Posts Tagged With: confusion

pipe the f**k down, Marcus Aurelius

When you arise in the morning think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love. ~ Marcus Aurelius
Well, this morning I woke rather grouchy, so why don’t you just pipe the f**k down, Marcus Aurelius.

I had bad dreams again last night. My body exhausted when I woke. These dreams fill me with pain and anxiety. My body produces adrenaline and cortisol but has no outlet for it because I’m sleeping. So I’m flooded with these stress hormones that my body has to somehow reabsorb. No wonder I’m grouchy AF.

Normally, I can remember and recount the particulars of my dreams. These icky ones aren’t like that. All I can call up is imagery and the way it felt.
There was water in my dreams. It was dark and rippling. This water made me fearful. I was frightened that it would drown me.
My one true pathological fear is to smother. Drowning is essentially the same thing. So what is happening to me that I’m experiencing this level of fear and anxiety?

The logical part of my brain considers this:
Every thought we have causes a ripple. Every choice we make causes a ripple. Every action causes a ripple. Ripples move away from the starting point out in all directions and pretty much looks like this.
ripple

So when you’re having many thoughts, or making many choices at once it rather looks like this.
ripples

The feeling part of my brain sees only that the water is dark and moving rapidly. I become frightened. I become overwhelmed. I begin to panic. Stress hormones get released. I go to my brain stem and enter fight or flight mode. I don’t understand what’s happening to me but I feel that water is going to overtake and drown me. I’m not frightened enough to wake. I’m trapped in this cycle of fear and anxiety.
Here’s the part that I cannot wrap my brain around. I never enter the water. I’m never swimming or fighting to stay afloat. I’m just paralyzed by fear at seeing the water. I absolutely know that it will drown me even though I’m not actually in the water.

What is happening to me that this is my sleep?
What am I struggling with so hard?
What needs to be done to quiet my brain?

Apart from today and of course, Monday, I’ve been feeling overall well emotionally.
Obviously something is stuck and whatever it is needs help getting sorted. This cannot be my sleeping life. My fear of smothering is something that rides with me every single day, I can’t have it decide to try and drive once I’m sleeping.
Sleep is supposed to give your body a chance to rest. To restore. To recharge. Right now sleep is making me its bitch and wearing me out.

Something’s got to give.
My instinct to run is present. And getting harder and harder to ignore.

So, when being alive and able to think and enjoy and love is precious privilege, you’re waking from deliciously restful and restorative sleep, not from stressed and scary dreams.
While I appreciate the sentiment,Marcus Aurelius, I’m not feeling especially privileged today. Maybe I’ll get lucky tomorrow.

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Categories: me, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

we cannot function from a place of fear

I have to admit I’m uncomfortable with what I’m seeing on social media after the events in Paris Friday night. I know that people honestly believe they’re being helpful and supportive, but I can’t see how painting over your facebook photo with the French flag makes a real difference. The desire to rally around the people of France is real and natural, but does it need a hashtag?
People lost their lives. Their families are grieving. A nation, the entire world grieves with them.
I absolutely want the ability to wrap my arms around all the people of the world to help them feel safe. I can’t do that.
Perhaps that’s what the flag overlay is about, feeling like you’re helping when you can’t actually help.
I suspect a percentage of those people have done it just because it’s in vogue. The French people can’t see their flag superimposed over all these photos. Only the friends and followers can see. This is why I question it.
It feels so politicized to me.
I see people talking about hanging a “closed” sign on the doors of the US. They want the people of Europe to do the same. Lock out anyone who might bring terror.
Are not the people fleeing their homes and country running from the threat of terror?

I sound like I’m judging. I’m not.
I’m uncomfortable because it almost feels more like an agenda than solidarité.

I have not changed my facebook profile photo and I won’t. I have not gotten on a soapbox. But that doesn’t mean I’m not frightened and horrified by what’s happening in the world. It doesn’t mean that I’m not supportive of the people of France, or the people of Lebanon. It doesn’t mean that I’m not supportive of the Kenyan students.
It means I don’t know how my support can and will manifest itself.
I choose not to speak about what I don’t know, what I struggle to understand.

I don’t understand this desire to kill innocent people to create chaos and fear. How does belief in God warrant that kind of action? What kind of God wants that?

I am blessed to know that the people I love are safe. My heart aches for those who cannot say the same.
I’m staying quiet because I don’t understand.
My quiet does not reflect my lack of concern, love, or desire for peace.
I send love and light into the world trusting that it will grow.
I don’t need a flag for that.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

the name dilemma

I read an interesting Buzz Feed article by Jill Gallagher: After My Husband Left, I Kept His Last Name
It resonated with me as I’ve been in the process of deciding what my name will be after I marry YBW.

I’d always just assumed I’d add YBW’s name to the end of my own name.
Then doubt crept in.
I was caught on the fence between the argument for and against.
Is my last name nothing more than “some man’s” name? Would trading one for another really make a difference?

I feel strongly that I’ve given up so much of my life to be in my relationship with YBW that holding onto that last bit of my “old life” felt important.
But here’s the reality. This name I carry is MY name. It’s my identity. I’ve had it for more than half my life. I’ve often said that if the former husband’s name was Jones I would have taken it just to get rid of Smith.
I have always despised my “maiden” surname. The name of a man who essentially abandoned me when I was just five years old.
I wanted the name of the man who really raised me, Grandaddy. But it wasn’t to be so.
So when I married the former husband at the age of twenty, I was happy to have his name. Not because it was his, but because it was my new name.

I’ve had my name for over twenty four years. I like my name. I identify with it. I don’t know if I’m ready to simply choose a new name and learn to own it. I don’t want to feel like I’ve given up any more of me.

On the other side of the fence is the fact that if I’m going to have “some man’s” name, it should be the man to whom I’m joining my life.

I had conversations with YBW, Sundance, and my friend and mentor about my change from knowing to confusion.

Sundance, in her perfectly direct way was adamant I drop my current name and take YBW’s. She finished her tirade with: Why do want any more to do with the former husband? So, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I know where she stands.

YBW looked at it differently. He was very clear to assure me he never expected me to take his name as tradition dictates. He asked how I would do it: would I drop my middle name (which I love) and use my current last name as my middle and his as my last? Would I just have four names? Would I hyphenate? Mostly he assured me that he would support whatever choice I made.

My friend and mentor listened in her typical, patient fashion and really heard my dilemma. She told me she could hear me struggling.
Then she shared her story with me. When she and her husband of twenty-odd years divorced, she had a very similar conversation with her mother. She wanted nothing to do with the name of the man who did her wrong. Her mother reminded her that her sons had that name, that she would always be their mother. That was more powerful than the man.
She sat with that for a while and decided to add in her “maiden” name. The name that she got from her beloved father, the name that shaped her young life and prepared her for the world. She chose to use both her last names because each of them shaped who she had become.

I took all this information, these points of view, and mixed them together with my own and let them settle. I stopped actively thinking about it for a while.
And as I drove home on Tuesday, just as suddenly as I questioned it in the first place, the answer came to me.

Friday I read Ms. Gallagher’s article and immediately sent it to my friend and mentor with the following:
This article came at just the right time.
I’d actually decided a few days ago to hyphenate my name. Because it’s MY name. The name with which I made and raised my babies. Worked at the most wonderful job I’ve ever had. Met people who changed my life just by knowing them.
The name with which I made the scariest decision of my life.
I didn’t consciously know all those reasons until I started writing this to you. I just knew that was my choice.

To which she replied:
Oh my sweet friend! I so dearly and sweetly love you! You have worked hard to think about this decision about what to call yourself as you go forward. It is such a privilege to be with you on this journey. I so adore you and love you!

Her love is something I feel every single day, but this, this got me deep in my gut: privilege to be with you on this journey.
I’m not good at paying attention while on the journey, or even to the journey itself. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m a destination girl.
I want to get where I’m going…never much matters how.
But this simple sentence gave me pause. Made me stop and take a look around me.
The name I have is the one I chose. The name I share with my girls. For how much longer, I don’t know…Thing 1 has a ring on her finger and will eventually marry N. She’s said in passing she’ll most likely drop her middle name and use our last name as her middle then take N’s name.
Thing 2 has expressed her disinterest in marriage. She thinks she and D will most likely just “shack up” for however long and she’ll always have her name. I wonder if as she grows that’ll change?
Even though they’re girls and may not keep the name we share, we started our lives together with the same name. That’s important to me.
I am me. I’m not “some man’s” version of me. The me I am is a girl who owns her name and doesn’t really care how she got it.

I didn’t really know why it was important, this name dilemma, I just knew it was.
Isn’t it funny that within a few days of making the gut decision I read an article that helped me understand why my gut made that choice?
Perhaps it’s not really all that funny…I believe the universe puts what you need in your path even when you’re not looking.

I don’t think I’ll ever learn to be a “journey” girl, but maybe, just maybe I’ll take Ferris Bueller’s advice: Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
With my own name AND YBW’s name.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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