Monthly Archives: August 2010

taming the tyrant

Spider Solitaire (Windows)

Image via Wikipedia

I like to blog.  Really, I do.

It does seem that lately, though, I spend much more energy thinking about blogging than actually blogging.

Instead of going on an on about how awful a blogger I am, I am going to use this as an opportunity to practice not beating myself up.  I get these opportunities a lot, it seems.  Another way to phrase that would be that the habit of self-berating crops up almost everywhere I look, but I am more and more on guard and more and more learning not to fall into that easy pattern that kills me not so softly.

I read a great blog post today about this “inner tyrant,” and about harnessing it’s energy for something positive.  I also tried to make a dietary change today (no, not going on a diet, just changing one thing—hint: it has to do with a certain sugary caffeinated beverage).  I have realized that I need to make this change more slowly, to ease into it a bit.  I had planned to go “cold turkey,” so to speak, but it seems that’s not such a good idea.  That tyrant, who always seems to be with me, wants to tell me that this is a failure.  I am choosing to see this as another example of slow change, another way I can care for myself.

I said, “another example of slow change.”  The first example of slow change is somewhat silly, but it has stuck with me and comes back to me over and over as a reminder to not expect immediate and dramatic results the minute I decide something should be different.  “So what is this example?” you ask.

Spider solitaire.

I have been playing quite a bit of spider solitaire these last couple of months.  When I started, I could win on the first level every time, but it was pretty boring.  I tried playing on the second level, but I would rarely win.  So rarely it seemed like I never won.  In a very un-me-like move, I decided that winning didn’t matter, and I would play the second level because it was more fun, even if I lost nearly every time.  Then something weird started happening.

I started getting better.

The spider solitaire game on my computer will tell you your win/loss statistics after every game.  When I started playing, I was winning about 2% of the time.  I didn’t pay too much attention to those statistics until I noticed that they were going up.  Before I knew it I was at 7%.  Then 10%.  Dear readers, I now win 26% of the time (um, I played a LOT of this game while I was recovering from my surgery).  The thing is, normally a 75% loss rate would normally really bother me.  In light of the 98% loss rate when I started, 75% doesn’t look half bad. 🙂

The spider solitaire is serving as a good reminder to me that change comes slowly, that I don’t have to go from 0 to 60 overnight, and that beating myself up doesn’t make me go any faster, anyway.

I’m hoping there’s a way to get this inner tyrant to remind me to be gentle, to remind me that if change comes at all, it comes at a creeping pace, so slowly that we scarcely notice it.

Meanwhile, I’ll be playing some spider solitaire.  27%, here I come!

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famous friday: makin’ a mess

Miss Famous can ignore her basket of toys for weeks, somewhat like this:

Miss Famous, ignoring her basket of toys

Then, suddenly, with no apparent explanation, she will take out half her toys just to hear them squeak.  And no, I did not stage this photo.  Except the dog.  I staged the dog, if by staging you mean telling her to sit/stay.

she likes it squeaky

Have a good weekend from the Famous house!

an assortment

  • After my last couple of posts, I realized that it might seem that I’m in a funk.  I’m not.  I’ve been meaning to do a whole post about it, but the gist is that while things have been happening (family drama, etc.) I’ve been noticing a real difference in my response.  I can feel that things are sad or upsetting, but I’m not getting knocked down by it; I’m not in a deep, dark place.
  • On that note, I am going to start seeing my therapist only every other week.  I was partly hoping to just be able to stop, but I think it’s good for me to have a slower transition.
  • Drama with the sister/family continues.  It astounds me that my parents are still in such denial about her illness.  My dad in particular has seemed surprised by how she has responded about some things and some things she has said.
  • My friend who owns the house I live in (“Nanette”) has decided to take a break from work and will be moving back home.  She has decided to have me stay in the house and have my housemate move out.  The positives:  I will finally have a decent amount of storage space (i.e. all the closet space in my room and all the cabinets in my bathroom), and I will like having Nanette around.  Also, Nanette will probably take short term jobs (1-2 mos) so I’ll get the house to myself some of the time.  The negative: my rent will go up.  Of course, it will all be cheaper than having to find an apartment and fill it up (remember, I don’t really have any furniture and very few household goods).
  • I’ve been thinking about blogging a lot, I just haven’t made that transition from thought to action.
  • Miss Famous is the sweetest doggy ever.  She may actually have a Famous Friday post for tomorrow, too.
  • That is all.

my thing

There are a number of things I could post about right now.  Scratch that…there are a number of things I would like to post about right now, however, my emotions have gotten the best of me for the second time this weekend and I don’t think I can post about much except this.

Stuff with my sister is not going so well (welcome to the understatement part of the post).  We are to the point of hoping that she’ll get involved somehow with law enforcement so that she can get some help for this bipolar “episode.”  And by “help” I mean “checking into the hospital so they can regulate her meds.”

Sigh.

Her kids are ok (in case you were wondering).  My parents have custody of her daughter (for about 10 years now) so she’s with them as usual, and her son is with his dad, who has separated from her for the time being, but is hoping she gets some help.  As do we all.

Have you ever had one of those things that you wanted so bad to be one way, but it wasn’t, it was another way instead?

Dumb question.  We all have, I know.  This is my thing right now that I want to be different than it is.  This is my thing that I can’t change.

flashback

I got a glimpse of myself tonight.

Not myself now, but maybe a year and a half ago…that was me, then.

Before I arrived tonight, I was already expecting some heavy stuff at the meeting.  One of the other “professionals” who was there had sent me an email, letting me know about some recent events for this family.  And these events didn’t come out of the blue.  I knew their past, I knew why their husband and father no longer lived at home, though he’s still around.  I knew about his temper.

The topic came up, I asked her if she would be willing to get some help now (she wasn’t ready before).

She started talking, it seemed like she couldn’t stop.

And I heard myself in her words.

The denial, the fear, the doubt that she would be taken seriously by the domestic violence counselors—it was all so familiar.

She mentioned PTSD, and in an apologetic way said that the incident the previous week had brought it all up for her again, the way any number of things can do.  Triggers, I said.  I knew because I was experiencing my own.  I could have finished her sentences.  I know about feeling unsafe.

There were some other things that were hard about the meeting, details about the “incident” that I won’t share (you’re welcome).

Something I found interesting was that though she has experienced physical violence (which I never had to deal with, thankfully), that wasn’t what she wanted to talk about.  She kept telling us about the things he would say to her, the things he still says to her.  She didn’t go on about the bruises he left, but she went on and on about how stupid he tells her she is, how weak, how worthless.

The one bright moment of the meeting was when, as the three professionals were working at convincing this woman how strong she is, her child told her mom she was like a Rottweiler, while he is just a Chihuahua.

Male Rottweiler, 1½ years old

Image via Wikipedia

I started crying when I was on the freeway, headed home.  My hands shook a bit, but I didn’t go down the rabbit hole.  I cried because it was sad.  I cried because I remembered how I used to feel.  This time, though, it didn’t feel bottomless.  This time I could feel the ground beneath me.

And as I realized how glad I was that I could go home after a meeting like that and not deal with X, I thought about Chihuahuas and seemed to hear my inner Rottweiler give a satisfied little growl.

perfect moment monday: one year later

I’ve been thinking a lot in the past week or so about this time one year ago.  It was just about this time that I started going really crazy living at my parents’ house and starting to feel like I needed to get out of there now.

One year ago I was in the throes of divorce details, worried about my house selling (which eventually went into foreclosure), and was basically swimming in a sea of angst about Mr. X.

One year ago I was jobless, had very little money in the bank, was living with mom and dad, and was having a very difficult time imagining a better future.

Today…today is amazing.  Today I have a good job in a great city, I no longer have to depend on my parents’ help for my basic needs, and I have a great place to live.  The best thing, however, is the change within myself.  I noticed this weekend, at the second of two get-togethers with some dear friends and several of their friends (who have brought me into the circle without question) that I had a sense of belonging and peace that was quite foreign to me a year ago.  Today I don’t feel like the “pause” button is set on my life anymore.  Last night I laughed with friends, enjoyed food, and was happy.

Pretty darn perfect.

Read about some more perfect moments over at Lavender Luz’s.

famous friday: famously tolerant

Miss Famous has had a very busy week.

Last Friday night, my 12 year old niece, aka The Whirlwind, came to visit for the weekend.  Miss Famous LURVES her.

On Sunday, the Whirlwind’s 3 year old brother joined my parents to come pick her up.  Miss Famous tolerates my nephew.  I think she loves him, just more when he’s occupied with things other than bestowing affection on her.  But she puts up with it.
(If you could see her eyes in this photo, they would be staring at you beseechingly.  Oh, and, um, forgive the elementary paint job.)

Then, on Monday La Famosa and I drove a few hours to my younger sister’s house, home of my other three nieces, who believed the visit was all about their getting to play with their new babydoll Miss Famous.Supposedly, this shot is of Miss Famous in her “pajamas,” but I think she looks more like an 80s aerobics instructor:Well, all of the visiting is over, so her Famousness is free to loll around the couch, cuddling with her squeaky toys: