October Magic

My tendency is to self-censor a great deal, which can be a bit stifling, leading me to neglect my blogging despite having lots of ideas and stories swirling around my noggin. Fall in Maine is beautiful and so freaking earthy. I have grown to love the crispness in the air and the frost on the ground. I went home last weekend for my cousin’s wedding and realized how I’ve acclimated to this Northeast weather, losing almost all of my tolerance for warmth. This is not bad, just different. I don’t think I’ll ever understand how this place feels so much like home even though I was born and raised in a very different climate and culture. The wedding was lovely and it was great to see everyone again. I did get asked multiple times when I was coming “home.” This question always catches me off-guard, though I know I should expect it. They mean well–they miss me, I suppose. But it is hard to explain to some that “home” really is a new place for me now. I now feel that I have home (Maine) and where I grew up (Georgia).  Those are distinct for me now, and I know that, unless someone has ventured outside of their “home” and felt this same sensation, it is not going to be easily understood.

This year has been very strange. Very much a year of changes and challenges. It hasn’t been bad, per se, just a year of transitions. A break up with someone I had serious feelings for and some health issues have left me feeling raw. I have had two minor surgeries this year to remove ovarian cysts and portions of my insides, rendering me “most likely infertile.” Though I haven’t even been close to jumping on the baby train, I did take this ability for granted. The break up happened near this revelation which compounded my emotions surrounding the whole scenario. I have made it through some darkness this year and am starting to come out the other side. I am able to laugh more these last few months. I can again recognize and appreciate my sources of happiness. I enjoy my job and the people I get to work with–don’t know what I’d do without these friends, these lovelies taking care of someone from away, inviting me into their families. Despite my struggles with depression, I have also found it easy to feel immensely grateful. I consider this a win above all else.

I have found that the best way I cope is through helping others. I’ve found great joy in volunteering time and, in some cases, money. I do think that dating will be difficult for me to manage for awhile since I need some time to reconcile what happened in my last relationship. I don’t harbor any feelings of hate or anger, just sadness and confusion. Out of all of this, I do know that I never want to be with someone who isn’t all in. I know I can be a pill at times, but I know that, for the right person, I am more than worth it. I tire of being around people that aren’t sure of how they feel about me. Love me or hate me, either way is good. I cannot stand ambivalence or uncertainty in any relationships. I accept people for 120% of who they are, massive character flaws and all, delighting in their eccentricities and enjoying even their most irritating habits. I want to be around those who would do the same for me. I value realness, decisiveness and commitment (for or against me).

In my ongoing health saga, I’ve moved to eating less and less meat as it helps decrease inflammation, allowing me to use very little or no pain medicine for my endometriosis and lupus. This simple change also brings me an odd sort of peace since I am “living my truth” or whatever the hell kids are calling it these days. I’ve always loved creatures and, with lots of time spent thinking about my contributions to my small corner of the world, I realized that this is one way I can send some good energy out into the ether. Once a gung-ho bacon and steak fanatic, I have found myself happier and feeling better without them. Let me be clear–this is a personal choice and I’d never pressure anyone around me to adopt my habits. I find it a very rewarding change for myself and that is all.

I know it will certainly take time and great effort, but I want to become a positive force of nature in whatever way I can, for myself and others. I look forward to this part of my journey.

I do like any song that can incorporate banjos. Now that must be my Georgia roots.

So I got edges that scratch
And sometimes I don’t got a filter
But I’m so tired of eating all of my misspoken words
I know my disposition gets confusing
My disproportionate reactions fuse with my eager state
That’s why you wanna come out and play with me”

Saturn Returns

I have taken the last few weeks to really focus on healing. I have been focused on work pretty intensely since last November/December, so I am taking some time off soon to travel and also some time to decompress at home. I have changed my eating habits back to some healthier options which makes me feel better overall. I forgot how much better I feel when I really cut out the sugar (refined sugar, I still eat fruit). Went to the doctor two months ago and then went back again this week and got good news. My cholesterol numbers are all great and my BP/pulse are “like a marathon runner” which is always a bit amusing to me, especially since I could barely make it through my 5K.  My doctors basically told me that I am my own worst enemy (the neurologist: “You can’t turn it off, can you? It’s a wonder you sleep at all.”). I knew this already, so I am now in the process of trying new tools to help slow myself down and manage my thoughts better. This includes doctor recommended CBT, yoga/tai chi and meditation. It is good to know that the rest of me is functioning well aside from occasional abdominal pain or tension headaches.

One of my more whimsical friends says that in our 28th year Saturn returns to the point it occupied at the time of our birth and is often associated with a “first life crisis.” Saturn brings tough lessons to be learned and challenging times, opportunities for us to work through our own blocks or bad habits. Scary as it may sound, I kind of like the notion of a reflective year. A time to think deeply about past events and make positive changes to improve ourselves for our own sake.  Reassess our goals, careers and relationships. Sounds easy, right? I’ve been doing some of this along the way, but I think that it may be a good thing to take time “off” to really figure out what I want to give, what I want to contribute to relationships and to my own small piece of the world. Not going to become a monk or anything, but definitely taking some time to think about what I want in the next few years. Will it be a different role at work? Or maybe a different degree on the side? Doing something more long term for my favorite charities? I think there are several great options. I just need to contemplate and then commit.

I’m grateful to have a good job, but I also feel like it is such a narrow use of my strengths. Because of this, I’ve looked for other opportunities on the side, helping at the children’s center and volunteering at the hospice center nearby. I think somewhere along my career path I lost my teaching/mentoring/helping/”good karma” outlets.

Commitment to much of anything other than work has been an issue for me the last few months, but I think this will get better with time and self-care. My hope cactus is always blooming, so it seems, in a most persistent (and impressive) way. I suppose that it is a part of me, so I should embrace it along with my flabby arms and piggy nose. I realize that this blog has been a mixture of contemplation and sadness the last few months, though it has been helpful to have another outlet. I am moving in the right direction, just slowly. And I am learning more about myself.

I really like Amy Winehouse’s version of “A Song for You” (Leon Russell will always be my favorite, though)…

I love you in a place
Where there’s no space or time
I love you for in my life
You are a friend of mine
And when my life is over
Remember when we were together
We were alone and
I was singing this song to you”

“Calling your name in the midnight hour
Reaching for you from the endless dream
So many miles between us now
But you are always here with me
Two words
In your hands
In your hearts
It’s whole universe
You are always here with me”

“Excuse me for a while
While I’m wide-eyed
And I’m so down, caught in the middle
I’ve excused you for a while
While I’m wide-eyed
And I’m so damn caught in the middle

And a lion, a lion roars would you not listen?
If a child, a child cries would you not forgive them?

Yeah, I might seem so strong
Yeah, I might speak so long
I’ve never been so wrong”

“It’s not a silly little moment,
It’s not the storm before the calm.
This is the deep and dying breath of
This love that we’ve been working on.

Can’t seem to hold you like I want to
So I can feel you in my arms.
Nobody’s gonna come and save you,
We pulled too many false alarms.”

 

“It isn’t very difficult to see why
You are the way you are
Doesn’t take a genius to realise
That sometimes life is hard
It’s gonna take time
But you’ll just have to wait
You’re gonna be fine
But in the meantime

Come over here lady
Let me wipe your tears away
Come a little nearer baby
Coz you’ll heal over
Heal over
Heal over someday”

“If I could say anything, anything what would it be?
A good question for our destined reality
I would tell you that I love you
Even when it didn’t show.
I would tell you that I love you, baby,
By now I hope you know.

If you could go anywhere, anywhere what would you see?
Take a step in any direction, it’s make believe
If your mind is always moving
It’s hard to get your heart up off the ground
Yeah, your mind was always moving
But your thoughts never made a sound

And we won’t break if we let go.
You and I already know
We were bound to be set free eventually.
So, here we are now
You can say anything”

Get Back Up

I have been working a lot lately. And not sleeping much. Which means that I kind of crash when I get home and have to retrain myself to get back to a normal sleep schedule. I think it will improve when I get a real vacation. Luckily, that is not too far away. And the weather has been pretty nice which also helps. I still get terrible headaches now and then, probably stress-related. But, again, I think that is really because I haven’t had a break in awhile.

I have been planning a road trip in July that will cheer me up (details soon). I have been doing a lot of wake up, go to work, come home, wash, repeat. To the point where I don’t know what day it is most of the time and the whole week just blurs together. I even wake up and get ready on the weekend without realizing it until I glance at the calendar. Which means I definitely need to get away and reboot.

Teaching at USM has been fun. I have been able to reconnect with a friend at work, which is refreshing. But I have been dealing with my own things lately, so not as much going out with friends and such. I feel weird and empty some days, like I used to in some of my darker days. And with friends being more busy with their own houses/families/kids, etc makes me want to get in a car and drive. It’s hard for me to sit through painfully dull conversations about landscaping and mulch and cervical mucous and baby spit up. Nothing against those things, but it isn’t my favorite stuff to talk about. I have a pretty small support system here in Maine and not an enormous one back home either outside of my folks and a few good friends in Atlanta. It’s made my wanderlust skyrocket.

My choice is to make new friends or do something different or become a true hermit. Ironically, I think some of the hermiting is just how I cope with things when I’m too tired or down to expend energy meeting new people. Feeling pretty awful the past couple of weeks from endo hasn’t helped. I know it will pass. I need some more sunshine, both emotionally and physically. Normand is great to cheer me and take me on walks. And I got invited to help out at a festival in a week or two.

 

You were my courage
My sword and shield
Grace under pressure
My wall of steel
Baby I’m in love with you
Oh, and I’m missing the sound of your heart beating
Baby you were mine to lose
Oh, and I’m missing the sound of your heart beating

“In a sick way I want to thank you
For holding my head up late at night
While I was busy waging wars on myself,
You were trying to stop the fight
You never doubted my warped opinions
On things like suicidal hate
You made me compliment myself
When it was way too hard to take”

“I’m up here
I’m looking at the way down there
I’m staring through the I don’t care
It’s staring back at me

The beauty is
I’m learning how to face my beast
Starting now to find some peace
Set myself free

Today,
I don’t have to fall apart
I don’t have to be afraid
I don’t have to let the damage
consume me,
My shadow see through me”

 

 

Pistachio Pudding

I have been in the midst of a flare up this past week. It usually consists of extreme fatigue, waves of crippling pain across my abdomen and back, nausea and headaches. Along with a host of other unpleasant side effects. I make do with over the counter NSAIDs, but the doctors tell me that they’d not be surprised if I need something stronger, often offering prescriptions for potent narcotics. I avoid them for now. I had several good weeks in row, so I am optimistic that this will subside as some work stress is resolved.

When I’m having a rough week or generally feel like hell, I make myself some pistachio pudding. I’m not a huge fan of pistachios, but I love pistachio pudding. This last week has definitely been a pistachio pudding kind of week. I have done some serious dog-cuddling and reading (The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics) to recover.

Huffins and Puffins

Whew. This last week has been relatively productive even though I haven’t gotten finished cleaning my dining room table. Last week I decided to start a Couch to 5K program with one of my friends from work. We’re both pretty slow. It still doesn’t keep me from feeling super excited. I’ve been in some pain over the past 6-7 months from some endometriosis-related health issues, but I have started to have more good days than bad. Still have some bad days, but definitely better overall. I knew that once I started feeling a bit better I needed to get back to exercising a few times a week.

There was a time back in Atlanta where I was running at least 4-5 miles a day (even in the heat and humidity) with no problem. I’d like to use Maine’s magnificent Spring-Summer-Fall weather to jump start my way back to that goal. Then, I can figure out something indoors for Winter. I remember feeling so much better after those runs–I relaxed easier, slept better, didn’t have as many sugar cravings, etc. So, it’s the start of my second week. I’m up to 2.5 miles so far.

I love running outside. I caved and spent the extra $20 to get myself some nice running tights (designed for winter running to go under shorts) to go with my winter/mud season running shoes. Both were fantastic investments! I feel warm enough in the 20-40F temps and the fabric does a great job of wicking away sweat. My other favorite piece of running gear is my pair of Thor-lo Experian socks. I won’t wear any other socks when running. Life’s too short. I am hoping to get my summer runners broken in before my trip south to Edisto in May. I want  to do some sunrise beach running with Normand.

This weekend I found myself getting caught up in the Phryne Fisher mystery series by Kerry Greenwood. I picked it up at the library because I liked saying the name “FRY-NEE FISHERRR.” I’m not a big mystery fan, but the heroine definitely has pulled me in. A gun-toting flapper gal solving mysteries in 1920s Australia. Then I found that Acorn TV has episodes of the series online (called Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries)! After watching a few of those, I somehow got caught up on the show London Irish, which made me laugh, though mostly because of the strong accents and generally irate demeanor of the characters.

Also, this is currently top of my running playlist (super poppy).

And here’s another from the playlist that’s also got pep.

I need to make a real rock playlist for running. TBD.