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

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


I just finished Dean Koontz's Innocence.

It has raised an entire encyclopedic examination of who I believe myself to be.   Of what am I capable of doing.  Or, not doing.  What I am made of and if it is worth a rat's ass.

Even though I know how it turns out, I will be reading it again to discover all the more finely nuanced questions that this book poses.  If someone has not yet read this book, skipping to the end will not help the teeniest in beginning to understand what this book means.

It has earned the right to be experienced from the beginning.

And, so I begin.  This is the most thoughtful I have ever been here.  Interesting.

Could I?

Sacrifice for my family. 
Do.  With love.
I make no exceptions, even for those who have not been my biggest fans or who have not done things for me.  Or, have betrayed me.

Sacrifice for my friends. 
Do.  With love, because they are my family, too. 
There are conditions, although they are not particularly stringent.

Sacrifice for my work. 
Do.  Because I care about them and it is part of my calling to do this work.
Few conditions, but more than I have for my friends.
I am willing to have boundaries for my clients in a way that I cannot for my friends.
I think that doing the whole boundaries thing is important for my work to be effective.  And, meaningful.  Strange, huh?  That I would extend kind of support to strangers more easily than I do for people I love/like.

Sacrifice for my community. 
Sort of, through outreach work, volunteering and donations, and whilst it is part of my belief process, it has the potential to be lessened or stopped if more pressing needs present themselves.
Conditional, once in a while, based mostly as concerns my resources.
Very strong commitment to not disappoint.  Not sure what the disappoint means; it just slipped through my fingertips.

Sacrifice for my political beliefs and the welfare of my city/state/country.  
I cherish and respect my vote. 
I will be publicly present when it means something to me.
I may protest when there is reason to do so.  Or, I will protest is someone tries to make me do something I do not want to do.

Sacrifice for my planet.
Do.  With love for this fragile living thing that makes it possible for me to have life.
I struggle with simplifying my life enough to make the smallest possible effect on her.
I fail at this often enough to distress me.  I keep trying to do better.

Would I?

Have any restrictions or reservations about helping family.
No.  Probably not. 
I might balk for some people, for some specific issue, although I would try to keep that to myself.
But, I would still help.
A continuing problem, especially when what someone wants is not in anyone's best interest, would (hopefully) be discussed and a solution found that benefits most everyone's interest.
Bottom line, helping is different from sacrificing. 
There is a nearly invisible line between helping and rescuing, and more than a rescue or more...does not really help anyone, not the recipient and most especially not the helper.

Have any restrictions or reservations about helping friends.
I am including acquaintances.
I know them so well, mostly, that it is easy to help just about anyone.  Even my foes, and, yes, I do have people in my life (mostly work) that do not like me and never will.
Perhaps this is tied up with my previous strongly held belief that I truly had nothing to offer anyone and needed to always say yes to whatever anyone asked or demanded of me.  If I was not useful, I was nothing.
I find it interesting that I have less conflict about helping friends (keeping in mind that I consider them to be true family) than I do my birth, adoption and marriage family.
I wonder if it could be the more flexible links between us.
It often seems as though there is never any reservation to help friends.

Have any restrictions or reservations about helping my clients or anyone else I see through outreach or volunteer work.
The only qualifications I have for helping clients and the peers I counsel is that they do their part of the work (not always possible at the beginning, but it develops), and attend to it when they are able (not always possible at the beginning or because of other disabling conditions and circumstances).
What I ask them to do is often stunningly difficult.
I am patient.
I give lots of second chances.
I make every accommodation, for most of them are suffering and struggling in ways that I can only imagine.
I use my own experiences to better understand what someone else might be struggling with.
I offer extra resources.
I do not take rejection or lack of ability to do the work personally.
The three days I do this work are the only days I have no problems leaving the house or engaging with other people.
I wish that I could take this energy and lack of judgement into the rest of my life.

Have any restrictions or reservations about helping my community.
Sacrifice is fine, helping is more difficult, because I am a basically lazy person.  I am pretty much a slacker when it comes to hard physical work.
I suppose the best I can do is to be the best citizen I can and to keep volunteering. 

Have any restrictions or reservations about helping my city/state/country.
Sure.  Political stuff is not my stuff.  I am probably the most apolitical person I know.  Maybe not.
I will always vote.
I will publicly support and help whatever underdogs...people or causes...come my way.
I will recycle.
I will cross the street at designated crosswalks, especially if they have traffic lights to help me make it across without much danger of being run over by other old babes like me.
I will obey all the laws, even the ones I think are stupid.

Have any restrictions or reservations about helping my planet.
I will continue to do whatever I can to live more simply.  Said that already, but it still holds.
I will recycle, except for aluminum cans, which I will sell, even though they bring a pittance.
I will conserve water and all other resources.
I will continue to drive as little as possible, which most weeks is only one day, when I have to to get groceries and do my laundry.  I have constructed my life so that I can walk everywhere else.  I call it exercise by default, same with taking the stairs at work.
I will continue to struggle about eating animals.  In my defense, I have problems with most carbs and feel better when I eat meat.  Now that my resources have improved, I will eat more meat.  Besides, the umami cannot be beat by anything except roasted vegetables, which go so nicely with meat.

Some of this really just flowed out of me.  Most of it took lots of thinking and examination to find and understand how I feel and believe and act in my life.  I could not have done this even a year ago.  I would have been too frightened of the process.  Terrified.  Maybe I have come further in my healing and recovery than I think I have.

I can envision performing this same exercise again and again. None of the other therapeutic practices have appealed or worked for me, but I may have accidentally...or prophetically...stumbled on to the one for which I have bee waiting.

So, my life.

Could I sacrifice everything for my own life?  Not so much benefit, as I believe that I create my own basic support, but more like being able to give up something or someone that/who is essential to living well.
Could I really sacrifice those things and people I hold sacred?
I would sacrifice for them, although I am not certain that I could divest myself of anyone who I love with the entirety of my entire being.
I would be able to do that only if the benefit to the other person was greater than the loss to me.
Yeah, I could do that. 
Not in a heartbeat, but I could do it.

Would I help myself?
I can.
I do.
I try to make most days count for something.
I try to appreciate everything that I have, everything I could have or experience and appreciate even the past, that other life, which I hope, someday, to be able to not have to refer to as that other life.
I help myself by making my own choices, good, bad or indifferent.
I help myself by not being destroyed by failure, by not being discouraged by making mistakes.
I help myself by understanding my past and finding those places in my heart where forgiveness lives and sharing it unconditionally.
I help myself with every single thing I do to change the way I used to respond to, well, just everything and most people.
I help myself by being as honest as possible, whilst holding dear to sensitivity and respect for others.
I try.
I can.
I do.

Boy, do I do.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

it comes down to this

I had lunch today at my favorite Asian restaurant, a buffet and custom grill/order place, lots of great sushi.

At the table in my direct line of sight was a young family.  Mom, dad, little daughter, littler son.  The children were charming, dividing their time between eating lots of noodles, snuggling with their parents, eating noodles and talking to the koi in the big pond.  So cute.  Great public manners for such little kids, just like my boys.

Anyway, there was something odd about their conversation, the mom and dad.  I was not eavesdropping, the tables are close together, so close that you could reach and take a California roll from the next table and no one would notice.

Anyway, they were talking about naps, for the little ones and it was all back and forth and about schedules for naps and when did little man take his nap and what is happening tonight if he does not nap and little princess did not take any naps yesterday and was soooooo crabby.  Interesting, as it seemed as though they were friends and not partners/a couple/something.

Then, when the kids were again grooving with the koi, mom asked dad, "Well, are you dating?"  And he answered that he was.  A little.  Once in a while.  Then dad asked mom if she was dating and she told him that she was, once in a while.

And, I realized that they were divorced or permanently separated in whatever way that happens and were spending time together with their children. 

It was the perfect example of how people should split up if splitting up is going to happen.  I have to share that it gave me such a sense of the integrity and honor of people who choose to manifest their best selves and do the right thing for their children.  Even if, heaven forbid, things go wrong sometime in the future, they all have today, right now and for the foreseeable future, a family, even if they do not live together and mom and dad date other people.  A little.  Once in a while.

After lunch I went to my favorite charity shop, a short walk from the restaurant.  Think there might be a theme here.  One of my new, albeit future, gigs is that I am being given space in the center when they move to their new location.  It is a third of a block west.  They did not make their goal of early January because the wiring is all mess-a-licious there.  So, no immanent move.  The space given to me will be to provide art and craft therapy without the therapy part.  I am not a licensed art therapist, although I am think that is something I might like to pursue. 

The activities and projects are things that I have done in the past with other groups and locations.  It can be powerful work, but I am keeping it in the realm of fun, holidays, seasons and useful things.  We will begin with making a book, an artsy journal, some place to write whatever is important to us or grocery lists or to-dos or doodle or whatever anyone wants to do.

I will be concentrating on the process and learning how to do things, oh, like construct a book, a useful skill, as when you learn how to do it you can make books for yourself or for gifts.  Learning any new skill means that you have one more thing in your arsenal for taking care of yourself, living frugally and being able to make your own very cool stuff.  If all goes well, I will be teaching them to make soap.  Yay.

I can hardly wait, and since it looks like there is improvement, forward movement if you will, in my financial situation...finally receiving a portion of the joint resources from that other life...I will be able to fund part of the program instead of having to rely on the generosity the committee has offered.  I will also be able to expand the vision (glasses, readers and appointments) project I started last year.  Yay.

That is why I visited the shop, to look for materials for the new gig.  I did find some remarkable stuff.  Yay.

There was a woman at the shop who was looking through the bargain bags they use for all kinds of stuff.  Pretty cool, and it is impossible to not find some bag of some stuff that you can use to make other stuff.  We started talking and she was commenting on how the shop people really knew the value of what they were selling and I shared with her that when they first opened they were practically giving stuff away.  Since it is  shop that pays their staff, provides employment for persons with developmental issues, covers the bills and gives every other cent to their work with disabled and old folk who are the recipients of the services at their facilities, I was glad that they finally raised their prices.

She was looking at some brass stencils and whilst she is a huge fan and practitioner of all things scrap booking, she did not know what they were.  They are sold in packs of 4 or 5, depending on size, for $3.00.  Quite the value.  I had looked at the two packs, but could not justify buying either because I could use only two from one of the packages.  I showed her how to use them.  She told me that she really only wanted one of the stencils, so I told her that one of us should buy the darn thing and share the stencils and the costs.  And, that we would meet up at the cashier.

Before I went there, I stopped to take one last look at the cool papers they had and we got to talking again.  She was there with her twin sister and their older sister.  Spending a few days together, something they do at least once a year.  Turns out that the one to whom I was speaking lives here.  Her twin lives about five hours north of here.  The older sister live about seven hours further north.  So, they alternate visits by driving to each of the three places they live, in some kind of rotation I did not understand, but I really do not need to, so there is that.

The twin sister came over again and delivered the message that my new friend :) had better get a hustle on because the bus was leaving in two minutes.

So, we hustled and when it came time for me to pay my share of the cost of the stencils, she gave the two I liked to me and would not take my buck-fifty. 

They were so wonderful and it was easy to see how much they loved and cared about each other.  Women older than me who get out there and groove with each other a couple of times each year because it is important that they make the sacrifices in time, distance, money and time away from their families, to stay in more intimate contact than through the phone or e-mail, both of which they do regularly.

Another moment of grace and hope and beauty, and in the space of just a few hours.

My final stop before returning home was the market where I carefully chose my groceries, including a bag of frozen shrimp that disappeared from my cart between the time I popped it in there and was going through the check-out.  I did not notice until I arrived home because this market bags your stuff before you can do it yourself.

Was it the person behind me who suddenly realized that she had forgotten to grab some of  those ridiculously sale-priced, pink and glistening creatures? 

Did someone else think that my cart was their cart and took that package of histamine-elevating and throat-clogging crustaceans and put them back?

Perhaps someone saw them in my cart and decided to save me from those cockroaches of the sea.  Yes?

Anyway, no sale shrimpies for me.  I shop only one day each week.  Today was the day.  Maybe it will still be on sale next week and it can be spiced and seasoned and sauced to rest...briefly...atop a lovely bed of bean thread noodles.   Noodles that actually made it home with me.

The day began, as it always does on Thursdays, at the Center.  First was a session with my spiritual counselor.  She tells me that I have made a lot of progress and have grown, or at least am growing into this new life.  I do not see it, and I suppose that I am looking out and she, and others who have made similar comments, are looking at parts of me that I cannot even see in the mirror.

Next was therapy where I was able to share my clients from yesterday, which also happens to be one of the most interesting days I have had at this job. 

I had an insight last week about how my daughter is in relationship with me and it knocked me on my ass.  What that means is I have to have some difficult conversations with her and risk all kinds of problems if she wants to know about what happened when all that happened.  It might be worth the risk.  Or, it might be the beginning of more problems.  I tire of hearing myself say this, but there are things that I will never be able to tell anyone.  Still, I will risk having to decline to answer, if we manage to learn more about each other and reduce the stress between us.  One can only hope.  Lordy.

As for the clients...digressing..., but client #4 arrived smelling of alcohol.  It was fresh alcohol and when I told him that I could smell it, he asked me, "Oh, is that a problem?"  Yeah, the day was full of interesting players.

Following was a support group, yes, I spend more than three hours there some days.  It was interesting, as usual, but the theme/query for the session was fairly innocuous.  It was to share a story/saying/whatever that you use when you are going through a difficult time and need to provide some self support.  Two people nailed it and two people did not, and the conversation went into stunningly personal and intense sharing.  After, I was talking to the therapist/facilitator and remarked how amazing that all was and she replied that she had no idea that the conversation and sharing would go where it did.  Yeah.  Everyone.  Amazed.  But, even though the work was hard, almost brutal, it was good.  And, amazing.

It is time to end a cool and interesting day.  I work tomorrow, only five hours, but it is intense and I need to be at my best.  I am reading Dean Koontz's Innocence.  It is already compelling and it will be a while before I find out what the mystery about the main character is about. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

what are we

After a long and stunningly cold few months.  After a long bout of being sick and being stuck in the recovery part.  After much holiday traveling and my son-in-law doing his own business trekking around the world.  After feeling completely non-infectious, could stay awake for more than a few hours and regaining most of my voice, I called my daughter last Thursday to see if their schedule would allow for finally, finally, finally getting together to celebrate Yule.

Son-in-law's schedule needed to be checked, as he was heading out on another out of the country trip and she, my sweet and strange daughter said that she would check all that and get back to me.  She mentioned that they might want a nice and quiet last weekend together.  Cool.  She never called back and I was kind of happy to have more time to myself, as my voice keeps drifting in and out of sounding like a telephone perv.

Saturday night she called and asked me if I was on my way.  She meant her house, but had forgotten to let me know.  It was 5:30 p.m. and I considered, for a moment, that I would get ready, load all the stuff in the car and come anyway.  I thought it was funny, the whole miscommunication thing, and said that we could just reschedule, but she did not.  Think it was funny or want to set a different time.  She immediately attacked me for forgetting. 

I could tell a change in her ranting when she must have remembered that she had forgotten to call me.  The conversation devolved into her stressing about just making other arrangements some other time, but not any time soon.

And, as strange and silly as this all was, after she hung up on me, I sat here at my desk, stuck to my seat with a new perspective and understanding of who each of us are, both individually and together.

Whenever there is the least bit of conflict, my default is to assume full responsibility.  I shame spiral, settling into my favorite pit of blame, shame and pain, the knowledge that I am incapable of doing the right thing, that my memory is defective, that I always make the wrong choices and decisions and that no matter how much I try, I will never choose the right thing or please anyone. 

It is really painful to write that, listen to the words in my head.  Know that I will never be good enough or smart enough or worthy of anything but more pain. 

Pain is a lure, it takes the place of other feelings, of happiness or joy or even plain old contentment.  Pain proves my unworthiness for kindness and respect, much less love. 

This behavior is a common response of my daughter's.  She is impatient with me almost all of the time.  Whenever I am able to be engaging and she seems happy or pleased, I am thrilled.  Unfortunately, it is not her ordinary way of being with me.  I struggle with being bland around her and there are times when I talk to her about what happened, but she is defensive and the truth is that it is not worth it.  This is something else that is one of my deepest pains.  I have never told anyone about this because it is a factor of my failure to get along with people, my inability to behave properly.  It is a shame that I carry around me, ready at hand, to remind me to be passive and let other people do what they want and behave any way they want with me. 

The client who is currently an issue for me is a prime example of how I do not set boundaries with people, especially my clients.  I am getting better at this, setting boundaries with a couple of people, but there is so much I still have to do, stopping being subservient to everyone.  I think the only equal relationships I have ever had have been with my pets.  I provide what they needed and they did the same back to me.  I am bigger, have opposable thumbs. can get to the store and buy or make what they need, but there is no inequality in those relationships.  I believe that I have always been on the end that receives the most.

It sucks, always has, but it is what I do, or what I hope I did, as in the past.  But, that is not the important part.

And, as strange and silly as this all was, after she hung up on me, I sat here at my desk, stuck to my seat with a new perspective and understanding of who each of us are, both individually and together.

My behaviors are part of my marriage, to be sure, but I think the seeds of feeling not worthy or important of anything better reach back to my childhood and the abuse that all of us suffered then.

I understand that all of our life experiences factor in to how we live, and respond, all that jazz.  But, I never connected how my daughter is with me with how the entire dynamic was in our, her, childhood home. 

I am not making excuses, not for my ex or for my daughter and especially not for me.  It all was what it was.  Simple in the realm where simple lives.  But, she does not know how else to be with me. When there is anything more than a trifling trouble, her default is to judge and criticize me.  She gets over it quickly and we move on.  Whilst it has never been something I would have chosen, it is not so horrible that I would decide to break all contact with her and all the boys. 

Except, that is my thought when this happens.  I weigh the benefits of being with all of them against the times when she is unkind to me, something that I do not ever do to her.  And, I thought about it this time. 

I wanted to just let it drop and not try to make amends and just keep my distance until she got over it.  And, then I thought, heck, I did not do anything wrong, she forgot to call me to let me know to drive up on Saturday.  But, I let it go and called her on Sunday to ask if she wanted to reschedule something for this coming week or wait until daddy returned from his trip.  She wants to wait, and that is what we will do.

There was a silence and I decided to fill it.  Without thinking about it, I started to talk about how we struggle with things like this, that I understand in a way I have not before and that we are both survivors.  She agreed, but her survivorship is partly from her father, but also from me. 

I imagine that she feels that I was not proactive enough, not a good enough mother to have been able to fix all of that mess of a childhood for her and family for all of us.  I agree.  It is all I can do, not being able to go back and do everything differently.  I was as good a parent as I could be.  It was not enough, but it was all I had, all I could do. 

More importantly, when she agrees that we are survivors, she is referring mostly to having survived me.  I am not making this more than it actually is.  We are still close, even with all of that stuff. 

I said that we have come through some of the worst times that people can experience and we are still here and are better people for it.  She agreed.  It is just that her agreement and nothing else to say means that we have not begun to address, discuss and heal from so many thing.  It is my fault that we do not do any of that.  I simply cannot, although the time might be quickly approaching when I will not longer be able to avoid having these conversations with her. 

I am not blameless.  I allowed, heck, I probably fostered this behavior and attitude in her.  Some fucked up attempt to keep the peace.  I do not know where this is going, but I have new insights about what we are doing, how we are dancing around with this, and how it came to be and, well, the possibilities that might be in our future.

Our future feels tender, perhaps even more vulnerable for both of us.  There is the chance that she may ask me questions that I am not willing to answer.  My therapist and I have discussed opening up to her and being open to anything she might want to discuss with me.  I do not mind talking about my frailties and mistakes, my bad behavior.  It is just that there are some things about my life with her father that are not appropriate for a child to know.  My guess is that I will resist, if not outright refuse to talk about those things.  There are things I have never shared with anyone.  My therapist insists that disclosing some of that is essential to my continued healing and recovery, that my fears and the consequences of PTSD will stop holding such power over me.  I am not convinced.  I do not know how I could ever tell anyone about those things.

I believe that my understanding, the new understanding, is going to make a difference in how I respond to many things.  I am full of hope.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


I am not crazy about the word victim.  The social worker who facilitates our DV (domestic violence) support group is not fond of it.  Most of the women who attend this group are not fans of being referred to as victims.  Some do not mind.  A few do not give a fig one way or the other.  Unfortunately, it clearly defines what most of us have experienced, it is a kind of shortcut word to express a particular circumstance, and it gets used and everyone just gets over it, and sometimes themselves.

However, there remains a belief in how one becomes a victim and how one might deserve whatever happens to one.  And, today's topic was about how when something terrible happens to someone, that that person often is on the receiving end of criticism, blaming, shame and responsibility for what happened.  Feel free to talk amongst yourselves.

I am not talking about things like leaving your purse open and unattended at the market. 
Or walking away with your car doors unlocked and the keys in the ignition. 
Or paying the utility bill late and incurring a late fee.
Or forgetting your sister's birthday, your wedding anniversary and Christmas, all in the same year.

I am really not talking about lots of stupid things we do that have unpleasant side effects and painful and embarrassing results.

As one might imagine, there was plenty of sharing and reflection and reflecting back to one another.  Much of it was about the things that happened in our marriages and other relationships and how it might come to be that another person, a friend or family member, would respond in a less than supportive way and cast least a shadow of blame...on the person who was hurt, abused and terrorized by, well, by a man in our lives, because that is the background that all of us have in this group. 

Then, one of the women began to talk about what happened in her life after she was raped.

And, we all listened because rape has happened to us in those relationships where we should have been able to expect to be safe.  And, loved.  And, free from stress and fear and all the rest.  So, we listened and thought about our own lives, our own rape experiences.

It was really powerful.  Rape is something that we have never specifically addressed.  It gets mentioned once in a while, but always within the context of something else.  Not that we ignore it or categorize it out of the dialogue, or anything like that.  For some reason it simply has never been the focus of a session.  Today, it dominated.

The woman, a new member, her first session, was the person who introduced her rape into the conversation as it relates to trust, a huge issue with which we all struggle.  Since we were talking about how other people might react to someone else and their bad crap, she shared that one of the criticisms was that she wore her jeans too tight and that doing that had been a provocative thing to do around the uncle who raped her when she was 12 years old, and that she had been beaten for sharing the rape with her parents.  Yeah.  Twelve years old.  Beloved uncle, brother of her mother.  Parents who blamed and punished her for what happened. 

As we were there, supporting her with our attention, one of the other women spoke and said that women who dress in a sexy or behave in certain ways deserve whatever happens to them.

The woman who shared had a look on her face that I imagine must have been there all those years ago when she was raped and her family effectively abandoned her in favor of her rapist.  Everyone was kind of shocked and without really thinking about it or the possible consequences, I said that even if a woman goes out naked, she is in no way responsible if someone decides to take advantage of her.  The other woman replied that, oh, sure, I suppose, maybe she is not responsible, but she really should expect to get what she deserves.  We all know that rape is not about sex or sexuality or behavior or location or time or anything besides power.  Rapists use a woman's appearance or behavior as an excuse, but the truth is that it is about exercising power over someone less physically or emotionally powerful than himself.

It was stunning.  Here we are, discussing how victims are often taken to task and held responsible for what happens to them, and one of those very same victims uses it as an opportunity to minimize another group member. 

There is much more that I am too upset to share right now.  This week has been chock full of all kinds of crap littered around a couple of truly wonderful things and with how I have been thinking about and stressing over my lack of progress and recovery.  It really is difficult to see sometimes, from the inside.  I am rejecting the crappy stuff and focusing on the great things that happened.

I stood up and defended a person I do not even know, whose experiences were dismissed by another person, one who has become a good friend of mine.  I was clear.  I was calm and assertive, which I always think of how one needs to be when training and working with animals, and which also seems frivolous and maybe even disrespectful, but it is not.  Being centered...oh, sad psychobabble, how we use you...the whole calm thing and the whole staying clear and assertive without billowing over into forcefulness or judgement or additional criticism or even aggressive behavior is pretty much the kind of behavior I strive to have. 

I did much the same thing yesterday at work regarding a very difficult client that everyone would like me to fire, as in not allow her to return. I am giving her two more chances.  Because I can, and because I do not want to carry any regret for not giving her more opportunity to behave properly.

A major agency in the city has requested that I allow one of their employees to shadow me in my work and mentor her.  I said that I would, but I have not met her or discussed what her needs might be, so we will just try it and see what happens.  I am a bit conflicted, as the employee is thinking about getting certification for a specific job in the agency.  Certification that I already have, and they are choosing to have me train her instead of actually hiring me.  Like I said, I will have to see how that all works out.  Man.

I had a three-way conversation this afternoon between me, my banker (how cool that I have an actual banker, who is a friend and, well, just plain cool) and the investment company that is supposed to be handling the puny share I finally received from the divorce.  Maybe.  I am trying to stay calm about all of this, but they have delayed the process for nearly a year and a half, and whilst I am not willing to be assertive, W/banker/friend is arranging for an appointment with her financial guy so that I can explore my options for investing this money so that I can close those accounts with that investiment compay, accounts that  being obfuscated and delayed by said investment company, folk who are friends of my ex.  Interesting how complicated and eventually circular life is.

Anyway, it appears that they are beginning to disperse some kind of annuity, a monthly thing, and that I will have a little more money each month.

Given this great week and the cool stuff, I decided to live in abundance today. 

The director of the clinic where I receive my own therapy asked me to work with another of the clinic's clients.  I asked for an introduction and he may need some time to feel comfortable working with me, time to develop a trusting relationship.  How freaking cool is that?
I made some changes in my meds that may serve me better.
I bought a case of peanut butter so that one of the supportive church programs can distribute them to the people who come to their daily meal program that they run for homeless, shelter residents and other people who struggle to keep food in their homes.
I bought a case for my phone, which still works fine, but is kind of falling apart.  Now I can keep it a very long time.  Yay.
In a few minutes I will be making a couple of bracelets for myself.  Not other people.  Myself.  If anyone admires them, I will not be giving them away; I will be keeping them.  Probably.  Hope so.
I took some money out of savings and stopped by my dental clinic to make an advance payment towards the insane amount of work I need.  When I have saved and deposited enough money with them, I will have much nicer and healthier teeth.  Oh, just yay.
I am going to do the same thing in regards to a new pair of glasses.  I am pretty sure I am going to do that.  Pretty sure.
I am feeling well try to drive north this weekend to spend time with my daughter and all her boys.  The biggest boy is traveling next week, out of the country again, so they may want a nice quiet weekend together, which they never really have when I am there.  I sometimes feel sorry for her, as when I am there it is like she has an additional child.  Well.
I finished Amy Tan's The Valley of Amazement yesterday.  It was great.  I love her writing, not only because her characters are so compelling and relatable, but the foundation and expression of mysticism, or maybe the development and understanding and translation of illusion, is just breathtaking.  I can become part of her characters' lives more easily than any other author I know.

Well, off to make bracelets to wear to work tomorrow.  Off to read my new book from the library.  Off to dream.  Off to celebrate the end of a very interesting and ultimately satisfying day, with the hopes of more to come.

I never dreamed, not ever, ever, ever, of having the life I now am living.  Blessing shower down on me all the damn time, and it pleases me that I can often recognize those blessing when they come in the form of discomfort, distress, hard work or struggle.  I realized something a while ago, but have not shared it because it makes me feel so vulnerable.  It is that I no longer am fearful of being hurt by him again, that my life is almost certainly safe now.  I am not letting down my guard and I am not becoming careless, it is just that I do not have that particular fear as a motivator or director of how I move through my days.  It feels nice.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


I have been stressing over this whole thing for months.  I know that I am doing well; I can see some of it in how easy my life is now.  Like without all of the tension and stress-ors that have crippled my ability/abilities to do more than survive just one more day, just one more hour.

I recognize that some of that lingers.  I am having great difficulty losing weight.  Part of that is because I have been obese for such a long time.  My body is settled in my current tonnage, and has been for decades.  I have lost weight occasionally, due to unusually high stress and danger, but my weight has stayed the same for more than thirty years.  Man, writing that makes me feel like such a failure.  Whatever.

I think that my adrenals are healing.  I do not have Addison's, but I have had all of the symptoms.  The only one that is getting better is that not so much of my hair is falling out.  It took two years, but it is slowing down.  Yay.

There are many physical effects from all my crap.  The stress, depression and PTSD.  I know that it takes time to recover from everything, and I am doing my best. 

It just seems that, nearly two years since the day I left that other life, well, I should be making more progress.  I guess that it is not so much what I am doing, but what I still cannot do.

I still do not turn on interior lights at night.  Every day that I keep the place dark is another day closer to a habit that I might not be able to break.  And, I do need to break it.  I need to feel safe enough that I might pass between a lamp and a window and not worry about casting a shadow and letting anyone know that there is a person in here.  Stupid.  Worse is that it is saving me a lot on my utility bill and it might be difficult to give up that benefit.  Except, hanging on to this benefits me in absolutely no decent way.  It is pathological.

I should be more social than I am.  Truth is that I was more social earlier in my life, the few years before I left.  Part of that is being outdoors after dark, which I am planning to address by sitting out on my porch when the weather is nicer.  I have thought that I might even take a random walk back to the car under the pretense of getting something from that car. 

I have two friends that will come to fetch me for nighttime stuff, let me hang out with them and then be driven home.   There have been two recent offers. I thought that I would accept them, but at the last hour, did not.  Stupid.

There is so much more, and I am choosing to dismiss my attachment to any of it now, right now, in this moment.  Avoidance.  Stupid, but I am doing it anyway.  So often I get just plain sick of the sound of typing.  Round and round and never getting anywhere.  I do this to flush all the fear, stress and negativity, the self-loathing out, but sometimes the clicking seems like being stalked, the sound of someone with bad intentions following along just to see what dumb thing I will do next.

On the proactive side:

I take my medications. 

I try to be meditative as much as possible.  I used to do actual medications and visualizations and whilst I still could (and occasionally do in the DV support group), the larger process of that is not attractive to me right now.  Whatever.

I am more focused on eating a healthy diet.  I am tempted, practically seduced by Weight Watchers, but every time I think I really need to join, I attend a meeting and it all falls apart.  The truth is that I am not one of them.  I cannot get excited about the games and coins and tags and ribbons or whatever the group uses to measure success of one kind or another.  Frankly, when I go it is fine, and then I begin to feel a little squeamish.  So, no group tonnage reduction for me, at least not now.  I think that my response is because the whole process is an exercise in vulnerability and I could never join and risk inadvertently sharing what was happening at home.  It would have been just one more place where I would have to lie, which does nothing to help me feel like less of an outsider.

I am interested in exploring some physical activity.  Even though I am obese and do not have the right kind of clothing to go to the gym (and, yes, there are right and wrong garments for the gym), and am so out of shape that it is embarrassing.  I do take the stairs at work, up and down, and am able to resist the siren call of the elevator.  It is a start and whilst I do not do resolutions or goals, I really would like to start going, start becoming healthier and maybe meeting new people in the bargain.  That alone might be helpful in becoming more social.  Might.

My work is going well.  After 4.5 years, I just received my first complaint from a client.  I nearly fired her last week, but gave her some homework to do, and was willing to try one more time with her.  I have hopes, even though her previous four sessions here were difficult.  I am giving her one more session to just sit and talk and ramble like she does and then the two of us do the actual work or she has to leave.  And, not come back.  My supervisor is going to talk to her tomorrow and lay the groundwork for her coming back.

Okey-dokey, here is the interesting part.  Even though I feel as though I am not making any progress, you know, no decent forward and healing movement, this client did not trigger my usual shame spiral.

In fact, I felt no shame or regret or fear at all.  That used to happen every damn day.  Do something wrong and suffer the consequences, often over a long period of time.  It is important to remember that I never did anything that was actually wrong, just that someone who is not me waited for any expression of anything to use as an excuse to abuse me.

So, feeling, or, I guess not feeling that immediate fear response, is so cool.  Amazing.

I fell no guilt about not being able to meet the needs of a client whose needs cannot be met by anyone.  Even Mother Theresa might throw up her hands and hand her off to one of her minions.  She had minions, yes?

Not only do I not feel guilt or regret or failure at my inability to help this client, I feel really great about how I have been handling her.  I am doing exactly the right things with her, slowly moving her into becoming more connected and active about the process of the work she wants to do with me.  Not too much, not too little, just right.  Well, except for the other employees who want me to fire her, especially one guy who tells me all the time to not allow clients to pull their crap on me.  But, by the time they get here they have exhausted every other resource.

This particular client has told me that a local agency will no longer work with her.  His, the guy, response this afternoon is what the hell, you have alienated an entire government agency and you wonder why you are having problems.  Well, he meant her, not me.  But, I knew that, so no stress.

I am being totally supported here at work, something that is a basic part of working here, and it astounds me that I am feeling sort of settled and accustomed to this support.  Man.  Support.  Something I never experienced in that other life. 

So, I guess that I am making progress; it is just not the kind that shows, at least not every day or week, or, maybe, every year.  I am sorry that this client cannot seem to get along with anyone, but that does not mean that I can abandon her, at least not now.  She has another chance to come in and if she wants to talk only about how difficult it feels for her to work with me, that is fine.  She also has one more chance to do the work.  Then.  Well, I will have to tell her that we cannot continue to work together until she meets the, really quite small, task I have set for her.

It is not that I am positioning myself to be the person/party that does not have to make the ultimate decision, but the years of doing this work have educated me about how my clients have to be involved, do the work and not leave it to me to make sense of their mess and find solutions all on my own.

That certainly is not good my me and my work, and it most certainly is not good or helpful to my clients.  Just writing this, letting the thoughts flow through me reassures me that I am doing this work the right way.

That feels pretty damn nice.  Not stupid.

Sunday, January 5, 2014


It is cold.  Too cold to sleep without antihistamines or a refreshing adult beverage, neither of which are available here.  The furnace is doing its best, although Mother Nature is doing her best to defeat the poor little cold-defeater.  Only one of the heating vents sends up warm air.  It is right here, next to the desk, which is one of the reasons I am still up.  Even night owls like to be all toasty.

There has been one of those ticker tape things running along the bottom of the television screen whenever I have had it on yesterday and today.    It is sharing that just about everything that children and the elderly might conceivably attend this week.

Schools in five counties. After school programs.  Community programs and events.  All that stuff.

The expected high for tomorrow is minus-11F.  Woo.  Heat wave.

I went to work yesterday and cancelled my weekend with family because I still feel too ill to travel such a long way in the snowing and bitter cold.  I disappointed her again, but I get to say no and stay home if I need to.  None of us is going anywhere...big picture we can get together in a few weeks.

I have to get some sleep.  I will be darned if I am going to cycle into insomnia again.  Good is that I have lost some weight, slightly lower in the old tonnage during these past couple of weeks.  My intention is to hang on the this lovely and decreased appetite when I begin to feel better.  Oh, gosh, just tossed a yawn, so off to bed before it wears off.