group of folks was not how I wanted 2018 to end or 2019 to begin. So I went home and went to bed. Knew it was NYs when fireworks started to go off in the neighborhood. :)

Right after that I went to the major professional conference in my field, and that was five days of non-stop, whirly-gig action. My brain is so full. I got to hang out with people I love, and meet a lot of folks I admire, and I gave a paper in a session that was really well attended, and saw others, and met up with junior colleagues looking for some advice, and with folks who want to hire me to consult. It was genuinely fun, and I networked like a pro, which is the first time I have ever networked competently, and is no doubt at least half of why my brain is full. And then I came home on Sunday and Monday we're off to the races again with a very full work week. My house, predictably, is a disaster, with suitcases and clothes everywhere, because all I've done so far is drop everything, sleep, go to work, come home, and sleep some more.

The conference was financially a shoooooooooow. I get reimbursed for most things in two weeks, but my god, I am . . . well. I have financial therapy today and that is well timed.

Looks like I am, for real, going to South Africa in a few months - I'm just working on getting my boss's approval for the time missed. And I have applied for TWO new jobs now, both of which I'll hear from before the end of the month in some capacity or another.

Also, I did not go on that second date because he canceled - he was sick. Honestly, it was for the best, because it would have been so difficult to go from conference brain to Other brain. We are still texting like champs. I don't mind having a bit more time and going slow on this whole thing!

And now I must rouse myself for another full day.
28 December 2018 @ 05:24 pm
The benefit of three-and-a-half hours driving is that it gives a person a lot of time to think.

Now that the hurly burly of Christmas is done, I'm realizing just how emotionally overwhelmed I am. Coming back home and being acutely conscious of the empty house down the road was hard all over again. I don't know what that life looks like without M here. For fifteen years she's been a constant and now I have to make a new life without her in it in the same way. I am at an utter loss. I don't know how to do this. I'll have to figure it out, of course, but oof. And then the dating thing - the guy in question is funny, intelligent, great to talk to, politically right where I am, and yet my brain is doing the thing where it refuses to acknowledge any feelings, because all of them are scary. It's the most perfect expression of my flight reflex I have experienced in a long time. I'm going on that second date, no worries, but I'm trying to figure out how to talk to my brain about things so that I can actually be present on that date. And I forgot, in my update yesterday, to say that the recruiter was back in touch right before Christmas to clear the dates of the first-round interviews and give me some advice about crafting a cover letter, which I wrote over a few days and sent in yesterday. So that's in the mix, too.

I think the key is probably to take a day for myself tomorrow and get my house in order (so much unpacking). BUT OOF.
27 December 2018 @ 04:33 pm
Hello friends! I hope that those of you who celebrate Christmas have had a merry, merry time, and that if your Christmas was difficult, those hurts are healing. And love to everyone who didn't celebrate Christmas this week, too!

I have been on epic world travels of the midwest since I last checked in. I drove up to Appleton, Wisconsin, where M's new home is, and spent three days unpacking the house so that when the rest of her family arrived on the 22nd, almost everything was done. I got seriously out of sorts about how much glassware the family had - good lord, that was a lot of unwrapping. But it was nice to make order out of the chaos of moving, and by the time the family did arrive, everything was done save the kids' rooms (and those weren't done because we had neither tools nor hardware to put the beds together). M's parents also drove up that day, hauling two hand-made canoes up with them, and I had quite the run-in with one of the struts holding the canoes in place. Exhibit A:

Saturday, after unloading all the stuff that came up with the larger fam, we decorated the Christmas tree and had an amazing meal, and opened presents. And then while everyone hung out I went to bed earlyish, because my heart just hurt. It was so hard to contemplate leaving the next day and knowing that was it, they'd be Wisconsinites now, and I would see them only once in a while instead of all the time, so I had some decidely ugly cries. The next morning, after a big breakfast, I set off for Chicago, and saying goodbye was awful. Just the pits. Hate it. tearing up just thinking about it.

*waves hands* okay.

I drove to Chicago, and so began Christmas part two with my friends here. We've had a lovely time - we've eaten at amazing restaurants, been bowling, been to the movies, and spent Christmas day with A's family. Christmas Day wrapped up with an epic beer pong tournament in A's brother's (nice, furnished) basement, and while the cups were full of water (for the minors playing) all the adults had to play with a drink in one hand. I discovered heretofore unimagined beer pong skills, and my team WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP! I got a Starbucks gift card and $35 in cash for my efforts. (Plus the delicious thrill of being an utter dark horse at beer pong, so dark that even I didn't know about it.)

I've run many errands around town today, and tomorrow I head back home. The editors of a piece I wrote earlier this year dropped revisions on me (which they wanted back in two weeks) on the 18th of December, so I've had to change my new year plans to go back home and work for five days before coming back to Chicago for work. But being home will be nice, and I can go through my mail and sleep in my own bed and gather my wits.

Oh. I also went on a date while here in town. And I'm going on another one next Friday. And I truly cannot parse any of that at ALL, so we'll just all have to wait for that when I figure out what is going on.

Safe travels to those of you traveling these next few days, and large wells of patience to everyone, and may your weekend and New Year be lovely! ♥
16 December 2018 @ 03:03 pm
The last of the lasts  
M was here overnight, and today we had a birthday lunch for her eldest, who just turned 12. It was fun, although madness - paper plates, take out food, people talking over each other, kids being loud, the littlest fast asleep on the living room floor because she caught a bug. And then I left. And that is the end of our times in that house on that street in this town. Tomorrow the moving vans come. Wednesday they arrive in WI and I will drive up, too, to spend three days trying to unpack as much as possible before the rest of the family arrives on Saturday.

I came home and wondered at the fact that my own house was intact and not in boxes, that I could get a glass from the cupboard and it wasn't to wrap it in paper. It feels like I should be moving, too. But I'm not. And for the next couple of weeks I will inhabit a liminal space where I see them all, all the time, and we have fun, and we get them settled. And then I will come back here in the new year and try and wrap my head around a life here without them.

It feels so unfair, to love people so much and to have to say goodbye.
15 December 2018 @ 11:53 am
It feels like the world is full of 'lasts' at the moment. I just went over to my niece's house to give her her birthday gifts - her last birthday in the town we've shared her whole life so far. This afternoon I'll go over and help M finish packing the house up - M's last visit to her house here, as the whole family moves to Wisconsin next Saturday.

The mail just came, and in there was a card from M thanking me for being her "human panic room" - and she listed out all the things I mean to her. I sat on the floor and cried. I know I'll still be those things to her, even from a distance, but I wish she were still going to be down the street.

Oy. I am an emotional see-saw.
12 December 2018 @ 04:16 pm
Did some lovely person on here send me toothbrushes from my Amazon list? They arrived today, but there was no note inside, so I have no idea who to thank! They are my favorite toothbrushes, so in case you're out there, thank you!! ♥ ♥ ♥