The ocean breathes salty

The good news is, I got my laptop running again.

The bad news is, it’s probably terminal. I need a new laptop, and that’s not money I was hoping to spend right now. But this is 100% how I earn my living these days so I really don’t have an option.

I’ve been with the family now for around 26 hours. It’s honestly alarming to me how quickly I can get into a really weird headspace. Regression to my childhood is real, and those relationship dynamics really don’t go away.

I spent a lot of this morning feeling pretty anxious. And suddenly I feel like I need to apologise for everything? Why am I saying sorry all the time.

Note to future self: you need to think and write about:

– Apologising as my first instinct – is there a way I can respond to certain situations without automatically saying sorry?
– Feeling, at exactly the same time, the need to be alone and upset I’m not being included.
– The idea of living out loud. I mute myself so often.
– How to set boundaries without feeling like you’re shutting your life down. And is setting boundaries just another way to stay comfortable in a hole you’ve dug yourself?
– Whether one can embrace the body positivity movement and work to make changes to their body at the same time.

Today I am grateful for those members of my family who embrace me and love me for who I am. They have made this weekend worth it.

A positive thing about myself today: I’ve got to be honest, I’m struggling tonight. So I’ll go small and say I made a really awesome salad tonight and everybody loved it. That’ll have to do, and I will try again tomorrow.

A pillar of truth

We went to see Lucy Dacus at Oxford Art Factory tonight.

There’s really no replacement, for me at least, for that feeling you get at a live show when the lights go down. Particularly when it’s an artist you’re really excited about.

There’s every reason why I should feel exhausted right now, but I don’t. I feel energised and topped up and a little more in love with the world.

Tonight I’m grateful for music. It fills me up.

A positive thing about myself today: I am getting this in at 11:55pm – just in the nick of time. I’ve actually really stuck to this accountability challenge (so far), and that makes me feel good.

Random randomness

Today is the first day in the 30 days that I’ve felt a bit ugh about having to write something before the day is out.

Today, I got nothin’.

So here is a list of random things I’m currently thinking about.

– I need to get Hannah a new bed. The one I got for her a few months ago is plush and fancy and has a removable cushion that can be washed, but I can tell she doesn’t like it. She looks so bloody uncomfortable when she lays in it.

– The spider nest continues to migrate along the ceiling in the bedroom. There is a separate, smaller nest now above French doors. This is an escalating problem that I am not yet emotionally equipped to deal with.

– The arch of my right foot has been itching for at least a week. That can’t be good, right?

– I will be really sad when Broad City finishes next week.

– Why oh why won’t Sleater-Kinney announce a tour already.

– I have a lot of celery I need to use before the end of the week when we go away, or it will go to waste. What does one do with a whole load of celery? I might pull the juicer out.

Today I’m grateful for my mum. She’s doing a lot of the cooking and food-bringing for this weekend away, which is saving me a lot of work. Mum’s are good like that.

A positive thing about myself today: I actually feel a little bit caught up with work stuff. I’m almost scared to say that out loud. One of my goals this year was to find a better balance with clients and work – there’s a ways to go, but I feel like I’m making steps to that.

What I have done to get this day?

I had a couple of wins at the gym this morning.

I tend to avoid the really hectic times when the gym floor is a heaving, sweaty mass of humanity. If I don’t have a trainer in front of me clearing the way I feel like I want the floor to open up and swallow me whole.

Last week I had a workout scheduled on Monday, and I decided I was going to go mid-afternoon when it’s really quiet. Then, work happened, and my afternoon got eaten up with client visits and phone calls.

I wasn’t going to let that happen today, so I decided to go first thing, before I did anything else. I had a mental wrestle with myself about it last night, knowing how many people would be there and trying to make excuses to not go in the morning.

But I went, and it wasn’t so bad. I got there just before 7, which I think is actually a good time because it’s clearing out a bit.

The second win? I actually spoke out loud to someone to ask how many sets they had left on the leg press. And nothing bad happened – I wasn’t shouted at, no one laughed at me and my head didn’t explode. You know what DID happen? They said ‘oh I’m on my last set and it’s all yours’ and I got my workout done.

Shocking, I know.

But it actually felt like a big deal. On the gym floor right now, most of the time, I feel like a fraud. I feel like as soon as I deign to own my space, the lights will go out and a spotlight will come on and everyone will turn around and laugh and point.

It’s ridiculous, I know. But that’s some way to describing the way I feel sometimes.

Today I am grateful Essendon only plays once a week. I honestly could not take more than that the emotional trauma the boy goes through every time they lose.

A positive thing about myself today: see above. Owning my own space and feeling like I have a right to do so. Or, at least, working up to that.

Sunday

It has felt like a really big weekend.

I’ve been turning the idea of resilience over and over in my head. My naturopath cited this as my primary issue at our last appointment. “You’re not broken, Karen. You’ve just lost your resilience.” It’s the first time in a really long time any kind of health professional has said something to me that made sense.

I used to be able to go back to back to back with events and appointments and catch-ups all weekend. I just can’t do that anymore. I’m old now, sure, but it’s more than that. I feel like the last 5 years have eaten away at me physically and mentally to the point where I’m like a hollow nest for termites: one well-placed poke and I crumble.

I get overwhelmed easily right now. If someone asks me for even the smallest thing it can make me feel really anxious or tired or both. The idea of facing a weekend with a few different social events can be crippling. My GP says it’s a product of depression, but I don’t think it is. Depression feels (felt?) different to me – it’s like that time of the day when the sun goes down. If you don’t turn the light on, all the colour drains out of everything until there’s darkness. Depression, to me, feels (felt?) like an absence of something. A numbness. This overwhelm and lack of resilience feels like the opposite of that: anything ranging from an unplaceable agitation to a burning hot anxiety.

I’m sure part of the solution is to do what I did on Saturday – if it’s mental overwhelm, to just push through it and mentally rewire myself somehow. But if the overwhelm is physical I need to try and find pockets for myself to rest.

The problem is, though, sometimes I can’t tell which one is which.

Today I am grateful for my bed. I’m praying to the sleep gods for lots of rest tonight, and a peaceful head.

A positive thing about myself today: I feel like every week it’s getting easier to, on a Sunday night, mentally try and set myself up for the week. I used to really dread Monday, but more and more I feel good that every Monday can be like a new start. A way to validate some of what you’re doing, and do better in others. I feel like that is some sort of progress, in no small part because of the work I’ve been putting in.

Today I am stitched, I am sewn

These days I’m not good at crowds.

My anxiety can make large groups of people difficult to navigate. Even small groups of people, if they’re loud enough. I deal with gigs okay because there’s a focus away from the people – as soon as the lights go down and the music starts I mostly forget how many other people are there.

This week I reached out to a friend I haven’t seen in a while to catch up today. She said she was going to the races and asked if I wanted to come. My knee-jerk reaction was a hard no. Apart from the opportunity to catch up with some good people I really couldn’t think of anything I would want to do less.

But I thought about what I had written earlier in the week. About the distance I have between me and a lot of people I currently have in my life. And so I messaged back that I would come.

I negotiated with myself – you can get there a little late, and leave a little early. And I did. And it was fine. And really nice to catch up with them all.

But I am absolutely, 100% exhausted now. Exhausted to the point that I don’t feel well. It might be a combination of boot camp this morning and then being on my feet (and a lot of it in the sun) a lot of the day, but it’s hard to tell. I didn’t drink enough water today, which I know isn’t helping. I’ve tried to make up for it over the last couple of hours and no doubt I will be up peeing all night.

I don’t feel good and I’m going to bed.

Tonight I am grateful that I live in Newtown. I am a little disheartened by the state election today but I am happy I live in my socially liberal bubble in the Inner West.

A positive thing about myself today: see above. I pushed myself to do something I didn’t really want to do, and I’m glad that I did.

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.

The Journey – Mary Oliver

Tonight I’m grateful for poetry. I finished work a little early today and got an hour of reading in. Mary Oliver is salve for the soul, and this poem in particular resonates hard right now.

A positive thing about me today: I could have slept in this morning but I got up and got straight to work. As a result I got a massive project sent to a client by 11am, and did a stack of admin this afternoon.

That’s how you fight loneliness

I had CPD in the city for half of today.

I always have an element of anxiety walking into the room. Above and beyond, that is, the usual walk-into-the-room anxiety I have.

There’s always a solid chance that an ex-colleague will be there. Given the fairly toxic work environment I used to be in, the very high turnover, and the very senior role I had that involved, hiring, firing and performance management, there’s every chance these people would be hoping just as much I’m not there when they walk in the room.

But today I got lucky. I walked in and one of my most favourite people in the world was there. One of the two colleagues that really helped me through the God-awful last 12 months in that place. She is one of those people that simultaneously grounds you and makes you feel everything is right with the world. It was so lovely to see her.

I need to expand my social circle. A close friend has been in Europe for a few weeks, and with her being gone, I’ve come to realise how few people there really are in my life. Beyond the boy, that is.

When I got sick I kind of folded in on myself – partly through necessity, to preserve myself mentally and physically, and partly because I don’t really need that big a reason to enable my introverted self.

I still like being alone. Being alone isn’t lonely for me. I work from home four days a week now, and I really enjoy being in the house by myself. People ask me if I miss having colleagues and working in an office and the answer is genuinely no.

But I do think sometimes it would be nice to have a group of closer friends I could reach out to on the weekend. And I feel it more acutely when one of my small group of close friends, for whatever reason, isn’t here.

Today I am grateful for the person I saw today. There was one particular day in that job, around 3 weeks before I finally left, that is possibly one of the worst days of my whole life. I got a bad decision on a visa application, and having balanced on a mental health precipice for months, I lost myself and my balance completely. I don’t remember very much about what happened after that. I remember getting up out of my chair and stumbling from my desk to the front of the office just saying, over and over again, ‘No. No. No. No.’ I remember sobbing and not being able to stop. I remember having trouble breathing and having chest pains so bad I couldn’t straighten up. I remember leaving the office and not being sure if I could bring myself to go back.

But I also remember this person being there. She came to find me when she found out what happened and she sat with me, quietly being there, until the earth righted itself and I could think straight. She dealt with the fall out from the Partners and held them at bay for the rest of the day so I didn’t have to speak to them. Since then she is a constant source of wisdom and guidance and has been there every time I’ve needed her.

One positive thing about myself today: I can be very patient. I’ve been coordinating a weekend away with my family for my brother’s birthday, and it’s honestly like herding cats. But I’ve managed to coordinate for everyone to be in the same place on the same weekend (or, at least, I think I have) and so far everyone is still talking to one another.

Is there splendour

I’ve been excited for a little while about the new Hulu series Shrill, staring Aidy Bryant. And not just because Carrie Brownstein directed an episode.

It’s really, really rare to see a plus sized woman front and centre in TV or a movie. Even rarer, one where she’s not made the butt of jokes or is the funny sidekick of the main star.

I’ve seen some trailers and clips from the show. One in particular is Aidy’s character going to a pool party specifically for bigger women. The scene starts with her being really shy and not wanting to dance. But it ends, after the women around her encourage her, with her dancing with palpable, uninhibited joy.

I got a bit emotional when I watched it, which surprised me a bit. So much of my experience as a fat girl is feeling like I don’t have the right to take up the space I do. Feeling like, in social situations, I am at the end of either ridicule or pity.

To see big bodies like that giving themselves permission to be joyful and confident bought up a lot of different feelings.

I hope the show comes to Australia,

Tonight I am grateful for the fact that for half of tomorrow I will be in training. It will be a bit boring but it actually gives me some quiet learning time, which is something I haven’t had for a bit.

A positive thing about myself today: I felt really good in my PT session this morning. Until the last 10 minutes where the ski erg and kettle bell swings near killed me haha. Off the back of not much sleep, I got it done and there was progress. Go me.

It’s a thin line baby

Today felt a little rough.

I didn’t sleep so well last night and had some crazy dreams. Today I woke up with a headache that wouldn’t leave, and my anxiety was not great. Not terrible, but not great.

I’ve been writing these posts at the end of each day. The positive of this is I get a full reflection of the whole 24 hours. I also tend to get a little more pensive at the end of the day. The negative, though, is that the dragging up of stuff can unsettle my brain a bit and mess my sleep up.

When I talk to Wayne about it I call it the ‘busy brains’. I.e. I have a bad case of the busy brains tonight.

Last night my busy brains got the best of me and I’ve been paying for it today. I have PT in the morning and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little apprehensive. But it’s just exercise, right?

On that note, tonight I am grateful for my body that will carry me through my PT session tomorrow. My body that is getting stronger, even with all the bullshit it’s dealing with. This is also going to be my mediation when I wake up in the morning.

A positive thing about me today: I took on a case when I first started with one of my clients that was a bit of a mess and had a really complicated history. I finished submissions today and I feel really good about the prospects of the case now. If there’s a positive outcome for the client it will be because I did a really good job. When I left my last job I had terrible self-confidence. It’s nice to feel like I’m good at my job again.