What I Learned When I Wasn’t Looking (in 2011)

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: No Whining, Too Long For Twitter

I actually wrote this the day after Christmas and never remembered to post it. Other than some grammar corrections, I stand by the original, hastily written post:

  • I can almost always find joy no matter how tough things get. Even when I’m sure I’m surrounded by darkness, there is always light to be found if I squint really hard and tilt my head to the side. It’s very similar to the puppy dog head tilt, now that I think about it.
  • Similarly, laughter is always on the tip of my tongue, I just have to give myself permission to lose myself in the moment and experience it.
  • I noticed that I could see the search terms that folks use to find posts on my site. It seems I get traffic from folks looking for porn. I credit that to the Vivid company that puts out all the celebrity sex tapes. The grossest search term I’ve seen (so far) is “vividmommy and daughter sex”. Very freaky folks out there, so be sure and keep your eyes peeled for creepers like that.
  • In 2011, a very dear friend of mine had a drug of some sort slipped into her drink. We were not at a frat party, and this is something we are vigilant about already. We missed it, but luckily were there when it kicked in and were able to watch over and protect her. Watch your drinks, because rapists are still pulling that crap.
  • In spite of recent posts that would lead you to believe that people suck, there are many amazing and loving people in the world. Trust your instincts. You have them for a reason. With that advice you should be able to dodge the douche bags and find the awesome people.
  • I am a guilt sponge. I will absorb the guilt and shame of every bad event if I do not guard against it.
  • You are never too old to discover soul mates.
  • 20 is not the age when you can stop worrying about your kids. I’m starting to think I’ll still be worrying even when I’m in the ground.
  • People you know extremely well can surprise you. In good ways and in bad. Learn from the bad, but focus on the good. If they will let you.
  • Respect is earned. And has to be re-earned, sometimes.
  • I am not in control of the happiness of others. I can do acts of kindness for them, but they are responsible for their own lives. I am powerless.
  • Because I am unable to fully embrace the above, I now put the things I cannot control in a red balloon and watch it float away. Even if it takes 10 times.
  • Because the above doesn’t always work, I sometimes visualize bb’s getting shot through the aforementioned red balloons.
  • The giggles of children is medicinal and energizing. Okay, this one I already knew, but I’m happy to relearn it every chance I get.
  • Love is all you need.

Mental Health Day

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Mental, No Whining, Uncategorized, Vestibular Migraine

Chooch and I spent Friday night through last night purging, packing and cleaning our home in anticipation of going to closing in the next 2 weeks. The non-stop work was driven by our fear that we would cause a delay in closing due to not being finished. We worked tirelessly and through exhaustion and countless complications.

Because we are moving to a much smaller living space, we have to do an extensive, two-step purge. Step one gets the house empty, while step two gets our remaining belongings moved out of storage (where the are now) and into our new home.

We are purging as we go, but as the family archivist/museum, I have thousands of photos (not an exaggeration) to sort through and choose which will be digitized and then do so. There are also family items that I will no longer have room for and that my family does not want. Those items I will photograph before selling/donating. Since I’m bearing the time and financial brunt of this process, it is taking a long time. Progress is halted for now as we have to prep for the move.

I cannot express how hard this has been, as it is the first true purge since my divorce. Even so, I am finding boxes that I packed over 20 years ago that need their fates determined. And of course, nearly every box has a ghost or two inside, either of my Mom, grandmother, my kids or my ex-husband. Finding the hand-made calendar that documented the last month of my Mom’s life was particularly hard.

We arrived on Friday night and intended to stay until the house was done. We were approximately 8 – 10 hours away from being done with clearing out and cleaning for the buyers when we finally received a tentative closing date. Instead of the beginning of March, as we expected, it looks as if we may not go to settlement until March 31st.

That revelation sapped our momentum, as it was already 7 pm and we were going to have to work through the night and then sleep a few hours and return to NextHome in the morning. We instead took our third cargo van full of donations and final trip to storage before returning  to our future home and beloved house mates.

After some brief but intensely awesome time with Tiny Expert and Feral Dancer (our housemates’ daughters), I went for my weekly therapy session. It was a great session, and just in time. She continues to support me giving back as good as I get, meaning if I am treated poorly I do not bend over backwards in hopes of getting better treatment. I put a period and move my energies to where they will matter and be appreciated.

If I am treated lovingly, I reciprocate. Now, I continue to do acts of kindness, but have learned that some will never appreciate or reciprocate. And I am getting to where I am fine with that. I know that if that were the sole requirement for my acts, that I would have a precious few to do those for. I allow myself to feel good in doing the act, rather than in holding my breath for any type of acknowledgement from the recipient.

I find that I still have a long way to go with accepting the now long-term limitations that I have. I now acknowledge that I cannot just jump in my car and go run errands, or make plans that involve me driving, or to even be the sole adult when caring for the young and extremely intelligent and active girls I live with for extended periods of time. As a result, it doesn’t ever feel like I contribute enough to those around me, especially my husband. I feel intense guilt when I am unable to do the things that I must do, let alone the things I want to do.

At the end of my session, my therapist always asks how I’m going to be kind to myself / what am I going to do for me every day? I don’t know why I never have an answer ready, and the question always takes me by surprise. I guess that’s proof I still need to go, huh?

All I can do is to continue to work around my limitations, put one foot in front of the other and never stop trying to be a better person. And only I get to define what that means.

*beep*bop*boop*boop*beeeeeyyyyouuuup*

Mixed Bag of a Day

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Health, Our Kids, Too Long For Twitter

Day of mixed blessings – House sale has inched forward a bit; I’ve likely had RMSF for over a year; see a rheumatologist; I’m “interesting”.
~posted on Twitter

I just finished a four week course of treatment for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF). Have I mentioned that? My future housemate and eternal soul sista Jen told me if I were a dog, she would run a tick panel on me. Since I’m not a dog, I asked my doctor to run it and she obliged. Because I have found 2 ticks within the last 2 1/2 years, she went ahead and started me on a four week course of doxycyclene. The test confirmed that I have RMSF and I went back today for a follow-up, since I have had no relief from the joint pain that started in the past few months.

The doctor said that my titer test indicated that I most likely had acquired RMSF over a year ago. She has referred me to a rheumatologist because she believes the extensive joint pain is due to something else going on in my body. I’m more than a little bummed that the joint pain apparently isn’t going to go away anytime soon.

It was during our conversation that she had to fetch my file from her desk. She said it was there so she could discuss it during a meeting with the other doctors in her practice. She thought they would find it interesting. Great, another doctor finds me interesting…

We also found out that our house sale is moving forward and we will allegedly have a date set for settlement soon. We are so excited about this that I very nearly pooped my pants upon receiving the news. Okay, not really. But I did get dizzy and had to wait for it to pass before I could get back into motion.

And after seeing Mur Lafferty tweet “bit.ly/xZDqBY I weep for the future. Who is Paul McCartney?”, I proudly shared the post my 15 year old son made on his Facebook page while watching the Grammy’s last night: “the day Paul McCartney dies will be the saddest day of my life.” I love that my son continues to grow as a music geek, just like me. Our other sons are tremendous music fans as well, and all three have pursued musical interests. Both exes (mine and hubby’s) are also heavily into music and I think the shared obsession has impacted them. And I do, with all my heart, hope that the worst thing that ever happens to LT is that a favorite singer passes away.

Jared Axelrod said I’m amazing (buffs nails on shirt), and then I watched Chooch play hopscotch with our housemates’ 2 year old daughter, nicknamed Feral Dancer. At the end of this day, how can I do anything but smile?

The Grand Purge

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Household, No Whining, Too Long For Twitter

I realize I haven’t posted here in awhile. I have multiple things to blame for this, primarily my brain fog. I honestly forget to write here because I am now journaling in a notebook and am lucky enough to have people around me all the time. Previously, the stuff I had no one to tell, or was too long for T/FB, would get posted here. I am actually doing more writing than I’ve done in decades, other than that November in 2010 (NaNoWriMo).

I will endeavor to make it a habit to do all my digitally, and if too personal simply won’t post it. It is exactly what my new life requires of me, after all.

Here’s the skinny: in the last month, my husband and I have come to truly embrace the changes occurring in our lives and to use the opportunities presented to really shake things up.

We have decided to shed the ancient artifacts of our lives, at least the ones that no longer “apply” and only keep the treasured items that mean so much to us that they merit space in our tiny new living space. We had initially decided on paying to store what doesn’t fit in our rooms, but have since decided to simplify. Everything.

For me, this means a hefty purge, and will only be keeping:

  • Items we have utilized within the last year;
  • Items we wish we had on hand within the last year, since most beloved items have been packed away while the house has been staged to sell;
  • Digital representations of beloved items whenever possible, obviously meaning photos, childhood art projects, anything flat OR taking photos of important items that no longer serve us. For example, I have a decorative planter that my mother received when I was born. I have no idea who sent it to her, nor has it seen the light of day more than twice in the last 30 years. With a *snap* of the camera and trip to a donation drop-off site, I will have easier access to the image of this item and someone else can have a planter for a new baby gift on the cheap;
  • Streamlining for efficiency of time and space are a HUGE focus of mine.
    • For the house, I keep visualizing the micro compact houses. It makes it easier to decide what is extraneous and what is necessary. No, our space isn’t quite that limited, so I’m keeping frivolous and decorative items that I feel enrich my daily experience;
    • For my life, minimizing, where I can, situations that stress me out because I typically have to retreat because of the physical impact, creating pain and chaos;
    • For my form, it means altering my daily rituals.
      • Not having the ability to work currently, I have been toying with two extremes involving my hair that will minimize the upkeep time – dreadlocks or cutting off all my hair. The hair buzzing will resolve multiple issues for me, including giving me a boost in available time immediately. It will also likely trigger the wish that I had done dreads first, so I will likely do dreads knowing that I intend to buzz them if they don’t “fit” my life. This is becoming more likely as my friend and I plan “Dread Play,” which is playing with my hair and determining if I can live with it. Plus, a friend, Jason, said he would refer to me as “The Dreaded Viv” and I don’t think I can pass that opportunity up! Seriously!
      • Continuing my hunt for foods that have a negative impact on me (food intolerance). Peanuts have proven to make me feel terrible. Although I’m not fully satisfied with my testing, to date it appears that I also have an intolerance to gluten and oats. Once I feel more sure, those foods will be banned and only ingested when I decide it tastes better than not possibly being in pain. High cost on that trade off, to be sure.
      • The above item, as well as the treatment for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever that I was diagnosed with 2 weeks ago, should allow me to resume exercise. My joint pain has been excruciating, along with another new health issue, making exercise impossible, including walking for long distances. Talk about sucky! This time last year I was training for a half-marathon run. Now I just want to be able to run a mile again!

I have already encountered backlash from this new way of living: one item I offered to others caused them to question how much I valued the persons represented by the object. I was judged harshly, but I decided that it was more important to live the way I choose than to cart around a physical item (that I have a digital representation of) because it satisfied a need in another person. If I cave to the thinking of others, that adds about 10,000 more items for me to retain in boxes in storage. For those that judge, my standard response is either a shrug of my shoulders or a “Suck it up, cupcake.”

This has been the greatest discovery during this ultimate era of change – I find it easier to disregard other people’s opinions and to only do what makes sense for us. And if you think that means we don’t take in other people’s opinions you are wrong. We just won’t do as told out of obligation, but rather if it is the right fit or us. I’m thrilled that my husband and I are embracing this period of change and growth both individually and as a couple. It’s definitely strengthened us, and has given us much enjoyment as we question every “can’t” and “shouldn’t” that we encounter.

We have freedom in ways that I have never before experienced. I intend to make the most of it while I can.

What major changes have you implemented that have improved your life?