Showing posts with label reality. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reality. Show all posts

15 May 2014

Anxiety, you may bite me.

Usually there is a rush, first. A whoosh as adrenaline bolts from the solar plexis gate and the race begins-- down arms, and legs, up along my jaw, into the top of my head, and neck, and into an emotional whatthefuckness of total hijacked badness.

under threat
in danger

in this land of no lions, the dangers the threats are ghosts. ghosts of old wounds, rubbed new by navigating grief.
ghosts are reminders of vulnerability, true vulnerability, true threat, true aloneness without resources, without backup, without the ability to keep anyone safe.
ghosts haunt with memories of insufficiency, of true inadequacy, faced with problems that I could not solve, were not solvable, about which I felt responsible even if I was not truly responsible, and ended in the ultimate failure of loss of a loved one.

this cocktail is a potent one,
the pin is pulled, the trigger, touchy, everything good feels temporary, and the anxiety, when it comes, feels like it will never leave.

I have so many tools at my disposal.  Yoga, breathing, nature, love. Meditation, mindfulness, awareness, curiosity.  I have art and friends and family and doctors. I am lucky beyond measure. And yet, with all of my tools, all of my resources, I am failing.  (don't worry, I KNOW better, but that is what it feels like).

beyond the triggery rushes, there is a low lying fog of it too-- potent in its own insidious ways: the fear of fear. a cloud-headed cool tingly feeling of waiting and sadness.
the grief of losing what felt like my own unconscious but oh now i know how sweet it was sovereignty
the grief of losing the innocence of life without this brand of Fear.
This is Anxiety plus Grief.

The timing and the emotional depth suggest the triggering may have started as I truly began to face the grief associated with Jeff's death after avoiding it for so long. But it is cleverly mixed with triggers embedded in things that every parent of a toddler faces. Often.

To get a handle on it at all, I asked for medication about a month ago.
I felt better knowing I had something to take, but I also felt more and more there is some sort of emotional scope creep where I was feeling fear more and more often. So, with my doctor's blessing I am doing an ativan boot camp-- medicating before physical responses as much as I can. This, I thought, would allow me to address the mental and emotional parts more directly without having to cope with the physical manifestations.
But in the 7 days since my plan was implemented, I have had two big triggers, two floods, two chunks of time washed away into the foreign and unpleasant land, and countless hours tinged or awash in fear of fear and grief about the fear.

today, the morning after the second trigger...I am so tired, bone tired. but also trying to revel in the good feelings that the lack of anxiety-in-this-moment means.
when it is not here, my ordinary, spectacularly ordinary life is so rich with good feelings, with openness with unclenched body.. but even with the relief, I am now on watch
and I hate that.

aware, alert for any change that may mean It's Coming Back.

constant vigilance.  vigilance does nothing but sap me. it does not keep it back. hold it at bay. make me more effective. it does not make me a better parent, a better person, a better artist (oh, maybe it will actually, who knows?), it does make me more compassionate to all who suffer from this bullshit.
man alive. I am just so tired.

this month marks one year of this dance.
and I toast it, with irony and  a quarter of an ativan.
I am working this, hard. and also trying my hand at allowing. at listening. at believing there are messages in this for me that are important.  I have a care team, I have Doug, I have my own stubborn tired self.
there are gifts in this, I am sure. and I say I am open to finding them. but in this moment, knowing there must be gifts is not the same as feeling it to be true.

08 November 2013


today is my last day with a 2 year old.
how is that possible? truly... astonishing.

I was thinking back to before, as if it is a different lifetime. Standing at the fridge with the vials of liquid gold. Hoping for the best with each stinging injection, each stylized ritual.
There was a rhythm to it. The cycles, I mean.
And now, it is all downhill wild rush of in-the-moment-ness, yes with moments of foreshadowing and some of nostalgia.
Was she ever little? She is so big now.
Was I ever not this person? This one, this tired one with the biggest most filled and overflowing heart? This one, struggling and blessed, competent, incompetent, flailing, tender?
This one who is loving more and more and more and realizing, bone deep, that love has NOTHING to do with ease, and everything to do with mystery.

I hate when folks talk about marriage being work
and parenting being work
and work work work
hard hard hard
i thought, great, thanks for that. welcome! I wanted to hear, welcome to the best things ever!

and it is the best thing ever,
but to be honest, a lot of it is hard. hard hard. hard because there has never been a me doing this before, parenting this amazing child, learning these things in these moments.
i am humbled and awed and feel as if there is KNOWING that is just over there, that if I could just reach out and touch it, I could socket into a river of knowing, a river of ease, a river of being able to go with the flow of this without so much internal struggle and doubt.

it is the hardest most wonderful thing I have ever done, have ever had done to me, have ever taken part in doing.
there is no ease in this.
there are easy moments, moments that feel like silk, calm water under calm sky.

but most of this truly is a mad rush.
a mad rush flying by in a twirly skirt wearing wings
or flashing impatience
or laughing hard enough to reach the very core of the earth and the heavens above.
my earth is being rocked, people. In every moment.

I am learning by the moment, learning how to be(more) centered in the storm, how to create safety, when to walk away, how to get down on my knees, hold my arms out, and welcome a sad being close, when no magic can happen but everything is magical that is happening...
I am learning to hold on and let go of ideas of plans of expectations of self judgement...
I am learning and relearning and relearning.
I am in need of a well to recharge and want quite desperately to build a tiny reserve so my patience does not end like a cliff dive onto rocks bristled with barnacles.
it runs out. just. like. that. and I suddenly hate the way my voice sounds, my chest feels, my face feels, my eyes, my mouth, as if I have been hijacked.
I am learning to get up, or go inwards. I am trying to learn to shut my mouth. Breathe.

but the thing I am learning most is how rarely I give my full attention.
and this may be the saddest thing.
the phone, email, internet, connection with things *out there*, pull at me all the time. I don't want to miss out, and in so doing I am missing out
on this
this miraculous now.

so my intention truly is to spend more time present. even if it is in one minute increments.
the space of 10 breaths.
focus, singularly, as singularly as possible on this amazing person.

I know this is about me me me and you want to know about Della Della Della and that will come, I promise.

07 October 2013

coming back home

It was so dark and foggy this morning, nearly monochromatic until 7 when the yellow of the leaves started to peek through. it is hard to imagine that vibrancy dulled in any way now that it is midday and bright with clouds flying by overhead south to north.
The long stillness felt like a held breath, and there is relief in the motion, of leaves falling, of clouds flying. And there is a relief too in the view opening up, the fog gone, a sense of distance renewed.

I traveled last week for business, and am just now getting my feet under me. I was only west-coast time lagged, but felt like I was on mars. Away away. Way away. Being away from Della felt horrid. Not just because we have not yet weaned (although that was its own kind of suckitude), but because I am used to being within a car drive, an arm's reach, an hour.

So I am back and reconnecting every which way. Catching up to language that shifted in my absence, making that absence feel more acute. Catching up to my own selves, also feeling a bit shifted in flight. So yes, back home.  Grateful. Steeped in tea and toast and wool socks.

14 August 2013

not at all our ordinary

Della is asleep.
not on me or next to me
or on anyone.
she's alone in the other room.
Granted, she is on my bed, the bed I will sleep in...
and worn out from a day of copious snot and some farm animals and a trip to target and a walk downtown

but we don't do this.
this is not at all our ordinary
it is the oddest thing ever to have her be asleep in there and have me awake in here

she fell asleep at 6 and will wake, starved and imperious, somewhere between now and 3am.

but here we are.
in separate rooms.

I've checked her a few times, she is now 90 degrees away from her starting position.
I'm going to go have some dinner.
maybe read a book?
I don't have the faintest idea what to do which is insane and just goes to show just how far down the rabbit hole I've fallen

16 June 2013

good intentions and the unintended consequences of Yes

So, I had good intentions.
Before Della was born, before I knew who she was, I imagined creating a world for this new being that was full of yeses.
I imagined making the kind of space that would allow for free ranging (with supervision of course) but without the million navigational "nos" that I had seen others use.

Yes, a fantasy, a FANTASY created by me, kate, with no prior experience with kids.

So, I tried yeses.
As many yeses as I could.
I yessed whenever possible, and sometimes spend energy making a no situation into a yes situation just so I could stick to my oh-so-innocently-conceived party line.

Then, inevitably, the Nos came.
They had to, right?
and they were met with shock.
And defiance.
Really? No? What does that even mean? (I could hear her infant brain asking with stunned surprise).

I had one of these too during my teenage years. A clear memory of a No that came out of left field, the shock that came with it, and the hurt that felt as if I was not trusted.

(I know so much more now, I know that was not the case, sometimes limits are protective in other ways).

So here we are, navigating a sea of Nos that corresponds to 2 and a half, an unbelievably willful child with a clear vision of what she wants.

And I confess this:
I have, in the past 3 days, begun to use 5 chocolate bits as a once-a-day outright bribe. Nothing awful-- I say-- standing at the top of yet another well-intentioned slippery slope. Nothing bad--I say-- since I am just trying to get out for a walk, or wait a few hours before nursing (another post for another day on not weaning)...

And I am aware as I am doing this that the solution that feels the most harmonious right now, may simply screw me in the near future.

I did not realize how much of parenting is survival in the now, and regret in the soon.

13 June 2013

where I've been

I know I have been somewhat absent here comparatively speaking-- I've been "on assignment", posting daily over at heartwork. I've spilled a lot of content over there, things i would have said here about my grief stuff. I am consolidating, sort of, as I think the grief work I am doing is somehow tied in with the Workwork I am supposed to be doing.

These past few weeks have been chock filled with stressors-- I have been sick for several weeks, first with a nasty cold, then with a sinus infection that laid me out. Just finished the hallucinatory antibiotics last night and hope I am done. It was about 3 or 4 weeks start to finish.

I've also been working very hard at moving my own personal grief work forward, and well, I over did it.  Too many long trips in real time/space, too many long trips in memory space, and too many complications because of financial and emotional needs and those various conflicts, and well, shit.
Breaking point.

Two nights ago I had a panic attack, my first ever. And let me say this to all of you who have had them:
DAMN. I have never experienced anything like it, where I felt so hijacked for so long, so powerless, and so horrid.

Doug is now up in Maine for the summer, and we were to visit today. But daycare has a new barfing flu thingy going around, so I am staying home since I do not want to get sick there, on the way there, or on the way back or bring it to a summer camp (Opening day bonus gift!!! sick staff!, um, no).

So last night I slept some with the help of Rescue Remedy and a lot of safety nets in place.
I am totally exhausted, insanely so.
Will be home today with Della, praying that the barf gods pass us by.

Once safely on the other side of the barf zone, having flown over or slogged through, I think this will be a time of reconsidering- I cannot continue to ignore my stress signals, clearly, but am not sure how to give myself permission for better self care. I am a world-class-should-er and it is really hard to decide not to use such a well honed skill.

Just wanted to let you know where I've been.

01 June 2013


anonymous shared a great comment on my infermentality post, about her feeling of otherness as she knows her family building days are coming to an end... and it really supported a feeling I've been having, an ongoing revelation maybe, that most of us, at the core, feel "other".

We may not feel it all the time, or every day, but there are always times when we feel like we are outsiders from an individual or group that we feel *should* be familiar somehow.

I know I have always felt this way with women. like there was a handbook that I did not get, and finally, so much time had passed, it was embarrassing to ask for one so I didn't. I've felt other in the arty school, other in the techie school, other in friendships sometimes when I felt less evolved, or just so different.

I think that is why community matters so much, and our support groups however virtual or distributed.
No one community, just like no one individual, can sustain all of our needs. We are complex creatures, and the person I talk tech to may not be the person I talk with about shamanic journeying, or reiki. The group that sings is not the same as the group that writes.

I realize, getting older, there are infinite layers of otherness just waiting to be explored. I am no longer the target market for anything except estrogen replacement therapies, rosacea cream, and antidepressants. Oh, and chocolate and face creams. So yeah, I take that back. I am a very targeted target market, because I have moved into a niche from the mainstream.

Which brings me, briefly to the idea of a normal curve, the idea of an average anything.

I recently came to a magical revelation that I want to share that I think has broad ramifications in the radical self acceptance movement:

no one has ever been you, living your life, making your choices, having your experiences.
you are the only expert on what it means to be you.

I know we all know this, but isn't it sort of awesome?

As a parent, I felt sort of freed up when I realized that no one has ever been me, parenting my child, with my partner in the context of my life, my work.... so to not find me reflected in a  book or expert is actually more expected in this framework than surprising.

but when I look more deeply, not at just the role of parent, but at the whole of kateness.... well,
I am rocking the kateness like no one else can, because no one else is me.
of course, somedays rocking it is quite literal in the rock and hum sort of way.
rock and hum and eat chocolate and pray for bedtime.

So, thank you anonymous! I so appreciate the comment and also appreciate the nudge to really expand my conversation about otherness.  there is a pantload of suckitude in feeling other, but then there is this little bit of magic that I hope to cultivate.  Gives envy a harder job.

07 May 2013


yesterday, apparently, was pregnant lady day at the GYN

I was the only non-spouse or parent there without a burgeoning belly
a non stress test was sending the whoosh whoosh whoosh whoosh of a tiny determined heartbeat into the hallway
nurses were happily announcing, Another labor check! while handing off manilla folders bedecked with hot pink post-it notes

If I had been someone else
If I had been my earlier self
it would have been sheer unadulterated hell.

As it was, I felt like an imposter. I felt other. I felt--- I felt my infertility acutely... and felt, something like shame?

As I have said a bazillion times, I am holding the brass ring.
I know it, and revel in it, even in the midst of 2 and a half year old 2 and a half year olding....
And yet, even with the ring,
even with the best thing ever
I fear there will always be this otherness, this shame, this tentative outsiderness, this longing, this whatever-it-is. This infermentality.

09 April 2013

near miss, hot damn

First, I'm fine.  I just wanted to put this out there for any of YOU who experience the same thing or anything even remotely similar. I want to offer some big squishy whole hearted compassion and a brand new sort of insight and awareness I did not have before.

Gosh darn.

"pea-sized mass, 9:00, left breast"

Ultrasounded, and got the all clear from the Radiologist on the spot, but it was 24 hours of a weird out of body terror, a terror-on-hold, a weird waiting.  The all clear was met by me getting totally choked up, and nearly losing it.
As if, I could not lose it before during the fear.
I wonder why we do that?
I wonder, but I think I also know-- there is a whole lot of DOING that has to happen, a process to follow, calls to make, appointments to show up for, cars driven, tests to undergo... and there is sort of this weird otherworldly thing that happens, a shock of sorts, that allows those pragmatic and logistical things to happen.
all clear means I can fall apart.
And think about the what ifs
and the scary family history I carry in my genes
and think about this time, how lucky I am, and this time, how smart I was to go get checked immediately and not wait to see what happens.
and how lucky I am that this time, the results were as awesome and perfect and wonderful as anyone could hope

"complex tissue" thank you very much.
I'll take complex tissue with no side of awfulness.

Again and again and again and again

20 February 2013

first hair cut, penguins and imagination

First: penguins. No, not my most embarrassing but sincere penguins-in-flight issue of last year, no no... this one is
seriously, my friends, worth a look, often a laugh.

Second: Della's first haircut. I mean, not just the cut off the random tangle, but a real ok, pretend-I'm-Brave edward scissor-hands sort of topiary frenzy quick before she freaks out, here's some chocolate bits... resulting in a wad-o-hair that was, well, just shy of three bags full:

A pre-cut photo from NOVEMBER for comparison:

And immediately post-haircut from monday with headband

And without (a little too neat, methinks, but hey, it will grow wild again)

I do have a massive regret, two actually-- one, of course, is not taking an immediately-before-photo.
And second, that I did not take a photo (or have one taken) of her wildhair in silhouette before cutting it. It was MAGNIFICENT in every way except anything that had to do with practicality. And I swear, it was getting the kind of knotted that turns to dreads and we are not ready to go there.  Maybe later but not quite yet.  So now I feel compelled to let it grow back out so we can get that photo. Ahhh regret. You suck rocks.

I've been having trouble with finding products.  Some from Mixed Chicks sounded *so promising* but they were SO INTENSELY SMELLY I literally could not use them.  Not just fragranced but so highly fragranced, that really, just, no. I mean, no way. I did not even put them on her hair.

Now we are using a california baby detangle spray in "CALMING" (for momma) and it smells wonderful and not strongly of anything once on, but it not quite moisturizing enough.  Ok internet land, suggestions? any other wildhaired babies out there with fine curly insane manes?  Anything NOT SMELLY that works for moisture?

Della talks about her big blue car and her big blue house. She talks about "tomorrow". (We will go in my big blue car to my big blue house tomorrow to play with friends)

We play make believe as often as possible-- I ask her questions about her stories and totally enjoy every single moment of everything.

She is singing and making up words to songs we know, and oh, it is really funny. Mary had a big blue car, big blue car.... yeah. I am loving the imagination stuff more than I can articulate.

Sprogblogger recently had a post that included a list of books that her beloved Henry is devouring.
I love books. I love reading. Reading has saved my ass, fed my soul, transported me away and toward, educated me, opened my mind, fulfilled me, left me longing and breathless, made me laugh, taken me on journeys, fed me feasts, ohhhhhhhh reading.
I imagined this: every day I would read to Della and every night we would read before bed.
Reality: sometimes we read, sometimes we don't. Sometimes we binge and read and read and read, and then days pass without one book.
OH how that pains me, but it is our reality. It is her rhythm.
I read one whole chapter of wind in the willows out loud while she played on day. But that was exactly once.  Play, for Della, is INTERACTIVE. Yes indeed.
So that was anomalous.

The llama llama books are way too intense for my sensitive little one (we are working on emotional stuff other ways),  so although there is a great love of llamas, we don't read them at all.
YAY for everything from Sandra Boynton. And the little version of the alphabet book by Seuss. (Big A little a what begins with A)...
YAY for barefoot books (what's in the forest dark and deep?  and Riding my tractor...)
YAY for the other books (a visual dictionary that is totally annoying, carrot sticks with the world "carrots" underneath.. I WILL be sharpie-ing the word "Sticks")

So here's the truth. I hear stories about little ones loving books, loving being read to, loving reading or playing with books and I hear my inside voice saying "it's ok, it's just not happening yet.... "  and I hear my own longing in that. I feel my own longing because of my own relationship with books.  Seriously, I cannot imagine what I would have done (what I would do) without them.

And when, as a parent person you feel like you are missing out, or like your kid is missing out, there is a panic as if somehow we are running out of time... when in fact, we are just having a different experience.

We watch SO MANY VIDEOS it is embarassing. Why? because it is her downtime. It is when she shifts into the gear I assumed she would shift into with reading.
She imagines, and recounts, and tells *those* stories.  Talks about *those* characters.
She is so intensely kinetic, I am not surprised, really, that her stillness comes only when there is action to *watch*.  I imagine, too, that this may change as she develops her own internal movie-making capabilities, you know, the ones that get triggered by, say, hearing stories.  Say, maybe stories that are being made up, or even, you know, READ ALOUD.

09 January 2013

barf barf barf barf barf, repeat

Oh poor sweet Della.
12 hours of barfing.
seriously, 3-4  every half hour, then every hour... then...maybe..maybe
she is done with the active part I hope, maybe, but I am *done* and sure to be next since I did not sleep more than about 45 minutes.

For those of you who thought you might take part in the Campfire gathering over at Heartwork this weekend, I'm admitting my mere mortal status and rescheduling. Too much barf, too little sleep, not the best foundation for this work.

For those of you out there with kids who had this, is it 12 hours? or are we just taking a break here and I should get ready for a second round?

so help me.