You Gotta Hold On

I wasted my time watching 80% of a Bachelor episode.  I tried to tell myself it was part of this whole mental shift of being more open to the idea of love, surrounding myself with romance and dating as if it could somehow flick a switch by the power of osmosis.   But mainly I just wanted to see women being catty to one another which is a term I hate for a practice I hate and I wish I had been tougher on myself and just turned it off.  Plenty to do and sleep beckoning with a 7:30am meeting tomorrow as well as the prospect of the dentist to face, but still I proceeded to stare at these women make fools out of themselves for the love of a dude who is capable of telling 8 women he has feelings for each of them at the same time while they run around like snow bunnies being useless.

But not all of my night was wasted because I did something I was pretty sure I was not going to find myself capable of doing.  I drove shortly after rush hour to the scrapbooking store.  Which is a whole new level of hell, but that’s hardly the point.  The scrapbooking store is a place I have been driven past a bajillion times.  But it’s outside of my comfortable driving area.  I don’t have the turns memorized and I don’t know in advance what lane I have to be in so I don’t get shuttled off onto the highway which is one of my biggest fears.  But, I mean, I know the way.   I know it isn’t far.  I know generally what the intersections look like and I know, typically, how busy it is.  I knew I could do it.

That didn’t stop me from calling my sister and hoping she’d ride with me to do it.  She didn’t answer her phone so I was sitting there in the parking lot.  And I thought about how I generally thought I could do it.  I mean the danger seemed kind of puffy and nebulous and easily ignored in light of the fact that I had to get these errands done and the therapist asked me to practice driving on my own.

So, suffice it to say, I did it.  I went a bit screwy with nerves and went around the back way and scared the shit out of myself once, but I did it.  I went, got lots of items from the creepy vault of vacant women (and one vacant dude) for my project, and with a minor delay, went home.  This is another step.  This is a little tiny bit of momentum.   This is the clouds gathering that will bring the lightning that will wake the monster.

Or something.

Now to find my fitbit and see what the scale says in the morning.  It’s not been really kind to me lately.  And oh, shit, yes, going to Guthrie, OK.  That’s happening.  Something to get excited about.  Another reason to get back up.

Agarita

Tomorrow is Thursday.

I hope I have my gum in my pocket.  I could stand to eat some more, but I think I would just eat cheese or more non-vegetables and that I don’t need.  Gum, and a voyage into the bath with my book seems much more productive.

But never mind any of that minutiae.

I have something to report.

Today was the last day I could do it, so I threw back  a cup of coffee (the real stuff), stomped around and in my most overclocked possible mental state, got myself in a car and drove myself to the mall.

This is not a big deal to anyone but me.   Even as I type this I kind of feel like I made it up.  And the actual driving isn’t even that important, even if I got ever so minorly lost in the dark, but got myself turned back around quickly.  What is important about this is that I made myself do it.   After so many years and so much waiting for some outside force to make change in my life, I decided that I needed to give it a go.  I needed to stop waiting.  I needed to get in the car and even if I couldn’t actually get there, I needed to try.   Not only so I didn’t have to arrive at the therapist and say I just couldn’t do it for whatever reason – because despite my illogical fear, I do drive to work every day, I am capable of operating a motor vehicle and I do have time before and after work.  But because this was a clanging hammer swing against the metal framework of this pretty cage.

And I kept telling myself even as I felt panic threatening that I was just going to do it, so it didn’t matter if there were flashing lights and it didn’t matter if I made a wrong turn, I was going to have my car in the parking lot of that mall because that was my decision.

It felt oddly freeing, even if all the thoughts that fluttered in after it were things like “Well, just because you did it once, late at night, alone, doesn’t mean you can EVER do it again much less become a normal human being driver.”  Hah.  Well, we’ll see.  I did do it once and you can bet your sweet bippy, inner asshole, that I will do it again.

And that little act lead me to come home and get on the exercise bike for 15 minutes, take a bath, watch some Lizzie Bennet Diaries, buy some makeup and contemplate the fact that I do play some role in creating my own reality.   I may not be doing everything perfectly, but I’m not giving up.  I’m moving ahead and I’m not letting the weight of my failures keep me from trying.  That’s how I feel right now.  What I anguished and worried about came to nothing today, and I take that time back for thinking silly, frippery thoughts about attractive men and crinolines.

 

 

 

 

The Seven Second Itch

I feel like the irritability should have passed by now.  But somehow, the heat, the change of scenery has made it explode exponentially.   I’m sitting in the library staring out a bank of dirty windows at a hill and some evergreens which have managed to be paled and withered by the aggressive, suckling heat.

My hair feels like straw.  I just itch, in a fully bodily sort of way.  I have a big glob of mascara bundling my lashes together on my left eye.  I’m dressed perfectly for a funeral.  My skirt isn’t fitting right, it’s sliding around on my stomach, riding up and at the library, you can’t do much about that.  That’s not to say that I don’t I love libraries, I do.  Even walking in, I caught a glimpse of the Emerson quote “Some books leave us free and some books make us free.”  But they aren’t places for you to feel free yourself.  Everything is proscribed here and it’s only natural that makes those things one ought not do all the more alluring.  All the more frantic and necessary.

But, if one is clever, one can realize what this is.  This is resistance.   This is the smoke screen that the mind throws up to keep us from exercising it, putting it through its paces, from making it think the frightening things we need it to think so we can grow.   So as much as I want to get up and shout and fling my skirt about and do anything other than writing this post, and probably, a few words on the novel, I’m not going to do that.  Which is why we decided to came to the library, my older sister and I, because we are masters at inventing reasons we couldn’t possibly just accomplish the thing we want to do at the time we want to do it.

I know that much about myself so I made myself, on this 106 degree day, drive home properly.   The little obnoxious agonies of my driving phobia called out to me, saying I’d panic, I’d freak, it was too hot and I’d had too much sugar and I’d have some sort of seizure (a thing I’ve never had) and my hands would limply slide off the wheel and I’d suddenly be in the wrong lane or flipped or like a mouse set askew, the arrow just scrolling towards infinity off the slick, liquid roads.  These madness things I think because of course, they’d be horrible, of course, we would never want to experience these things.  But they aren’t all that likely to happen and I think, that I would just like to risk it.  I’d like to get home and so I’ll just fucking risk it.

I think we all make these kinds of considerations all the time, but they’re subconscious and not fraught with the swamp reeds of anxiety mucking up the mucky water.  We just say, okay, there’s risk, but I’d really just like to go ahead and do it anyway.

 

Cactus Water

I am taking a brief moment to announce to the world that this is a lovely day.

I do have a little blue in my hair and am wearing a little aqua dress and I’m feeling moderately like I’m going to be just a-okay.  I’m managing myself.  I can see how these two weeks are going to be just excellent.  I need a day like this.  Not manic and entirely self-assured, just present, and positive.

This weekend.  I am considering going to a bluegrass concert.  I don’t know.  The espresso is starting to kick in and…

So, I had to go to a post-work event before my meeting and I got a call from my sister that she needs me to pick her up from my parents because her car overheated and broke down and luckily, she was in a spot where she could get a hold of them and the car is in the shop now.   That puts a crimp in things.  Well, we’ll see how this whole sister not having a working car thing works out.  I need to drop her off at work at 6 in the am tomorrow which while not great, is fine.  (Not worthy of an exclamation point, but fine.)  I am glad that I have some kind of flexibility to deal with these things right now so I’ll see when I talk to the co-workers, hopefully, I can leave early and get my guitar and writing goals (which are basically to spend some time on each) done.

But, I am happy to report that this strange turn of events did and will have some upside for me (one because surely dear sister will help me with the logo I want to put together since she has a multitude of graphic arts skillz that I lack along with the outline that desperately needs someone sensible and not me to look it over and see the gaps in the proposed plot and what doesn’t ring true since there’s this supernatural element that I am trying not to have tacked on and I don’t quite trust is necessary yet, but I haven’t been able to come up with a better solution and I feel that obviously must go against some tried and true writing advice…breathe!) and two, because it meant that I had someone in the car with me who might suggest we go get ice cream instead of going directly home.  This meant I had to drive ways out of my comfort zone.

I realize I haven’t really written excessively in these 900+ past posts about my driving anxiety and how it limits and impacts my life.  It just rolls up into all that stuff I file under “getting one’s shit together.” But lately, I just feel like, ugh, these limitations are very fucking limiting and I don’t exactly connect with the basis of my fear anymore so I want to just see if I can do it in this window between terror and nonchalance and so, today, I got there.   I didn’t kill anyone and I didn’t drift off or pass out.  I was just one of a million on a lovely day with a sunrise that was remarkable.

The City of Apples

Sometimes the simpler title is more to the point.  I am a little bit aflame today, a little bit burdened with glorious purpose and the kids say these days.   I am at the old line, diving without net or watermark, letting whatever is below catch me.  I find more and more that that distance between falling off the wagon, between throwing myself into the torpor of what I claim is my natural state is smaller and smaller.  I can’t wait for months anymore for a sign.  Because every few weeks is a reminder of why I’d prefer to have an organized house, a tighter stomach, a braver brain.

I made decent use of the day.

A.  I drove somewhere other than work with someone in the car and nobody died.  It was incredibly nothing, but that is how this shit works.  You find the incredibly nothing things and do them and then you find the places where you have discomfort and you press there until you can’t bear it and if you’re invested and smart and on track, when you rollback to defend yourself from the exposures, you don’t go back to square one.  You go back to the knowledge that you can do the incredibly nothing things.  That’s the mindset I’m trying to create.  The other day, Saturday, I guess, when it was so dead on the roads at 4:30am, I drove the other way, the danger danger way and it was a really good exposure exercise for me.   I thought it would be faster, so I just chose that way, instead of mentally sighing and saying that today is sort of a weird, off-schedule sort of day so I should really go the usual way.   So encapsulate that by saying that I want to keep practicing random driving and start working harder on killing this fear at the root.  Because it’s all part of it.  This has to be a holistic work based on finding resistances and easing my way through them.

I read the rest of my chapter in A Plague of Doves and was unnerved and delighted by the way my mind gripped the pages even in rather a disturbing section.  I want my book to attempt that, rip off that aspect of Ms. Erdrich’s genius, and at least paste up a wallpaper version of the art she’s dappled on my memory.   And how do we do this?  We do this by consistent failure.  The practice of toeing up and teeing up and getting it wrong over and over again.

Same with the diet.   Bravery builds with the doing.  Eating sugar and Chipotle and shaking my fists in the air is not going to cut it, aerobically.   So, I did what I needed to do today and cut the carbs and ate small portions and drank water and rode my bike and that’s what I’m going to do tomorrow.  This is how it works.

The future will not slow down for stragglers.  All you can do is race ahead, Miss Dickinson, and meet it before it catches you at your ankles and mows you down.

Also, let’s not rub buffalo wing sauce into our eyes.  There’s a protip.

Man of Action

So, first things first, dear readers, dear kind, like-clicking readers, you should ask me a question.

I have been so long in writing this blog – seriously, it’s two years and some months of writing it every single blasted day – that sometimes I lose my sense of it.   I have said before and it still holds that I don’t write it for an audience, but sometimes in your life you hear the echoes, the very pins dropping, and you wonder about your presence or impact.  I think from time to time that perhaps I’ve lost perspective and then, moments later, I feel like I understand the frame of everything.   The reality, per usual, falls right about down the center.

So ask me a question or tell me your name.   Let’s go, let’s go!

Music: Man of Action, Matthew Good Band

Today, I peeled myself out of my little bed and did the necessary preparations and brought myself to work on this blessed Saturday.  The weather, I am happy to note, I noted.   Glorious, bright sunshine filtered through deep, kelly green leaves.  The chlorophyll in full bloom.  Cottonwood flittering about like we were caught in the pleasantest of snow globes.  I can say this because I don’t have terrible allergies.   I got 99% of what I needed to do at work done and then I drove about trying to buy the things my boss asked me to buy before the festival project tomorrow and of course, store one, had unfeasibly costly USB drives (please don’t arrive here having searched for USB drives and be mad at me, it actually was what I was looking for, creepy random search term arrivals) and no little squeeze bottles for moistening the adhesive on envelopes so I felt a bit defeated having driven out of my typical driving realm to check it out.   Empty-handed, I went to my parents’ house – where they have a working stove and oven which is another story (yo, A, we should get our stove fixed)  and had a very low-carb lunch with asparagus and chicken once again.  And watched Law and Order: Criminal Intent [a Mike Logan episode, luckily enough] and an episode of Gilmore Girls which was just enough regular tv to sate me.  But I still needed to get the USB drives and the moisteners.  Ahem.   So I figured, grown-up girl that I am, despite the fear of panic attacks that my anxiety always produces, that I should try and drive to the Target that is ridiculously close to my house.   And huzzah, USB drives purchased, but another goose egg on envelope moisteners.   Kind of proud of being mildly human.  Trying to do mildly adult things spontaneously.  Wash the dishes, maybe?  Also got a pedometer.  Maybe I’ll even exercise.

So I’ve returned home to you.  Not sure what the rest of the night will bring, but I am going to try not to spend it all staring at this screen or waiting for your call.  And not, certainly, on fuckin Tumblr.

Dinah, blow that horn!

Vermillion Cotillion

I don’t think it’s healthy to spend all day berate yourself for the small, weird habits you’ve no doubt accumulated over a lifetime of compensating for a less than satisfactory environment, but I do think I should stop closing Tumblr and immediately, without thought, open a tab and type it in the address again.  Like obsessively.  Like three times in a row. I think I should avoid doing that.

Distraction, distraction, distraction.

Today was one of the most beautiful days on record in my little town.  My hometown-worktown, not the place I currently live though it was beautiful here, too.  I got out a little bit and enjoyed it for a few minutes walk to lunch and back.  We talked about the best places to see the trees change color locally and we sat around the table for the “smoke break” and I remembered that I liked these people, for the most part.  It was nice, particularly in light of the harsh reality that is coming to pass tomorrow night.  Snow is coming in some form or another and this would be alright, especially given that my boss has already offered me a ride in on Wednesday morning for our full-day meeting (not that we’d cancel it or anything sensible), but because I’m pretty much in a DEFCON 5 situation level regarding slick roads.  Like I cannot.  You think I could and I could last year.  After the accident, though, I’ve been driving the furthest, backest, roundaboutest roads there are – roads that are not ideal during iffy weather.  And I know I cannot drive the main roads because I know I will lose it while driving.  This is not a maybe.  It’s completely horrible, but it’s like at this point, a gray sky is all it takes to trigger the anxiety and I haven’t had to deal with that until they started talking about it today.

I know that my panic is already without sense and without limit.

It’s getting to be that season.  I wish I was brave.  I made it through last year and I’ll make it through again.  But this time, I am going to rely on the bus if I don’t want to drive.  The route will suck and be stupid and slow, but I cannot have that feeling rattling around in my head: that anxious reliving of the car sliding into the bank, of not having control, of the brakes not working, of being trapped inside this metal cage that now has free-will as well as enormous fucking mass and has absolutely no regard for my life within.   I don’t need it.  I have enough real stress without prophetic stress.

Well, this isn’t really where I intended to go today.  Wanted to talk about Barbara Sher and her impact on me and watching her videos, but I’ll let that go.  Time now to wrap up, pull down the shades, pull up the covers, get the laundry in the oven, start the pushing and the shovin’ and turn off the lights on this rodeo.