I can honestly say that today is not a wonderful day. It is hard for me to be happy for no reason or any reason. Certainly I am in no mood to be happy for you, whatever circumstance in life you may be in. I sound like a person with a bad attitude. You can safely say that I am a bad person altogether. It would not bother me.
What I know for sure is I am my own best friend. No one knows me better. No one can take care of me or can make me feel better. And when I am feeling the worst and need a shoulder to cry on, that’s the worst time for me to seek solace from another. It’s the best time to be quiet, not do anything but know that I am ok. There’s no need for action. What else I know for sure is I am human. In the heat of the moment, all good sense run out the door. And I react and do what I told another not to do. And because I know she had the same, experience I sought solace from her. She was kind enough, soft spoken enough but told me that I brought it on myself.
Can I say that I was a little surprised? She went on to say she was happy to welcome me again but not to bring my drama. I can understand that. Really I can. But I had not known her well at all when she knocked on our door a few months ago with her drama, her tears and plea for help. We welcomed her with hugs, offered her tea and gave her help. Not once but on 3 occasions. I remembered hours on the phone listening to her trouble with the same crazy neighbour. I gave her advice of not engaging with her at all. I told her to seek help from the police liaison. I told her all this, and yet I went against my own advice yesterday. I am human, damn it and I engaged, yelled and screamed. I was so frustrated and angry I thought I was going to explode. I thought talking with someone who had a It similar experience would help.
I had no tears and only want to ventilate. I did receive an ear and some soft spoken Christian lecture of where I had erred. It didn’t understood or comforted but it didn’t anger me either. It was rather sobering and eye opening. I am thankful for the encounter. It made me realize how naive and Pollyanna I am. I am always willing with open arms, tea and an ear to another’s distress. I cannot think fast or see far enough to form judgements to lecture. Soothe first is my motto. I am not sorry that I am a Pollyanna or that I am a feeling, reactive person.
I am not happy that I had this episode. I feel bad, as if I had a psychotic episode. My stomach hurts and my thoughts are galloping in tandem with my erratic thoughts. It’s not at all good for my health. Here’s my advice again on dealing with someone like my crazy neighbour. Do not engage. Do not look at her. You will never win. There’s no winning here. I use win for lack of a better word. And here’s why you/ I cannot win.
She does not allow me to speak. She will talk over me. She even talks over the police.
She’s fixated and hates me and my yard. My raised beds are coffins. She plants pine trees in my/her yard. My solar panels brings down the neighbourhood’s property value.
She is always right. She’s very clever and fast changing stories. She has accused me of giving her a parking ticket. When I asked her how I could do that when she parks in her own driveway, she said it was her mother that I gave the ticket to for parking on the sidewalk. She refuses to bring her mother to talk to me when I asked her to.
She accused me of sending her a letter last year and she still has it. When I ask her to show it to me, she refused and keep refusing, talking over me the whole time.
She accused me of redirecting her mail, writing on them that she has moved.
I could go on forever. And that’s the trouble. Once I’ve engaged, it’s hard to break off. She makes me so angry I keep going back and back, screaming, yelling to no avail but to make myself ill. And I do feel ill. And I have brought upon myself. She is mentally ill. I’m not. She can’t stop but I CAN. BUT there should be something in place so that someone like me should have to be subjected to her antics. It’s bad for my health. The police said that it is not fair to charge a person with mental health. Is it fair to me that she allow to do this to me? It’s going on towards 13-14 years at least. Yes, right. I have to remember I’ve brought this on myself. I really have by thinking less and taking care less of myself than another.
It’s Monday afternoon and one of those days I’m hit with a large dose of laziness and sleepiness. I said I would come to this space Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I am here and the show must go on. It’s too early in the game for a no show. That’s a major problem for me. I set up a program but I can’t keep it up for very long. I fall back to my old ways. I tread water alot. Let’s see if I can break the cycle.
I’ve picked up some papers off the dining room table and taken them to the recycle bin. While I was out, I put all my seedling trays back in the greenhouse. The sky has turned grey and it is cool with the wind. It is better to put things away now rather than later. I’m remembering my new motto – do it now, not tomorrow. I win some. I lose some.
I had resolved not to dwell on Naomi and the Judds too much but it’s a hard task. I am now reading Ashley’s bookAll That is Bitter and Sweet. It got some not favourable reviews on Goodreads. I have not ventured far into it but it is interesting to read her take on things. It is a bit different from her mother’s. It goes to show that we each have our version of truth, of what happened. My truth is I missed the Monday deadline. I am now into Tuesday. I felt it wiser to go to bed early rather than staying up to finish this post. I am sure it would make sleep harder to come.
It is another not so cheery day. It is cool, cloudy with the sun coming up now and then. I/we cannot expect the sun to pull us up all the time. I/we have to do our part. For me it is essential to get up, dress up and show up for the real thing as well as the dress rehearsal. Practice does make for better. And sometimes we have to fake it till we make it as part of who we are. I do not want to wallow in my or others’ depression. I am very permeable to absorbing all kinds of emotions from everywhere and everyone. I have finally at this late date learned about boundaries.
I have in the past gone overboard in being too caring for others. Is there such a thing? I don’t mean to sound like I am a super good person. I am not but I had felt it was a duty to care, even at my own expense. What happened was I got resentful and critical about these situations. I did not feel generous or caring at all. It made me unhappy and more critical of myself. It was no way to be. Now I am learning to sort things out, how to care for myself as well as others.
My friend thinks I have tenacity. That is true and good in some cases but not so in others. I really love the challenge of developing a physical skill that I don’t have a natural ability for. I feel such an envy and yearning when I see how easefully someone can hop on a bicycle and ride off, even a young child. Meanwhile, I had to struggle and struggle to master the confidence and skill to be at ease. Perhaps the struggle is the draw. I do not like easy, not even crossword puzzles.
Today I felt I was actually skiing and not just shuffling along. It’s a glorious feeling to finally feel the flow. Just to be clear, I’m not flying along by any means, but I have the feel of being comfortable on two sticks. I was pushing and gliding some at a good pace for me. I made it around the loop and back 2 times. I am making progress. Practice makes for better.
So that was yesterday. My thoughts do not flow so easily or smoothly sometimes. My fingers hesitate and stutter on the keyboard. I’m okay with it. I’m being more mindful, paying more attention. I’m not running off at the mouth without thinking and feeling. I’m taking the time to know the whys and wherefores of my feelings and actions/inactions. I learn that it is what self care means. I have to clear my inner clutter before I can clear my outer one. I have to quiet my outer chatter before I can quiet my inner one. I’m working hard on all fronts but not too hard. And that is called self compassion.
I am still very much a novice at self care. I get easily distracted by anything. I’ve just come back to the keyboard from a wild goose, time wasting chase. The important thing is I came back. I’m going into week 4 of Stephanie Bennett Vogt’s A Year to Clear. I’m still with it, a day/one paperclip at a time. Slow is good. It gives me time for the habit to take hold. I’m still reading Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, page by page, chapter by chapter. I am resisting the urge to skim, to read ahead. I’m practicing savouring, experiencing and feeling it all. So far, so good. I have this impatience, to race ahead to the heart of the matter, paying little heed to all the details leading up to it. I don’t like to take the time to cross my t’s and dot my i’s. I don’t bother to savour my coffee/tea/wine.
I’m taking time to bother now. I will make a grand adventure of it. I have made a start. It feels good to have space and order to work in. It is relaxing not to have to dig through piles to find something. I feel wonderful and in control when I clean up and put things away after I’m finished working on a project. I can. I can. I have the tenacity. My heart wants spaciousness.
It is March. We’ve left cold, cold February behind. The days are longer. The temperature is more moderate. The snow piles in the back alleys are slowly going down, revealing a lot of dog poo left behind by dog owners not looking after their shit. I see it on sidewalks as well. It does make me wonder and shake my head. I DO the responsible thing and pick up but I have been attacked more than a few times without probable cause. Not only that, I got yelled at once for making sure I got every piece that Sheba left, bagged and put in the garbage. The trouble was, I had put it in HER garbage bin in the back alley.
I was so surprised to hear this loud tapping as I was putting the doggy bag into the garbage. I felt like a deer in headlight. I looked up to see this woman in her window gesturing wildly at me and the bag fell out of my hand into HER garbage bin. She rushed to the door and flung it open. Her porky face was all red. “You don’t put your dog’s mess into my garbage!” She yelled. I was mesmerized, still a deer in headlights. Wow! It was like watching a movie. She got so upset that I was so careful kicking the snow to find all Sheba’s shit to bag and put into the garbage. It was February, the coldest February in the last 80 years. It will be frozen within minutes. What was the worry? Her bin was in the alley, city property.
I wonder if my emotions had been frozen by the temperature. I was unusally calm. I smiled at her, apologized and promised never to do it again. It left me with such a good feeling because I am normally a very reactive person. Maybe I have learned to tame and curb my reactiveness after all these long years. I still have that tape playing in my head, the loud tap, tapping on the window like a woodpecker’s. I see her chunky body in the door frame, her flushed fleshy face and her anger. All that because I had picked up and bagged my dog’s shit and put it in the garbage bin.
I wonder if I’ve myself behaved similarly. The answer is probably yes. How silly and trivial anything is, is all in the eye of the beholder and reactor. But I did swear after that incident, that I would be a little more discerning about the shit I lose my temper and sanity to. Some shit is just not worthy to lose my gasket and health over. I am sure I lose bits and pieces of myself when I do that. I am going to stop reacting and retaliating. I’m going to rethink and respond instead. I know I will fail some days. Then I will try to forgive myself. I’m learning about self care and the ADHD in me as well.
It feels like an eon since I was here. How strange to find that it was only a couple of days ago. I can’t even remember what kept me away but it felt huge. That’s what short days and long nights does to me. Extra stress with the cold, especially when the furnace is not working properly. It felt like a monumental problem. But it’s solved. Weight lifted. I am just tired now.
I am learning to value myself. I’m learning self care in this year of doing different. I’ve brought out my earrings. Now I’m bringing out my fine china. I’m sipping tea in my Blue Siam teacup. Why was it just sitting in cabinet all these years? I love the pattern and colour so much. It reminds me of Arabian Nights, The King and I, and all those things exotic like Leonard Cohen’s ‘tea and oranges from China.’
My tea is finished. I’m feeling less tired, my neck and shoulders not so stiff and achy. It’s a magic cup. I wonder if I rub it, would Aladdin appear? I pray and a host of angels are hovering over me. No, I’m not mad nor hallucinating. I believe in the divine. I believe in the spirit of truth and goodness. I believe in me. I can. I can.
I abandoned ship yesterday. It was a tough day physically. When you are tired and achy, everything is tough and of a different colour. I gave myself a break. It was an appropriate day being World Mental Health Day. We have to take care of our mental as well as physical health. Rest is good for body and soul. Rest for me is stepping a little away from introspection. That was my doing different yesterday.
I’m here, now – with my hot chocolate and two marshmallows on top. I’m picking up where I left off. I’m trying for a sweet and warm start. My desk is not any more organized or tidy but I’m not letting that stop me. Getting organized does not work for me. It’s a myth and a procrastination tactic and trap.
My doing different today is not to fall back to my old ways, old feelings, old habits, old attitudes. Yes, I’m grumpy and unpleasant inside. I recognize that. My feelings are real but it is not anybody’s fault. My different is acceptance and finding ways to re-frame what/how I see and feel. Recognition gives me that pause to reset that button in my brain before I act.
Doing something new every day is not a hard nor easy task. If there are 50 ways of leaving your lover, there must be equal number of ways of doing anything, including selfies. Today, I’m trying for glee. Inside I feel scowlful, if there is such a word. And grumpy, though I’ve been told that I’m funny. Anyways, I’m out for the many faces of joy and exuberance.
The hard part is my brain is hardwired to the same old and familiar. It takes a short time to develop a rut. Some ruts are healthier than others. For instance, putting on makeup every day is now easy after 7 days. It’s become a routine along with the trouble of choosing a pair a of earrings to wear. I have a bad attitude of thinking everything is trouble. Maybe it is wording. Another new thing to put on my list. Speak and think with impeccability, even if it’s to myself. We become our thoughts.
Doing this project has made me more discerning of things, people and opportunities. When I saw a shelf of beautiful orchids at SuperStore, I said YES! to a gift for myself. When I think of gifting, it’s usually for other people and the expense is not an issue. When I do buy for myself, I have to do all this dickering in my head. You can see that the orchid is a good buy – only $22. No dickering. I just grabbed.
Familiar has its own value. Saves time and energy. I am fond of the store’s barbecue chicken. When I’m by myself, I get one and it’s good for a number of lunches and suppers. I don’t have to slave over a hot stove or hurt my head deciding what to cook. I dress it up with a salad or different veggies. I’ve never noticed that they had different flavoured ones till quite recent – regular and smoking something. Well, today I espy yet another – Portuguese! This project can be exciting – for me.
I’m still plugging away at my lists. I like to keep the new things that work. I am crossing off more items. As you can see – no baking bread or Sheba’s biscuits. Too hot and humid. I’m sapped but I’ve turned on the AC. I’m learning to be good to myself. Have you been good to yourself today? Tell me how.