Tuesday, April 24, 2012

he loves the feets

I don't know what it is, but Pepper frickin' *loves* Will's shoes...he goes into kitty ecstasy over them, rubbing and rolling and then just blissfully lying on them. He doesn't do it for anyone else...just Will. It's adorably hilarious to watch...sometimes he doesn't even wait for Will to take his shoes off first. Will must have catnip feet or something...

[Those are my shoes there behind him, being totally ignored...I don't have the magic feet pheromones, I guess. :^D ]


Talked with a close friend for a few hours the other night...they've been going through some really rough times, and I'm continually blown away by how strong they are. We talked about life, and choices, and things in our control, and things forced upon us...it was one of those "we laughed a bit, we cried some more, we commiserated" kind of conversations, the good ones that are rare and all the more precious for it.

We talked about those awful hours in the night, when you are desperately tired but can't escape into sleep...and how even when you do, it sometimes ends up being more of a trap than a respite. The brain can be a right bitch sometimes...it fights you at every turn, fixates on things you'd rather it let go, lets go of things you'd rather it kept hold of. My dad and I both struggled with brain monkeys, jumping around, keeping us awake longer than we wanted. And my friend is a member of the brain monkey club as well, memories and thoughts and wishes and if-onlys and I-should-haves and yeah-but-what-ifs all running and jumping and climbing and refusing to acknowledge our authority over our own brains.

They own our brains, those monkeys of thought. We can occasionally wrest control away, through distraction or diversion, but they come back fighting...the only thing that stops them is time. Time to process, time to accept, time to work through and work out whatever issues have them buzzing about. Which sucks, to be honest...I want an instant fix, damn it.

Tonight is a brain monkey night, another one in a streak of a few too many in a row. Usually I can tire them out with books or solitaire or television or the internet (or various combinations thereof), but they are being especially distraction-resistant tonight (the little bastards). So I'll finish typing this up, then re-fluff my pillow, roll onto my side, shift the cats a bit, turn on some late night telly (hello "Cold Case" and "Without a Trace" and "Criminal Minds" and "She-Ra" and "Bravestarr"), and play a few games of solitaire...eventually I'll drift off. After that come the dreams...but that's a whole different blog post.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

a lesson learned over time

Many years back, I shared life with someone who, time would show, wasn't good for me. They were smart, funny, brash, had strong opinions, were a bit on the 'asshole' side [externally confident], driven...it took a while for me to see that even generally good people can be bad for you.

It was slow, it was subtle. We started out well: my over-empathy and 'mediator' personality fit well with their 'in your face' extroversion, giving me a stronger base and helping to soften them. But it started building, bit by bit...I was told that my introverted nature was 'wrong' and 'holding me back', that we should work on it. I was told that I was lacking in imagination because I loved what I was doing at work and didn't want to move into managerial roles [when I argued that I had gone the manager route and it didn't appeal to me, I was told that I was just being stupid and that I needed to climb the corporate ladder in order to make something of myself].

I was made fun of for my singing [I can't sing worth shit, I admit, but I still love music]. I love to write, but when I would proudly show something I'd done, I was told that I "was trying too hard". I used to draw [again, not well, but I enjoyed it], but got tired of every effort being criticized...so first I would stop showing things to them, then I just stopped doing it. My fashion sense was mocked [I wasn't girly enough]. I was teased for liking food that was less-than-gourmet. The music I liked was mocked, and they spent a lot of time trying to educate me on what to listen for in 'real' music. I was taking guitar lessons, but got tired of not being able to practice without being laughed at for bad attempts or having a wrong note causing them to cringe and complain. I found myself avoiding friends, because I often felt that I had to apologize later for things that offended them...eventually I just stayed quiet and distanced myself from the conversations.

Eventually, I got stronger, and realized that the relationship wasn't good to either one of us. I ended it.

When I write all this down, it seems like it was a horrible relationship, like it should have been a Lifetime 'movie of the week'...but it wasn't like that. It had some very good parts, and the bad parts started out few and far between. It was over time, over years, as the patterns built up, as my frustration and hurt grew, that I started making the connections...and as I started pushing back, it got harder for us to get back to an even keel. So things escalated, until eventually, something gave.

As weird and stifling as those years were to me, I learned from them, learned very important lessons from them. I learned that I need not, should not, compromise the things that matter to me. I learned that sometimes the dysfunction is subtle, creeping in slowly over a very long period of time...like the apocryphal 'frog in boiling water', I didn't realize the detrimental effect that these seemingly isolated incidents were having. I learned that being mocked, however smiling and 'for your own good' the mocker may be, can wear you down. I learned that a person can truly love you, and still be bad for you. And I learned that being alone can be preferable to being with someone with whom you can't be yourself.

So now I occasionally look at my life and try to apply those hard-earned lessons. I try harder to pay attention to patterns, to see and acknowledge something 'bad' before it becomes ingrained. I am trying to keep in touch with the people who help me be a better person, and to let go of the people who don't. It isn't easy, and a lot is risked by pushing back or letting go or moving on. But a lot can be gained as well...

[Addendum-20120412: LOL! Relevant XKCD (be sure to check the hover-text) ]

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

more random memories

Some good, some not...all part of me:

Raking pine needles at the cabin.

Buying the awesome Target brand maple nut goodies for Mom [they were so much better than Brach's...I can't seem to find them anymore now, sadly].

Trying to get the office chair into Karen's Boxster...and eventually succeeding.

That incredible moment of seeing the Golden Gate Bridge after a long and too-eventful drive cross-country so many years ago...goosebumps, tears, relief, uncertainty, anticipation.

Seeing the German candy and merchandise at Cost Plus, which sparks all kinds of memories of childhood and family and adventure and a big wide world.

The same German merchandise making me sad for the Christmas ornaments from my past, lost during an upheaval.

Buying a four-foot teddy bear and getting him home from work on Bay Area public transit...so many smiles that day.

Trying to help a friend who had overdosed, and watching the friend who gave him the drug just stand by and watch, frozen.

That first trip into the outside world after my ankle surgery, to a local mall, and how exhausted I was, and how surprised and disappointed I was by that.

That 'clink-clink-clink' sound that Dad's wedding band made against the salt shaker as he salted his food.

That time at Roscoe Village when Mom swatted away a hovering bee...and knocked it straight into my neck, stinging me [to her horror and chagrin].

Playing on the giant wooden wire spools that Dad brought home. The best part was threading a long metal pole through the center of the large one, and putting two smaller ones on either side...two of us would sit on the smaller ones and roll the large one with our hands. Tah-dah, instant transportation and much fun.

Trying to convince Dad that the light switch in the basement really did shock us...his 'years as an electrician' hands didn't even register small shocks anymore, so he finally had to bust out his multimeter to see that we were telling the truth.

Fluff and his bubble gum. Little Bit and his cheese. Darwin and his greenies.

Feeling like such a stud with my big-as-a-brick Nokia 9000 phone...it could dial up to Earthlink and get internet on it! I was the envy of the office with that thing. <grin>

The 'sunroom' in the little house in Moss Beach...I loved that room. Futon, lamp, music, filtered light...a perfect little reading room, a place to hide away for a bit.

Breakfast with Mom on my balcony overlooking the marina. Just the two of us, the rising sun, coffee, cereal, conversation, quiet. One of my favorite memories.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

almost forgot...

The Saw Doctors were in town [well, in San Francisco]...saw them Saturday night, awesome show as always. Joked on Facebook that the last time I saw them, I got engaged, and that this time I was a newly-married woman...a good way to start the marriage. :^)