October in Kansas

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Above shot is blurry and distorted, and I’m not sure what it was shot with.  I’m pretty sure the photo credit for this goes to Karen Sexton, the mom of an old friend from grade school.  I happened upon it and it is really TRULY what it looks along the roadside in Kansas in October.  It was taken off the road in St. Francis, KS.

I couldn’t get this image out of my head, all through my workday, and into the evening.  I thought I would share it here because I feel like it is special, like it tells stories about me, even if you can’t hear them.

You may recognize me in this photo, and say, “Ahhh yes, there’s Rosa girl, from the flat lands of Kansas, with her dog and a lot of hope in her heart.”

And Rosa responds with a wave, a smile, and keeps trudging up the (so steep) Kansas hills.

 

 

Possibilities and Challenges

I like to blog more often than a month worth of every 10 days or so, but life is getting in the way.  Not necessarily in a good way.  In short words, my parents are getting a divorce.

Longer words, current circumstances are stressful, interpersonal relationships are either weakened or strengthened.  I find myself crying a lot and screaming, “I can’t do this” in my head (and sometimes, out-loud, usually in my car), even though I’m not sure exactly what “this” is.

And sometimes, actually, it’s more like mostly, it hurts so much and its so badly stressful because you see your parents, people you have known your entire life, who have loved you and protected you and sang silly songs to you and called you out on your curfew, well, you see them suffering.

Suffering and crying and being angry and being sad.  Having to make really hard, life-changing decisions.  It is very difficult, as a grown woman, for the first time after 30-some years of living life together, that you see your dad cry.  Not able to talk to you because he is so upset.  Absolutely heartbreaking.

All the people around you, who so clearly don’t see your position and obviously think you are an idiot, tell you it’s not your fault (of course it’s not!) and that it is between them and there is nothing you can do to make it better (well, YES, no kidding, really?).  I spent the first bit trying to get them back together, of course, which is a natural human response, I believe.  But then I realized, this is not my battle to fight.  There is absolutely not one single thing I can do that will “fix” this or make it better.

I am hoping I am going to turn the corner from being extremely stressed out and upset and crying and going on to some sort of acceptance.  I am working on it, is all I can say.  Maybe do a little more of what Mr. Merton says:

You do not need to know precisely what is happening,

or exactly where it is all going.

What you need is to recognize the possibilities

and challenges offered by the present moment,

and to embrace them with courage.

Thomas Merton


A quick note…

I have been very behind reading, liking, and commenting on other blogs.  If you haven’t seen me stop by in awhile, my emotional turmoil and all the stress is what is keeping me away.  I hope to return to the blogosphere with much enthusiasm in November for NaBloPoMo and plan to be doing a lot of reading of blogs I have followed forever and hopefully some new blogs starting very soon.

Rosa

Scream Along With Me if You Want

Yesterday,  hoped that today would be much much better.  Unfortunately, I was up all night and then sick all day, barely able to get out of bed.  So much for my thoughts on getting some massive cleaning done.  Very most basic things taken care of — shower, feed Kizzie, drink something.  Other than that, nada.  So I thought I would post because, even though here at 6:34P, I feel better, I don’t feel better to the point where I can start sweeping and vacuuming and throwing laundry around.

As I sit here blogging, I find myself browsing YouTube.  It’s something my mom really likes to do and she always finds the most interesting, upbeat songs.  All I find are 80’s songs.  Because that’s what YouTube recommends for me.  Sad and peppy and good memory and bad memory 80’s songs.  Mr. Big anyone?

Mom was kind enough to bring me some ginger ale and I am smart enough to not drink the entire 2-L in one setting.  Because I am tempted, but I am done with getting sick.  I’d really like to sleep all night through, but I don’t know how likely that is, considering I was laying in bed all day.  I plan on just doing some reading later, so hopefully my brain won’t be hopped up on whatever it is that comes out of electronics that is so bad for  you.

Not smoking today was a small miracle.  I was idle, sick, and nothing sounded better than a cigarette, although on the other hand, when I really did think about it, my stomach lurched around inside my body.  How can I want something so badly and be so repulsed by it at the same time?  It makes no sense to me.

Over this latest funk, I have not been commenting and liking and reading as much, but trust that I still pop over and see what you’re up to.  Sometimes I just don’t have it in me to leave a decent comment, so there’s only a like.  One of these days, I’ll get back to my normal self and things will go on as usual.  I can’t help wondering waiting wishing dreaming and screaming about when that might be.  Scream along with me if you want.

The Not-So-Exciting Tales of Rosa

I made a commitment to blog more regularly and it has been one big FAIL.  I attribute it to many things, including the fact that my give-a-shitter is broken, I don’t feel I can blog about a lot of what is going on in my life right now, and because everything I pour out seems to be pure drivel.

I’ve decided to stop caring about all of that, and just blog.  Duh, I should have decided this a long time ago, but it’s always a process for me.  Now, that doesn’t mean I’m going to start airing all my dirty laundry, it just means that posts will be more frequent, as well as a bit more random.  If I get a great idea for a  post (which hasn’t happened in weeks), I’ll really take my time and develop it.  Otherwise, I’ll just be writing about day-to-day life for now.

I quit smoking three weeks, five days, 17 hours, 58 minutes and 11 seconds ago. 1604 cigarettes not smoked, saving $216.66. Life saved: 5 days, 13 hours, 40 minutes.

Those stats are getting impressive.  Not so much the time stat, but over $200 saved, over 1600 cigs not smoked?  Holy shit!  You sometimes don’t realize how severe your addiction is until you’re not coughing much, you’re not short of breath anymore, and you see the cold numbers.

Quitting smoking hasn’t been easy as of late.  Yesterday, I had to ask Mom to pull all the money off my debit card, because it was too tempting to go buy a pack of cigarettes.  Now, if I went off and smoked a pack of cigarettes, I am sure I would be sick, but my anxiety level has been through the roof and I was completely convinced that smoking a cigarette would fix everything.  Well, reason and logic told me it just wouldn’t.  SOOOO, I am still smoke-free.  Thank God, because that was a close one.

I am having some motivation problems (ok, severe motivation problems), related to above-stated anxiety, some mild depression, big feelings of being overwhelmed.  I haven’t kept up on my housework as I should and I let what started out as a couple of mice under my sink turn into a much bigger problem.

The Big Dawg came over yesterday and gave me a kind lecture, all the while reassuring me it would be ok if I just followed a certain set of steps.  So, I’m committed to doing just that and I am committed to getting a big chunk of the work done before I ask Mom to come over and help.  That is what he suggested, and I think he is right.  You can’t leave your own messes for someone else to clean up.

And I am motivated.  I want to be able to have people over to my house again, for people to feel comfortable here.  Along with cleaning for mice, I will be cleaning for smoke residue, which should make things much more pleasant in general.  I have all the supplies I need, and am going to work at finding more time over the next four days (my four work-days), even though I have unfortunately scheduled a social event for nearly every evening.

Speaking of which, why in the eff do I do that?  Well, I mean, I know why.  I am painfully, hopelessly lonely.  As Mom says, there was someone always around (DSB) for over two years, and I got used to that, and now it is hit or miss if I will be able to find someone to talk to.  And as bad as it sounds, as terrible as DSB and my relationship was at times, there were good parts.

We had coffee together in the mornings, watched our favorite shows and ate dinner together at night.  For periods of our relationship, we talked about everything under the sun and could sit and visit for hours on end.  I also had a sense of safety and security, with DSB and Rascal at home.  I didn’t w0rry about my house being broken into or getting stranded by the side of the road or coming home in the dark.

There was someone to drive me places (because I have come to the point that I hate to drive) and someone to tell me (at all  hours of the day and night) that everything was going to be ok, that I was ok, that what I did or said was ok.  To give me advice.  To, for a time in our relationship, love me unconditionally.

I miss that and I work very hard every day at pushing through that.  I don’t talk about it with hardly anyone, just one friend and I think I may have mentioned it to Goddess of Mindfulness and my mom.  And I didn’t get into details with my dad the other day, when he asked me if I was lonely…I just cried and cried.

Sometimes I feel like no one understands or wants to understand.  Other times I feel very understood.  The times after it gets dark are the worst, but the day can be just as bad if I don’t have anything going on.  I just feel like I keep desperately reaching out and I am only burdening and annoying people.

Can’t Find the Beat

The blog experts say you’re not supposed to apologize or try to explain away absences.  I feel that I want to talk about it, because it seems to be a recurring problem that I don’t want to have.  And since my blog is where I talk about such things, the blog experts will just have to go criticize elsewhere.

I must say, I had felt pretty committed to blogging every day after my therapist had recommended it and QoB and a few friends seconded it.  I did ok for a couple days, and now have had this big dry spell again.  On the days I don’t blog, I do try to blog.  I sit in my chair and I type and I type and I absolutely hate everything I write.  Hate it to the point that not even I want to read it.

I do better when I blog every day, and I don’t exactly have a lack of things going on, but I feel like I am lacking in brain-power, if that makes sense.  There is a fog that has been cast over me, and things don’t add up, not inside my brain, not between my brain and my heart.  And I can’t find the right words.  And I find myself not being able to string any sort of sentences together.  It is very frustrating, and I am not going to post the three or four sentences that I do manage to get out, because, well, they don’t make sense!  At least not to me.

I think another major thing holding me back is this sadness that is currently cast over life right now.  It’s not something I will blog about because of privacy c0ncerns, but it is hitting me hard and is pervading all areas of my life.

I am not depressed and don’t feel like I am headed that direction.  I am having a lot of anxiety, and I am sad.  Both tend to immobilize me, but on many days I am still getting out and doing social things, going to work, taking care of Kizzie, and taking care of my health.  It is nearly a pattern that, on my days off, you would think I would work at being productive and spend time going to appointments and seeing people, but its the opposite.  On those days off, I have jampacked my days on so full, that I am wiped out.

It’s like I literally need my days off to recuperate from every event, party, dinner invitation, and lost night’s sleep.  I am over-doing.  Over-doing is increasing my sad and anxious feelings.  It is immobilizing my writing.  It is taking over my happiness and my good feelings.

To end on a high note:

Two weeks, three days, 6 hours, 49 minutes and 42 seconds not smoking. 1037 cigarettes not smoked, saving $140.00. Life saved: 3 days, 14 hours, 25 minutes.

Hooray for that…that, I am still doing well on.

Does Better Mental Health Equal an Easier Quit?

You know, when you get ready to quit smoking, you can find some of the most unbelievable “facts” and opinions on the Internet.  Everything from “the only way to quit and stay quit is xyz” to “blood pressure returns to normal within 24 hours” to “the first few weeks are the hardest.”

Well, it might end up, further into my journey, that I call the first few weeks the hardest, but that just isn’t how its going for me right now.  I am on Day 12 and counting, and I am finding it to be so much easier than any of the other times I tried to quit, and much more similar to the last time I quit for an extended period of time (1.5 years).  It just feels easy, it just feels right.

Maybe it is because my mental health is in such a place, that I’m learning once again to focus on the moment, to not dwell on negativity, and to do the things that I know keep me well.  Although over the past month, things have been hit or miss with my mood, I have had several straight solid days, where I felt great, happy even.  Not manic, mind you, just centered and at peace with things, in general, in my life.

I owe a lot of that to be open, willing, mindful, and completing meditation practice every day.  It is amazing how much all of that opens you up to a more beautiful world than you see when feeling poorly.  It feels like the sun is shining down into my brain, my heart, and like any problem I am having right now, is a problem that can be put away, worked through, or I can be made to realize it isn’t as important as I thought it was.

I know I have quit smoking, temporarily before, and I realize I am at 12 days only, and while I will obviously be much more comfortable when I am months or even years from my quit date, I can’t help but feel super confident that this will last.  I have had so many new “revelations” since I quit, so much has already changed, and I just keep waiting for the next surprise to come up.

Before quitting, I was always (no exaggeration) very out of breath.  Even just sitting, I had a wheezy pant going.  Walking across a parking lot was difficult, and walking around a grocery store or any store for that matter, was next to impossible.  I barely moved at home, sitting for long periods of time and neglecting daily chores.  Of course, it didn’t help that I have been sick for the longest time, but I’m talking the most extreme inactivity.

I had forgotten how bad certain things smelled, and now my sense of smell is coming back.  Burnt popcorn smell all throughout the house, stinky fish smell coming from garbage, the smell of smoke steeped into the whole house from years of smoking inside.  It’s all really terrible and, while I am grateful that I can smell these things now so that I can address them before they become a real problem, it’s really kind of gross right now and has been making me quite nauseous  here in the last couple of days.

When I find myself wanting a cigarette, usually after a meal or when driving, I tell myself to wait five minutes, and if after those five minutes are up, I still want a cigarette, I can go buy a pack and have one.  And quite honestly, usually by 2 or 3 minutes, I can’t believe that I was actually entertaining the idea of having one.  Mindfulness really helps with cravings as well, along with deep breathing or rhythmic breathing.

Feeling all that clean air push through my lungs, the irritating cough I have right now while getting all that stuff out my chest, and the ability to smell both good smells and bad smells — well, all in all, I’m loving it.  It is that immediate positive reinforcement for breaking bad behavior that works so well, and I know I would be able to do any of this if my mental health were in poor shape, and for that I thank DBT, mindfulness, and Loving-Kindness.

 

This and That

I believe I am committing a sort of bloggie faux pas right now.  I have a day’s worth of comments that I have not responded to yet, and I really need to blog, like right now, because I am starting to drift off and must get this daily blog thing in.  One shouldn’t put up a new post before making sure all comments are answered from the previous day, or should they?  I’ve never understood the appropriate protocol.  Please, other bloggers, leave you thoughts on that bit in the comments.  Maybe now we will get some truth!

I had a very nice day at work, hanging out with BlueCat.  We didn’t make a lot of money, but we made it fun, and that’s what matters.  Ok, so money, yes, is important, but we have to realize that we are in a seasonal business and the “fishing season” is over for everyone except the die-hards.  Like BlueCat and Snickers — they will fish until you can’t get a boat out over the ice, usually early January.  And then there are the ice fishermen, and, well, that’s just a whole different kind of man.

Realized today while looking at the odd ticker tape on my dashboard, that I have not smoked for one week, one day, 10 hours, 39 minutes and 7 seconds. 506 cigarettes not smoked, saving $68.39. Life saved: 1 day, 18 hours, 10 minutes.

I mean, if you think about it, 506 cigarettes is a TON of cigarettes.  There toward the end, I was probably smoking a good three packs/day.  That is just grossness…in my mouth and in my lungs.  Another thing about quitting is that you start to get your sense of smell and sense of taste back.  I have bad news folks — coffee is disgusting.  No, I mean it, its foul.  Tried it with my usual creamer, tried it with milk.  Coffee is a no-go.  This makes me sad because I really loved coffee and the zip it gave me, but I am going to bust out the Iced Tea Maker that Mom and the Big Dawg got me for my birthday.  I can’t possibly have lost my taste for iced tea…surely not.

So, on Tuesday I get to swallow a camera.  Yeppers, it’s not sci-fi, it’s my life.  Unfortunately you have to do all the prep work for the procedure, although its not quite as bad as colonoscopy prep.  The bonus of all of this is that I was able to talk myself into buying a couple extra Gatorades since I can’t eat anything tomorrow and can only drink clear fluids (Gatorade totally counts, they just don’t want you to drink any red or purple).  Keep fingers and toes crossed that this whole little episode goes well.

great sisters get promoted to aunt

That’s right…Auntie Rose in the house. :)