Burnt. Toast.

“It’s just what you do all the time.”

I’m back from my brief stint in relative seclusion, and I have nothing left today. Everyone is going to get “no” as a response. Everyone.

I deeply enjoyed my weekend in the desert. I did not enjoy coming back to sub-freezing temps, and that short break was enough to highlight the things in my life that are really weighing on me.

It really bothers me that no one asks me how I’m doing. No one close to me, that is. If they do, it’s a surface level question, and any response I have that isn’t “great!” gets dropped as though I didn’t just say “I’m not doing well today.” My people aren’t checking in with me. Strangers and acquaintances, sure, but not my family and close friends. No one asked how my flight was, and I’m scared to death of flying. No one celebrated with me that I didn’t have to take Xanax for either flight. My Mom wanted details of my trip while I was hauling my luggage upstairs. Yes, I want to give you every detail of my weekend while I’m struggling to drag a suitcase and a couple of small bags up to my room. Can it wait ten minutes?

I hide most of what I experience because sometimes I don’t even understand it, and because I have yet to see it help for me to say what’s going on. “I’m having a bad day” or any other version of it gets met with the appearance of indifference. I can understand it must be hard to look at me or talk to me and know that I don’t blurt out what I feel, I need time to work out how to talk about it. If I ever did blurt it out, I would terrify everyone, because I exist in a painful reality. There would be screaming and yelling and probably a few punches thrown. So I keep it in, and I don’t get the time to slowly release it to someone. And they otherwise don’t see it so…it’ doesn’t exist? And I’m fine. And I can do anything. And Ashley is so strong and capable.

I am because I don’t have an option. There is no space in your life for me to be anything else. I do what I have to do to survive.

Therapy was rough this morning. I cried a lot. When we got to the root of my tears, it was that I don’t feel like I matter. I have been busting my ass for a lot of people, and don’t feel like I’m getting any of that in return. My business partner picked me up from the airport in the cold yesterday, and that was the most someone has gone out of the way for me in…ever? As much as I can grouse about him, he can hear what I need and just do it, no questions, no judgment and no making it about him. He said such a kind thing to me yesterday when I thanked him for picking me up, “It’s just what you do all the time.”

I’ve been driving around, working with clients, writing documents, getting us more work, taking care of my increasingly frail grandma, trying to keep the chaos at home to a dull roar and being emotionally supportive to the point that I feel burned up. I wanted to say “no” to everyone today. I don’t want to answer calls or respond to emails. I certainly didn’t want to comfort my grandma or work on my business partner’s project to help him finish or be supportive of David while he swoops in long enough to be supported and encouraged then disappears again to go help someone else. Anyone else but me. Because for whatever reason, me not having a good day only merits an, “I hope you feel better.”

Well shit, I hope I feel better too. It’d be nice if I didn’t have to do it alone…

When Not Being A Priority Is a Trigger

I’ve paid so much for what someone else broke.

I want to vomit. 

There is just no way to understand what I live with. At least that’s my assumption. Because after sharing blogs, sharing books, talking about my experience, trying to share what goes on in my head and trying to develop a way of talking about what happens in my brain in a clear and specific way… “I am engaged with old school friends. Probably best to say goodnight.” was like being shoved off a cliff. 

Hello, familiar pit of mental hell. 

And no amount of him saying, “I’m not very good at communicating over the phone.” can repair the neuron paths in my brain that immediately take me to the worst moments of my existence when they get hit with the news that I’m just not important enough to be a priority. 

Ever felt your soul scream? You can’t hear it, thankfully. I don’t think I could survive hearing it. Feeling it is painful enough. And it happens for me when someone safe becomes a threat because my injured brain reads threat. I’m in fight mode right now and am desperate to survive. I’m also desperate to rein in the fight, because I’m about to destroy things… mainly the him that just became a threat. 

I’ve worked so hard to repair the damage so that this wouldn’t happen. I’ve paid so much for what someone else broke. And now, because of a trigger I forgot I have, my soul is screaming in pain in between waves of nausea. 

The only thing I have to hold onto is that I didn’t break before, and this might be the worst trigger I’ve had in a long time, but I was able to manage two of them, so I might be able to handle this one too. 

Trying to Not Complain for a Week

What if I took all those frustrations and re-framed them into positive observations? Would it help?

I just about lost my shit this morning when I got home from the store. It rained all morning, and by the time I was hauling a loaded cart out to my car it was pouring. It rained so hard that some of the streets were flooded on my way home, and my street was partly flooded. I unloaded wet bags or groceries and jugs of water (our water tastes weird at the moment), nearly busted my ass slipping on the threshold, got it all put away in my mom’s chaotic kitchen and discovered that the box on the porch was the cane I had ordered from my grandma that we thought hadn’t arrived.

I was checking my Amazon orders last night to see if anything might not arrive this week, and saw that the new walking cane was supposed to have been delivered on Friday. No one had seen the box, so I reported it missing and requested another. From what I can guess, it was delivered to a neighbor and they brought it to my door this morning…4 days later. I couldn’t cancel the Amazon replacement in time to not have them send me one unnecessarily, but…thanks, neighbors. If I get a package by mistake I take it over immediately. I guess I have a spare cane now for someone who need it though.

I was in such a foul mood about all of this and the grocery crazy especially that I was about to lose it. The PTSD thing I live with? Stress can quickly light a short fuse. I stopped myself though and thought, “What if I didn’t complain?”

What if I didn’t complain about this? What if I found the positive, that we can afford all of these groceries and that we needed the rain and that it isn’t also cold and that I got things done early and have plenty of time to start baking for tonight and go to the store again later for my grandma’s stuff and the cake box I need to pick up? What if I didn’t complain for a week? What if I took all those frustrations and re-framed them into positive observations? Would it help? Would it not?

Here goes!

How Are You? Cranky.

This should all have been done yesterday. Still nothing.

Hello fall, my old nemesis.

Shorter days and cold are not for me. I experience Seasonal Affective Disorder, cold makes my bones hurt deep down, and for the next several months I will have a default of moody and in pain. Winning combination, that.

I appreciate that many people enjoy fall. It’s just not the joyful harbinger of the holidays for me that it seems to be for others. And I think pumpkin spice lattes are gross. Wondering how I have any friends yet? I keep a lot of this to myself.

There is a lot of stress and busyness in my work circles right now. Fall is often a wind down into the holidays, when we start doing the fun community stuff and clients get distracted by life and shopping and apple cider and…whatever. Somehow that is not the case this year. We are really busy, my colleagues are really busy, we are putting out several project proposals for work that will begin before the end of the year and it’s all a bit of a fast balancing act.

Which is why it irritates the hell outta me that my business partner is not just handling things.

I am handling things on my side. We have a lengthy “to-do” list to get through the next three weeks and our big business development event of the year, and we designated responsibilities. None of his are done. Not one.

What I am REALLY struggling with right now is how to address this. It’s not as simple as “get your shit done.” (I know, I know, yes it sounds like it’s that easy but it’s not because of the nature of the work and the differences in our skill sets).

I have gotten us a few new clients (very grateful for every single client who chooses to trust us with their project), we need to get proposals out, I gave the content of the proposals, which means all that is left is to fill in the information in the template and send it out with a nice letter and some backup documents. This should all have been done yesterday. Still nothing. And I am about to blow my top because I am on vacation this weekend and only have so long today to deal with this.

I don’t want to be a jerk. I don’t want to be unaccommodating. I want a long term healthy and positive partnership. Except right now. Right now I want to do it myself after making cutting statements with a few terse words.

 

A Beautiful Evening of Love

…they took in all of the love their friends brought for them and multiplied it into the stars.

I attended a friend’s wedding last night. It was probably the most romantic ceremony and certainly one of the most fun receptions I’ve ever attended. The brides put every bit of themselves into the wedding, and they took in all of the love their friends brought for them and multiplied it into the stars. Love was spoken, love was given and love was accepted. Their vows were so memorable and so meaningful. I have heard the standard church vows so often, heard the nerves, smiled at a little awkwardness. These women brought us all to tears with the sincerity and authenticity of voicing their commitment to each other.

I hope we who were there all hold that moment as a precious experience and a memory to draw on when we’re tempted to respond harshly, when we become angry and when shit just gets too hard. Beauty exists, and it is worth holding onto.

I was so honored to have been invited to share in their joy, and to honor that invitation I am keeping the memory close at hand.