Today I’m having half-caff coffee. It has been green matcha tea pretty much all week. I’ve been trying to imbibe just healthy things and sleep well at night. I slept in today and feel I can handle the coffee; life is short, right?
It has been a full, busy week at work with the end of quarter progress monitoring tests. It always means we must be on a modified schedule, which seriously throws me off. I believe I have a slight touch of OCD, because I like to know when certain things are happening, and where to find things, in order. It’s probably a byproduct of anxiety, if that’s possible. I know those two things can co-occur at any rate. The change in routine leaves me seriously tired in the afternoon. I survived the week, though, somehow, and Spring Break starts in seven days!
Tuesday morning I woke at 4 a.m. and didn’t sleep again. I had a therapy appointment and dentist visit. I took medicine for a tension headache, and it helped. I got home and ate dinner, then just relaxed. I remember my boyfriend calling and that at one point, I said “I’m not really able to talk much. I’m soooo tired.” He said I kept falling asleep on the phone. I believe it.
I did something difficult Sunday, and I’m proud of myself for taking the risk… My studies on pain, anxiety, and repressed emotions, learned from books by Schubiner and Sarno, have reinforced what my metaphysical friend told me once: “You’re holding in resentment from the past. It’s what has caused some of your health issues.” (I’ve had cysts in several places, had some removed, and was told 10 years ago I had one on my liver that could not be removed and might just deflate on its own, and not to worry. No sweat, right?) I know I’ve had resentment for my ex-husband, my almost fiance of 2005, sometimes my mom, and yes, my dad.
My dad is a recovered alcoholic, active in AA since 1989, which is very admirable. I was out of high school then. But when I was a child, he was ‘drunk dad,’ man without a filter, a little sexist and careless as to how his words would shape me as a person. Some of those words stayed with me for so long. It comes up in therapy a lot. I think of bubbles of resentment inside me, burping them up, internalizing them as cysts, and I think of bursting a bubble of resentment. I metaphorically stuck in the needle and started that process Sunday.
When you’re a child, you kind of live in the world your parents create for you. Maybe that’s why I am so keen on creating worlds now, and creating an atmosphere for my students in my classroom. As a child, you might easily stuff things down. Maybe you learn that you can speak up for yourself, but I did not. Mom’s religion taught me to turn the other cheek and be ladylike. Dad’s blackhole of a philosophy taught me to try really hard to be good out of fear of his temper, but his words taught me that I was a growing female fit to be mocked for the changes occurring to me, and that I was not good enough–to get a training bra, to wear bright lipstick, to gain a few pounds and still be beautiful. I brought it all up Sunday. Does it seem to you I was carting out past skeletons that are already dead? Well, they’ve been rattling around in my head inside that imaginary bubble.
I’m ready to bury past beliefs I developed from my childhood that caused me to date jerks and marry a man who was a mess and latched onto me for a sense of normalcy, yet blamed me for so much and held me back with his possessive nature. Past beliefs made me keep quiet when I felt wronged or when I saw something going on that I knew was wrong. I expressed all of this to my dad, (on one of our weekly long-distance calls) and he said he didn’t remember most if it, (not surprising from a foggy, former rum-soaked mind), but he was sorry.
He then thanked me for telling him these things. No admonishing me for trying to give a guilt trip (something I’d heard him say years and years ago). I am a grown woman past the age of forty, but I still remember being a small eight-year-old, being an awkward ten, being 13 with some baby-fat, turning fifteen and noticing I suddenly had hips, graduating from college and wearing red lipstick, which I thought looked very striking and daring. I remember all of that and should not have been ashamed of the changes I went through. His upbringing did not need to become my upbringing, but I can break through all of that! If I wear daring clothes or bright lipstick, it doesn’t mean I should be labeled. It doesn’t say anything about me except I felt daring that day. And now he and I have an understanding.
I said, “I haven’t felt like I really know you in ages…you’re not the man I grew up with. Sometimes you still joke with me like you’re really comfortable, but I am not comfortable with you. I’ve been afraid to tell you how I feel or if I’m upset about something, because you live states away and we might become even more distant. But lately, we’ve just had phone calls in which I tell you I’m in therapy but not what I’m discovering about me and why I am this way or about the way I want things to be. And I’ve felt that if I’m not comfortable really telling you these things, I don’t really know you at all–which makes me just not want to talk to you.”
I know men have had their own narrow gender identities taught to them and reinforced through fear or religious guilt, especially those of my generation or the one before it. I had a lot of that, too. I couldn’t say ‘crap’ for fear it would be unladylike, as if I was disobeying the Lord by doing so. It taught me I could not express anger; likewise, a young man may have been brought up thinking he could not wear pink or express sadness. Well, bursting this bubble has freed me somewhat from that thinking as well. Thank God, the changing tides of time have also loosened these definitions and judgments!
So, you, dear reader, may have never met me before, you may somewhat know me, or you may know of me. I do not mind you knowing these things. Maybe you had a similar upbringing, maybe you suffer ongoing, chronic pain/tension or anxiety. Anxiety can run through the DNA, it can develop from your upbringing, or may be a reaction to a temporary lifestyle. But I feel that acknowledging and letting out things that make you uncomfortable or anxious can loosen the grip anxiety holds on you. Maybe you’re still young, but I want you to know, life can get better, and this is the one joy of adulthood. You CAN take charge. I’ve often worried what people think of me, but I do not want to be fake. I have struggled, and I have overcome many things. That makes me incredibly strong, and why would I be ashamed of that, ever?
I have burst a bubble of silence and fear, for I am not afraid to be who I am, to acknowledge where I came from, to change the parts of it I feel were wrong, and to feel proud of what I have done with all that I was taught and all I was given. The bubble has been burst and that which festered will leave me, in a sneeze, in a conversation, or when I spit out my toothpaste. I don’t expect it to happen all at once, but I am confident that it will not rule me anymore.
Here’s my Weekend Coffee Share. Take it or leave it. Digest it or leave it on the table. Yeah, I suppose I sound a little antisocial today. I’m having work and COVID fear- burnout this weekend and don’t feel up to doing much. I’m working on avoiding overwhelm/stress/anxiety. I’m reading about the brain and pain/anxiety. I was kind of achy when I woke this morning.
The 4 a.m. restroom wakeup had me tossing and turning to get back to sleep while an 80s Pixies song danced in my head. (My frequent wakeup song on the way to work). 🙂
Nonetheless, it is a coffee day…because there is always something to do. While I don’t have flu or any other illness, I will be doing. Right now the coffee has my brain juices going, working to get over the fatigue and body aches I feel. I’ve read a lot on this, and I’m a firm believer in tension-myositis. So, here is what I’ve learned from my recent readings in poetic form:
Don’t ignore the ugliest parts of yourself
Stare them down and challenge them
Know them, don’t deny them.
“Try it, I dare you.” Don’t back down, nothing can stop you
Headache, heartburn, pain, fear or fatigue…don’t let them rule
While you’re quaking in your boots, face the giant
You’ve faced it before, and it truly is not bigger than you.
You’re older now, facing many changes
They cannot control you, for you are not only a sum of difficult times
You are every good thing that has happened to you
You are every victorious moment of triumph in adversity
Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali. I’ve had three non-coffee days this week. I can’t believe I survived! I substituted matcha green tea for coffee. My worst day this week was a coffee day, not because of the coffee, it’s just that having had coffee did not solve the issues. Seriously, I love my daily coffee, but I already have enough tension in my body and my brain. To reduce this, I am trying to reduce the coffee.
Lately, I’ve been working on my peace of mind and staying active and healthy goals. This Spring and Summer were all about that. Exercise is great for me, but my job is taking over. I’m going to manage it. It will not take over a healthy me! So, let’s not talk about work.
I look at myself from two years ago and see the difference. I suffered with my shoulder issue this summer but got past it! I look more confident. Emotionally, I’m doing better because I have tackled some problems that were failing me. I also recall that the 2018 picture was in Rhode Island.
My son and I stayed in RI to visit my dad, a self-described bull in a china shop, a thirty year recovered alcoholic , and a very admirably active senior. He kept us very busy, and we’d walk for miles touring his town (Middleton), which was lovely.
But we won’t forget his bull-in-a-China shop attitude. He took us sailing with a buddy, out to the choppy sea where we both almost hurled or passed out. Growing up a people pleaser due to my dad’s alcoholic anger and the sexist things he would often say, I kept the peace. But that does not keep peace inside me, and it doesn’t sit well with me now. He certainly does not talk to people like he used to. Still, I learned something from this rough sailing and my non -reaction; this sort of thing shaped me as a child. Now that I have processed it, I’m going to change it.
Don’t ask my mom about the time in Iceland when I was four, and Dad took us mudding in his Landrover, heading for a rumored bottomless pit.
“It’s just a rumor,” he said, or something like that.
“We’re getting out of here!” Mom took me out of the truck and we went to dry land. She never told me the rest, but this experience also shaped me. I was not safe in the hands of someone I should be able to trust.
Thus goes the journey I’ve undertaken in this last year dealing with the results of distrust and feeling so out of control of my life. I’ve been so good at sweeping traumatic, stressful family events of the last 6 years under the rug, that it all blended with past experiences to make a green soup of indigestion, pain, stress, tension, insomnia, etc. I’ve found some helpful online groups for venting. I use a meditation and pain app. Does it all work? I am still at the start, learning to be mindful of my brain’s usual reactions.
In other, lighter news, I had an appointment with the orthopedic doc about my shoulder. He says I’m almost at 100% healed of the frozen shoulder based on my mobility, and I don’t need to place limits on myself! It’s not time to get lax, though. I have to monitor any aches but not let them stop my living. I will stay diligent and keep up the exercises; I also have other health goals to meet or maintain. I can do this! I am feeling good overall and staying active.
I hope you all have a great week and progress toward any goals you may have!