PMS: Particularly Mercurial Sleep

I used a thesaurus to decide on the use of “mercurial” in that subject header. Just thought I’d confess that.

In maintaining the essence of self-care, I thought I’d write about how inconsistent my sleep has been. Apparently hormonal changes can affect your sleep–particularly PMS can cause insomnia. I like sleeping. I don’t like not being able to sleep. It’s funny, because as I write this at 2:21 in the morning (to be published at a later date and time), I feel quite energetic. Annoyingly energetic, actually. It could be many things in addition to hormones–the sake I had with sushi for dinner, the scoop of ice cream I had after dinner. I’ve also started a regular, more vigorous (than yoga) exercise routine 3 days a week. It’s been great because it’s left me with more energy. However, I’m not terribly sure how to expend that energy yet. Also, I’ve fallen a bit off of doing yoga consistently. I still utilize yoga stretches, but I don’t take much time to do them. Maybe I need more yoga to calm my nervous system.

The other night I fell asleep on the couch for about an hour, then dragged myself off to bed by 1 a.m. At 4, my fiance awoke and stirred me. I laid in bed for an hour and couldn’t go back to sleep so I got up and worked on some wedding planning. At about 8 that morning I went back to bed and slept for another hour or so. That night I then went to bed at nearly 3 a.m. Today I took a 3.2-mile walk with the hope of making myself a bit tired but, here I am again… almost 3 a.m. Staring at the laptop in the dark living room.

Not sleeping leaves me with such a strange feeling. Not only does my short-term memory go to shit (couldn’t remember the word “insomnia” while writing this, ironically), but also I get so jittery and my eyeballs ache. Is it the blue light from all the screens I’ve surrounded myself with–television, phone, laptop?

Just had a big yawn. I have promises to keep, and hopefully no more miles to go before I sleep. Another workout tomorrow at 10:25 a.m. I better try to rest now.

May good things (and good rest) come to you always.

So many realizations (part 2).

October 10th was the deadline for the RSVPs to our wedding. Lots of people waited till the last-minute to send theirs in or notify me of their incapability to do so.

One of those people was my dad.

In addition to that, he also had not responded to my last few text messages over the last few weeks. (“Few” is vaguely descriptive I know, but it’s been about 2-3 messages and 2-3 weeks so it’s the most accurate word for this circumstance.)

When I’d last seen my dad about a month ago, he’d talked about song suggestions for our father-daughter dance, one of which being the ever popular “Butterfly Kisses.” My immediate response without hesitation was, “No, I don’t think so. Maybe something with Sinatra. You still like Sinatra, right?” I do detest the “Butterfly Kisses” song. Nothing against the artist either, just about the way it romanticizes the father-daughter relationship that I never felt. As you might’ve judged (especially if you’ve read past entries), I’m definitely not a “Daddy’s girl.” I’m totally good with that too–actually, the whole “Daddy’s girl” concept really creeps me out, but maybe because it’s so hard for me to imagine a healthy father-daughter relationship.

This song suggestion from him also came after a mention that maybe we (he and I) should take dance classes together. Huh? Uh, Dad, you know this day is about Bill and me, not you and me, right? Again, I understand some women like to have special choreographed dances with their fathers for their weddings. I don’t criticize them for wanting that. I will assume those same women to have had their weddings paid for (in full or part) by their fathers or parents. My dad has given zero dollars at this point, so… there’s that to consider. Again, I don’t have a very close relationship with him, so this mention came quite strange to me.

October 9th I got my dad’s RSVP. On our RSVP cards we left a spot for guests to input a song request. Guess what his request was? Fuck that fucking song.

As I read his RSVP, my blood pressure shot up. I felt my cheeks get hot and my stomach turn. I was going to have to suck it up and make it our father-daughter dance song.

Or, was I?

I washed dishes, angrily scrubbing our plates and flicking water all over the sink and back splash. As I cleaned them, it was as though I’d cleansed my thoughts.

Hello clarity! No! No, I don’t have to do it! You know why? Because I don’t fucking want to, that’s why! Because–

1. I am not responsible for making my father happy

2. This is my wedding day with Bill

3. My father has contributed $0! He has no say!

Most importantly, let’s look at number 1. I am not responsible for making my father happy. I am not responsible for my father’s happiness. I have no control over my father’s happiness. Why should I let his silly request that we’d already talked about before impede on my happiness? I am responsible for my own happiness. I have control over this situation.

Man, adulthood can be pretty great when you realize how empowered you are. I feel free, like a… butterfly. A flying one, not one that’s dead and pinned in a shadow box for someone’s wall decoration.

For the record, since this realization my dad not only called me but has offered to give me an undisclosed amount of money, more so dedicated to the rehearsal dinner which is already half paid for (thanks, Grandma). He also mentioned to my mom about giving her money for half of my dress. I told him to make paying my mom back his priority, that I’m already in the midst of the rehearsal dinner plans and don’t really want to go back over them again because he suddenly wants to offer money. All that aside, I’m still not feeding in to his song request. I don’t feel the need to. I’m less than a month away from all of it now.

My last day as peace keeper ends on 11/10. Come 11/11, I will do what I want and say what I want, in an adult, tactful way.

While still always wishing…

May good things come to you always.

So many realizations.

Ooo yes, it has been a minute.

No excuses coming from me, though. I will mention that all is well in the grander scheme of things.

In the meantime of that minute (of almost two months) since my last post, I have had so many realizations. Realizations related to past entries. Realizations that are the same to previous, but with depth and clarity.

These realizations are mostly tied to my responsibility of others’ emotions. Now, I’ve written about a realization like this before. Within the last month I’ve been challenged by two separate incidences to identify what old reactions I felt compelled to have.

The first was on Monday, September 24th. That day is my grandfather’s birthday. He and I have been cordial for the past year, but for two years prior he made a point to not see or speak to me because he disagreed with my relationship (to the man whom I’m marrying next month by the way). Nonetheless, things are not the same since he chose the silent treatment route and, frankly, I don’t care for them to be. I feel way more freedom to be myself since the dynamic shifted.

The Saturday prior to the 24th, Bill and I drove up to celebrate my grandfather’s birthday with him and family. My grandfather and him seem to get along, mostly because Bill is a master at making anyone feel accepted and at entertaining others–not because my grandfather is especially warm and inviting. It was a good enough time and the 10 of us all got along just fine.

The morning of the 24th, I received a text message from my grandmother suggesting that I remember that it’s my grandfather’s actual birthday and that I call to wish him a happy birthday. I was extremely irritated by that text message for several reasons. Firstly, I don’t need a reminder that it’s his birthday because I already remember it. Secondly, I don’t like being told what to do (I’m an adult). Thirdly, he never remembers my birthday (and if he ever has, it’s most certainly not thanks to his own selflessness). Fourthly, didn’t we just celebrate his birthday? (Wasn’t that enough?) Fifthly, I simply didn’t feel compelled to do it.

Every cell in my body felt disgust toward that message. I felt even more disgust that I was inclined to step away from what I wanted to do and just jump to my grandmother’s request upon reading it. Instead of jumping to it, I ruminated. I sat, thought, felt my icky feelings and wondered why I felt them. In thinking, I realized that this message came from her because of her relationship with him. She feels responsible for his emotions and she’s doing what she thinks she has the power to do to take care of his emotions. In addition, her understanding is that we (me and probably my whole darn family) are responsible for her emotions–why else would she ask me to do something I quite obviously wouldn’t (nay, shouldn’t) do? I texted with a friend who wisely reminded me my wedding day was around the corner, and that in her current situation which has sometimes been uncomfortable for her she’s been told that she sometimes has to make sacrifices to keep the peace for a certain amount of time; doing so would be in her benefit until there’s a safer time and space for her to bring up things. So, I decided what I would do–I still called him, but I did it on my time.

My grandparents seem to have an issue when someone calls them later in the day to send good wishes–whether it’s for Father’s Day, birthday, or other celebrations. I’ve called later in the day before and they’ve made a point to say, “I had a good day, yes.” That “had” is strongly emphasized in a negative, sassy tone. It’s laughable how immature it is. Or maybe it’s poorly executed humor on their part as I’ve always taken it as a personal affront. This information given, you better know that I called my grandparents’ house at 5:30 in the afternoon to wish him a happy birthday. At that point I still didn’t want to do it, but was way calmer than I’d been in the morning while ruminating about the text.

In the midst of ruminating and being proud of myself for recognizing old thought processes and toxic expectations from relationships within my family, I also wrote a poem. I cried while writing it, but not a sad cry.

I am Becoming

 

I am becoming

the person I’ve been wanting to be.

I am becoming

the work I’ve been trying to do.

I am becoming

the woman in the mirror who’s been hiding.

I am becoming

the girl who fell down and cried

but is now standing up.

I am becoming

the canary set free from the cage,

singing in a tree.

I am becoming

the woman smiling and laughing out loud,

with friends.

I am becoming

the person grinning from the inside out

as they cross the street.

I am becoming

the pink lips, unsealed.

I am becoming

the tree with branches spread wide

greeting the sun.

I am becoming

the sun with rays reaching

to give.

I am becoming

the moon gazing down on growth

that occurs even in the dark.

I am becoming

the star that sees other stars

and sees the beauty in its own twinkle.

I am becoming

the dancer who leaps

and doesn’t worry where she’ll land.

I am becoming

with no need to understand.

It’s a cheesy poem, but I have to admit I like it. I’m proud of it because of what it means to mean on my journey of self-development.

After writing the poem, I realized another thing–in the same text message in which my grandmother reminded me to call him, she also mentioned that she will be giving me money for our wedding. This realization made me feel disgusted as well, but also sad. The implication there is that she’s “buying” my time, that she acknowledges my call to him would be (and was) feigned affection toward him. It was feigned, but not in an exaggerated way. I didn’t act like a little girl and talk baby talk nonsense like I’ve seen people in my family do once they get back on the “good side” of someone. It was much like a friendly adult, talking to a disinterested adult. The buying my affection part I’m not terribly fond of. The friendly adult part–frankly, I’m okay with it.

This entry seems to be a bit long (guess that’s what happens when your words and thoughts are pent-up for two months). I will reserve my other challenging incident for another entry not so long from now. Until then…

May good things come to you always.

On: Virtual Commentary

I’m judging myself for being a contradiction here, but I consider myself introverted and I find commenting on internet posts and articles very difficult. I also really enjoy writing, but when I see an empty comment box for an article or social media post, I get anxious. I’ve talked myself out of writing many a comment because I’m afraid of sharing my perspective and leaving them open for replies by false authorities or trolls.

Really–who are they? More importantly, unless they’re someone reading a formal blog entry I’ve posted, who are they to me?

Reminiscing now back to a comment I’d made a couple weeks ago using the Disqus platform on an article I received via an email newsletter. The comment was simply a perspective, made up of a couple short sentences. I’m pretty consistent with maintaining my authenticity in that I don’t claim to be a professional (unless I am one, although I couldn’t tell you what kind of professional I’d be at this point in time). I didn’t use any offensive language or state anything controversial. Days after I’d posted my comment, a long-winded reply was made to my comment by an alleged professional on the subject matter of the article–but they used a nickname that left them anonymous so I can’t be certain if it was even an author or editor of the article. They proceeded to make assumptions by labeling me and my background–and they were hilariously wrong. Perhaps they’d simply made them based on my profile picture (a picture may be worth a thousand words, but that doesn’t make all of them true). I smiled as I read the comment a few times over, then proceeded to block the troll.

But–who are they? Why would they do that? (I feel like I sound like Sebastian Maniscalco.)

But… Why?

The only thing I can guess (aside from pointless trolling) is that they took offense to something I wrote. I’ll never know because, aside from blocking them, they never admitted they were offended or hurt, but that is what would put me in a defensive state personally.

Admittedly, my language in my comment was broad brushing and vague, mainly out of laziness, but also out of privacy. The latter which lends to a fear a vulnerability. Getting the stupid comment I did on the little light I allowed through the blinds hurts bad enough. Why would I completely open the blinds and make myself more vulnerable? Finally, writing any commentary that’s very personal on an article feels inappropriate.

Another inconsistency I recognize in myself and admitted introversion is that I’m more likely to comment on my personal experience in a live conversation if I feel comfortable with others present than I am to comment online. Thanks to my ability to compartmentalize, in-person conversation is a forum for discussion, not the internet. The internet makes it too easy to avoid what I don’t like–I can block what doesn’t sit well with me. My further experience is that people reply to in-person commentary in a more thoughtful manner with an awareness of the surrounding social etiquette (unless they’re sadists or sociopaths). Tone is also such a tricky thing, and better understood in person.

I’m reading Brene Brown’s Rising Strong right now, and have most recently read about courage and vulnerability. I’m currently at a point where she writes about curiousity toward our feelings and why we feel them, which suggests we have to also recognize that we are indeed feeling them and there indeed is something deeper to be learned by feeling them and understanding them.

So, should I be bolder with my commentary and throw it all out there to whatever online platform I’m compelled?

I stand by no. Brown quotes an interview with Miriam Greenspan who details why she believes our culture is “emotion phobic.” In that interview Miriam talks about our suppression of emotions and how we watch scary films and “reality” TV shows to experience vicarious emotions because we are “emotionally numb.” However, these emotions are substitutes for the ones we’re denying ourselves from feeling. Could it be that virtual commentary is a substitute for in-person commentary for some? Practically speaking, it certainly is–especially when we’re talking about my comment on an article that was published 500 miles away from me and a response from someone else who might even live in a different country.

I won’t be bullied into silence, but I also won’t be bullied into a rambling argument that holds no real value to me. I care about commentary, but only if it’s constructive or thought-provoking, which I suppose that person’s reply was to some degree, or it’d not have prompted this post.

 

May good things come to you always.

On: My Current State of Mind

The last few days have been strangely difficult for me. The only way I can describe it is that my brain feels disconnected from my soul, and I seem having a hard time maintaining presence. This is a continuation of the feelings I experienced when I wrote my last post.

There are many possible contributing factors–hormones, diet, physical pain, etc. I have been keeping to my morning and evening yoga practice routine, so that has probably helped some. This evening I ate a healthy dinner and had no alcohol. For lunch, however, I did eat frozen yogurt. I also had a little bit of potato salad with dinner, and I’m thinking I need to stay away from potatoes for a while as they leave me feeling terribly bloated in such a degree that I’m on the verge of nausea.

I had a little bit of a breakthrough on the phone with my mom today. I realized that the podcast trigger I wrote about in my last post was a comparison issue–I was comparing my experience with the interviewee’s experience. It’s not so much the experience comparison that is inappropriate, but it was that the entire podcast is dedicated to self-development. Self-development is something that really can’t be compared, as each person is very different. Perfectly timed, I’ve been reading Brene Brown whose dedicated her life’s work to writing and speaking about shame, the shame spiral and how to rise up from it or beyond it. Honestly, I feel like I’ve been living a shame spiral for the majority of my life. I’ve denied myself fully celebrating my achievements at times because I didn’t feel like I’d actually deserved or earned them.

I’m not going to go down that path though. Not today, Satan! I can’t relive those unfulfilled moments. But I can focus on the present and how I will allow myself to experience things going forward. And, while I allowed myself to have a good cry on the bathroom floor this afternoon, I also peeled myself off of the floor and took a 2.5 mile walk with Bill around the neighborhood. Frozen yogurt for lunch was a nice treat during that walk as well, as it’s been very hot and humid lately.

Yesterday I wore my pajamas most of the day. More importantly, I played my guitar for the first time in several months. I learned some tabs quickly to Smokey Robinson’s “More Love” and recorded a couple guitar tracks and several vocal tracks of myself singing it using GarageBand. I’ve done this sort of thing before, but hadn’t done it in years. It was a great release and, in retrospect, I found it quite fun. The scariest thing in the world is to share my recording with anyone else in this world, but I did share it with Bill. His response was the sweetest, of course. He’s always very supportive.

Today, after our walk and my crying session, Bill asked me what was wrong. In little detail I touched on my shame spiral, which prompted him to ask for more detail. I saw where the conversation was going–we’ve had many like it before–and it has not typically been a helpful conversation for me to have with him. Like any loved one who sees the person they love in pain, he wants to fix it. I know he can’t fix it and I would never give him the hope that he might have the power to, so my best response for his question is the obvious–there’s nothing he can do to convince me that I shouldn’t feel the shame, that only I have that power and until I come around he’ll have to accept that I feel that way. In those moments, I’ve gained real clarity about how to communicate my thoughts. Those are small moments, but they are something–and I’ve heard something is better than nothing, which is typically what prompts me to pick up every penny I find on the ground in front of my face.

Though I feel quite “blah” physically–somewhere in between ill and nothing–emotionally I do feel better after my crying session. It was mostly comprised of confusion and of me asking whatever higher power exists for help (for whom I’ve simply kept the name God because it’s easily relatable, one syllable, and is so ingrained it rolls off the tongue without a second thought). I’ve watched Iyanla Vanzant many times on OWN and appreciate her down-to-earth mantras, especially for when someone needs help or guidance from a higher power. Her self-professed prayers are, “God, help;” “God, help me;” “God, help me now.” Today was a “Help me now” kind of day. As far as I’m concerned, I was helped because I do feel better. (Thank you.) Now if I can only get my back thing situated? It started getting stiff again today–I think I sat too long playing guitar yesterday.

Starting Sunday, I will be heading up to Santa Barbara for a few days with Bill–he’ll be working, I’ll be hanging around. I’m not quite sure what I’ll do, but it looks like I’ll be needing my yoga mat and props. Probably a swimsuit too. I anticipate not blogging while up there, but will likely keep my journal close.

 

May good things come to you always.

Perfectionism on Unemployment

I’ve already written about my perfectionism. Part of me has already handled the subject. After sitting with that for some time, I’ve found other parts of me are not done with it.

I’m not liking myself very much right now. This is all somewhat predictable because I skipped a few days of exercise and writing, things that bring me a good amount of stability and serenity.

I was mostly triggered yesterday when I was listening to a Personality Hacker podcast episode. The podcast consisted of an interview of a young man (in his mid-to-late 20’s) who spoke very confidently about how he had basically “cracked the code” for career success. He began explaining how his parents made him read during the summers instead of going outside and playing. He then spoke about the current and future working culture and how he anticipates that it will be (if it isn’t already) all about networking. He talked about having conversations and subsequently networking with connections since his years in high school. He’s been involved in start-up companies and connected with people from all different walks of success. With those people, he’s created multiple projects to test out ideas he’s had and had the opportunity to work with them. He suggested people’s pursuit of passions is misdirected, and that passions are fickle. The interviewer then stated, “Lots of our listeners are young people out of college, but maybe you, listening, are not and this is speaking relevantly to you too.” And it made me feel like total shit about myself and my place in life.

I’m 32 years old. I lost my job 8 months ago. I’d looked for work in the meantime, but decided I didn’t really want to go back to a corporate environment. What I really want is to do something creative, and writing is one creative outlet in which I feel some strength. I haven’t started the creative thing yet, but I plan on it. I’ll likely start on it more seriously after my wedding in November, which I’m working on planning some days. I spend many days in my weeks doing domestic things like laundry, cooking and cleaning. The things I enjoy are yoga and walking, but sometimes I feel like doing nothing (side note: domestic things are not listed in the things I enjoy doing, but I like and thrive from the end results). I’m not in the best shape of my life, like I would expect someone unemployed for 8 months to be. I wish I was fitter especially because of my wedding in November.

I’m not perfect. I forget things, like to pick-up the dry cleaning the afternoon that I’m asked to do it. Also, I don’t do things I say I want to do. For example, I wanted to clean the whole apartment yesterday, but resorted to cleaning only the bathrooms because I got sidetracked until later in the afternoon by some wedding planning and phone calls. I settled into that, and then took a phone call and Bill prepared dinner and ate mostly alone while I ate sitting at the table on a phone call.

But I just realized what I might be doing wrong. Aside from laziness, I’m not setting specific measurable goals for myself. Taking another moment for my ego here, since I’ve been on a PIP before, I should know goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time bound). The reminder of all that makes me want to puke–not a nervous puke, but a bitter bile puke. And I feel old and bitter. I feel like I can’t do anything right. I feel good at nothing. And I feel afraid. Because if I’m good at nothing, what can my future hold?

But the truth is, I’m good at some things. That’s fine for my ego.

This blog is meant to be about self-care but, lately, what I’ve done to myself and the thoughts I’ve put myself through have not been very compassionate and loving toward myself. Perhaps therein lies the purpose of this lesson–another reminder to be more loving and compassionate with myself when I have to revisit my perfectionism and my growing list of imperfections.

Here is the good: Today I woke up early and made Bill breakfast before he left for work. I also got back on my morning and evening yoga. After morning yoga, I went for a mile jog (not very far, but as far as I can push myself as I tend to get knee pain). I pushed myself to run because I remembered when I first started running I had gotten into it with the mindset, Just one mile, at my own pace. I also listened to a podcast and actually did make it to the market today–then ordered a pizza for dinner. I did drink alcohol with dinner, but I didn’t finish what I had–one beer (if I’d had wine, it could’ve easily turned into 2-3 glasses). I washed two loads of laundry. I also wrote this blog. Or emoted it. Whatever you would call it, I did it–put it out there “into the ether.”

You can probably tell from my tone that I’m not completely convinced of the good in that. I’m sure it’s there and I’ll catch up with it, hopefully sometime soon.

 

May good things come to you always.

On: Parking lot courtesy

On Friday I did something that I’ve done before and has previously caused a raucous.

At about 1 o’clock I drove to the nearby shopping center to pick-up a sandwich for Bill and myself. Being that it was Friday afternoon and still summer, it was a bit crowded. In fact, there was 1 parking spot left behind the sandwich shop. Next to that open spot was a crookedly parked Audi sedan that went over the line in such a way that made getting in and out of my car difficult. I was instantly irritated by that fact but I parked there anyway. I knew my trip would be quick as I had pre-ordered the sandwich.

In moments of irritation or anger, my imagination turns me into a self-righteous vigilante. At first, I imagine swinging my door wide open with absolutely no care. In doing that I completely ruin the passenger side of the Audi. As I walked up to the sandwich shop, I imagined writing a scathing judgmental letter and placing it on the owner’s windshield.

Segway to my actually having done the latter before. When I lived at home with my mom and stepdad, a guest who would make weekly visits to someone who lived two doors down would always park in front of our house, which is where I would typically park my car. It was not permit parking on the street, so she was “allowed” to park there, but it always seemed rude to me that I had to park across the street because she couldn’t park in front of her guest’s house (who often had available parking). Upon returning home from work one afternoon, irritated by my day, by the hour of traffic in which I’d just say, and then by the fact that “my” parking spot wasn’t available to make my life just a little easier, I was fed up. I wrote the guest a note about how she should be aware that she was not a resident in our neighborhood and the way she consistently parked far from her destination in front of other neighbors’ houses was rude.

The guest got the message, apparently. She also wrote a letter; however, she placed it on my stepdad’s windshield–who she’d assumed to have written the message for her. My stepdad found it and was in disbelieving confusion and was also furious. He came inside the house, yelled about it to my mom and ripped the letter.

When I think of it now, I laugh. It’s as though we were playing a made-up game of Bad Karma Telephone. I didn’t want to have that effect on the driver of the Audi.

But I still wanted to take action.

I picked up my sandwich and grabbed a napkin on my way out the shop.

I sat in my car, turned on the air conditioner and tried to imagine the least possible offensive message I could write, but one that would potentially be effective–like a parent educating a child.

I wrote, You would be considered a kinder, courteous person if you took more care with the way you parked. šŸ™‚

The real issue behind my anger in that situation was that I’d taken personal offense toward a person who could or would not care about how their action affected other people. Satisfied with that message, I got out of my car and looked around. I lifted their windshield wiper, left the napkin message down, got back in my car and drove away.

That message wasn’t bad karma. That message was a little wake-up call, no matter who was on the receiving end and what their situation. You are not alone. I acknowledge that you might feel like you are, but someone noticed you for better or worse. You could be noticed for more positive things.

Though I couldn’t stand by my previous message, I can stand by this one. Humans can be hateful when we’re surrounded by loss and sadness. Lack of self-awareness implies a disconnectedness from oneself, and from others. I’m okay throwing it in someone’s face that they’re not alone. I know what that feels like. I waver in that feeling sometimes. But we all have to live on this planet together, and it would be nicer if we could share it rather than fight over it.

 

May good things come to you always.

On: Dreams

I mean actual dreams while sleeping, not dreams that are aspirations.

I tend to have very disturbing dreams. I don’t necessarily wake up screaming, but I’ve been told I talk or sometimes do a form of singing in my sleep. I have the tendency to forget many of them, which is fortunate if they’re disturbing. Sometime in between last night and this morning, however, I had a dream that stuck with me.

In my dream, Bill’s 2 daughters were out visiting, as well as a third one who wasn’t his biological daughter but who he said he happily raised like one. I acknowledged that the third did not resemble him the way his 2 daughters do. I accepted responsibility to watch and entertain them. There were other children present, but they were mostly faceless and characterless. In fact, his daughters were rather characterless most of the time. We were in a room that looked quite a lot like the hotel room I was staying in that night. In that room, there were four types of pianos. There was a grand piano, an upright piano, a baby grand piano and an electric piano. I was trying to decide which piano was the correct one to use for my particular situation, of which I don’t recall the specifics or importance. I was leaning toward deciding on the electric piano and then I awoke.

Bill does have 2 daughters. I’ve never met them–mostly because they do not communicate with Bill. His eldest is an adult and the youngest is going to be 18 next year. Other than that, I don’t know much about them. Which might be why his daughters were rather characterless–because I don’t know them.

I took piano lessons for several years and hated it. My grandparents even bought a baby grand piano so I could practice on it and have lessons at their house. I didn’t like the teacher. He had a thick accent I couldn’t comprehend and his tone always intimidated me. I also loathed practicing. I much preferred trying to learn songs by ear than read music. I’ve admitted I’m slow at reading books. Reading music is like reading another language. That was daunting for my 8-year old mind that simply wanted to appease people by accepting the gift of piano lessons. Also, my grandmother tricked me, as she’d said she would take lessons with me and then backed out of them when I started.

Despite my lack of dedication to piano, I think I know how the pianos in my dream are used for different settings. My voice teacher (yes, I took singing lessons too, but I liked them) used an electric piano. I’ve seen upright pianos at plenty of venues. Grands and baby grands are typically for larger more formal performances. I do, however, like the sound of a Wurlitzer or a Rhodes electric piano almost any time.

So, what does it all mean? I guess that’s for me to decipher (not you). I admit I got a little silly and googled, “Interpret dream about babysitting.” The result, “To dream that you are babysitting suggests that you need to care for the child within yourself.” This result resonates.

I’ve been listening to Personality Hacker’s podcasts for a few years now and listened to an episode the day before my dream regarding the Personality Cognitive Function Stack for Myers-Briggs, which the hosts refer to as the “car model.” This model talks about “10-year old” tertiary functions and “3-year old” inferior processes. After this deeper detailed podcast I think I’m finally understanding that certain parts of my personality are actually less mature. I’m still learning about how they appear. My overall grasp of the concept is that those processes are functioning from the maturity level of a 10-year old and a 3-year old. So, if the personality tests (via Personality Hacker and other sites) I’ve taken are correct, as an INFJ my 3-year old is Extraverted Sensing and my 10-year old is Introverted Thinking. Their website indicates that Extraverted Sensing could indicateĀ  my type is prone to sensory overindulgence and that Introverted Thinking is prone to perfectionism. They use addiction as an example of sensory overindulgence. I don’t completely relate to that suggestion, but I would say that I can become easily distracted. Also, I’ve spoken about my perfectionism at length in previous posts, so we can agree that I relate to that aspect.

It was also uncanny that, out of the blue the morning after my dream, my friend repeated a quote to me about feeling better in life when she asks herself what her 5-year old self needs. This is very possibly my Introverted Intuition talking, as that part of me looks for connections or hidden meanings. Actually, this whole post is my Introverted Intuition talking! How’s that for an epiphany?

So what’s with Bill’s third non-biological daughter? This may be where my interpretation gets a little twisted, but not really. Since I’ve been out of work, I’ve felt “taken care of” in that I’m not financially responsible for myself right now. Because of this, I believe she represents me. My dream eventually transitioned to me as I am now, looking at my piano assortment, which is what I’m doing and have been doing for months. I’m in a self-development phase, yes. I’m in the midst of recognizing and owning what my real tools are, and my understanding of their appropriate use. Tools are instruments, as are pianos.

Was I obsessing about their appropriate use? Was my perfectionism starting to show? I won’t doubt it. But I’ll have to keep dreaming to figure it out.

 

May good things come to you always.

More on Yoga

I’m still trying to figure out my schedule. (I’ve also been distracted, mailing wedding invitations and out of town, so there are those excuses on the table.)

Part of self-care is holding myself accountable in a way that is compassionate to myself, so I want to share that I changed my yoga schedule last weekend. Friday I skipped my evening session. Saturday and Sunday I skipped both morning and evening sessions. On Monday, I redid the morning session I’d completed on Friday. I’m at peace with the concept of this schedule. It allows my body a little more time to work on certain poses and familiarize my body with postures.

I missed my yoga sessions today (was in a hotel room without props and had to drive a couple hours home), so I will re-do yesterday’s sessions on Friday which is tomorrow for me. I’m excited to be repeating those exercises because it focuses on stretching the hips and quads. When I did the stretches on Wednesday, I felt like I was able to ease into hip stretches for the first time in my life. I used the bolster under my hips during pigeon pose. During low lunges I used blocks under my elbows. I was able to remain mostly present and focus on my breath throughout the exercises. Even more surprising was how easy it felt to listen to my body. I really think I’m growing from this schedule, even if I’m taking it somewhat slower than previously anticipated. That’s what deciphering a schedule is all about–figuring out what works and what could use more working.

Today, due to my couple hours driving, I felt discomfort in my sciatica. When I got home I tried using a foam roller on it, but that had no effect. I noticed while standing in line somewhere that when I stretched the front of my hip, I seemed to release tension that would appease my sciatica, but I wasn’t quite sure what to do yet.

Then, while browsing the brandy aisle in the grocery store (I needed it for some beef stroganoff I made this evening), I held onto the cart and seemed to innately grab my ankle and pull it behind me in such a way that stretched my quad, and consequently stretched my hip in the way I needed it stretched. Since stretching it there (which was over 6 hours ago), I’m completely relieved of the sciatica irritation. I will admit I’m sitting on the couch writing this in a very lounging position, so I hope the relief lasts. If it doesn’t, at least I know how I need to stretch.

In addition to the hip and quad stretches, I really enjoy heart-opening stretches. I can feel more strength in my upper body already just sitting in easy pose–I sit straighter with more ease. There have also been moments in those heart-opening stretches like bow pose where I’ve felt an urge to cry. I regret that I held myself back from crying instead of allowing myself to be lost in it–sometimes a good cry is healing for me. But I wanted to maintain my focus on my exercise for my greater good. I know I’ll have a chance to do bow pose again. Perhaps I can allow myself the release if the urge returns.

I feel like there’s much for me to learn about myself in my initial reaction to heart-opening poses. As far as the chakras are concerned, the heart chakra is tied to one’s feelings of love, compassion and empathy. For the last couple weeks (actually, since I’ve started this blog), I’ve been educated about my feelings toward myself. I’m finally accepting experiences and am gaining more compassion for myself around those experiences. I’m learning where I should accept fault and where it’s completely unnecessary. As a consequence of that, I’m learning what I’d inappropriately accepted fault for previously and how, in doing that, I was affected in so many other ways.

I recognize how process-oriented I am. While keeping sight of hopeful outcomes, I’m also appreciative of my own strength and determination to heal. I accept the journey of healing, however long it takes me.

 

May good things come to you always.

On: #MeToo (the last of a few)

(Hopefully forever.)

As posed in my last #MeToo post, interpersonal relationships at work are challenging–how’s that for corporate jargon? They’re complicated because, no matter which way you look at it, a corporation is a melting pot of hundreds nay thousands of people from different backgrounds, generations, cultures, educational levels, core values, beliefs, etc. You could even have more of those things in common than not with a colleague and still experience miscommunication.

My experiences of misogyny and harassment, however, are not miscommunications. Sexual jokes should not be made in a work setting. Work is not a fraternity house or a bar. And yet, so often they were made.

When I was working a job I hated but was trying to improve my skills to get a different job I thought might be more suitable, I was taken under the wing by someone who’d recently started in the company. He expressed he wanted to be my mentor if inside sales was the direction I wanted to go in. I wasn’t sure why he wanted to help me, but I was grateful. He was quirky, but married with a couple children so I anticipated nothing inappropriate from him. That is to say that I don’t usually anticipate inappropriate or mean things from people. Why shouldn’t I give people the benefit of the doubt? Why should I expect the worst from others?

We met up to 5 times a month for a couple months. The meetings were often alone in his office. During those alone times, he didn’t say or do much of anything that was inappropriate, actually. When he had me start to work on a project with his team of 2 other women, however, his tone and subject would change. During those meetings with his team, he would make jokes of a sexual nature. That often made me feel uncomfortable, but I tolerated it because I didn’t want to be perceived as a whistleblower.

When news of my dating someone he knew had spread to his team, our mentoring meetings discontinued. He kept pushing them out, and when the date would arrive he would ask to reschedule. When I left the company (I’d gotten an actual job in inside sales so I wouldn’t have to do a day job in addition to a side project), I wrote him a polite thank you note expressing gratitude about working on a project with his team. I also acknowledged that without that experience, I might not have gained the skills to move on. I neither saw him before I left, nor did I hear from him regarding the note which I’d slipped under his closed office door.

About a year after I’d left, I heard he and his wife were divorcing. In addition, he started dating a new hire to his team shortly thereafter.

Could it have been that he was singling me out to groom me for someone he could date? The timing of his vague and abrupt end to mentoring me and then hearing about the dissolution of his marriage is quite coincidental. The fact that I possibly almost fell into his trap is quite disturbing to me.

I feel like I could’ve been a potential prey to a predator. This is such a strange revelation, but I’ve got a feeling it’s quite common. Is this objectification? Partly, perhaps. His team is primarily made up of a gaggle of women (4 to 1 now). One of which is a long-time friend of my family, but her mother works there and is friends with his boss so I feel that must keep his preying in check.

It’s difficult not to take the self-blaming mindset when certain instances appear to repeat themselves. But I know that’s not the right way to look at it. Every time I revisit these memories, the possibility comes up. And every time, my rational mind is right there to appease that possibility and say rightly, “No, no–rest easy. You’re not at fault. You didn’t earn this.” Nobody earns this.

 

May good things come to you always.