Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.

2 Comments:

I love you AND that "special person" very very much and want you both to be very healthy and happy. So you take all the time you need getting that way.

We would rather miss you at a few small events than from now on....

By Blogger Amie, at 10:08 PM  

I have been trying to adopt the role of non cotrolling mother of three and remember that my children are on their own and I really don't have to live their lives and make thier decsions. Not too easy for me and the harder it is the more I see what a controlling mother I am. I'm trying to knit instead (notice all the FOs?). We missed you but I'm sure we'll see you soon.

By Blogger jane, at 9:16 AM  

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Sunday, October 02, 2005  

Glad to meet you KathyR. And of course I wasn’t implying that folk who drop in are nobodies. Just that - mostly they don’t drop in unless they want to. And digging through those old posts and reading things I wrote 2 years ago got the nostalgia juices flowing. Got me to thinking about why I started a blog, what I wanted to do with it, where my head and heart were at the time.

That glimpse into yesterday was also a much needed reminder of a life pre-crisis. I’ve been getting a lot of them lately and they’re proving most valuable, for, in August of the year I started the blog Saturn really crashed into my House-0-Mercury onacounta' beginning August 19 (see? I even remember the day) my world was caught in a meteor shower of body blows and psyche blows and I began to live life in the stress lane.

If I were to list the issues I’ve faced over the past 2 years you would think I was screen writing a role for General Hospital. With one or two exceptions, in fact, I have done so, since they’re all on the blog. But spread over the archives, it’s hard to take them in as a single collection - to assess their combined impact. Not all the stress starters have been bad stress things. Some have been things of enormous joy and love. But my reaction to them has been to be switched on. I’ve had to thread my steps through new material. And 2 years of this has taken a toll on my energy and even, to some extent, my health.

Stress is such a trendy word, so over blown and over used. It is also pointless to imagine a life without stress. In fact, stress is not the problem anyway. The issue at hand is a person’s response to stressful situations. Hell, people are going to age and get brain tumors. Beloved friends are going to leap into vicious, nasty, expensive divorces. Punks are going to break into your office at work. Precious children are going to get married. I am going to think I should be wise, kind, gentle, perfect and must fix it.

Ooops! where did that come from!?!

You see? That last one was the nub of the matter. All the other stuff could not be avoided. It belonged to other people; people I love, people I want to be always happy and never sad and have every perfect thing. Just like I want to be always happy and never sad and have every perfect thing for myself. Alas, the only two paths I’ve ever heard of that offer the above are Buddha’s, which seems to involve not caring about anything, and Paradise, which involves death. Neither option appeals to me - at least, not right now.

The past two months I’ve felt really under the weather. I’ve also slid into one or two truly bizarre emotional scenes where I created satanical monsters with dripping claws and drooling fangs out of activities as simple as selling a musical instrument I no longer play. With the help of a special friend I’ve come to realize that I needed to: first - rest and second - eat less processed food and third - learn new techniques for responding to stressful situations.

You wouldn’t believe how hard it has been for me to rest. This, in spite of the fact that I have fortylevendyhundred hours of sick leave and enough staff to run the library for a month without me. Even when I took a week off, under doctor’s orders, mind you - I still went in twice to respond to Issues. Issues, mind you, upon which my response had zero impact. But you see, the Library Director is supposed to be there, see, right? What would it look like if the Library Director wasn’t there? Right? Geezoflip! Who do I think I am? God? (mmm. well. no. just TheQueen)

Ahh well.

I have never thought of myself as a work-a-holic and I rather disdain work-a-holics anyway. I think they’re creepy and obsessive and mostly ineffective. Besides, they ruin it for the rest of us. What I did not think was that I might be one. Hmmmm. Time for some serious reassessment.

Even fun things sometimes have to be given the go-by when rest is what is called for. Even such sweet delights as working the Spirit Trail Fiberworks booth at the Montpelier Fall Fiber Festival, where lord knows how many people I reeeeeeeeally want to see are going to be picnicking on the lawn.

It’s time to embrace rest. To see rest as a recreational activity; as actually doing something. To watch movies without trying to multi-task with crafts or housework. To sleep in the afternoon and to sit on the porch looking at the autumnal colors while listening to the Canada geese search out mild winter homes among the bays and inlets of Occupacia Creek. Time to read whole novels in a weekend and then eat soup for dinner.

This same willingness to embrace new habits applies to nutrition. I’ve always secretly and not so secretly, approached nutrition as a look fashionable issue, not as a health one. Oh - I know lots of leafy green vegetables are good for me and, in fact, I like them and eat them too. But I’ve got to readjust my diet, and my time management as well, to deal with the whole processed food, empty calories, busy schedule, fast food, American lifestyle. Oh - yes - it is true. Even on something as healthy as Weight Watchers diet you can fill your plate with too durn much processed food. Lunch, for the person with an outside job, is the real killer. Lunch and afternoon snacks. I’ve resisted the truth of this for a long time, but I can’t do so any longer. Time to put down my armor and admit that I have to give part of my life to creating simpler more nutritious meals.

As for rewiring my brain to respond in healthy loving ways to the trials and tribulations that come my way - ahh - perhaps that will be the most difficult task of all. Most of the time, tough things happen singly, or at worst, only a few at a time. We can sort of muddle through, worrying too much or obsessing a bit, but mostly doing the right thing, and then the storm is over and we can regather and restore out there on life’s calm waters. It’s really pretty rare for an emotional Katrina and Rita to hit in the same month. But sometimes they do. And sometimes they keep on coming even after that. And when that happens, a person had better know how to separate the important from the unimportant, the possible from the im__. I can love my daddy when he has a brain tumor but I can’t operate on it. That’s between him and the doctor. And if his doctor says “get up when you feel like it” and Dad claims he “feels like it” the day after surgery then, by golly - that’s his business. It’s definitely not mine - to advise or deny or any other thing.

Along with work-a-holics, I also can’t stand control freaks. I surely don’t want to be one. But over the past few weeks I’ve gained an insight into certain control freak behaviors which I have embraced. I suspect such rigidity is not something a person is born with - though, like music or athletic talent - a body can be more or less inclined to develop its attributes. No. I think that people with the imagination to conceive of perfection and the creativity to come up with solutions, when suddenly washed over by a wave of stressful events, forget to stop and see that it just may not be their job to fix everything. (See how nicely I can compliment myself and find excuses that flatter instead of condemn?)

I’ve always prided myself on being pretty easy going and pretty accepting of other people, pretty philosophic about the things life sends me. I wont go so far as to say that pride has been misplaced, but I admit that in trying to always do exactly the right thing in each eventful situation I’ve found myself in over the past 2 years, I’ve gotten out of the habit of following my laise faire policies. I’ve twisted myself into all sorts of panic driven actions that are ineffective, that exhaust, that actually hurt.

In response, my body has just shut down with fatigue. I’ve been dragging around for weeks. I’ve suffered from mysterious aches and pains. I’ve had shockingly low blood pressure. I’ve spent more $$ and hours on doctors than I like to admit. And in the end, I suspect it’s an attitude adjustment I need more than anything else.

And so, as I wallow in my p.j.’s this weekend, napping and sitting and daydreaming, I will give a little thought to letting people find their own way out of their own boxes, to letting that chick peck her own way out of the shell. To finding a way to be at peace and happy even if other people I love are not. To remembering that the only life I’m supposed to fix is mine. To having the respect and honor for others that allows them to stumble all on their own and then get back up all on their own as well.

This does not preclude charity on my part. I am happy to give of that. What I am not going to do any more, is to don the emotional state of others. I plan to remember that I do no good making someone else’s emotions my own. I may even do harm. Certainly to myself, if not also to her. I suspect it will still be easy to slip into a borrowed emotional response. To empathize to the point that I give up my own emotions and thoughts. But wherever my mind can exert a guiding influence, as often as possible, I intend to practice true charity - giving from a whole and happy heart, not from a panicked imagination.

Well. My goodness. Once again I’m a little surprised at what gushed out as I sat here at the keyboard. My intention had been to not post at all today and here is a looooooong stream of consciousness gushing out all over the place. Ahh well. It feels good to put it all down on paper. It feels even better that nobody has to read it who doesn’t want to. Cool.

posted by Bess | 9:29 AM
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