Posts Tagged ‘reflections’

A moody week.

I had a moody week this past week. It was the kind of mood, heavily influenced by hormones, that creeps up on me every once in a while and makes me grateful that it isn’t always like this.

But in the midst of it, it felt downright depressive and it was hard to see much light in anything. And it was hard to do much of anything, aside from what was absolutely necessary.

To give myself credit, I probably did more than that. But there’s something frustrating about starting a week with a “this is the week I’m going to get organized and do the things I need to do” and then realizing halfway through that I’d have to narrow it way down.

I sat with the mood sometimes: it felt heavy and slow and sucked the meaning out of activities. I distracted myself from it at other times. I cried at the drop of a hat at moments and knew that it always didn’t make sense and it didn’t have to.

Sometimes I judged myself for it, and had thoughts that I should know what I want and I should be clear on what all my next steps are. Despite these moments of “shoulding” myself,  I also knew that it wasn’t a practical time to make decisions other than what to make for meals or what to do next in that particular day.

I have moments where I see moods like this as something to be wrestled with, to get through, to overcome. Perhaps if I add something to my day, a formula of getting enough sunlight + Nia + good food + whatever else, that it will lift, voila. While self-care and doing these activities help, there’s not a fail-safe guarantee that I’m going to feel better and stay feeling that way.

I used my DBT skills and checked the facts of what was really going on. This doesn’t always make feeling and being easier, but it does allow me to see my vulnerabilities. It takes me a few more steps closer towards accepting the mood rather than fighting it.

Now, the mood continues to lift. There’s more grays in it, more rays of sunlight, more hope and desire. I still feel somewhat exposed and cautious. I feel the fear that this mood will continue and become something more. If it does, I’ll take steps to take care of myself. Last week felt deflating; this week may feel different.

Now, I breathe in. I look at the first thing on my to-do list. And I begin my day.

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From imagining others’ lives to finding my own.

I tend to write more than I post, so I’m working on finishing what’s in my drafts folder from the past few months.

Around five years ago, I used to work at a place on the San Diego harbor. There was a period of time where I didn’t drive, so I would take the bus to work. The bus would wind its way from where I caught it in Golden Hill, through the streets of downtown San Diego, and drop me off about two blocks away from the harbor. I would walk the rest.

This thought pattern may have lasted days, weeks, or months. But I would often look at someone during that walk and imagine what their life was like, and if I would be happier having a life like theirs. I would wonder if that woman was happy as she went to her 9-to-5 job; maybe it was one she had worked hard to get, a dream job. Maybe that man in a suit was smiling because he was looking at pictures of his children on his phone. At the time, I was working at job that wasn’t a good fit for me. My passion simply wasn’t there, and some of my values clashed with their mission. I kept telling myself that it was a temporary job, but temporary ended up lasting two years. I had a life that I invested a lot of my passion into after work, but that gradually lost its luster as well.

I think I was longing for something else, something more to fill my days, and I sometimes translated that into thinking that I wanted to be someone else. Maybe I would like someone else’s life better, maybe they were living their passion, maybe they felt more comfortable in their own skin.

…Or maybe they were miserable at that moment as well. I have no way of knowing.

It definitely is food for thought though, of how I would imagine these lives that were not mine and focus away from my own. How some of my personal growth work around that time ended up being on-point, but some of it ended up being me try to mold myself to be a certain type of person. I sometimes unconsciously went away from myself while doing work to try to find myself.

And maybe this is all part of the stumbling blocks of self-discovery. Perhaps I needed to learn who I was not in order to learn who I am. After all, I can’t be true to myself if I don’t know who that is — or isn’t. However, I also recognize that there may have been an element of disconnection/dissociation from my own experience as I looked outside of myself and imagined the contents and emotions of other people’s lives.

There’s definitely a difference between striving to be the best version of myself versus the person I think I ought to be. I’m currently doing much better on former, although I still struggle with “shoulds” sometimes or wish that I didn’t have sensory processing challenges, etc. In my current personal growth journey, I strive to focus on my own strengths and challenges.

These days, while I may sometimes be curious about those around me, I’m not longing for someone else’s life. I’m grateful for the the life I am currently living, with its ups and downs, struggles and wins — my own life.

 

On New Year’s Day, four year ago

Facebook has a memories feature called “On this day” that shows what was posted on that day however-many-years ago. The poster can choose to share it or leave it.

On New Year’s Day, this came up for me from January 1, 2014, four years ago:

“Happy New Year! 2013 felt very full, with so many transitions and significant life events. I take its lessons, and shed the skin of what I no longer need. 2014, I call for a deepening of my power, gifts, and wisdom. I dare myself to dream big. I intend to listen to the wisdom of my body. May this be a year of growth, claiming, magic, connection, and laughter.”

Those are big, bold words. It’s a tall order. The words say a lot in broad strokes; they do not say very much in terms of specifics.

What kind of wisdom? I received that, but it was more in the vein of “life doesn’t always give you what you think you want.” I grew a lot, but before I did, I hit rock bottom.

And the rest? I lost my sense of magic for quite a while there. 2014 was a year of stepping back, retreating back to the bare bones of what I needed. Perhaps there was a claiming — a claiming of what I needed, a reclaiming of home. But perhaps there was a kind of magic every time I stepped on the dance floor in a Nia class or looked out at the mountains. And there was a power in choosing to step away, to leave my life as it was. I chose the path that led me towards healing. At that time, it was likely the most active decision I had made in months.

It took me a while to truly listen to the wisdom of my body.

2014 was full of major life events and transitions as well. They were not the ones I expected or hoped for when I wrote that post. That year, I had to let go of certain dreams.

The “on this day” feature on Facebook can sometimes remind me of great times and memories. It can also remind me of what I no longer have. In this case, I do feel a sense of loss. I think at least part of that is grieving that sense of idealism I once had.

And part of me just wants to hold my past self and tell her that it’ll be okay if things don’t turn out how she hopes. Because it will, eventually.

It’ll be more than okay.

2017.

It’s New Year’s Eve, and it’s time for my year-end retrospective.

In 2017…

My love and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary and our tenth dating anniversary. We continue to grow and deepen our relationship. I love how can be silly and laugh together while also opening to new depths of connection.

I started teaching Nia classes in Las Vegas. After occasionally subbing and attempting to introduce Nia at a new space, I took over another Nia teacher’s classes in October. I now have a small group of regulars. While I miss my Albuquerque Nia community, I’m grateful to be teaching here…and to have space in my living room to dance!

Dancing, Studio Nia Santa Fe

I took the Moving to Heal training in Santa Fe. It’s comforting and gratifying to occasionally return to one of my Nia homes and connect with people who speak the language of Nia. I’m also really grateful for the opportunity to learn new skills and techniques — and new ways to look at what I already know. transcript proofreading

I completed an online transcript proofreading course. This course included lessons as well as 50 practice transcripts; it was a lot of work but worth the investment of time, energy, and money. I started my own proofreading business and am now contributing a small (but helpfully significant) amount to our household income. It’s been gratifying to make money again.

My husband and I started taking Tai Chi and Aikido classes with a local teacher who teaches informally, on a loose schedule without belts. It has really helped my spouse be more in his body. Sampling these martial arts forms has also improved my Nia practice: I’m much more aware of weight shifts, where I put my feet, and how to be in the flow of my own energy.

I experienced what it is like to live in a city that has had a mass shooting tragedy. It was scary and horrifying to wake up on October 2nd and realize what had happened. While I did not personally know or lose anyone who was at the Route 91 concert, I felt and witnessed the ripples of the tragedy. I also witnessed how the community came together in the aftermath, and continues to do so.

10.1.17

At the memorial garden downtown, October 2017

Trips: Visited Albuquerque in May, June, and November. Visiting my hometown and home state often helps ground me.

Albuquerque scene

Traveled with family up to the Durango, Colorado, area as part of the June trip.

 

Went to Sedona, Arizona, for our third annual holiday trip this December. It’s been so nice to have a relatively close place to travel for the holidays, especially one that is so beautiful and dynamic.

Locally:

Visited the Strip for the first time in January when my friends were in town. We went to the Bellagio.

Went on a day trip in February, visiting a goddess temple and labyrinth on the way.

Temple Labyrinth

Went to Mt. Charleston to see the changing leaves in September. We went to Valley of Fire State Park (about an hour outside of Vegas) when Luke’s friends from San Diego visited in December.

 

This place definitely feels more like home than it did a year ago. I have settled more into my life this year. I’ve met new people and started a new business. I continue to work towards creating a life that works for me, keeping my sensory and emotional needs in mind. Aside from stress about politics, finances, and the everyday kinds of challenges, I am generally content.

 

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.

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.

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.