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A Self-Reminder.

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When I was in school, and having a hard time with my field placement, I remember my supervisor telling me to always remember that I was seeing just a small part of someone’s life – not the big picture.

People would come to pick up harm reduction supplies and they’d be in withdrawal – the worst sickness I had ever seen on someone still moving. Or they’d be screaming at their friend or partner. They’d be hitting redial on their cellphone over and over and over, trying to call their dealer on the phone, getting increasingly agitated. Or they’d be begging to use someone else’s phone. People would show up so high that they’d fall asleep on the cabinet where I was working. People would show up after court dates weeping or furious.

Being surrounded by intensity makes it hard to remember the bigger picture. Sometimes I would go home at the end of my day and feel my own intense despair – so much suffering. So many upsetting conversations that I had no power to diffuse (which wasn’t my job, anyway, but I didn’t fully understand that at the time).

I never got to see the quiet times with loved ones. The laughter. The sitting down and watching a TV show. Sharing a snack with their dog. The little meaningful, and meaningless, moments that make up a life.

But now – usually – I am able to remember. Not just for clients but for everyone. The moment of awfulness that I see, in the moment, isn’t the big picture. It’s just the moment. And it will pass and it, in and of itself, doesn’t define the human. 

Nothing Important Whatsoever.

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I am terrible – objectively – at asking for help. I like to be in control of my own stuff, basically, and I don’t trust other people to do things the way that I want them to be done.  Luckily, I have friends who just do it anyway – in a respectful, kind way.

Yesterday I spent about 8 hours doing yard work. Mowing the lawns, pulling weeds, working on the pool, cleaning out the shed, collecting trash, sweeping. My friend R worked alongside me – not literally – and quietly pulled out ivy and helped haul a bunch of things around. The start of the year is the worst for yard work when everything needs to be managed before it explodes with the warmer weather. But it’s all under control for now and I am so grateful.

On the subject of the pool, it’s open and it’s functioning and I think it’ll be reasonable for swimming soon. I’ve been watching the temperature rise every day since I opened it – the weather has been so hot – that I’m a little sad for the solar blanket I purchased. Maybe it won’t get much use this year?  I like the water around 78F and it’s currently nudging towards 74, sooooo… this is me being hopeful.

I’ve been sorting and tidying rooms – slowly but surely – and reorganizing my stuff and figuring out what needs to be fixed or finished. I’ve got a hefty to-do list, and not a huge stack of money, so things will just have to take whatever time they take.  I’ve also been learning to take care of some of the weed plants and I’ve got a tomato plant outdoors in the sun.

In the past week I’ve been flirted with and full-on propositioned and that’s entertaining as all get-out for a bunch of reasons. It’s nice, though. I guess I’m not too old for shenanigans? (I do not wish to partake in the shenanigans, but my ego appreciates it nonetheless.)

And that’s all I’ve got for now. Some sore shoulders and a slightly tidier house and, well, what more does a girl need?

(Oh, and the youngest kid now has COVID so I’m doing double-time on the hand washing and whatnot and hoping against all hope that I’ll stay symptom free, if not fully healthy. My regular testing continues!)

Unobserved.

Published / by violet / 2 Comments on Unobserved.

I have realized that, amongst the things I will miss, the biggest may simply be the shared experience of .. continuity.

I was watering my plants today, as I do every Sunday, and noticed some interesting growth and realized that I have no one with whom to share that little thing. I mean, I can post a pic here and tell you about it. I can post it on facebook and say, oh, hey, look! But for 20 years there has been someone who would understand the significance of the growth, in this case, or the relevance of nearly anything else that might come out of my mouth.

Another example: today he was over to take care of some things and help me figure some things out and to pick up a few of the items he had left previously. And I was talking about some of the birds on the feeder and realized that, soon, none of them will matter to him. Or to anyone other than me.  I’m not quite sure what to do with that sort of thing.

And I can’t quite find the word that I’m looking for, but..  I see things in the house – my things, to be clear, like the little plastic thing that holds some of my makeup – and the things feel.. odd. I didn’t purchase it for him or with him, or with his opinions in mind (why would it matter to him?), or even with the idea that he might use it to store something himself. But it feels like it’s not quite mine. Like it has kind of lost some meaning? Or.. something? I don’t know how to articulate the feeling but it keeps popping up with a lot of things that shouldn’t be impacted at all by his departure.

Strange. It’s all so strange.

Like & Subscribe & Send Me $10.

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I’ve started subscribing to various (“pay what you can”) newsletters. This is an entertaining thing to me because it’s reminiscent of those newsletters that people write and tuck into their Christmas cards each year.

I did that one year. Once. One time. It was, if I recall correctly, shortly after we adopted the kids – when things were still very honeymoon-y and there was plenty of good stuff to report. What a joy it is to have children! What a fulfilling thing it is to be a mother!

Shortly thereafter I could have started writing a newsletter called “Dispatches from the Front Line of The War”.  It would have included a photo of my face, begging for mercy, and not much else.

I just quietly never wrote or sent another one.

Anyway, I am really enjoying these assorted newsletters. They’re somehow more intimate than blogs – in that I read them on my phone, via email, instead of in a web browser. Most of them are a hybrid of someone’s personal musings, a bunch of interesting links, some random art, some horoscope-style advice. It’s a nice thing to look forward to reading.

As you’d expect this has got my mind churning at the idea of writing my own newsletter.

I’ve decided that mine will include two solid paragraphs of my complaints, in no particular order of importance. Then a few paragraphs about whatever topic I’m currently obsessing over. Then a bunch of links to things I’ve read or things I’ve added to my Amazon wishlist or already purchased, thanks to a credit card and poor impulse control. A photo of a random thing I saw, somewhere, during the week. A word that I learned and have been over-using. Two links to songs that I have played on repeat for 20 straight hours, much to the dismay of my coworkers. You know, good quality content.

I will charge you the low price of $10 a month for the privilege of this newsletter, btw. That’s a deal, because it’ll be like hanging out with me without having to actually listen to me nattering on endlessly about things and, as a bonus, you can just close your email any time you want and not worry that I’ll be offended.

Am I that interesting? That’s a resounding ‘no’ from me, buddy.

Is this any different from my facebook account? Well, yes, because I hold back a lot on fb (I know, it’s hard to believe) because some of my staff are on there.

At any rate, if I pull the trigger on this, you should definitely ask for a coupon or a “friends and family” discount code. Or maybe just find someone who paid for it and ask them to forward it along to you, quietly.

Don’t panic. Don’t worry about me pressuring you on this. Give me a few days and this idea will morph into a whole different, equally harebrained idea. Maybe I’ll make some homemade candles? Modpodge obscene drawings onto rocks and call them ‘paper weights’ like back in the 70s?

The world is, indeed, my goddamned oyster.

Onward. Again.

Published / by violet / 3 Comments on Onward. Again.

The big furniture items – piano, couch, mattress, the cat trees – are all gone. Many of the boxes and bins and random items have vanished. Space is slowly opening up. I can see where I might put a plant or a chair or a table. Interesting.

It should all be done in a day or two, I think. It’s just bits and pieces remaining. The stuff that doesn’t require a truck and 2 people to move.

I have been eating the most intense buttercream-coated cake for the past few days, thanks to my friends Melle and Robyn, who are clearly and openly channelling Deb and her cake-related crisis management plans. This is working for me on many levels. I shared a few slices with friends and now, every time I get hungry, I just pull it out and grab a fork and go for it.

A friend who (sometimes) uses stimulants will get into this mental state where they declare that they Can See The Patterns Everywhere and while this is usually a good warning sign of impending psychosis (not a good thing) it is an interesting feature of the human brain. Look for patterns. Look for The Signs.

Much like I don’t believe in astrology until my horoscope fits nicely, I don’t believe in “signs” until they fit, either.

So, here they are:

Shortly before Coffee moved, he located my Dad’s ashes. He’s back!

My 100+ year old Christmas Cactus, inherited through my mother’s side of the family, is blooming in a way she hasn’t really bloomed before (the pattern, I mean).

There is cake in my fridge.

All signs point to “it’ll be okay”. 

I mean, it won’t be totally okay for a while, I guess. A new normal? A different normal.

A friend is going through some shit and making huge life changes and I gave them a little lecture-y monologue about change – how it’s hard even when it’s good and then it’s just hard and then it’s good again and then it shifts a bit and slowly the hard doesn’t feel like the same fucking slog and then it’s just different and there are good days and bad days no matter what you’re doing in life.

(Honestly, I was mostly talking to myself with that monologue. Affirmations are important, right?)

So this morning I lingered in bed and then I wandered upstairs and sat on the couch and watched the birds and drank coffee and then did my staff meeting (zoom) on my phone, in my jammas.  The cat yelled at me – I assured her that Coffee would feed her shortly and that she’d be moving to her new place today and thanked her for being my friend for the last near-decade. (She didn’t give half a shit about my thanks but her crankiness was vaguely mollified by the treats I sprinkled on the floor for her.)  It was a good start to my first day on my own.

Onward.