Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Not a stranger to myself — responding to a note from someone I used to know.

Don’t be a stranger, she writes.

I find myself thinking
how can I be anything but?
I was somewhat of a stranger to myself when I knew her,
in the midst of a getting-to-know-self dance. Getting closer, but always a
few steps behind.

Now I generally keep up but my
self keeps me on my toes.

On a person-to-person basis,
Not being a stranger implies visits,
intimate and casual conversations
some form of connection
we may or may not have.

It’s always a risk,
but to you, stranger/acquaintance/community sister,
it could be like facing a flame of my past, my past beliefs
or like facing the awkward silences of the I-used-to-know-yous,
and who are you now?

She writes that she hopes to see me soon.

I’m not sure what to say to that.

I am thinking of the dream, a few nights back, of people from that community yelling at me, of the nagging feeling that stayed with me most of the day.  I am thinking of well-meant phrases that came across as antagonistic that day with her in the garden. I am also thinking that this matters, but less and less.

I am thinking of the feeling of wholeness and happiness that lingers with me longer as time goes by. Of standing with myself, of being in partnership, of doing art, of finding ways to sustain my livelihood.

I am thinking of dancing.

Don’t be a stranger, she writes.

Maybe that time — time for not-stranger-ness —  has passed. Perhaps it has not. I feel distant from that-which-was. I am not sure of what will be.

I put the letter down. At face value, the mailing is a year-end letter from a nonprofit organization asking for money. Her note is scrawled across the top, turning the letter into a more personal appeal.

letter fragment

It does appeal to the part of me that wanted — and wants to be part of something. But I remind myself that I am part of something, of some things: my own life, my marriage, my friendships, my Nia communities, large and small.

And I think of what it means to belong, not merely fit in. And how at some points in my life, I felt like I belonged and fit in, but often confused the two. While I’m still at odds with myself sometimes, in feeling “not enough,” I feel more like I belong. I belong, most of all, to myself. I’m not sure I want to fit in, at least not in the way I once did.

I don’t know how much thought she put into writing this short note. Clearly, I have put some thought into how I am reacting and responding to it.

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Temporally dislocated

Maybe I have seasonal affective disorder (SAD). With the time change, the late afternoon/early evening darkness hits me hard.

Maybe I am, as my husband puts it, “temporally dislocated.”  And maybe it’s both.

In other words, the time change affects my sense of time, which in turn affects my sense of myself. When and how I am located in my day is thrown off.

This past week, I’ve been feeling changeable, erratic, somewhat temperamental. Like having this intense desire to stay in, go into a semi-hibernation. Like wanting company, then later fiercely wanting to be alone; wanting to be held, then wanting more space. This isn’t a new experience after a time change; I’m simply more aware of it. I know I’ll adjust within a week or two, but in the meantime, I feel like my sense of order has been disrupted.

And then I walk outside and breathe in the air, and the relief is almost immediate. This may change after 20 minutes of running errands, and I may again intensely want to be in my quiet home space again. However, it does remind me that it’s important to step outside and feel the sunlight on my skin. It helps me actively locate myself in that part of the day. It allows me to just be there in that moment.

Link roundup: #MeToo

#MeToo on Twitter.

About the history of the #MeToo movement.

From the New York Times: The raw power of #MeToo.

From Feministing: on #MeToo and trust.

From Alternet: Why some of us hesitated to say “Me too.”

From CNN: #MeToo stories trigger trauma for some.  Ideas on how to cope if you feel triggered by it (or similar things online).

 

Update in pictures, two weeks ago.

I meant to post this two weeks ago, and then the mass shooting happened and I wanted/needed to post about that.

Here are bits and pieces from my life approximately two weeks ago…

life is beautiful signProbably a sign related to the Life is Beautiful music festival. Good reminders of ways to seek beauty in everyday life.

iPad proofreading

A makeshift workstation for proofreading transcripts. My husband supplied the book and encouraged me to remember my posture. It did help. 🙂

united way shirtOn September 29, I volunteered at the local YMCA as part of the United Way’s annual Day of Caring (hence the shirt above) . There were volunteers at many different sites throughout the city. I had fun. It was good to remember how much I like woodworking.

Jenga

Part of what we created at the volunteer project: a full-sized Jenga set!

fall color 17JPGWe went up to the mountains that Saturday to see some fall color. Hurray for aspens!

 

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Holding space through Nia

Someone asked me if I was willing to reschedule my Nia class yesterday because of Sunday’s shooting. She was going to a vigil at her church.

I understand her wanting to be able to do both, and how other events have come up in the aftermath of the tragedy, and how it has disrupted people’s lives (especially locally). Aside from the logistical aspects, like the class was in three hours and rescheduling a rental space is easier said than done, my thought was:

No. I need this. We need this.

In some ways teaching and going to a Nia class after a tragedy is a reprieve from the updates from the constant news cycle; the local press conferences; the updates from friends; even the pain of grief, shock, dismay, and other emotions. For me, it was like taking a long deep breath after a day of short, shallow breathing.

It’s also an opportunity to come together, to process emotions, to be with what has happened. Sometimes it’s direct; at other times, it’s indirect. It’s holding space for people to be where they’re at, to feel how they’re feeling, and move through it.

At the end of class, I felt calmer and clearer than I had all day. All the emotions I’d been experiencing were still there, but I felt less tense. It was a blessing to have this space, this Nia class, and to share the experience with others.

Las Vegas.

Las Vegas

Last night, there was a mass shooting on the Strip in Las Vegas.

I woke up to the news today. I suppose if I had stayed up later, I might have heard it before going to sleep (assuming I could have slept after learning that) — but I didn’t. Some people I know heard sirens or snippets of information on police scanners or social media last night. There are more headlines this morning. It’s hard to look away.

This mass shooting happened about 15 minutes away from where I live. I feel less safe here at the moment, even though I know logically that I’m probably no less safe than I was yesterday. This is one incident of an increasing many, in this country and in the world. I feel heartbroken, sad, and scared.

Perhaps I will write a post that includes more opinions later.

But for now, I’m sending love and light for all those affected.

Odds and ends

 

Some odds and ends, thoughts and moments from this week:

*Sometimes the line between looking forward to something and dreading it is very thin for me. I have moments where I’m like, “I’m excited for this but I really wish it wasn’t happening today. How many hours do I have before I have to go do it?”

*After telling someone “I messaged them [photos] to you,” I realized that in today’s nuances of technological communication, ‘messaged’ could be interpreted as “Facebook message.” What I really meant was that I texted them to her.

*Sometimes, add another few moments of mindful meditation to my day can be really helpful. I generally do a few minutes in the morning; one day this week, I also took a few minutes in the afternoon. When I’m feeling anxious, reconnecting with my breath can be so important.

*I tend to forget that I enjoy woodworking and working with power tools. Granted, I don’t have the opportunity to do it much anymore. I volunteered yesterday at the YMCA as part of a city-wide volunteer event, and we were making playground equipment and a full-size Jenga set out of wood. And even though it was warm, it was nice to be outside, doing something physical, and creating something.