Monday, January 19, 2015

To Shari's

Went to Shari's today. By myself. With a book. To avoid rush hour traffic. Because that's where my Grandma liked to go. I'm not a fan of their food, but I am a fan of Grandma. She's dead and I miss her. Upon ordering, I broke down and, sadly, not in silent tears but loud ones...
So I was crying, blubbering, single-lady at Shari's. Grand ol' thing was that I felt mighty comfortable with it. My waitress was magnificent and gave me a big hug, called me every pet-name there ever was, and made sure I always had a steady-supply of tea.
Got some good reading in to go along with those good tears.
Other good news is that today I've had four sad cries so hopefully I'm cried out for the day and will have a dry evening.

Tea With Papa Bear

The other Sunday, I was having issues getting out of bed. I tried for two hours and it didn't work.

I felt overwhelmed with guilt and sadness and the world seemed like a bit too much and my bed seemed like a good place to be.

Then, Dad knocked on the door and asked if he could take me out for lunch. I said that tea sounded good.

He took me to Country Village. We had tea and then checked out a few shops.

I got to get little sandwiches, soup, a scone, a tray of desserts (couldn't finish those) and some tea (Prince of Wales).

It was one of my favourite times I've had with my dad in a while - really chill, peaceful, and I felt connected with him. He's a really neat guy and I know, I know he cares about me. I'm floored over and over how he bends backwards, going out of his way to help me out. No one teaches about unconditional love like Mom and Dad.

I'll Sleep Someplaces

I'm in a strange state of limbo, but one that was a few comfortable layers of padding added by the community I have in Seattle.

I think I wrote this out - but I'm not coming back to Alaska right now like I had originally intended. I'm in Seattle for a bit.

The simplest answer as to why could either take the "answer for strangers" approach ("Seattle has more opportunities and I want to go back to school!") or the legit answer ("I didn't do too great handling a car crash and I have a full support team of friends, families, and professionals in Seattle as I try to become more stable."

When you move to a new place, there are two main concerns.

Where you'll sleep and what you'll eat.

Where I feel blessed is that, as I search out those answers, I never, ever have any fear that I won't have them. I can list of a dozen homes, off the top of my head, that would take me in without a minutes notice and feed me and give me shelter. This is not something I take for granted by any means.

I've patched together work. It's nothing solid, yet, but I've been working 30-40 hour work weeks which, to me, is solid enough. Their jobs on my own terms so, if things get peculiar, I can plan to have a day off. If I want to go hiking or camping, it can happen. If I need to go to Bellingham to check out the school up there, that's possible too.

What about housing?

I don't feel I'm really in a place where I can make big decisions like that and, to me, renting a place is pretty huge if it involves a lease which, most places do. I don't feel like I'm in a place where I can commit to community living. I'm checking Craigslist, but haven't especially seen anything that calls out to me. Rather than leap out at a not-so-swell option, I'm waiting for things to fall into place.

So - where do I sleep now?

I could always sleep at my folks' place, but that isn't the best of options. It isn't them. It isn't me. It's us together. We could work it out, but I dont' want to overstay my welcome an it's a complex dynamic that's been weaving together for 24 years. I was at their house for three weeks, which is how long I was supposed to stay with them over Christmas, and I decided it was time to move on. Nothing bad had happened at all and emotions weren't high - everything was chill, but I'd like to keep it that way.

The community of Seattle is loving and they have my back.

I did a post of Facebook. It looked something like this:
   Humans - just throwing this out there. If you (or someone else) need a housesitter near Seattle anytime over the next few month-y-wiles, let me know. I like sitting on houses. And pets. I will pet your cat. I will walk your dog. I will not eat your fish.
   Why? Surprise! I live in Washington again. I'm thinking of renting, but am not totally in a place where settling down to rent makes sense. Life is pretty up in the air. So, between couches, Tobbit (my sleeping bags are being shipped to me from Alaska and I have to prep him for winter-weather in Seattle), and spare-bedrooms, I'll be patching things together. If I can find a swell place to rent for 3 months, I will -- but currently, it's all a bit out of the budget as I work out working, counselling, emotional recovery, and physical recovery. I mean, I can fit it in the budget, but things get tricky with leases and what-not for a person who doesn't know where they'll be on a week to week basis.
   If you know of a room in a chill place, for not too many dollars that don't need a 12-month commitment, let me know. If you've got a spare-room I could inhabit for a week, let me know.
   I'm looking to stay in the Seattle/Kenmore/Kirkland-y area.

Low and behold, people responded. Kind, loving, gracious humans responded, not yelling at me to get my act together but saying, "Yo! We got a couch/room/bed/floor you can use."

I was in a state of limbo last year but, what sets that apart from this is that right now, I have a daily purpose-y job to go to. That's really settling. It's amazing what a small job can do.

Letting other people host me, right now, feels very humbling.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm super lazy and that's why I don't have things perfectly put together. Maybe I'm weak and that's why this PTSD (doc says...) is getting me down.

Luckily, those friends I've mentioned are good at reassuring me that the two above mentioned distortions are just that. They're giving me the space to heal and not shaming me for it.

This week, I've had an upswing for a few days, for the most part. Although that's what it is, swings every few days. I don't know what to expect. I like to think that everything is better now - but that's probably wishful thinking. I'll keep living as if that's how it is, for now, and I'll try to lay out a foundation to rest upon when things flip over the the darker realms that January has to offer.

And what about Tobbit? Why am I not living in my truck?

Two reasons.

1) I have to waterproof him. He's horrible at keeping water out in this one corner I've patched at least four times. Ahhh.

2) Vandwelling involves a certain level of vigilance that I just don't have the emotional energy for. Those small noises in the night would likely cause me to over-think and wonder. I'd rather put my body at absolute safety at night so I can sleep soundly, which is really important.

So who's taking me in, this upcoming season?


But, if I were to strip away the "friendness" and just label how I know them, here it is:
Camp Boat. Math tutor. Contra dancer. Blues dancer. Another dancer. House show. Dancer. Elementary school. Dancer. High school friend's sister. Dancer. Family friend. The Forest. Childhood neighbor. High school friend's family.

I'm intrigued that only one family from the church opened up their house to me.

It's a bit hectic changing beds frequently but I've done it before (yeah.... remember that one year where I changed beds, on average, every three nights?). We'll see how it goes. Hopefully I'll find a place to settle into over the next couple of months.

Or, more likely, I'll have to find another small town to settle in. Rent in Seattle is expensive and for me to live here, I need to learn to work longer hours. I need to work around 13 hours a week to pay for rent, up here. It's almost three times what I was paying in Alaska - at least twice.

Hopefully I'll get Tobbit a bit more ship-shape (that includes rebuilding his engine) and then can sleep in him around here. Honestly, that's the best option I can imagine.

I'm grateful, in all of this.

Limbo isn't my favourite, always, but I'm grateful to feel secure in a community and know that I am safe and loved. That's priceless.

Friday, January 9, 2015


3 year old Margaret with her Dad
For the next two months, I think I only want to hang out with people who are ok if, all of a sudden, I snap and flip and become another human for a while. I want to be around people who are ok with me telling them how much I hate everything and aren't going to try to convince me otherwise, but will remind me of the human they know.

I can try to hold it in, when in social situations, if I go crooked, but that tends to make things worse. I'd rather feel what I'm feeling now in this moment so it can pass on and not build up. Thing is, a lot of people don't really want to see you when you're telling them how much you hate life.

And there's a lot of people I don't want to see me like that. Because what if they can't see that this is.. is...

A dear friend of mine wrote me this, "...And I want you to know that this is trauma. No failure on your part, this is what trauma is like." (thanks Purple Sock)

Which was pretty novel to me.
In all of this, I feel like I'm an awful person.
I feel like an absolute failure.

Why can't I cope?
Why am I not dealing with this better?
Why am I melting down?
What's happening?

And for someone to step in and say, "This totally makes sense, based on what you went through."

I've had two people, in the past four days, see me in full grump-mode. What was sweet was, they let me be me in that moment and let me feel what I was feeling. Goodness, that was relieving. When I didn't have to put on an act. When they let me know they weren't going anywhere and they just wanted me to be honest with what I was feeling then.


Thanks for the encouraging comments, you guys. It really does mean something to me -- a lot. It makes me feel not alone in my head.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Peter, Z-Bear, Hannah, and I on L-Island

Celebrated the first day of the new year (Happy 2015?) by heading to one of my favourite islands.

It was an odd visit.
Not sure how to slant it.

Two highlights:

One was being with Hannah again. It felt good to spend time with her and to see her before her big trip.

Second was wandering around outside with Peter, who visited the island with me. We borrowed a baby for the day and babies are amusing. She napped through much of the hikey-walk-thing.

I didn't see a lot of the folks I care about not because I didn't want to - I just didn't have the time or emotional energy. I'll be going back next month for a more solid reunion.

Hans in Seattle

This familiar face came back to the Mainland with me after my trip to Lopez.

We have an interesting friendship and perhaps one of the more honest friendships I've encountered. I think we both might get on each others' nerves a lot. We tell each other like it is. I get frustrated. He gets frustrated.

We've never really had a normal friendship and within the first few weeks of getting to know each other, things were bumpy -- but they get better.

The first night in Seattle, we went to Dick's after a contra dance.

"Does me being here stress you out?" he asked.
I blatantly told him it did.
I apologized. I was grumpy. It was late at night.

"I've seen you like this before," he told me.

That was quite the statement and one chockful of a lot of comfort. Oh yeah... he's seen me at my worst and he's still here. We both have seen each other in a whole dynamic range of emotions and we're both still here.

A highlight was biking and skateboarding with him down the Burke Gilman. I liked that a lot.


I have about 10 unfinished drafts I haven't made post-worthy.
Or they're not good to be posted.
Up and down and up and down.

Today was a real down.

You guys, I haven't been ok. I've been pushing through and pushing through since the crash and each time I think I'll rest, I keep on running.

I'm so tired.
I'm so done and done with so much.
I feel empty and wasted.

This evening I lost it and went into hysterics. That loud sobbing that takes control of your body, contorts your face, colours your world, and doesn't leave. Where you can just shake and shake and cry and feel like there's nothing left. Over 20 minutes of incomprehensible numbness that isn't numb enough. Normally tears last a minute or two - these seemed to have no end.

I was in the midst of trying to calm down when I used a swear word. My parents found that an opportune time to correct my language as I am currently under their roof.

Folks -- if you ever see me in puddle-form, please don't consider it a great time to remind me not to swear. When I feel great emotions, I sometimes want those words because it's what keeps me from doing the following...

That sent me into a rage. I wanted to knock everything to the ground... so I did. I threw books and glasses and kicked metal boxes and large thingys over. I wanted chaos. I wanted to stop. I didn't know how.

I reached up, grabbed a handful of hair, and yanked and felt a whim of satisfaction that soon dissolved back into hateful anger.

The fury soon subsided into even greater sobs that left me immobilized on the floor, coughing and sputtering on spit and snot.

Mom would come and then leave because I wasn't able to show her I wanted her there. I didn't but I did. But then she held me on the couch and I wanted that.

I'm not doing ok.
I'm not.
I don't know how to get to someplace higher.

For now, I'll keep acting.

I know the internet isn't the best place for this. I know.
This, however, is how I'm used to communicating to a lot of folks. It works. Writing also helps me cope. It helps me reflect. It helps me process.

Morning reflection ---

After I wrote this, I curled up in the studio with a stuffed animal (comfort at it's finest) and fell asleep right away with the lights on. This morning I took an epsom salt bath (something really tweaked my back out yesterday morning and it's been killing me ever since), exercised, and realized I've only gained a pound in the past two weeks to make up for the 9 pounds I lost. This pound was gained after I chugged water, hoping to make the scale read higher.

The number of times I cry, each day, is increasing. I cried yesterday in class (silent-tears, yo) because the teacher mentioned the word "car crash."

I put on a face when I interact with people, but stick around enough hours and I'll crack.

I keep putting myself in positions where I feel responsible for taking care of others, carrying their emotions, sharing their sorrow and stress, taking care of their needs, feeling guilty when I don't feel I can pull things together. I don't feel like I can barely figure out what's going on with me.

This isn't how it was supposed to happen. This isn't how things go.

Give it time, though. I know it gets better - but in that moment you don't see that.

I know this isn't the best thing to throw out to the universe, or the internet. I know, in this day and age of Instagram and Facebook we're supposed to on show the best. I've found, though, that when I'm honest, on here, people are honest back. When I share my sorrows, someone else lets me know I'm not alone in these emotions and that they know what it's like and that they've been there. I find comfort in knowing I'm not the only one. I'd rather my friends see me for where I am, right now, in honesty than keep painting them a portrait of who people seem to expect each time the run into me.
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