Thoughts

Not Without My Decor

Curtains Have I Made
A set of curtains I’ve made

I’m feeling possessive of my curtains.  Paranoid might actually be a more accurate descriptor.  We’re getting ready to move again in a few months & my anxiety has decided to fixate on whether or not we’ll be taking them with us to the new place.

I’m sure that sounds like a small petty thing; maybe it is.  Let me explain it a little better.  We moved around a lot when I was a kid—not military-family a lot but as my parents’ jobs & finances changed, we inevitably found a new place every 3-5 years.  We never took the curtains with us & to this day, I don’t know why.  Maybe they didn’t want to deal with the hassle of taking down the rods & hardware & putting it up at another place.  Maybe there are super secret real estate arrangements that hinge on whether or not a family willingly gives up their window dressings.  Maybe my parents have some heretofore unknown superstition about carrying draperies (& by extension bad luck) from one dwelling to another.

I don’t know & for the most part, it was just a thing I didn’t get to have a say in, like the moving.  It didn’t really bother me until I got older, had a job, & was able to spend my own meager income on decorative things.  We moved into one house where the owner had left behind her own drapes in some of the rooms.  (Why?!  What is the reasoning?)  These were blackout drapes that were coated in cat fur near the top.  I was working at a linens store at the time & I spent a couple of weeks looking at what I liked & comparing prices, before finally settling on green panels & long gauzy white swags.  It would hardly make House Beautiful but I had ambitious dreams & a minimum wage budget, so I made it work.

A few years later, it was time to move again.  And when I brought up how I was trying to figure out how to pack the curtains, my mom told me I couldn’t take them because, they weren’t included in the contract.  HUGE fight followed: I’m screaming that I bought them with my own money & my mom yelling back that she’s not going back to the realtor to dicker over curtains.

When I finally moved out on my own, I didn’t take any curtains & lived in different rented places for seven years with just blinds & nothing else.  And then, my husband & I moved to our current place & I loosened up a bit.  There were no pre-existing blinds, the Target curtains we bought were flimsy & we had some drafts coming in through the windows, & I was learning how to sew. . . so I made curtains.  Nothing too fancy, just repurposed sheets that were on sale but they made me happy & they were pretty. . . & now we’re getting ready to move again.  And I don’t want to leave these behind too.

So I guess it’s time to grow up & ask why we always left the curtains behind.  At the very least, I still have the cheapie Target curtains; I’d have no problem leaving those for strangers.

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Audiophilia, Thoughts

Monday Music: “Flametop Green”

Hey there everyone, it’s late on a Monday & I want to put something up on the blog, but I’m tired & facing a basket of laundry.  So, I thought I’d share a nice calming song as the day winds down.  I’ve mentioned this one before, but here’s the song itself.  Consider it my long-distance dedication to you, dear Reader, in hopes that it will give you some time to recollect yourself at the beginning of the week.

Thoughts

Further Along

One day, I will forget what it was like not to recognize myself in the mirror.

One day, I will forget that I stared at my face standing inches from the mirror and poking all the angles of it trying to spark something in my mind.

One day, I will forget the kick of anxiety that came every time I could not convince myself that it was me looking back in the mirror.

Right now, I’m still quietly happy that I can see the idiosyncrasies of my face with joy & not the frantic determination to memorize them for some imaginary test.

Right now, I am still amazed that the first reaction I had after my first EMDR session was the simple understanding that I was recognizing myself in the mirror.

Right now, I’m in love with my eyes & the light that I find there now.

Lack makes the smallest details fateful.

Renewal gifts the sense of wonder we thought we lost long ago.

Thoughts

Lying Awake (Don’t Ask Why)

I’ve been up since 2am with a fever & a stomach bug.  I’ve listened to quiet music, concentrated on my breathing, read, crocheted, stared out the window at the slowly dawning sky.  It already feels terrible & mildly headache-y to be awake at this hour of the morning even when I’m well.  But since I’m sick & most likely won’t be going to work or doing much of anything today, I’m here blogging, trying to figure out what I can do to keep myself occupied.

If my husband wasn’t asleep, I would clean.  And it’s quiet enough that I could spend the time writing.  What could I tell you, dear Reader?  I actually just finished listening to this week’s This American Life episode, which I found compelling.  Without giving too much away, the story is about a kid who’s mentored by someone who fills his head with a terrifying worldview & how the kid tries to unlearn those beliefs as he grows up.  I recommend you listen to it if you’re interested, but I can say that the podcast kept my attention because I went through something similar with my own family & the religion I was raised in.

I think the thing that resonated with me the most is that this kid is fighting his own mind’s anxiety so hard, even years later after breaking off contact with this person.  I totally knew what that struggle was like.  There’s a part of me that logically knows that many people go through something similar at an impressionable age—I just wish the inner turmoil wasn’t so encompassing sometimes that that idea would be easier to remember & reach out.  For myself & for those others who struggle to right themselves after a similar incident.

And I think that the other thing that is ultimately sad & frustrating & revealing is that people who influence us like this, with a unforgiving philosophy or an argument built on self-interested emotion or even what they might think is an inspiring anecdote, I think for the most part believe they are helping us.  They reach out to us because they think we need their insight or guidance.  I doubt I will soon forget the absolute tear-eyed conviction of the woman who told me & a Sunday school group of my peers that the world would end in our lifetimes & that we had to rise to the occasion.  Or the sense of absolute worthlessness that flooded my 11-year-old mind then & has stayed with me in one form or another 25 years later.

Which is another reason why it’s a struggle to speak up sometimes, because I never want to do that to another human being, even by accident.  Sometimes I fear that I already have but I’m learning to live with that fear & to be more aware of my choices.

Anyway, this is getting kind of deep for a blog post.  I’ll sign off now & go stare at the Kitten Academy live feed for an hour or so until I feel like my stomach can handle breakfast.  See you over there?

Thoughts

Acceptance (Or Something Like It)

Having recently read Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score, I’d decided soon after finishing the book to try one of the recommended readings.  I chose Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Coming To Our Senses, mainly because van der Kolk discussed some of the collaborations the two of them used in studies.  I haven’t put it up on my Goodreads, partially because the book has a weird dual thread of (Kabat-Zinn’s) self-promotion & actual insightful commentary on human perception that bothers me.

But there is one concept that I’ve been stuck on for the past few weeks that I keep playing with mentally.  Kabat-Zinn mentions the Kanizsa triangle, an illusion where three circles suggest a triangle at their center due to their shape.  He presents a scenario where a Zen teacher shows this figure to a student & says something like, “If you say there is a triangle in the center, I will tell you that you’re wrong.  If you say there isn’t a triangle in the center, I will tell you that you’re wrong.”

My initial reaction was a fear where there is no right answer, meaning (for my people-pleasing self) that I cannot make the other person happy or content or solve the problem they present me, meaning a frightening (but purely hypothetical) situation where I can’t solve their problem or get away from their scrutiny.  The idea that ambiguity resides outside of my attempts to understand or create order was terrifying.  Ambiguity means unassessed threats means I might get hurt means run away run away run away NOW.

(And if I wasn’t trying to be honest & make a point here, I’d link to Courtney Love’s “Mono” where she screams those last few words.)

All of that was my traumatized brain.  And now that I’m healing, I’m facing this idea of ambiguity, where things do & do not exist at the same time, & thinking that I might be able to learn to be ok with it.  At least, that’s the skill I want to have moving toward.  I’ve left behind the over-used survival instinct & the chronic exhaustion it causes.  I’m struggling now with the remaining traces on my reasoning, where categorizing past experiences as either all good or all bad seems like an easy solution.

But that’s not what I want.  I want to accept myself & my place in the world & grow stronger from that purposeful knowledge, not from the reactions to the ghosts of the past & the wolves at the door.