Very interesting. I feel like the font changed on this thing – or this particular posting screen, as it seems there are several.  I don’t know why I like it, but I do.  Maybe it makes me feel more professional or erudite than I, or my topics, generally require.

So, my cousin/business coach + a strong macchiato (one of those artisanal, hand-roasted, coffee beans were psychically encouraged and played Mozart sort of places – only, you know, with a result that feels really worth the extraordinarily cheap price) meant I feel better.  This is also the coffee shop where I’ve been on two dates which also ended two amusing and somewhat fulfilling flirtations, so I think of it now as sort of an emotional bug-zapper.  I go there and feel big things – for better or worse.

She said if it were possible to set aside the anxiety about the money – could you look at this time like a gift?  After some hemming and hawing, I think, I think I might be able to do that.  I can buckle down and get something written beyond these posts.  I can do some work and get something out of this even if I didn’t choose it.   So, I guess, my plan for the first week is to just to feel that one out by making myself come home and use the afternoons for writing and, potentially, for sussing out a new job if that comes to be something I need to deal with.  She also gave me some ideas in that regard, too.

At this moment, for open projects, I have the novel that my sister and I are working on, my short story that I am doing for writers’ group/pleasure, my big novel of love and pain that has to eventually be finished, and now this whole weird collection of excerpts from this whole daily blogging adventure woven into some other essays I’ve written and other ideas I have about fear, anxiety, and where I am at and aiming for.   That one is obviously personal and the major block is I need to change enough to justify continuing it.  If that makes any sense at all.  I just feel like maybe there’s something I have to say that might be of value.  It’s weird.  Every time I want to throw that one out, I find a reason to keep plucking at it.

That’s a bit too much, really, and so I have to pick and choose and I constantly think I’m choosing the wrong thing and feel as though I’m cruelly neglecting the others.  Really, what I need is to finish something.  So I am forging ahead with whatever I can do when I can do it.

Maybe it’s the shot of caffeine, but I feel pretty creative and energetic right now.  And I still have one more day off, holy smokes!

Weight this morning indicated that I lost 1.8 lbs last week.  Okay.  So about 8 pounds in 8 weeks.  Okay.  Sure.  Well.  I am good with that. I don’t know what the next month or two of privations will mean, but this is a result of tracking on My Fitness Pal, fitting in exercise, eating much less, messing up, messing up again.  Just working on it.  Prioritizing it.  So.  Yeah. Let’s not count any chickens or any eighths of chickens.

But yep.  Onwards and inwards.



The Dance: Exercise 1

fire-dance-1189315-1280x1920So after some conversations with friends last night, and feeling good for some reason about today, I thought I might share this with them if they see this and anyone else who might find power in it.  If you are feeling overwhelmed by low or absent self-worth, perhaps use this.

The voice, the idea, the feeling of negativity has a body.  It has a look.  It has a language it uses that is familiar and tailored to be its most effective for each of us.  Mine is not yours and yours is not mine.  This negativity, this fear masquerading as wisdom, steals opportunity, it puts you on pause, it turns you away from what might be because of assumptions you make about your ability to proceed not to an acceptable result, but to the perfect landing pad that has the power to fix not just the issue at hand, but EVERYTHING.

I have such a negativity in my head.  And I’m just now starting to deal with her.  If she thinks she’s got an evolutionary purpose to fulfill, then I have decided she’s got to start paying rent.

When I imagine or experience this negative voice now, I have a visualization…thing I do.

I try and visualize the two of us in what looks like an interrogation room.  I’m seated at the chair, looking confident, as she, the so-called detective, grills me about my intentions – it could be about anything. In her eyes, I am constantly fucking up.  “You really think you’re actually losing weight?  You really think so.  Well, I know you ate ice cream.   And it was probably more than one serving.  You are doomed to a life of diabetes and disease.  I just need you to acknowledge that for me.”

And first of all, if it is this petty, and sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t, I am lucky when I am able to laugh and say, “holy shit, I’ve been arrested by the fucking Ice Cream PD?”  Occasionally, she’ll simper and sort of mentally evaporate just at the clarity of how useless she is. Other times she’ll dig in with more cruelty than I’ll be able to approximate here.  “Well, maybe if we caught you sooner, you could get a fucking date.”  And on weak days, or days when I’ve had this sort of mental interaction countless times already, that will be enough to shut me down.  And probably eat more ice cream while she folds her arms in front of her and sneers, throwing all the invectives and belittling comments we both can invent at me, accusing me and shaming me for everything I’ve ever failed at since the beginning of time until the power of the sugar takes over and I don’t think anything whatsoever until the cycle begins anew.

But on REALLY good days, days when I’ve been taking care of myself and accomplishing tasks and balancing ego and id, there’s a second sequence.  It helps if you have good music for this.

She leans back, thinking her potshot has landed, that’s she’s really got me.  She’s put me down and in my place. I close my eyes for a moment until we both hear a laugh. As the interrogation light rises up, the dark room spreads out until we are in an enormous, Mines of Moria-sized gallery ringed with darkness.  The negative force and I turn and see who is laughing.

It’s a warrior woman.  I don’t know her, but I recognize her as personal, mine, a part of me as inextricable as the Negative Detective.  Her eyes are dark but gleam in the single beam of light spilling into the room as though the moon was centered over the opening in the ceiling of the Pantheon. She is painted, a circlet of metal holds back her hair, she is the definition of fierce.  There’s a knife in her hand so sharp that it makes a Ginsu look like a rolling pin.  She scares me in just the right way.

The negativity might respond, might shudder, might try and grow, to fill the room, to throttle me, to in some way insinuate her power.

And then, another, different laugh from another dark corner of this space.  We turn and it’s some romantic hero or interest that matters to me, brooding and comely, maybe smoking a cigarette because there’s no lung disease in imaginary cigarettes.  “Leave her alone, you pointless bitch.”   Maybe at this point he pulls a gun out, just to underline the point that he’s willing to go that far for me, that he’s just that over her bullshit.  I will admit to being a little bit thrilled by this.

We stand up from our seats, the table is gone.  It becomes obvious that we are not a few souls in a giant room, we are surrounded by hundreds if not thousands.  There are warriors, there are friends, there are moments of joy embodied by people I admire, video game characters, heroines of books, Anne Shirley’s there, Mumford, it doesn’t matter.  They are people I find beautiful and powerful.  It is the beauty of my mind, mentally personified. They are all at their most beautiful, most ferocious, most epic and cinematic.   They’ve all got weapons, serious and hilarious, but all of them clearly deadly and drawn.

Everything emanates a single emotion.  A single thought drives them: This girl is ours, she has made us and given us life and force, she has drawn us here and we will defend her against anything.  She had poured her heart into us and we will destroy any threat to her peaceful, joyful existence.

The negativity tries to get meta on me. “They’re just imaginary.  I’m real, I see you, I have been here since the beginning watching you slob and wretch your way through life.”

I can literally hear more laughter.  Voices call out things I typically don’t let myself believe are important – “We have preceded you.  We have seen her in her greatest glories. This is the girl who flew herself to Italy.  This is the girl who gets up every day and strives for the light. This is the girl who is so clever she’s thought to bring us here.  She can do what she needs to do.  We adore her.  We want nothing other than to be near her.  We believe in her.  You are in the house of our spirit and we cannot be destroyed.”

Then, because of who they are and who I am, and if the music’s going…they dance.  This big tribal, happy, stomping dance as they close in on us.  They shriek and holler and spin one another around.

The negativity doesn’t like any of this, but there’s nothing she can do, really.  The power of the beat, of this army of lovers I deserve because I deserve them, because I am strong enough to create them, starts to explode her little pea brain.  Then they whack her with pots and pans and sometimes stab her with knives.  It can get gory like Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? – at the end when his head cartoonifies and acidulates into goop.

But what always happens if we get this far is I feel their strength become mine and I will grab somebody’s weapon, maybe Hotness McLately’s gun and say, with every fiber of myself, all, Gandalf to Wormtongue-infested Theoden, “You have no power here!”   I use the weapon if I have to, joyfully emboldened to wipe her the hell out. I feel the absence of the negativity in my whole body.  It’s been driven back. It doesn’t matter if she returns, we will dance again.

And then, I go about my day.

Give it a go sometime.

And Every Muscle Rested: Day Nineteen

Starting, my friends, first thing in the morning.  Change of pace, kind of a bit of encouragement for the desire I am feeling to rebuild my personal universe, and a reminder, I think, that I can do so much without demanding I do everything right now, this very instant.

Work and rest and play.  That’s how I want my life to go.

As for place, I’ve always had this dream of a little, arts and crafts, English bungalow, tucked away behind the trees, with flowers, and inklings of the dichotomy I’ve struggled my whole life with, a little magic and a little stability.  Fairy footprints, a wooded backyard to wander through, flowers both wild and weeded, and yet, neat as a pin, with signs of real domesticity, a place where all the Martha Stewart, Betty Crocker, Good Housekeeping strains of madness that run through me could be honored.

A cottage, like something you’d see in the distance of some Maxfield Parrish painting, but of course, warm, safe, and with internet access.

That’s where I dreamed of living.

But that’s, obviously, not the arrangement at the moment.  Still, I want it to be and I am trying to train myself to believe that even if it’s unlikely that I’ll ever be habitated in such a spot, I can move in that direction.  I can get closer than I am now, staring at piles of clothes and messy bookshelves and things forgotten simply because they’ve been hidden away behind other things I care less for.   My guitar and ukulele. CD’s.  Organizational lists.  It becomes, while not monstrous like a Hoarders episode, functionally the same.  It becomes another wall between me and a relaxed, fulfilled self.  It keeps me from saying, come over and see me where I dream and write and play games and eat.  Because I’m not in this perfect cottage in the woods with dried lavender hanging from the rafters and until I flip the invisible, unreachable perfect switch and move there, I’m not worthy of visits.  And the mess proves and demands that belief.  

You can get so caught up in your own false assumptions that it causes some sort of deep rupture when you try and realign yourself.  I’m always afraid of bringing that pain to myself, that I’m betraying something by calling the lies I’ve invented to protect myself by what they are.  Fear can make you behave in ways that interlock with one another until you can’t get back in one leap of thought to the porch of that bungalow and call it your own.  But it’s just right there.  Same as comfort and faith in yourself.

And it feels ridiculously good to spend even half a day pushing in the the right direction, not piling on guilt, just doing, putting away, giving away, giving up the anxious thought and moving one’s arse.   This is my agency, my choice, to not be a sour patch kid and to rally for a while. Even if rallying means just breathing in and out.


Pavlova Heart

Learning.  I am learning.

This weekend is going to be absolutely lovely.  I am going to get a huge chunk of the things I want done.  Actually, I’m going to get everything done that I find important this weekend.

It’s a big list, but I can do it.

-I am going to scrub the bathtub.   Get the water marks off the fixtures.
-Play guitar until it is too painful to continue.   Then, once my fingers rest and the calluses start to build, I’m going to play again.
– I am going to read.  No specific page amount.  No specific book.  I’ve got a ton of choices and whatever sounds good, I’m going to read it until I care to stop.  I love reading.  I love skilled and deft use of language, I love the escapism, I love feeling myself unfold the story and engaging with the author and picking up tips for my own writing.
– I am going to drive one place out of my usual driving zone or path.  I am going to feel free and safe in my car while I’m doing that.
– I am going to re-read this first thing in the morning so I remember my intentions and re-commit to them.
-I am going to do five sit-ups.  Each day.
– I am going to track every meal I eat this weekend so that I’m aware of how many carbs are in my food and make sure I’m building positive habits that are helping me move forward with my weight loss and not just generally in the area of eating low-carb.

-I am going to eat things that are good for me and I am going to eat throughout the day so I keep myself steady and focused and satiated.

– I will get under the covers when it’s time for bed.   I’ll enjoy the feeling of movement and accomplishing things and also, the pleasure of lounging elsewhere.

-I will finish writing the fellow back.  I will be funny, fearless and curious.  I will be true to myself.  I will remember The Wrote and the Writ.

-I will work on some of my own writing that calls most for my effort.

-I am going to be thoughtful and introspective about this weight loss process, about the concept of deep change, about

-I am going to have a dance session.  Replete with candles.   I will stretch every phalange, every aching muscle, every taut and knotted inch.   We will use the music and a hot bath and we will make ceremony.    We will give up the old that is without use and take on the new and make it useful.   I will consider we.  I will consider my mother’s words.  I will consider how my mind works and encourage it to work towards my goals, to work on solutions, and keep myself climbing.  I will stay positive about it all.

– I will let my friends make me laugh and give them time – make them laugh, too.

Music: Loreena McKennitt, Mummers’ Dance (Live)