the value of blogging

•April 10, 2013 • 1 Comment

It’s like I go into a trance when I write. I got some lovely feedback from my last post and I just looked at it and I don’t really remember writing that. Then again, all my favorite writing has been like that.

Everything I have tried to write this evening has felt forced and trite, so I started looking through my archives. Thanks to the miracles of importing, I was able to keep all of my blogger blog when I moved over here to wordpress. I had both for a while but then chose this place (don’t remember why).

So tonight I can tell you that I started this blog long before Twitter, and precisely 4 months before Facebook was open to the public.

I spelled the word with a capital L, “bLog” but it may have been a typo, or it may have been my nerdiness about the shortening of weblog into bLog. IDK.

Ha! When I started my blog there were few ppl IRL who knew how to read sentences like this, iykwim. There were the uber nerds, programmers and the like, who spent time on BBS sites. People who had IRC handles. (my brain is hurting trying to remember this) There were also the crunchy moms who leached onto the internet in desperate moves to connect with like minded folk. I was one of those. I guess there were also pedos and religious folk, too, but it seems like it basically broke down into moms and nerds (and many were both!).

What’s really funny is that as fly as I was to have had a blog 9 years ago, I was late to the game. I felt like the last to know about ALLURBASE and L33t. I remember the exact moment I discovered cat macros (before they were collectively known as lolcats) and it changed my life.

As I was learning to rollerskate in the early days of this blog, I was also losing weight, and then began homeschooling. Then Unschooling. And I quit smoking and gained all that weight back. And and and…

I think I wanna go back and read more. I should post some of my favorites though. I was a lot wittier and snarkier then. This was the content for a long time, observations and gushing and bitching about the skating rink. When I think that my younger son was only 4 at the time, I am aghast at the amount of time I spent skating. What was I thinking?? I posted a LOT about Laurel K Hamilton’s Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series (and related titles). And, oh, that’s because I also had a slightly less highbrow blog wherein I would obsess about my latest obsessions. Like books, foods, places, philosophies. Apparently I imported that blog, too. I wish I cared enough to edit those titles because there could be some icky stuff in there. (Like my posts on dental work) And OMG. I just found the first blog, the first bit of snark outside of Mulletsgalore, which no longer exists, I ever loved: Jenny Turpish Slapped me. Neither site exists any more. But I’m so glad I preserved a small bit of both of them. I have to keep doing this so that I can remember things like Candy Crush Saga and Grumpy Cat in 9 more years.

ETA links to posts I like. Like this one about perspective. And this one that’s TMI but that I was wanting to recall lately (get back to that place I was before).

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•March 26, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I’ve been making notes for months on topics I’d like to blog about. As a matter of fact, one of my intentions for the new year is to blog regularly. But with this one and also my fangirl LJ, I have such a hard time forcing myself to sit still long enough to write. And now there’s nobody to read them. So. Hello! I’m here, and maybe I’ll direct some kind folk this way soon and they can read all my wise ramblings.

Last Summer, 2012, I found out my father had cancer, that it was inoperable and terminal. Then I found out I was pregnant. Then I miscarried. Then I drove to New Mexico (it was Fall by then, tbh) to spend quality time with my dying father, who is surprisingly and delightfully healthy for now.

I’ve been in touch with me long enough to know to give myself a break as of late. Pretty much until my dad dies, I have let myself off the hook. Which makes me ask, “What is this hook? And why should I ever be on a hook?!”

Shouldn’t I always treat myself with the sort of understanding and kindness I am trying to kindle now? I hope that’s one of the takeaway lessons from this year and/or the next. But it really does help, when I am all kinds of verklempt, to remember, “Oh, yeah! Bad shit is brewing in my subconscious, let it go!”

I’m an only child. Only grandchild on both sides. One upside is the lack of criticism in my choices about everything, and another is the lack of attention paid to my mental state (Nobody checks in with me like Sam to Dean, “I know you’re hurting, you need to face this, you can talk to me…”). Nobody whines that I don’t do enough. Nobody expects more of me.

The downside is that there is nobody else to help or care.

I mean, I have lots of people in my life who care about me, but none who care for my parents the way that I do. It was the best argument against having an only child ever: when my childhood Pastor’s father died, he relied so heavily on his siblings for healing and support that he immediately decided his son needed a sibling for when his time came. My husband has 3 living siblings and they never agree on anything about their mom. But at least they have each other.

I don’t mean to sound pitiful about my dying father (and what do I do from across the country, to make arrangements? He’s married, can’t his wife do that stuff? My dh says I should, but what can I do from here? How do I drop everything and go there? How do I do that ALONE? <——and there’s a glimpse into my anxiety related to this area of my life) but I do want to share it honestly. I prefer this semi-anonymous format, too, that takes the burden off of individual friends and places it into the hands of teh interwebs.

So the thing I was relying on to sort of buffer me, to allow me to transcend this grief and celebrate the mysterious circle of life, getting pregnant, is just not panning out. It’s been like 2 years, 2 pregnancies and it’s making my life unmanageable and I am so honestly powerless over it.

Letting that go, while simultaneously embracing my father’s imminent demise? Sucks so fucking much. But I cannot take that too seriously because I really could run with that drama.

I am letting go of my attachment. I am letting go of my ideas of a particular outcome. I am supplying myself with some hope….about the JOURNEY and letting go of the destination.

My father will die (so will my mom, for that matter. I thought I was prepared for this and I feel very silly even mentioning it, although I am really grateful that I have this depth of emotion with regard to my parents’ deaths, because several points in my life I’ve been so flippant about death and especially my own parents’ inevitable demises that I worried about my mental health…so this grief is comforting, showing me I am at least partially normal, Hallelujah!)

There is no right way. There’s no “supposed to be.” Nobody has ever been me, doing this thing, before, ever. Ever. SO let I am letting it go. I shall go with the Flow and look up and around from time to time and see that Everything is in its Right Place and All is Well. I am astoundingly flexible and resilient. This too shall pass.

 

My Miscarriage Gratitude List (Do not discard)

•September 18, 2012 • Leave a Comment

A week ago today I learned that I was not quite a pregnant as I thought I was (yes, positive test, no fetal pole in the too-small gestational sac, perhaps the dates were wrong? –impossible), and the day after, I started bleeding.

This is my third 1st trimester loss, and while that sounds awful, I did manage to spread them out a little. The first was 16 years ago, the other, well, it was less than 2 years ago.

And whereas some mornings this past week I haven’t been able to do anything at all without crying inconsolably first, this time has been the very best time. And this is why:

  1. It was quick & easy, no waiting, no ambiguity. Whereas holding out hope might have felt better in the moment, instant knowing is better. Period.
  2. I wanted so badly to be pregnant this time. This was the time. And while some might wonder why that’s a thing for which to be grateful, compared to my first miscarriage when I was honestly wondering how I could possibly go through with a pregnancy at that point in my life, this is better. No self-recrimination or blame. I didn’t cause this with my crappy attitude, or wish it away.
  3. I knew what a precious and delicate gift it was and reminded myself to enjoy every minute. At times this week I’ve wanted (and still do, honestly) to just erase the last 3 weeks from my memory banks, but as my lovely husband pointed out, “Don’t! It was fun and wonderful while it lasted!” Which reminded me that EVERY pregnancy ends at some point, and then the real work begins. Sometimes there’s a brand new baby that sucks the life out of you and doesn’t even smile for a month, but also sometimes it’s just pain and loss. Neither outcome destroys the joy and wonder that is being pregnant for any amount of time. Just because you have to leave the amusement park, doesn’t mean you should regret only getting to ride the roller coaster once!
  4. This time, I had 2 weeks to tell people. So all the closest people in my life knew, and were unabashedly overjoyed. Their Joy magnified my own. The memory of their reactions to the news is such a happy, loving place for me.
  5. I feel so surrounded by love. I have people texting me, making food for me, posting silliness on Facebook for me. I have people around me that I can snark to and on whose shoulders I am not afraid to cry (if absolutely necessary). My boss hugged me three times at our workplace picnic this past weekend! How lucky am I (and it’s not a sleazy dude, either, my boss is a very lovely lady, who genuinely wanted to comfort me!)
  6. My husband knows the drill, fears the depths to which I can sink here, but because he knows this path, I feel so comfortable sharing my feelings, letting them go. I don’t feel this time like I did with the ectopic in 2010 that if I don’t grieve and wallow in the sadness that nobody will remember, that it will be a lost detail. I am perfectly happy with letting this griefwork go asap and moving on, especially since I really suck at denial. I’m all in with my emotions and at their mercy til they pass. My husband knows this about me and he ain’t skeered of it any more.
  7. I know this sounds macabre or something, but having 3 losses just elevates my pitiful levels to the legit. Like, I now feel entitled to feel sorry for myself in spite of the fact that I have 2 healthy kids. I didn’t really feel entitled to my pain before, not on the scale that it seemed to wash over me in the moments that it did. I’m just a little twisted that way.
  8. I am in such a better place overall. I no longer am the person I once was, who chose to dwell in the sad places and beat the dead horse of sadness. I look towards the Light and choose to avert my eyes to the positive, the fun, and appreciate all the things that I like. So, whereas I will allow the feelings to come, I am not clinging to them and that gives me hope that this time, it won’t be a 2 Year Long Journey of Climbing out From under a Huge Pile of Rocks that it was the other times. It will be a setback.

Okay, I might could add to it. But, I can stop now. I hope this list might help someone else some day. At the risk of beating dead horses, I do wish that Women would talk more about pregnancy losses and relate to each other. I wish we could wear badges, or something so we can relate to each other. I refuse to regret the last 3 weeks, I will presence that joy I felt and I will allow myself the space I need to be me and to heal. I also will keep the “Yeah, you feel good now, but what about later?!?!” panic to a minimum, too. Each moment in its own time.

Mindfulness of the Body

•September 4, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Listening to Gil Fronsdal talking about mindfulness of the body.

It is delightfully apropos for me right now. I am 40 years old, was 4 weeks into a Couch-to-5k program, eating better, when I was surprised that we had actually succeeded this last month in knocking me up!

I am 5 weeks pregnant today. 

And mindfulness of the body is where I live right now. I can only gain more from it.

Gil attributes this quote to Abraham Lincoln (though I have no idea if he is right): “By the time you’re 40 years old, you’re responsible for your face.” And quotes the Buddha “the body is old karma, your job is to feel it.” 

Each and every time worries pop up (I’m only 5weeks! So much waiting! What if something happens? What if something’s wrong? What if I don’t get what I want? What if this turns bad?!) I choose to come back to my lower abdomen and remember that I am pregnant right now. I am happy about this and choose to enjoy it Right Now. I can feel so many changes in my body. 

Another way that this teaching is holding true for me is in the practice of pain relief. I have succumbed to the tendency of most pregnant women to adamantly avoid any and all substances that could begin to be harmful, to the best of my awareness and ability (until 2 weeks ago, I mocked this tendency openly, but I repent most openly today) so I don’t pop a couple of ibuprofen every moment I have an ache. Any physical discomfort has become a reminder of the pregnancy, draws my awareness to my body and out of my head. I am grateful for this new practice opportunity! 

“Mindfulness of the body is the body’s Mindfulness”

Allowing my body to become aware of itself, to feel my body from the inside out, not examine it. Allowing the awareness of the body to wash over me. These things have turned my impatience into practice, and for that I am grateful!

Shine & Reflection

•July 1, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Spent a week of freedom with my 12 year old son, drove North to live in a Jellystone Campground with several other families in the Catskills. It was a week of Joy and Insight and Learning of the best kind.

I drove up there and managed it all on my own (more or less) and was not miserable being solely responsible.

I was free to mingle or not, play or work, whatever, since Noah (my companion) could be trusted to let me know if he needed me for anything. Only managing the needs/desires of ONE other human is so easy that it might as well not be a thing.

I smiled. A LOT. Just caught myself smiling & smiling with no further input from my environment.

Unlike previous years, I was not side swiped or otherwise hit with unexpected guilt/fear/pain while there or in my travels. Nice.

It was absolutely astounding to me how much I’ve Changed and Grown since the last time I was able to hug these people. 

Because it’s an annual pilgrimage, that I skipped last year due to my emotional/spiritual pit of hell, I couldn’t help but reflect upon who I was and have been and am now, in relation to this trip.

Summer of 2010 I remember, in retrospect, as the start of some very deep misery in my soul and a whole boatload of depression. Since then, I’ve bottomed out and climbed back up. Well, “climbed” implies too much concerted effort on my part. My efforts felt aimed, in the moment, more at surviving and/or finding Joy moment-by-moment more than at any sort of long term solution or survival (which felt way too overwhelming at the time). In other words, just like the spiral INto the depression, the spiral back up and out felt more like a ride I was on than fruits of my labor. I think I am one of those people who has to process some things in the dark as well as in the light. And aside from all the “You shouldn’t feel this way” and “What if it’s always like this?” thoughts, it was manageable and felt important and the pain, like that of natural childbirth, while overwhelming at times was not something to be feared or escaped, but something to face head-on and embrace. If only I knew then that I could honestly Trust that pain.
I remember struggling and surrendering and doing a WHOLE LOT OF WORK just to enjoy enjoyable things like floating on the river and riding roller coasters. And today I am doing those things without the effort.

Now I really understand what my dear friend Amie means when she talks about loving and embracing depression as a part of myself. I thought it was a bunch of sweet talk but now that I am on An other side (not The other side, there are SO many sides!) I see that dreading its return or seeing my emotional life without shades of gray does not help in any way. I still feel compelled to DO things that Keep It Away, but I do also see the folly in believing that If I do x then y shall never happen, guaranteed. It’s not as easy as not getting drunk (don’t drink alcohol = not getting drunk…..Simple). There are moments when, if I pay attention, I can see and name feelings that are not on my top ten list and watch where they lead. Little things like that, I imagine, would keep me feeling better longer, but either way I’ll learn a lot about me.

I know I started this post reflecting on We Shine. These friends of mine have helped me learn to trust mySelf as I’ve grown in trusting my kids to grow into the adults they want to be. Glowing from the inside out, I’m happy to be home again and immersed into the work of daily living, grateful for my air conditioners.

Image

I wanted to post this ASAP because I am desperately wanting to WRITE WRITE WRITE and if I wait for it to make sense or get edited, I’ll never post 😀

It’s not Personal!

•February 15, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Wow.

I am amazed at the way my mind is working overtime on this one issue that isn’t even an issue: I got a ticket today, a speeding ticket, whilst on my way to the skate park.
I was speeding, I was *totally* not paying attention, which is even more alarming–I actually have no idea whatsoever how fast I was going, aside from the lovely officer’s machinery. It was my bad. For real.

AND YET! I keep going back to it. I called my dh as soon as I could to tell him and to ask how much the ruddy ticket would be because I remembered him mentioning that this year it’s now even more expensive if you’re a “Super Speeder” and therefore going more than 20 mph over the posted limit. I was going 61 in a 40. Ugh.

In my utter bewilderment and shock, I am sure that my responses seemed like I was doubting his omnipotence, so he had no desire to drop off a *single* mph to get me from “Super Speeder” down to “Speeder.” He didn’t like the look of me, what with all my free-thinking, overly intellectual and otherwise hostile (to the status quo) bumper stickers.

Naw, I gotta let it go.

What I keep hearing rambling round on the hamster wheel in my head is that somehow this makes me less that perfect and that somehow (??) perfection had become the goal and now I’ve done fallen short and I’ll never, ever be okay again.

I’m sitting here in the skatepark, surrounded by sights and sounds I love on a sunny day with no pressing anything anywhere….and I’m stressing myself out, occasionally even fighting back TEARS at the unfairness, and “if only I hadn’t” and “I wish I could go back” and then stopping, b-r-e-a-t-h-i-n-g and starting over.

Seriously?! Really?

Nobody’s been hurt, I have enough money to pay the ticket. My husband thought it was nice that I could no longer say so smugly that I’d not had a ticket in x amount of time (whereas he’s had one recently), so he wasn’t the least bit miffed. He even told me to calm down and go about my business: so UGH! He could tell, over the phone, just how utterly incapacitated I was by this blow to my ego.

And in all fairness, the really crippling part isn’t the expensive ticket, it’s that I was so focused on the gps on my phone and on trying to seem like I was paying more attention to Noah’s discussion than I was (because I was trying to figure otu how to get where I was going from where I was and concentrating on the GPS), that I had no idea how fast I was going, and really no clue there was a cop there…. Color me ashamed.

So, rather than berate myself or bemoan the unfairness, I can learn from this:

#1: Just turn around. I hate backtracking, I’d much rather find my way through. I gather lots of data that way, and it helps me make the map I have in my head–which, incidentally, is much more helpful in the end than GPS…. And GPS has made this hobby feel tedious, since I can just pull out the machine and it tells me where I am and where to go….if I can just ask the right questions…. So, I really ought to just turn around and save researching alternate routes for a time when I am no driving.

#2: Be alert and present. The world needs more lerts and more presents. Seriously, though, I’ll be paying much better attention all around from now on. Which brings me to…

#3: Be grateful! I got a ticket I can afford (I hope!) and didn’t’ kill anyone or even threaten them. I got a simple lesson in Be here now out of it, and a Huge lesson in getting ME out of it and understanding that it isn’t personal! It’s just business. It’s just the natural consequences, and not the harshest ones by far!

Hold on Loosely

•January 27, 2010 • Leave a Comment

It’s so puzzling, how I feel like I can take credit for the “good” days but not the “bad” days–I am a victim of the bad days and a procurer of the better ones.

Now, I am not so sure how much of that has a basis in reality, and just for today I don’t really think it matters.

What really matters tonight is that I’d like to hold on loosely to this not bad feeling. I’d like to let it go, and affirm it will return to me.

I’d like to not squeeze the life out of today in order to try and control and manipulate my future. I’d like to surrender and take the good with the bad.

I love this Buddhist idea of non-attachment. Even in high school, I remember fully understanding the idea of the Impermanence of all Things. I wish I’d saved the notebooks on which I’d scrawled in my adorable, stylized teen script, “Nothing Lasts Forever!”  I remember thinking it was both morbid (by the world’s standards) and beautifully freeing (Logically and emotionally).

I just need to remember that Now, and Now, and Now and all the Nows. I need to remember it so that I can move through the next one and the next, and just keep moving.