The Vulnerability in Knowing

I know that I’ve been absent for quite some time here. There has been no new writing, no spam posting of edited pictures on social media, and a barely-noticable, quite sparse presence on the book of face.
I haven’t been creating like I used to, for months… and that’s okay.

“We’re all on a different timeline.” has been repeated over and again and it makes me wonder. In the multiverse of five billion minds, where will paths cross, intertwine and split again, all creating what we know of ourselves?

What exactly started the chemical reaction of learning more of myself, I don’t know. The healing does not come like a cleansing rain. No, it comes like a nuclear explosion, laying waste to all you’ve ever known. It leaves you in what looks like ruins, flaws and brokeness exposed.

There is no painless way to know yourself.

Before uncovering the foundations a soul stands on, hours, days, months are spent digging through the rubble. Research on radioactive events, in our existence, is never truly over. So it is, sorting through fragmented memory, to find insight into a reason for every element of ourselves.

Clarity is supernatural and what you once thought of in black and white, washes away. Contrast can only do so much to see within, when even our brain-matter is gray. Such is the struggle, when it is realized that previous you-s no longer exist, and you are pressed to give answer to questions insidious persistence. Steady retort is buried under the debris of all I have been and have yet to be.

Long story short, I’ve been learning about myself, pursuing healing, and wrestling with the unknown. When you think about everything you perceive yourself to be, what do you find when the past is pried open and the patterns of of your personality are tracked? Getting to know someone, with all their flaws and idiosyncrasies, takes intention and vulnerability. You are worth getting to know yourself that way.

Access to the Heart

Should

Hi
There’s been a heck of a lot to process lately. Almost nothing seems untouched. It’s like trying to stay in one place but hanging from a pendulum. I can’t begin to cover everything whirling around in my life lately, so I’ll try for as much “now” as I can.

Yesterday, I woke up happy despite my tiredness; fed Clove, took my meds, and returned to the cozy comfort of my bed. After some time had passed, and I had both gone to and returned from sleep, there was no pleasant escape feeling. Yes, no pressure to check items off of the never ending to-do list, but with the absence of pressure, I felt suspended, as if in a vacuum, without solid form, empty, blank.

This morning, I woke up and tarried in bed some sleepy moments, before getting ready and heading out the door. Coffee put a bit more pep in my step, and singing out in a room full of people doing the same, kept my energy up and the joy flowing.

It wasn’t until after I had gotten home, that the pendulum swung back again. I don’t know if it was watching stories on social media overflowing with pain and anger, or the fact that the weekend is quickly approaching it’s end.
The best weather we’ve had all week has graced us today. “Should”s fill my head. I should be enjoying the weather properly, actively, instead of convincing myself to leave the bed I had returned to, and sitting on the slab of cement outside my door. I should be utterly happy, tickled pink, over my many blessings.

Find the pleasant things.
The wind is more than a slight breeze. It sighs and whispers through the trees, wood creaking beneath birdsong. The ebb and flow of ocean waves sound to rest within their boughs. I wonder what all of the birds are saying. They have no moral dilemma, no sense of uncertain future. A Mourning Dove calls, and I am transported into a childhood memory.

There are no details, despite the picture not blurring. It wasn’t a complete memory. Although real and true, it is a mixture of memory, old photographs, and possibly dreams. Isn’t nostalgia interesting? Looking back, I long for those days. Chalk on the driveway, making homes under trees, being unafraid to let loose a shout or scream; they sit on the surface. Oil and water, or a soup you skim the fat from; nostalgia is like that.

Nearby, a train’s deep whistle echoes and just like that, I’m pulled into the present. More “should”s are waiting, both question and command. Sometimes, I wish I was simple, but that smells strongly of the roses they make all those glasses from.

That is where I leave you for now, friends and strangers. Answers have not yet turned into action or soaked into my grey matter. Health and peace to you these days, and thank you for sticking around through the above partial brain dump.

Growing Pains

The sun is out today after a couple weeks of it hiding, taking my energy with it. I’m forcing myself to sit outside, take in the fresh air, and eat something besides pancakes. Clove is here with me and seems to have forgotten what being outside is like, too distracted to notice I’m eating carrots.

The sounds are a blend of what I’ve become used to in the present, and a pang of nostalgia.: Construction, cars driving by, a dog barking from a neighbor’s yard. Someone appears in our shared back-bit of nature with a plastic bag, and the sweet call of a morning dove quiets. I’m annoyed until I see they are picking up trash. I feel both shame for my reaction and gratitude that people still exceed expectation in simple goodness.

Clove is munching on her arugula and I, my carrots. A slight breeze waves the top of the container and disperses the sparse amount of loose fluff on her. This is good for both of us.

Maybe Spring inside of us is just as messy as Spring outdoors. With all of it’s back and forth, between freezing and melting, sunshine and gloom, our hearts go through it too. When will my chest pains push flowers from my bones, will this digging and searching inside yield the treasure I buried to hide through winter? Things are stirring in my soil, unseen. I guess I’ll keep seeking sunshine for my Spring.

Last Month

Let’s do “get help”

I think that part of why I have such difficulty expressing negative emotion is because of my high empathy. That doesn’t exactly make sense without context, I know. Thinking of all of the hurt and difficulty in the world weighs me down immensely. I know that there is only so much I can do to help but I want to do it all. This “give until I can’t anymore” mentality is good, to an extent.
Just because I feel people’s pain doesn’t mean that others understand that. Taking on so much, mentally and emotionally, actually ends up keeping me from helping others to my full ability.

So, my own pain and struggle, I don’t like acknowledging it. I don’t like expressing it and I want to keep others “safe” from it. Part of this comes from a selfless place, but really, lately, I’ve found that I get annoyed when people don’t do what they can to take care of their own problems. Because I’m exhausted by other peoples worry and complaint, I don’t want to share mine. The mindset of taking care of it myself, just pushing through, or telling myself subconsciously that it’s not real or it’s just me not doing enough, has completely infiltrated.

I’ve only just realized this, thinking about how someone I know, instead of calling emergency services, after being in a situation very close to the one my grandmother passed away from, waited an hour or more, for someone else to help them. I’ll admit, that made me angry. I was irritated because my grandma didn’t have the chance to call and had to wait hours until she was found. I’m irritated because I care about this person and they aren’t asking for or accepting help that will actually contribute to solving the problem.

This caused me to look at myself. Sure, I’m not pushing aside a severe physical situation onto those around me who care about me when I could be getting help from someone actually trained to assist immediately, but I have been pushing aside other things that I need to ask for help with or acknowledge to resolve with the resources I have available. I think one of the things that I’ve pushed down is that I’m mad at myself. In some sense, I need to call 911 instead of laying on the ground, downplaying it and telling myself I’ll be perfectly fine until someone finds me there with my broken leg.

If you are reading this, and you are the person I’m referring to, or relate to my side of this challenge, please don’t take offense. I’m annoyed at the struggle. I’m angry to see it reflected in me. It’s because I care so immensely.

I don’t reach out often. I don’t open up easily but, friends and strangers, please, be honest with yourself and if you need it, get help.
Love y’all.

Priorities

Often goals, priorities and focus are relegated to a New Years resolution, a spring cleaning. The truth is that we make time for what matters and what matters makes more time for us. When I start my day focusing on truth and putting life into a directed perspective, I find that the time is freer.

Everyone has 24hrs a day, yet so many of us, myself often included, say we have no time. Our days are full of choices, large and small, that impact that flow. What is import to you? What will you give time to grow?

I have been trying to focus on my health this past half-year or so. Not so much because of the pandemic, but because I’ve spent so long dismissing my own needs and telling myself that either it was just my overthinking or that other things mattered more. Considering your health and well-being affect every moment of your existence, it was high time I made it a priority.

I can’t lie, it’s really hard. Not only do I have to firmly set boundaries and try to communicate with others, I also am required to advocate to and for myself. After years of the only response to “how are you” being “I’m good”, cultivating honesty even within myself is a challenge.

It’s still on my to-do list to format a routine and put into place repetitive ways to move towards goals, but my focus is at least changing.

Thank you, friends and strangers, for joining me in my thoughts. It is refreshing to write again.

Dealing with Death Daily

Maybe people don’t realize

The impact to my already cracked heart

Even the mention of another human’s passing

Can lend

Spider vein fractures on the vessel that is me

What will cause Kintsugi

Precious pain not hidden, highlighted

Empathy interlaced like gold

Potters hands still hold

Us

I was forced to think about loss of life actively yesterday, not just in passing news or a circle of people I used to be part of. Repeating that I am someone who cares quite a bit about many things, there’s a certain apathy that I employ to cope with constant pain in this world. Multiple instances of loss of life were thrust into my main focus and my heart just aches. It physically hurts in my chest.

For those that don’t know,

Kintsugi (金継ぎ, “golden joinery”), also known as kintsukuroi (金繕い, “golden repair”),[1] is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquerdusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-etechnique.[2][3][4] As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise

Wikipedia

Not only is there no attempt to hide the damage, but the repair is literally illuminated… a kind of physical expression of the spirit of mushin….Mushin is often literally translated as “no mind,” but carries connotations of fully existing within the moment, of non-attachment, of equanimity amid changing conditions. …The vicissitudes of existence over time, to which all humans are susceptible, could not be clearer than in the breaks, the knocks, and the shattering to which ceramic ware too is subject. This poignancy or aesthetic of existence has been known in Japan as mono no aware, a compassionate sensitivity, or perhaps identification with, [things] outside oneself.

Christy Bartlett, Flickwerk: The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics

If you’ve made it this far, I’m glad.

Thank you for reading, Strangers and Friends.

The Perfect Life

Hello friends and strangers,
I must apologize for my extended absence. Life has been complicated lately. I know, when is it not. Battling burnout at my job, taking a wonderful trip from which I had to return, exhaustion and getting sick, focusing on my immediate space instead of the cerebral, and quite frankly, lack of wonder and inspiration in my everyday life; these are the things I blame for my lack of posting.

My eating and sleeping have been most impacted. Vivid dreams leave me tired and confused when I wake up. Interest in food or the energy to make it are in short supply.

This morning though, staying home to stream church instead of exposing people to whatever my body is fighting, I found that pocket of contentment. Nothing is perfect. I dropped my beautiful cheese toast face down on the rabbit-fur-covered rug. My stomach is still upset, but I was able to enjoy sitting on the ground by the windows, soaking up the sun indoors, since the smoke from Canada has impacted air quality. The black berries and crisp pickle slices, that escaped the fall, were refreshing and Clove convinced me to hand over some of the fur-covered toast, allowing me to fit in a few smoothings of her velvety soft fluff. No, things are far from perfect but, life can still be good.

Toasted sourdough, dill havarti, prosciutto, with blackberries, dill pickle slices and coffee.

A day later

Last night, I got home from work, exhausted and unmotivated. I was fully set to lay on my bed, skip dinner, and hide from the mess that is my apartment. Thankfully, a couple of calls with people got me moving.

While I still only managed a bowl of Cream of Wheat for dinner, it counts as eating right? Starting around 9pm, the cleaning bug bit and my kitchen, clean clothes, and a few other things are now taken care of.

When do you get inspiration? Mine shows up at some of the worst times for my schedules of work, sleep, and responsibilities. I worked at 7:30am this morning and ended up getting to sleep around 11pm. Do any of you have tips for getting the most out of ill-timed inspiration, when your to-do lists is seemingly endless and your energy is regularly low after working?

I’ve been dealing with some health difficulties on top of the normal stresses and “excessive heat” advisories of the past week so thank you for reading my short update, a day after I wrote it.

Wishing you health and inspiration this week, friends and strangers.

Romanticizing Reality

I’ve been feeling pretty crap the past few days. Scratch that, the past few weeks. I started off the new year like any other, with goals, telling myself I would stick to my perfectly laid out plan. You would think that by now I would learn that perfect doesn’t exist in our messy lives. Stuff happens and plans get pushed to the side for dealing with something more pressing.

Even though I took last week to rest my body and mind after work, it didn’t magically make my adult responsibilities disappear and they’re still here, hanging out in my apartment with me. My coworker and I both share that acute stress that you get from someone standing in a waiting room where everyone is sitting and that is what my adulting to-do list feels like.

Finding a way to balance enjoying my life and not being drowned in the things that still need to be handled is a constant battle so I’ve been trying to find ways to improve the parts that I can’t get rid of entirely. Today I picked up some Pho on my way home, cozied up at my kotatsu (japanese heated table) and am going to do my best to pretend that I’m the hardworking heroin in a Ghibli movie. Good food to nourish my body (hopefully placate it) and the right perspective to try to make sorting my finances and catching up on cleaning fun.

We’ll see how it goes but I’m hopeful. Writing this, writing again in general is so good for me. What are some things that help improve your perspective and motivation?