Sunday, July 29, 2012

Competitive Courtney Showing Up

Can't say too much about this problem because I am afraid of indulging the negative. Suffice it to say that I have noticed the competitive side of me coming out--a side that is, interestingly and unknown until now, related to jealousy.

I had a moment thinking of how I wanted someone in particular to view me in the future, after I live out x, y, and z wonderful events, and then I thought, "That is a pretty horrible feeling. Why would I wish it on someone?" Basically because I wanted to feel like all my moments of feeling that way would not go to waste--that I would have something like vindication (I said it's pretty negative up in this space).

The best I could do was breathe for myself and for anyone else who might be struggling with the same feelings. I'm going to practice writing about this in my journal and see if/when some better ideas come up.

I was feeling a touch lousy yesterday and I had a clear moment realizing that the relationship anxiety I was facing was unrelated to Bill. Whatever questions and concerns I have aren't for Bill to answer. They are for someone else, and I don't know who, exactly.

I realize that the problems I think I have are related to something else unknown inside of me. I plan to use the time to search out some answers and grow a bit!

And speaking of growth, and a journey, I wanted to share this incident. I was at the grocery store today and remembered that we had some hamburger buns that we could use up. So I added veggie patties to the list and did not cut back on something else. I splurged and bought the patties, along with the fahncy frozen pizza. This type of extravagance stood in contrast to the grocery shopper of one to two years ago. That grocery shopper would splurge on a gallon of milk and freeze what wouldn't be used right away.

It's just interesting to learn, deep in my bones, that times change. Fortunes change (and we are not our fortunes). I feel really lucky and graced in my life right now, and it's neat to have the lens of a couple years ago so nearby. I don't know what will happen next or what will happen later. Tough times, depressive times, lead one to think that the blues will hang around forever. But they don't! But the lessons of perseverance, patience, and gratitude can stick around. And I imagine needing to draw from them in the future. But now is not that time. Now is a new time for me. For me it happens to be reveling in little luxuries and elegances. A time of paying attention to materialities and taking care of myself in ways that enrich my senses. These are luxuries.

New Favorite

I have been listening to Passion Pit's Gossamer this weekend. Love it!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Good news . . .

. . . I'm an optimist!

I found this out from the quiz issue of O, The Oprah Magazine. It was a one question quiz that presented a scenario and four options. I picked the one that sounded the most like me, and was beating myself up for picking that "stupid option; why do I do the worst thing?" And it turned out that what I thought was the horrible, but accurate, option was the optimistic option. It's as if I hate myself for being optimistic. That's a truth. I hate myself for the way I am, when the way I am is the way I endorse! (Good button idea: I endorse optimism!)

Anyway, I need to hunker down on my writing. I haven't publicized my goal because I have been afraid of failing, but now I no longer give a shit about a) talking about my goals on my blog or b) failing while trying something. So, for the past month I have been writing half an hour every day (that's every single damn day) on the same topic (that's one single topic in one voice, tone, and genre while using complete fucking sentences). All said, that's about fifteen hours of work we're talking. And I have a little over sixty pages of real writing. Real shitty writing, but still.

I just mention this (giving it to the ether, a la Beamy) because someday I want to have a finished product and I would love to have a writing group again, too. Groups are so come-and-go, like writers. And I want one again. Soon.

But part of mentioning this writing goal is because it's like so many things. We put our dreams together and then do the unglamorous, hard work of getting there. Last month I rewarded myself with flowers (they were bee-uute-iful!). And if I succeed this month with my small goal, then I am splurging on new underwear. Four years of the same panties? Let's move this train along. All aboard the underwear train. (A bad button idea.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wishing you laughter

I was just writing and thinking about a time as a child when a friend and I had a phrase that we would repeat that would always make us laugh ("But Mom, I'm brushing my teeth!")

I was thinking about how laughter can be similar to sex--it feels good alone, but can sometimes feel better and last longer when there's another person. It's such a good release! I love that kind of childhood laughter when things would be so absurd--even kids know when something doesn't make sense--that the only thing to do is laugh! How often (only trillion times a day) do I encounter something nonsensical and I choose not to laugh? Not that things don't warrant seriousness and due consideration, but that freewheeling sense of laughter is something that is fun to remember and so wonderful to experience! I just forget sometimes how healing a true laugh can be. Here's to laughter and our senses of humor; let them only get better as time goes on!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

More Good Advice

Last night Bill says to me that he doesn't define himself by his education because he thinks that would be too limiting.

Isn't that wise?

He was referring to people he knows who are having a hard time with retirement because they cannot let go of what they had been doing for so long. And he was trying to tell me that he does not foresee himself having this same problem in the future.

I think of all the ways I have only defined myself by my education. Without that, what else would I possibly have going for me? (Given that this education has taken me oh so far!)

I think about how people use degrees as a way to establish themselves and use the saying in reference to education, "That's something no one can take from me."

His comment was something that just struck a chord with me--opening up space to let in more expansive and liberating definitions of self.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

"It was [four] years ago today . . . "

It's Less-Is-More Day and I feel like talking about it.

Bill and I drove past my old apartment today and I couldn't remember which apartment, exactly, I lived in! I have such a strange mix of emotions. I feel fragile because the fire took something from me--a peace of mind (closely related to a naivete)--that I haven't had in the past four years. Instead, it feels like every emotion I have needs to be negotiated, categorized, for me to understand where it come from and why it's around. What is normal and what comes from this type of trauma (and what are normal trauma feelings)?

I feel haunted by things I did and did not do after the fire. I feel gratitude and anger. I miss my apartment and my things. Some things I have now feel false to me and I am trying to move on from moving on. I have been in this middle world where I'm doing more than surviving but just under thriving. And I want to thrive! The piece that is scary is knowing that things can happen to prevent this, and sometimes I would just rather have security and the protection of not knowing how bad things can get. That's what bothers me--knowing how I react under pressure and how much time it all takes. It's frustrating!

But, less is more. I found two things this weeks that I can give away the next time someone puts out a call for household items. I am wearing a tube top shirt right now that is too loose on the top and unflatteringly tight on the bottom--after I wash it, I'm planning to get rid of it. There's some ridiculously old, yet well-preserved leftovers that can be tossed. And I have a handful of calories that I'd like to take and leave at the gym this afternoon. Less things around. More room for discovering what life is about.

Friday, July 20, 2012

In the grief of it all

Feeling sadness about the shooting in Aurora and the war in Syria. Feeling powerless and junked out about economies crashing, stupidity, poverty, and drought. Wanting to maintain hope and positivity while being in these serious things. This seemed appropriate (found on poetryfoundation.org):

The Room

Through that window — all else being extinct
Except itself and me — I saw the struggle
Of darkness against darkness. Within the room
It turned and turned, dived downward. Then I saw
How order might — if chaos wished — become:
And saw the darkness crush upon itself,
Contracting powerfully; it was as if
It killed itself: slowly: and with much pain.
Pain. The scene was pain, and nothing but pain.
What else, when chaos draws all forces inward
To shape a single leaf? . . .

For the leaf came,
Alone and shining in the empty room;
After a while the twig shot downward from it;
And from the twig a bough; and then the trunk,
Massive and coarse; and last the one black root.
The black root cracked the walls. Boughs burst the window:
The great tree took possession.

Tree of trees!
Remember (when time comes) how chaos died
To shape the shining leaf. Then turn, have courage,
Wrap arms and roots together, be convulsed
With grief, and bring back chaos out of shape.
I will be watching then as I watch now.
I will praise darkness now, but then the leaf.

--Conrad Aiken

Thursday, July 19, 2012

"Fat City"

If ever there was a time I wish I was keeping track of my movies this year, now is the time. Bill and I took advantage of tonight's lightening storm to stay in and watch a movie he had recorded, John Huston's Fat City.

I haven't been this enthralled with a movie in a long time. When Stockton, CA declared bankruptcy a couple of weeks ago, Bill showed me the opening sequence of Fat City, which shows Stockton in the early '70s--broken down and hopeless. (Bill likes to point out to me how everything moves in cycles and, because they do, he argues, there is hope.)

I was enchanted by Stacy Keach during that opening sequence and in love with the Kris Kristofferson song. It was just a good, solid look at the lives of people--one of those pieces of work that through its narrow focus shows a larger piece of humanity. (That sentence might be too corny; I'm trying to convey that feeling you get about something when it's right. The movie never tries to be anything large; it stays small, gritty. It shows without telling.) And Susan Tyrrell's performance is one of the best I've seen; she's amazing.

I just had to share; this is such a good movie!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Some good advice

Today's daily meditation from Melody Beattie was along the lines of, "If it still hurts, then the lesson has not been learned" (a quote she uses from someone else).

Tonight's color intuition cards guided me to this lesson for myself, "Lovingkindness: Like a flower unfolding in springtime, I am refreshed by lovingkindness, tolerance, and understanding. My heart is tranquil, knowing that this love IS me, and I offer it to the world" (Laura Alden Kamm).

Just seemed like good advice to share!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Never knew . . .

. . . the inventor of the cinquain was Adelaide Crapsey (1878 - 1914). Never knew about Adelaide Crapsey at all, until I found a bit on poetryfoundation.org.

Here's one of her poems.

Release

With swift
Great sweep of her
Magnificent arm my pain
Clanged back the doors that shut my soul
From life.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Chronicles from a Know-It-All Know-Nothing person

Bill and I came across something fascinating the other night: Elvis and Mary Tyler Moore in the movie Change of Habit. From what I saw, this was Elvis' last movie, and even Bill didn't know that Mary Tyler Moore had starred in a movie with Elvis. Elvis is a doctor and Moore is a nun who, after getting feelings for Elvis, needs to decide whether she wants to stay a nun. Both help the troubled youth in their town.

We didn't watch the whole movie, but came into it around this scene (and left it shortly after).



I would not, as the poster of the video calls this, a "touching scene," but rather a troubling scene. However, this is how I've been feeling lately, trying to get in touch with my inner child. I cannot recommend this method in relationships with autistic youth; nor do I think my inner child is necessarily autistic. ("Oh, she's vewy autistic; look what she drew today. . .") But I have felt like Elvis and the autistic girl all wrapped into one.

I'm just going through a stint where I'm feeling my feelings and then letting them go. It makes for a lot of crying! As a project (with multiple goals), I've been devoting time each day to writing about my childhood. This is bringing up a lot of grief over things I didn't realize I felt so deeply about. I feel like I'm mourning the girl that I was. And part of this past is rubbing up against the near-past and then I have even more grief and tears.

In it all, I've made a vow to treat myself nicely and eliminate things that make me feel bad. At the thought of doing something that I don't feel good about, I try to breath some peace into it and let it go--understanding that I can come back to it later, but that now is not a good time. And what do I have to lose in this approach? Only all the voices that say I should be doing something else; I should be somebody else. Hell, I should want to be someone else because what kind of thing do I think I am now?

These are the voices, folks.

Melody Beattie writes that feeling the feelings, even though it can feel so bad, means that we are getting to the heart of things and clearing it out. The way I think of this is in terms of this huge zit that an ex had on his shoulder--it was a deep, wide, blackhead type thing that had been around for years. Until one day he let me go for it. I stayed after this thing for months trying to get it all out. And, what do you know, it began to heal to the point you could never tell that he once had a crater zit on his shoulder. The gunk got out and he was whole again. Yes. My inner peace is exactly like my ex-husband's shoulder zit.

All of this upheaval is allowing me to be clear on what I heard, what I interpreted, and what I did. And then I see this at play in my daily life and it allows me to be more relaxed and to understand that I don't know everything and am unable to hear and understand everything that comes my way.

I see how quickly I react and how easy it is to fuck with me and for me to fuck with myself. And I can't carry around that anger any longer. I have things that care deeply about, but I can't use outrage to deal with them because I have been creating a monster inside myself.

I think of all the music that I love and that I grew up with . . . I think about how angry it is. I see how it's played a role in skewing my thinking, much like being submersed in advertising with airbrushed models. It's not healthy to have a distorted, manufactured reality.

I have joined a gym this past month and have lost some weight. I feel so happy having my body and I like seeing how it has changed. I have lost forty pounds from when I was at my heaviest, six years ago, when I first moved to Tulsa. And I feel the male gaze, especially in my job working with the public; it's not something that I can escape, like I thought I could when I was chunkier. And it feels horribly uncomfortable being in public sometimes. I want to hide. And yet I also want to have the excitement of my body in public, too. These ideas are scary to me. It's all wrapped up in there--these physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual selves. These pieces of me that know so much and know nothing at all.