Tubthumping

Youda thunk ida gone done and learned by now.
And yet… NOPE.
I’m a big Nopey McNoperson in this regard, every. single. year.
I get blindsided by Easter/Birthday season.
I forget how hard it is for me. I forget how the way my brain works is going to kick into high gear and my Bits N’ Pieces are gonna need a lot of care and attention.

Birthdays are much less a big deal now that i’ve hit 50. It’s been that way since i hit 40, really. I’ve never much cared about the number insofar as how OLD i am or how old i look, or how much time i have left. None of that. As i stated in my blog entry right before this one, it’s the lack of accomplishment and the low level of functionality that trips me up. However, that’s only been since i’ve been functional enough to critically assess my levels of anything. Heh.

Birthdays, however, have always been an issue.
We were so poor at times, that there was no money to celebrate.
My mother was often incredibly stressed out on any holiday or for any celebrations, the brunt of which i often bore.
More than once i was sick on my birthday. I was mostly left to fend for myself whenever i was ill. To be fair, if she didn’t work we didn’t eat, and her parenting “style” left me incredibly independent anyway. At 4yrs old, for instance, she would often leave me on weekends. I’d wake on Saturday morning and she wouldn’t be home, so i’d watch cartoons until noon or so, longer if there was a Stooges or Abbott and Costello movie after, and then i’d go outside to play for a couple of hours, making sure to come back inside in time to put the roast in the oven and peel the potatoes for supper, as per the instructions she’d left on a note for me. Yes, FOUR.
So if i was sick, i’d just watch telly and occasionally vomit in a bowl. Or if Mom was watching telly i’d be in my room reading, and occasionally vomit in a bowl.

More than a couple of times i would be sick on my birthday. Stress made me vulnerable i think. There were some family members who could swoop in and make birthdays wonderful, but that wasn’t every time. One year, 2 Auntie type women that i adored were coming to celebrate. I think it was my 6th, and i got the Mumps. Not only was i severely sick and feverish, i endured my mother’s fury because the party had to be cancelled. She beat me more than once before i recovered.
Then there were the birthdays where i was put in my best dress and she’d do my hair like for a picture. A man i didn’t know or already knew i didn’t like would be invited… And that is all i’ll say about that.

I won’t say much about the Easter season things, either. Just that there was conflicting indoctrination going on. During that time i was under constant stress to act one way at Mommy’s church, and another way at Daddy’s. I was almost constantly switching from one part of me to another, depending on what was being required. Everyone had one face at one church and a completely different one at another. Everyone close to me was volatile and mercurial. The rituals, the purported inescapable supernaturalism, the drama, the surrealism, the abuse, both subtle and overt, the sick and hungry practitioners, the fakery, the fucking circus… It twisted my brain into so many knots so tight they frayed, and some split entirely, requiring new knots to keep them together.
Do you see?

Every year since i began seriously dealing with my past and trying my hardestfreakingbest to manage the way my brain works and enjoy a better quality of life i have been 2X4’d in the head by this bloody season. (There was no punctuation in that sentence because i said it all in one breath.)
So yeah, i got coldcocked – again.

This is the part where i do what i have been practising to do when i get into a mental jam like i am. Where i assess the damage, look for the positives, and make any changes or alterations necessary to handling it better next time.
I’m happy to tell you it hasn’t been that bad.
The voices in my head rose from their characteristic background mumble to a constant, reverberating rumble – but there was no roar.
I lost the face more than a few times, and i even found myself walking on the road a couple of times – but none of my people did anything damaging or even particularly inappropriate, and i didn’t hitchhike into the city and lose myself for hours or days to high-risk behaviours.
I drank a bit too much – but not enough to make myself shake, puke, or wish i was dead. And it wasn’t every day, all day.
I’ve been wicked-depressed – but not suicidal. No ideations, no plans.
I haven’t picked any fights with my husband and there has been no drama of any kind with any other person.

I guess i kinda knew it was coming. Not consciously enough to avoid gettin’ bonked on the head, but once i got back on my feet, i wasn’t utterly gobsmacked that it had happened. I’ve been able to look around and get my bearings and say, Yeah, it makes sense for me to be here.
I’ve been able to communicate to my Peanut Gallery that it’s okay, but some things were less okay than others and let’s work on those things… I’ve been able to negotiate some internal deals that i think will really pay off in the future.

There was no drama.
There is no debt.
No rides in police cars and no trips to the hospital.
No crushing booze/drug hangovers.
Communication amongst me and my people has actually improved.
My husband and son are impressed and proud of me.

I didn’t even turn to food.
Yesterday i tried on the jeans i use to track my weight loss progress.
They fit fine and i wore them out to supper.

Don’t get me wrong, this has not been an easy couple of weeks. The way my brain works has been incredibly difficult to manage lately, but this is my life, and this may always be my life to some extent or another. I have found a way that works for me – a way to manifest long-term changes that have lasting positive effects, and contribute to a happier and more functional life.

Tubthumping is defined as expressing opinions in a loud or dramatic way:
I will not stop, no matter what.
Every time i fall and get back up, that statement becomes more true.I get knocked down, but I get up again
You’re never gonna keep me down
~Tubthumping, Chumbawumba

Have a happy day if you’re able. If not, try again tomorrow and know that i’m cheering for you and i want that for you.

Love and Peace to All,
~H~

Like Swimming

HELLO, GOOD AFTERNOON, AND WELCOME TO THE MONTH BEFORE MY BIRTHDAY!

If you read that like Terry Gilliam stepping out of a Zulu suit in The Meaning of Life, then you’re reading it how it was written.

In one month i’ll be fifty.
I’LL BE 50 YEARS OLD! (That one was Sally O’ Malley.)
Pardon me folks, but holy shit.

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not ageist. It’s not that i’ll be old, or too old, or washed up, or a failure. None of that applies.
Number one is that i never thought i’d make it. My whole life i have assumed i would die young. At this point 50 doesn’t seem that old anymore, but when i was 4yrs old, staring at myself in the mirror with a bottle of poison in my hand and contemplating suicide for the first of countless times, 50 was inconceivable.

There are other factors of course. The regular ones that most of us go through. I have regrets, and i wish i had accomplished more. Both of these things, oh, so very much. I try not to trouble myself with these thoughts overly, because what i have gathered from most of those who’ve been here before me is, honey, it’s de rigeur. As Socrates is said to have uttered, if “the unexamined life is not worth living,” then my life is chock full of value. Heh.

I’ve been feeling like i’m being slowly pulled down under. Like i’ve been fighting the current for too long, and i’m close to exhaustion. It’s largely due to the personal issue to which i’ve alluded a number of times, but some of it is because of something else i’ve devoted much of this blogging process to, and that is my certainty that i am at a pivotal place in my personal growth. I’ve done a tremendous amount of work over the years, but it has all been tearing down the old and laying the foundation for the new. Now it’s time to build. The junk’s been cleared out and the old structure razed. The basement’s poured and the framework is done. The rest is all sweat equity, and this house ain’t gonna build itself.

I’ve shared how i started with teeny tiny little baby steps. I’d take a wee and wobbly stumble forward, and immediately rest, congratulate myself, and do it again. The rest in between stumbles was not insubstantial, either. I mean, i rested. Starting with weeks. It was a long time before it was even days. It’s only been this last year that it’s become hours. Today, one month before i turn fiftyholyshityearsold, i don’t even need any time at all between some of those steps. I regularly do some of them one-right-after-the-damn-other.

Lookit me. I’m swimming. I’m stepping. I’m building.

This morning i felt the same terrible drag on my thoughts, my feelings, and my body that i’ve felt for a couple of weeks now. I thought, I’m fighting another depression. Well hell, that sucks a dirty penny, but hey, i’m just gonna keep fighting. I’ll just keep schleppin’ along, doin’ what i been doin’, and it’ll be all right.

It hasn’t been all right though, and it’s been troubling my mind and disturbing my sleep and stirring up my Peanut Gallery and i haven’t been able to write a goddamned word.
So like i said, i felt it again this morning, like more than a dozen other mornings in a freaking row, and so i went back to bed at around 10 or so.
I had the troubled dreams i’ve been having for the same amount of time, and i woke at 12 feeling worse. Worse.
Naps usually make me feel better. They are one of the things i can do between stumble-steps if i need to rest. I rarely nap anymore, though. Usually my rest/reward involves playing on the computer or watching something on telly. Naps are specially reserved for those times when i really need it.
But it didn’t bloody work.
I dragged my more-depressed ass out of bed and forced myself to shower like i haven’t had to force myself to shower in a long time. Which made me feel worse. And anxious.
Great, now i’m anxious too. Wonderful.
I shouldn’t have had leftover cheesy noodles for breakfast. Too many calories and heavy carbs. Ohai Inner Critic. I was definitely needing some self-hatred to add to this toxic brain-milieu, so thanks, ever so.

I’m still in the shower at this point, but already the doing of something positive, that is hard to do, starts having an effect. Rather than just thinking, i become aware of the fact that i am thinking, and i am, quite suddenly, keenly conscious of precisely what i am thinking. I practise a bit of mindfullness: i bring my awareness to the water spraying my skin, my hand with loofah, exfoliating, the scent of my bodywash, my fingers massaging my scalp, brushing the conditioner through. I watch everything wash down the drain and imagine that it is not just dirt and skin cells and soap, but also the psychic weight of all the negativity i’m carrying is sluicing away from me as well.

I’m standing in front of the mirror and i look at myself and what i’m doing. I’m towelling off, i’m moisturising my skin, i’m doing my morning toilette and i treat my skin to a deep-pore extraction and my hair to some keratin creme. I’ve been practising looking at my body -really looking- while i do this, and so i find myself doing so out of habit.
But today… Today that work bears fruit. My body bears the scars of a childhood full of beatings and sexual abuse, and the resultant war of self-hatred that i waged against it for the majority of my life. Years of morbid obesity have not been kind, and now that i’ve lost most of the weight, my skin looks as empty and hollow as i might look on the inside if it were possible to see after all the psychological fat i’ve shed.

But i look, and today i see. And today i don’t hate it. Today as i was standing there and really seeing my body i thought i looked okay. I accepted what i was looking at in a reasonable and rational way, and i was kind to myself. It was not a you’re-a-beautiful-fucking-goddess moment. That’s not who i am, nor who i want to be. I saw myself as nakedly as i’ve ever seen myself and it was more than okay. It was fine. 
And it was then that my brain asploded with a lovely epiphany.
I don’t seek them and i don’t need them, but they sure are nice to have, sometimes.

I know what’s going on and i know what i need to do. It’s a lot and i’m scared AF, but i’ll even tell you.
I need to do MORE than i’ve been doing. It’s okay that i haven’t been doing enough because i didn’t know that i wasn’t. I’ve been progressing along the road to mature functionality admirably well, all things considered.
But now my brain is telling me to do more, and i didn’t understand, and so my feelings tried to help by telling me something was wrong. This is how it’s supposed to work.
I have been working the way healthy people generally work.

I need to start acting just a bit more like regular folks though.
So i won’t be going back to bed after i’m already up for at least the next month.
Weekdays i’ll be getting up at 5:30 like usual, and i’ll be going to bed at 10:30, which i try for, but it’s a bit spotty (maybe because i can go back to bed?)
And i’ll be blogging too – Monday to firetrucking Friday. (I know i cussed a fair bit for this post, so i’m trying not to overdo. Heh.)

I don’t know how terribly concise this post was, but welcome to how my brain works. This is who i am and this is all i have to offer. If you’re still here i thank you, and maybe i’ll see you tomorrow.

Be as well and as happy today as you are able. I’ll do the same.

It’s a lot like swimming first time over your head
It gets easier when you move your arms and legs
And for air you lift your head, why don’t we try right now
Yes right now
Yes right now
Well
~Like Swimming, Morphine

Love and Peace,

~H~

Happy Birfday H

I’m going to blog. For a year, maybe more, but at least one year. It will be about what it’s like to be me, living the life i have lived, and trying to live the life that i want to live, as i approach my fiftieth birthday. I don’t think it’s realistic or reasonable to expect myself to write something here every day, so i won’t. What i will do is write often, and hopefully substantively, at least to myself, and ideally to anyone who reads, as well.

I’ve tried to plan it out a bit, but not much. I’ve tried to figure out what i want it to be, but not very hard. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but i’m committed to the process, and hopefully that becomes apparent. If i happen to get more tech savvy along the way, my family and friends would be as grateful as i. I’ve examined my life and found it worth living, which someone, somewhere, once implied would be the case. So on to the business of it, with life doing what it will, and me navigating the waters with grace and aplomb. Heh.

I’ll leave it public for a while, but that may change.
Love and Peace,

~H~