Identify what is most important )0( Eliminate everything else
The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world. Dr. Paul Farmer
The suffering of others is not alleviated when no one knows about it.
There is no one right way to live. Daniel Quinn Ishmael
The only thing that you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right sort of people.
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. Kurt Vonnegut

Thursday, February 21, 2013

one year

So, there I was, at therapy this morning.  On the wall was a flyer about a just starting something-or-the-other.  It caught my attention last week because of the name of the something-or-the-other, Half the Sky.  My first thought was the documentary, based on the work and book by Kristof and WuDunn.  And, then I thought how difficult it might be for people in trauma to be part of a group that discusses or addresses those issues facing women around the world.  Or, maybe not so difficult.  How the heck would I know.  Just guessing.

So, I asked about it and was told that it was a weekly meeting conducted by one of the intern therapists.  After my session I got a cup of coffee and read the user manual for the car, having no other reading stuff with me, and waited for the meeting to begin.

Turns out that the intern therapist intends for this to be a support group.  She thought it would be helpful for some of her clients to have a social outlet in order to make friends and gain support in their journey towards health.  Many of them are isolated by their personal issues, mostly related to dealing with depression and other mental health issues.  Something that nearly every breathing, walking-around person experiences on occasion.  Most are not debilitated by such things, but some are. Besides, significant and painful live issues are often a precipitating factor to depression and other stuff.  Circular in the extreme.

I am the only person in the room who is not the intern therapist or one of her clients.

Big-picture-wise, it is going to be helpful to me in a way that regular therapy cannot.  Today's session established ground rules and topics, one of which will be safety and self-defense.


Until that exact moment, when the IT mentioned it and said that if the group wanted to, the guy who came to the previous six-week sessions to teach/show/illustrate self-defense techniques would be willing to do so again.

Why is it that learning some self-defense techniques never occurred to me?  Knowing how to protect my personal safety would have been so helpful to me in so many ways.  I am trusting that everything comes in its time, but this is big.  I am wondering if being able, at least potentially, to be proactive in keeping myself safer might help me in other ways.  I am thinking primarily of my inability to have any lights on at night.  Makes me feel exposed, vulnerable to have lights on inside.  Cuts down on the shadows.  I sometimes wonder if it is helping me be less anxious or if living in the dark contributes to my general anxiety, the whole not dealing with something thing.

Anyway, learning this stuff is going to help me feel stronger and more in control.  It will help with my body issues, too.  Way cool, and I am hoping that this happens soon.

Previous sessions?  This speaks project.  Nothing wrong with that.  Our VISTA volunteers did the same things. Come in, create projects around a need, offer a service, evaluate, go off into the sunset.  It is how these programs operate.  The providing of services is to provide services, of course, but mostly to give practical experience to these volunteers, also interns. 

I support all this.  Not being assigned a VISTA volunteer this year at my primary gig location is a sadness.  There simply are not sufficient bodies to fill the expanding belly of need.  And, so, bless them all, especially the woman who is providing this safe place where women can find friendship and support if they need it and where an outsider like me is unconditionally welcomed.

The unconditional part is huge, something that I, or any random person, rarely experience.  One one-hour session and I feel comfortable enough to return next week after my therapy session.  This group thing is helpful in another way because I have been trying to shorten my regular therapy session to anything less than the two-hour fests they now are.  With the new group immediately following my sessions I will be able to spew for only an hour. I am thinking that shorter sessions could help be become more focused.

On year ago today, just a bit over 365 days and ten hours, I left my old life.  I was hoping to not remember this anniversary, but something in that new group thing reminded me.  I had thought, in that moment, to have cake, to note it somehow.  Settled for chips instead.  They were good.  The chips are not progress, but where I am now is.  Progress.  Forward movement. 

Internal process pretty much decrees struggle and pain, sometimes lots of both, before you can move on from something.  My PTSD is worse lately, maybe in concert with today's milestone.  Maybe not.  Probably. 

Anyway, the day seems determined to not be denied.  I am not sure how I feel about this.  I am glad to be here, that one year later, I am still alive, still doing good work, still helping other people, still living with CoolCat.  I am even glad to be struggling with my resources, mostly because I can.  It is, on some level, interesting that my ex still feels the need to fuck with me.  My therapist keeps bringing up his apparent unwillingness to break his attachments to me, no matter how disgusting and stressful that whole issue must be for him.  I would prefer to not have to even think about it, but she insists that my future peace and safety is dependent on dealing with this.  My choice right now is a resounding 'no'.  Yes to forward movement, more yes to honoring a day that I would have preferred to never needed to have in my life at all.  No to dealing with his crap.  His feelings, thoughts, needs, wants, desires, preferences are nothing to me. 

Now, that is progress.  Yay me.

Whilst I managed to resist cake, I did get some great mustard greens to have with the potato soup I am making tomorrow.  I have a lovely sausage to make with cabbage, carrots and onions, all oven roasted and made into soup.  There is washed and chopped kale in the freezer for kale, hot sausage and potato soup.  Poblanos to be stuffed with spicy ground beef, baked with chilies.  Thick and creamy yogurt.  And, the rest of the chips. 

Let it snow for the next few days.  I have lots of great soup plans to amuse me for as long as I can avoid leaving the house.  I have my shovel ready and a hundred pounds of salty nuggets to deal with the ice and crusty snow.  Snow which was supposed to start a couple of hours ago.  'Cmon, precipitation!

I can hear the wind picking up. 'Cmon.

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