Fear, Blessings & Change

There are days when I fear.

I think about the fact that I’m soon going to be 47, and that I’m in the upper-middle portion of my life. I’ve had a hysterectomy, so, no more children, which is both a sadness and a blessing. There will be no more warm little bundles combining my DNA with someone else’s. But, then, there will also never be anymore sleepless nights of feedings, diapers & the stresses of teenage years. I’ve come to accept this, & I am not only Ok with it, I’m happy that part of my life has passed me by.

But, there are also negatives that have come with the maturation process.

I have osteoarthritis, mainly in my hands and wrists, & over the last few months, it has come to be a large focus for me.

My hands play such a vital role in my life, and I fear what this change will bring to me.

My job consists of working with computers and files. I type…all day long. The arthritis has restricted me in many ways, making my job a lot more difficult. I have trouble handling heavy files, as they put a lot of pressure on my inflamed finger joints, and the medicines I take for it don’t completely mitigate that pain. Typing all day puts stresses on my hands that I never thought would be this complex and painful, but I have learned a lot about my limits & my capabilities, including my tolerances for pain. 

And then… There’s my art.



Things like these take a LOT of hand-work. I twist wires with the help of jewelry pliers & locking wrenches, but the bulk of the work is done by MY hands. On days when the barometer fucks with my arthritis, it can go from uncomfortable, shifting to painful & excruciating.

How can I continue to do what I love, when it can cause so much pain? 

How can I express my visions, my imagination, my passion, when I can’t manipulate the medium I work through without crippling my tools – my hands?

This is my fear…

That the arthritis will steal my gift.

That it will destroy something I love…my art. 

And I will be left without it’s comfort.

Where is the blessing in this change?

…….I continue to search…..

It Has A Certain Ring To It…

I’ve been slightly obsessed with – rings – lately, & I don’t know why.

You see, I’ve never really been much of a jewelry person. Oh, I’ve always had a couple of pieces that I wear, ones that I rarely take off, like my pentacle necklace (representing my faith), & some tiny gold hoops that sit in the top cartilage of my left ear (pierced by my best friend shortly after high school).

And each piece of jewelry that I wear usually has a story behind it, a personal meaning for me, that is the reason it gets worn.

So, what’s the story behind my recent need to wear more & different rings? 

Not a clue. Really, it’s odd.

But, here’s a brief description of what I’m wearing on my hands right now, & what they each mean. (In no particular order of importance to me)

First up – Right hand:

Thumb – A sterling silver pentacle ring. Again, representative of my faith, & a daily reminder to myself to balance the elements of my life.

Index finger- triple fidget ring. This ring represents my kids to me. I have 3, & a lot of times, they make me fidgety.😜

Ring finger- sterling silver ring with oval amber stone. This stone for me represents healing & preservation of memories. 

Left Hand-

Thumb- electroplated sterling with cz & opal inlay stones. This ring I purchased through an introvert group page, and to me, it’s just really pretty & subtle, while having some “spark” to it. I love the blue-green tones of the opal.

Pinky – This has 2 rings. The first is a simple band of hematite, which is a protective stone that “bounces” outside negativity away from me. I have a tendency to pick up easily & take on other people’s emotional states if I’m not careful, so this is a necessary accessory for me.

The 2nd ring is a gold band with 7 white sapphires. This is extremely sentimentally important to me, as it was my sister, Midnite’s ring before she passed away in 2009. My beloved Nephew gave it to me after her passing, & I wear it in her honor.

Ring finger – sterling silver 2-strand braided band. No, I’m not married. This ring I specifically bought for myself. It reminds me that I am truly the only person I can always count on to take care of ME, and that I need to remember to rely on myself, have faith in myself & trust that I will always get through the tough times.

I’ve been let down, abandoned, hurt, mentally, physically, & sexually abused in my past. I’ve made it through everything. Yes, I have friends & family who’ve helped me in the past with dealing with some of those situations, but the one, constant thing in my life has always been – ME, obviously.

This ring is my reminder to never again put all my faith in someone else, or try to rely on believing that others will be there…because too many times, they haven’t been. It’s my “Stand tall on your own two” ring.

There are other rings I have, that I wear occasionally, but these are the semipermanent ones for now. This is the story I wear on my hands at the moment, & whether there’s anyone out there who sees these rings & “gets” this story – I know it. I’m living it. And this is my current expression of it.

Tremble

Anxiety has been so bad tonight. It’s been bad for the last couple of weeks.

But not to look at me.

If you just look, I am normal – smiling, joking, & getting along, doing my work, handling my business…

This is the face of anxiety.

But…

Take another look at the eyes.

Take a good look.

There’s tension there.

There’s a twitch, just there in the corner of one eye, constantly fluttering.

There’s a tightness around the eyes, pulling at the edges, headache darting between the brows.

The smile looks almost real, though, doesn’t it?

Slightly wilted, tired, resigned.

But it fools the masses.

And makes sure that no one notices the trembles.

The hint of vibration that never leaves.

My body is wound so tightly I feel like an over-tuned violin, ready to snap as soon as the bow draws across it the first time.

And this – is the face after the crash.

The face that no one sees.

The worry drawn tight over the brow.

The grief and guilt filling in the mouth.

The resignation that smears the vision.

Knowing it’s just a matter of time before the other shoe drops.

Nobody gets to see this face if I can help it.

It shatters the illusion that everything works. That I’m Ok, all lights green across the board, engines full and running at capacity.

This is the face after the mask comes off.

I’m tired of hiding, of pretending. I’m tired of everyone thinking that anxiety is just a random worry.

It’s not.

It’s real, it’s painful, it’s constant & it’s not something I can be rid of just by “calming down”.

I take medication every day to control the worst of it, or I probably wouldn’t be able to function.

This- is my reality.

It’s not the whole of who I am.

But it is real.

And that’s what I’m here, blogging for.

To be in one place where I can be real.

My nephew and I talk honestly to each other all the time. We don’t pull our words back, because we don’t have to. 

But there are times when I need to see the words in front of me, splayed out like a bloody corpse, flayed, raw & bleeding all over the page.

Therapy at it’s deepest level.

Minus the shiny buckles on the strapped jacket.

Vintage Poetry #2

After dealing with a migraine today, it’s time for me to pass on some of the love.

Cue the old poetry…

Mirror Image 

You sit there

Talking to me

But I don’t hear what

You’re saying

I’m looking 

In your eyes

Seeing my own pain

Reflected there

You’re telling me

Something about

How you never promised me

A rose garden

I never

Asked for one

All I wanted

Was that you

Be honest

With me

Tell me what

You feel

I’ll understand

I

Won’t break

I promise.

*funny how present life seems to imitate the past, ain’t it?*

One Tear for Me

Just cry one tear for me

Then I’ll be on my way

Please tell me that you loved me

At least you did one day

It matters to me now

What you have to say

Even if it won’t

When I am old and gray

I could have loved you deeply

But you just walked away

Before I had a chance

To say what I had to say

So just cry one tear for me

My love

Then I’ll be on my way.

-4/8/87

*damnedest thing, how these still sound so familiar*

Mannequins

Here I stand

At the window

Looking in.

My hands pressed against

The glass

My breath making fog

On its surface.

Let me in, I say

I tap on the glass

But they don’t see

Or hear

Their backs are turned

And then, so is mine

I turn and see her

Standing there

With her hands pressed

Against the glass

As mine had been

I know that I

Am no longer alone.

We back away from the window

“They’re only mannequins”

She says

I noticed that too

We walk away together

Knowing that they are only

Window dressing

While we have the whole world

To ourselves.

-4/14/89

*this was for my best friend, who showed me how much bigger the world was, when all I saw was a small town*

*and here’s the last one I plan to publish here, as this has reminded me why I haven’t posted these before…*

Think of Me

Every time you see a happy child

Think of me

When you see something free and wild

Think of me

When you read a story

With a happy end

Or get a letter from

Your best friend

See my smiling face

Happy for you

Think of me.

When you’re lost and alone

And you want to go home

Think of me

If you’re sad or you’re blue

Know I’m thinking of you

When you see the sun come out…

Think of me.

-1/30/89

Fini

Silver Stars, Jingle Bells & Silence.

All is quiet today. 

The gifts were all unwrapped yesterday, the squeals of joy still echoing softly within my memories. 

The food, copious amounts of holiday delectables, were all devoured, the leftovers packed & sent along, saving only a few, choice morsels for myself.

The hugs & kisses warm me when I think back, bringing a lump to my throat & a gleam to my eye, as I know it’ll be a long stretch before it happens again.

But yesterday was successful and merry, just what I wanted for my Solstice gift.

And today…I spend alone.

You see, I am Pagan. I don’t celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday. Mine happened days ago, on the 21st, the Winter/Yule Solstice. To me, it is a time of homemade, heart-made gifts, not all of the tangible & able to be wrapped in brightly -colored paper. Sometimes, it’s as simple as someone not-Pagan remembering to wish me a “Blessed Yule”. It shows they were thinking of me, & thoughtful enough to remember that my holidays are different, but are not forgotten.

Other times, it’s a child offering their help with preparations, without being asked, &/or just doing something helpful without my knowledge. 

I do participate in the tradition of gift-giving, & my family has done this on Xmas Eve for many years. There are many reasons for this, but the simplest is that my children all go to their fathers’ on Xmas Day. 

So, Xmas Day is my Quiet Day.

A day of contemplation & relaxation. One I usually spend in decadent repose, lounging in my jammies, hair wild from sleep & no desire to “fix it”.

A day of grazing on leftover treats…a little pumpkin pie for lunch, some fudge for snack…maybe some stuffing, veggies & mashed potatoes mixed together with turkey for supper. 

I miss my kids, don’t get me wrong. 

I loved having all 3 home again, noisy & raucous, leaving little messes lying around of drink cups & my grandson’s toys. It’s odd to not hear him saying “Gramma…you know what-uh?” 

Speed Racer in his race car, complete with padded “helmet”.

But, last night, after all the hustle & bustle of the rituals of food & gifts… There was the chaos of the leave-taking. Packing items for travel, packaging leftovers for a long haul to Washington for EldestDaughter & her SO, for the shorter trek for YoungerDaughter back to her apartment, & getting OnlySon ready to go to his father’s.

And…when all had departed for their next destinations, I was left staring at the silent night, inside and out.

The silver Star atop my tree will join the jingle bells I had hanging next to the door – both will be put away tonight, clearing the holiday decorations swiftly, now that the revelers have fled.

And I spend today alone, watching the silent snow fall, content with yesterday’s success, mourning it’s passing, & hoping for the new year to be brighter.

Happy Holidays, all.

(EldestDaughter, OnlySon, & YoungerDaughter)

From our homes & hearts to yours.

EldestDaughter, SO, & Grandson. (Newest grandson also in picture, but not snuggleable till Feb. release date!)

May your days be Merry & Bright!

Times & Anxiety

Anxiety has been at a peak for a while now, and I’ve been working on getting through it. It’s not always easy, & some days, the anxiety overrides everything else, & I’m left clutched in it, and all the side effects that come with it.

There are some ways I’ve found to combat the anxiety, though, & for me, at least… It helps…mostly.

In no particular order:

1. Music.  Different moods require different genres. Some days I’m Enya & Chopin, Halsey, Adele & Sara Bareilles.

Other days, I’m Metallica & Linkin Park, AC/DC, and Ozzy.

And some days, I’m Ruelle, Twenty One Pilots, Sia, Pink, Christina Aguilera, Meghan Trainor & Bollywood music.

Music helps, and sometimes, I hear it without the radio, softly humming in my head, the background noise of the earth, like a singing bowl, just a soft, lilting ringing…

2. Candles. I have a few. Different scents for different moods. Soft ones, light & clean ones, heavy woodsy ones, spicy, energetic ones. Lit, they fill the house with whatever scent I need at the moment, changing the mood of the room…and me.

3.  Sally.

She always knows when I need to snuggle, & she’s right there, in my lap, in my face, purring like a rough motor, & determined to be as close as possible.

4. Hot water.  Whether a bath or shower, there is a calming that falls over me in the hot water. If my water heater was larger, I’d spend hours in the water. 

I also love the rain…something about it, whether the sound, the smell in the air, or watching the drops roll down the window – something just – hits me in the feels, when it rains.

5. Soft fabrics.  I’ve said before that I’m a tactile person. When I’m stressed, or anxious, soft, comfy fabrics, warm, fuzzy clothes & blankets… They work. Curl up in my chair, or snuggle up in bed, & I automatically feel better.

6. Crafts & home renovations.  I almost forgot! Crafting is like meditation for me, taking my attentions & stresses, & turning them to concentration on creating something new from bits & pieces. Home renovations are like that, too. Changing my surroundings to something more my taste, & doing something positive that will make my home a more soothing place. I’ve been painting walls in my home, going from a dirty beige to a clean, crisp, light grey. Knowing that I’m doing these things independently, accomplishing more every time I pick up the roller & brushes, the craft supplies, makes me feel good.  And the results show that I am making strides in changing my world & life for the better.

First time trying to post a home video…

And the cat you hear crying in the background? Chloe…OnlySon’s minion, trying to videobomb me…sheesh.

These methods don’t always work, but they do help most of the time. And when they don’t…

I deal.

Because I know that Time passes, & eventually… So does the anxiety.

Lesson #2

Tonight’s horseback riding went a lot better than last week, and I’ll tell you why…

1.  The coach & I discussed the horse I was to ride, Dawn, before I got on. She is “being pissy”, & Coach M couldn’t figure out why. She wanted to see her in motion from a distance, to gauge her reactions to things.

2. I didn’t push this week as hard as I did last week. I was so over-eager about riding last week, that I transmitted my nerves to the horse. Yes, they pick up on emotions. They’re a lot like little kids – they’ll push your buttons just as far as you’ll let them, & then try for more. We walked most of the lesson’s hour, with small bursts of trotting. It helped.

3. Dawn was wearing a different bridle, one with a “broken bit” (the bit isn’t actually broken, but it does have 2 pieces that are connected in the middle, & it handles differently). Believe me, it can make ALL the difference in how a  horse reacts to commands. And it did. Dawn was much more receptive & accepting of commands.

4. After watching us ride for a while, Coach M figured out that she’s pretty sure Dawn is going into heat. Yep, Dawn’s PMSing. Dingdingding! We have a behavioral winner!

5. My confidence was up tonight, with fewer distractions in the arena to pull Dawn’s attention, she listened to me more, & it paid off for both of us.

6. I talked to Dawn almost the whole time we rode. She was more comfortable knowing I was calm, & I kept my voice low & encouraging. 

All in all, I felt really good about tonight’s ride. It made me feel good, knowing that Coach M trusted me to handle her “Problem Child”, & with Dawn listening & responding as well as she did, we both did much better. My nerves were calmer, which made her calmer. And she realized I wasn’t going to let her be the boss, which can be half the battle with a “shirty” horse.

Goddess, it’s good to be back in the saddle again…

(Dawn’s picture from last week)