October 24, 2006
If you don't get my letter then you'll know that I'm in jail
Tonight, after another brilliant acupuncture appointment, I went over to ABC No Rio to send books to prisoners. I did this for the first time a few weeks ago, and I've got it planned into my schedule now as a regular thing. I'd been meaning to do it for months 'n' months, as it is on the Nonsense list every week, and it was a cause I supported, but it wasn't until I was so miserable in September that I was able to get my act together. Four things happened: I independently had the idea that "Gee, a lot of people are much worse off than I am, me with my first-world problems," and then I read the suggestion to volunteer in books about both Buddhism and anxiety/depression, and then Katje reminded me that volunteering is good for cheering oneself up, and then I read David Feige's book Indefensible, about being a public defender in the Bronx. How could I resist all that?
It's amazing work. They've got a room full of books that have been donated, and a box full of letters from prisoners, and you take a letter, read it, and try to find some books for the person. Just about every letter gets me right in the gut. Tonight I had a letter from a guy who said that his prison had a small library, but that now that he's finished his GED, he isn't even allowed to use it. WTF? We had some history books that fit his request, and we sent those along. Most satisfying request to fill tonight was the guy who asked for books about Celtic stuff, Gaelic, anything Irish. We actually had a book on Celtic mythology *and* an Irish-English/English-Irish dictionary (which had some grammar exercises in it). Dude.
In other news, the perennials I planted are doing splendidly. I *know* that fall is a fine time to plant, and so I ordered the plants, but I had a moment of doubt when they came and it was a chilly morning and I thought, "What am I doing?" But we are in zone 7, and furthermore, the weather has cooperated perfectly, with lots of rain and sunshine interspersed, and a few more warm days before the chill set in. We shouldn't have even a frost for another couple of weeks, and in the meantime, the hostas are putting out new leaves (which suggests that they are putting down new roots as well) and the black mondo grass looks extremely healthy. I'll have to get a couple of pictures in situ.
Sorry that I told you lies
My ex has written me to explain that I misinterpreted his email to me; he meant to tell me that the feelings I'd recently expressed were identical to ones he'd felt long ago.
Since hearing that would not have angered me or caused me to post anything about it, I've deleted my previous entry.
Back to our irregularly scheduled blog.
October 17, 2006
It's so hard to risk another these days
Hello from the land of constant sleep deprivation! It's great here, you'll like it, you can be woozy and cheery while still passing drug tests! Terrific stuff.
Seriously, though, 9-5 can kiss my flat ass. On the other hand, every single other thing about the current gig rocks, including the pay and the colleagues, so I really oughtn't complain.
Speaking of not complaining, there is much else good in the world 'round these parts. I bought a loom; therapy is going super well; I even planted a few things in our eensy front garden (it's about 50 square feet). The new plants are black mondo grass and acid green hostas.
I've had a lot of happiness as well as a lot of sadness this past week. I'm getting the chance to discover that all the hard work I've done in the last couple of months is actually paying off. Discovering that, though, makes me sad about not doing the work in time to save the last relationship. I'm trying to forgive myself. I did the best I could; so did he. It's ridiculously early days with my new acquaintance, but I can already see the difference in my approach and my emotions. "Whatever will be, will be" is a damned fine place to be in.
[Edited to add what I forgot until the second after I posted: Acupuncture has been going brilliantly lately! Today was especially amazing, as new points were tried that turned out to have a big effect. Me=total convert. *Also* -- the echocardiogram was okay, which means there's nothing structurally wrong with my heart. Still waiting on the all-day-monitor results. And the combo news? At acupuncture today my resting pulse rate *before* we started was 75 bpm. We've been doing stuff over the last few weeks to try to concentrate on pulse rate and heart matters, and that seems to Actually Be Working. Dooooood. How cool is that?]
October 08, 2006
Ten miles behind me and ten thousand more to go
The path is the journey, right? So I shouldn't be down on myself for getting down. I'm actually feeling a lot better emotionally than when I last posted, but now I have a cold (fussfussfuss) and have spent the weekend sleeping instead of cavorting in the city (where there were a dozen cool things to do over the last couple of days).
The first issue of Craft just showed up yesterday, and I highly recommend it (although much of the content is familiar to me, since I've been haunting their website all summer -- that shouldn't be as much of a problem with future issues). Great stuff to lie on the couch and snuffle with. I'm planning to pitch an article to them about online community and craft, though I don't quite have what I want to say straight in my head yet, and their articles are all short, so I need to be punchy and clear.
Back to the sickcouch. My cat Twyla has been a most excellent nurse-cat, which helps a lot. Very attentive.
October 04, 2006
Sometimes I wish for the warmth of his hand
Some days I feel strong and brave and free, and although I miss the boy I lost, it feels okay, it feels wistful but tolerable, but the last day or so have been hard. I keep feeling these swells of emotion, of loss, and it feels so fresh, as though the last time we spent together was just hours ago, and not weeks, and I feel overcome with sadness.
I've tried thinking of ways it could be worse: We could be angry with each other; he could be dead. Somehow those aren't as much consolation as they could be.
He and I talked last week, had a kind of post-mortem. It went really well; we had a deeper, better talk than I'd have thought we could manage, so soon after ending things. We decided to take a real break from each other, to not be in touch for six months. (I have a friend who said that was very wise, that she's always thought the "reset switch" takes six months before it works; she also added that a person can hold her breath for three months, but no one can hold their breath for six months. Six months means you have to go on with your life.) It felt right, a good decision, and I still think it's the right decision, but oh, I miss him.
I hate that we couldn't make things work on our first try, or our second try. I hate that we might never even decide to take a third try. I hate that we had such a wonderful time together, but drove each other bugfuck crazy in our various ways. I hate that what we had felt so special, so unique, so thoroughly unprecedented, and yet now I realize it's just the same thing everyone goes through; we love, we lose, we cry.
I hate that I'm learning an enormous amount about myself, and how I interact with the world, and with other people, especially lovers, and that it's all a result of the relationship with him, but that he may never see the benefit of it. I don't *want* to show up on some new lover's doorstep all ready for a mature, happy, polyamorous relationship. I want to show up on his.
And yet I have to let go of wanting to show up on his doorstep if I'm to ever get the chance to show up on his doorstep. It's my own little koan.
I think there's a book in this, surviving a breakup by finding Buddhism. I'd probably hate myself if I wrote it, though.
I *miiiiiiiiiiiss* him. I want to talk to him about all the books I've read in the last month, and all the cool things I'm up to, and all the thinking I've been doing, and I want to hear all about what *he's* been doing, and, and, and. And I want to lie in his arms and hold him and never let him go.
I try my best to be just like I am
Well, lordy. Turns out I wasn't actually seeing a *cardiologist* today, I was going to the *cardiologist's office* to have procedures done. Depending on the results, I'll either follow up with my regular doctor, or see the specialist. I suppose that makes sense, but I always find "procedures" irritating, because the folks who do them will never tell me anything useful. I had an echocardiogram, about which I know nothing much yet (although my heart did at least cooperate by being speedy in the office; my pulse went up to 104 while she was recording). At least the tech didn't gasp and run out of the room and bring back a doctor, so I'm figuring nothing was spectacularly wrong.
Then the tech wired me up with a Holter monitor. I'm trying to concentrate on how neat it is that I can have a 24-hour recording made of my heart without having to spend a night in the hospital, but I'm only human, and I have to admit: It's kind of bothersome. Here's what it looks like:
I finished the Pema Chödrön book, and I'm going to wait a few days and reread it, since I think I need to let the lessons from it sink in better than they did on a single reading. It's been especially pertinent stuff. I just had another self-help-ish book recommended to me, Feeling Good, and I've picked up a copy and am going to give it a look-see. Turns out I'm not the first person who's gotten to a no-more-talk-therapy point.
I suppose I've been realizing that I'm not the first person to feel *any* of the things I've been feeling lately, which has been really grounding. This is how people feel. For nearly 3,000 years. Just like this. We fall in and out of love, we sustain losses, we obsess over the things that fret us, we resist change.
Crazy. My life experience has been of thinking of myself as weird and unique and different and sui generis; it's a brain-fuck to think of myself as *just like everyone else*. But very, very calming.
October 03, 2006
I feel my heart start to tremblin'
So tomorrow I'm going to the cardiologist, and not a minute too soon! I was annoyed with my doctor for suggesting it, back on the 12th, when my pulse (at rest, after hanging out in her office chatting for about 45 minutes) was 108 bpm, but I've been checking in on it now and then in the weeks after, and it's often in the high 90s, and just now? I was sitting, knitting, feeling pretty peaceful, and it's 112.
I'm trying not to freak about this too much, since that seems directly counterproductive. I'm just going to let the nice cardiologist tell me how concerned to be. They're going to do an echocardiogram, and then have me wear a 24-hour Holter monitor. I'm hoping this doesn't suck too much. It's keeping me away from yoga for two days! Grr.
I have a lot to say about what I've been learning from Buddhist teachings, but I don't quite have it in words yet. There's lots of amazing stuff in the books I've been reading, though. My favorite bit in Pema Chödrön's book When Things Fall Apart is her saying "hope kills the future." That sure feels like a lesson I need to learn.
I had been saying for a couple of months that I felt a need for a different kind of therapist than the ones I've seen over the years, who've all been focused on very standard Northeastern eclectic talk therapy. I've spent years learning figuring out what makes me who I am, and considering what the deep causes of my problems are. I'm all done. Now I want my problems to get better, and I want real tools for effecting change. My new therapist is Very Different from the ones who've come before her, yay! She gives me homework, for one thing, and she advises meditation, for another. I feel like I'm finally ready to stop running away when I feel bad, and to learn how to tolerate my discomfort so that I can make real decisions about how I want to react, instead of just reacting instinctually. That would be a big change for me, and an exciting one.