Fight flight freeze or fawn
body cold heavy and still
awakens to warmth
These finches (look closely, there are two) offer a good representation for my current emotional and mental state.
Sometimes my feelings are bright, cheery, and upbeat–as they were yesterday while walking in the sunshine with Emma Jean-Jean–and other times my emotions feel more drab and less hopeful, as this morning when tears overwhelmed me during my first yoga session in a while.
The good news is that nature always provides. During that same yoga session, feeders outside the window were visited by a flock of twenty or so wee Bushtits, reminding me of the power of community. Bushtits stick together, chipping and twittering as they forage in a tree and move on to another.
We’re not alone in this difficult reality and I’m grateful for my communities, including this one here.
November is typically a tough month for me due to the lack of daylight and the overall brown palette. This one’s been even harder due to my clomp-clomp boot. Tomorrow will be two weeks of inactivity, but it feels like two months already. And because my foot still hurts, I can’t stop wearing it yet. My follow-up appointment/verdict isn’t for another week, but I’m going to be smart and clomp around until I hear otherwise.
All this is to say that I was heading for an emotional crash a couple hours ago. But I turned my attention to something I’d been dreading and putting off, and what do you know, I feel so much better now! Funny how that works. *ahem*
Here’s to an improved mood and sunny summer memories! And if you’re in need of a boost, I hope this cheery sunflower also brings you a smile.
November doesn’t last forever.
All of it. Fangs, the barely hidden claws, and yes, the filthy window.
Not really sure why. This week was illuminating and productive in a number of ways and I accomplished a lot. Still, today’s been tough off-and-on, and right now I resonate with Marcel’s expression.
The good news is that this feeling won’t last forever. In fact, just looking at my silly kitty’s face has lightened the gloom.
I went for a run on the trails this morning and, as is my routine, wore a bandana around my neck. Whenever I see someone coming my direction, I stop to pull it over my nose and mouth. I do this because running makes me breathe more heavily and I want to minimize the possibility of me infecting someone if I somehow have Covid (and am asymptomatic). Because this was a Sunday, I encountered a greater number of people on the trails (walkers, runners, and one mountain biker). I was the only one masked, but that was fine, and each encounter was friendly. (Okay, the mountain biker reactivated my animus by being an entitled trail-hog.)
Near the end of the run, I saw a person coming toward me. I stopped, masked, moved over to the right, and started running again. When I got closer I realized it was a woman who lives on my street, and I waved hello. Her reply?
She scoffed and yelled, “I’m triple vaccinated!”
As I continued running, I said some bad things out loud to myself. Mostly WTF and what kind of monster shames mask-wearers during a freaking global pandemic and then some stuff about that woman’s intelligence level plus a few choice words about our useless government and how this pandemic is only going to get worse. Whew. Then I reminded myself I was running on narrow, uneven trails with lots of rocks sticking up and that it would truly suck to trip, fall, and add to my collection of scars. So I began chanting my trail-running mantra:
Feet on the ground. Feet on the ground. Feet on the ground.
It worked. I let go of the emotions and made it home without injury. And in writing this out, I just realized that mantra is probably a good all-around reminder to help me stay in the moment during these difficult days.
Feet on the ground.
ONE. As Haiti is devastated by another earthquake, I think back to a blog post from 2010 in which I wrote:
Haiti has always struggled mightily
to survive on her own terms.
She’s strong, I know.
I just wish the universe would quit testing her.
And here the Haitian people are again, facing more death, destruction, and heartbreak.
TWO. As the Taliban moves closer to regaining control in Afghanistan, I think back to those days of feeling completely enraged/overwhelmed/defeated by how easily Bush/Cheney & Co fear-mongered the U.S. into invading and occupying Afghanistan. I distinctly remember sitting on my patio, drinking a beer, and laughing/crying as I read David Rees’s GET YOUR WAR ON.**
The clip-art strips were and continue to be profane, hysterical, and spot-on in the framing of how we lost our collective minds after September 11, 2001. (**Lather. Rinse. Repeat. for the invasion/occupation of Iraq, covered in GET YOUR WAR ON II)
THREE. Once again, I’m feeling enraged, overwhelmed, and defeated. There’s so much good we could be doing for one another on a massive scale and yet, people continue to think the military is the answer to every issue, despite all evidence to the contrary.
FOUR. So here I am (again) turning to nature to soothe my soul.
This weekend has been deathly hot in the Pacific Northwest. You know, the part of the country known for moderate temperatures and lots of moisture?
Parts of Michigan are flooded right now after receiving 7 inches of rain yesterday. SEVEN INCHES OF RAIN IN ONE DAY!
In a sane world, the powers-that-be would be mobilizing to address the climate crisis. They’d be making huge changes RIGHT NOW to minimize climate collapse. I mean, they see these photos. They live on this planet with the rest of us. Sure, they’ve got money and power, but their lives and the lives of their children and grandchildren will be affected. They can’t all take rockets to Mars.
What’re they doing instead? Bowing down to institutional tradition. Bloviating about bipartisanship and preserving the filibuster. They care more about appearances and being the so-called adults in the room than working to ensure a livable future. The Democrats have ALL the power and refuse to wield it.
Why? Because they don’t care.
I loathe the GOP with every fiber of my being, but I give them credit for using their power to advance their agenda. The Dems are just spineless upholders of the status quo. Unfortunately, that status quo is quickly marching us toward an uninhabitable planet.
Yesterday I bid farewell to our 17-year-old Prius, a reliable car that carried me and mine over 164,113 miles. We donated it to a local non-profit and I watched as it was loaded on the truck. Even though it was just a car, a possession, I choked up . So many memories.
- I went to the dealership in November of 2003 to place an order for the 2004 Prius model (the first year with a hatchback) which were in high demand. Because Zippy was less enthused about buying a hybrid vehicle and was busy at work, off I went. Alone, but armed with a ton of research on buying a new vehicle. The two salesmen wanted to treat me like a joke, but I insisted they deduct various costs including fees for taking up space on the lot (since the car would go straight to me upon arrival), advertising, rust-proofing, and upholstery treatment. When they pushed back on one of those demands, I said if they couldn’t accommodate me I’d buy from another dealership in the area. One scoffed: “You’d drive across town to save $150?” I assured him I would. They dropped that fee and we made a deal. When I walked out, I was shaking with adrenaline. I also felt pretty kick-ass.
- There were so few Priuses in those early years that whenever two passed on the street, the drivers always exchanged a grin and a wave.
- The summer of 2004, we took a three-week vacation to drive the Prius across the country to visit family and friends. Wildebeest and Zebu were nine and seven. It turned out to be our very best family trip. Ever. No fighting. It was glorious.
- As Zebu got older and became driving-age, he insisted the Prius had no guts. He was wrong. I could drive up Highway 93, from Golden to Boulder, and blow past most every other vehicle whenever there were passing lanes.
- Zebu also disliked the Prius because he was too tall and his head touched the ceiling.
- Wildebeest loved the Prius and its money-saving gas mileage (which averaged about 44 mpg over the years) and often offered to take it off our hands.
- In those 17 years, we had to replace the battery two times with refurbished batteries.
- I went through a phase in which I tried to convince Zippy we should start a battery refurbishing business. He never succumbed to my entrepreneurial pitch.
- The Prius wasn’t great in snow and sometimes I had to abandon it on the side of our hilly street because it couldn’t quite make it to the driveway. We eventually bought snow tires which made a huge difference but some years, due to climate change, there wasn’t much snow so we didn’t bother putting them on. It was like a game of roulette: would we get huge snowfalls and regret the lack of traction?
- Pre-snow tires I once got the carpool stuck and all four elementary-age kids had to get out to push the Prius from the snowy gutter where it’d slid.
- Something about our silver Prius attracted accidents. Zippy and I were both rear-ended multiple times** and once I sat with Zebu at a stop sign in the rain and watched as an SUV turned right onto that street and slow-motion slid over to smack into the front of the Prius as Zebu and I yelled, “Noooo!”
- (** one woman who rear-ended me was named C*rmen Riskey which somehow felt like a perfect name for the situation).
- When the valiant Prius was taken away yesterday, it bore zip ties and packing tape on various parts of its body.
- One of the times it got hit resulted in extensive damage that required a body shop. While the Prius looked good as new after that, the gas bladder was never the same and would only accept 5-6 gallons of gas at a time which meant that one of the greatest perks of owning a Prius –fewer trips to the gas station–was no longer the case. Over the years I swore even more than usual as the pump handle clicked off and on as I tried squeezing in a tiny bit more gas.
- Once I loaned the Prius to a friend who’d only driven later models and she called me to say the fob wasn’t working. Apparently, the newer models would start if the fob was in the driver’s pocket so I had to explain that my Prius fob had to be inserted in a slot in the dashboard. (The same thing happened with the donation pick-up driver last night; when he couldn’t get it to start, he thought we were donating a dead car as opposed to just a seriously wounded car).
- My brother-in-law drove it once and somehow triggered what Prius drivers refer to as the “red triangle of death.” He was in a panic but we’d become somewhat nonchalant about its appearance over the years and talked him through it.
- Several weeks ago, Zippy decided to have the snow tires put on rather than buy new tires. While the Prius was driving very well at that point, it was increasingly touchy so we didn’t want to invest in new tires. After paying an unbelievable $150 for that switch plus disposal of the old, bald tires, there was an immediate change. Like, immediate-immediate. The red triangle of death had returned. When Zippy floored the gas pedal to get up our hill, our beloved old Prius could only muster 10-miles-per-hour.
- It was time to say goodbye.
- That goodbye dragged on and on for a whole week because the pick-up company got WAY behind due to the blistering hot weather across Colorado. Several of their trucks died in the heat and one nearly caught fire. But at 6:30 last night, Eduardo arrived to carry my dear little car away.
Here’s the Prius making its final trip down our street. I’m not ashamed to admit there were tears in my eyes as I waved goodbye.
We woke in the middle of the night to the smell of wildfire smoke. Zippy shut off the swamp cooler and closed all windows. It’s only June and wildfire season has begun.
Since early May, I’ve run every other day and that routine has been crucial for my mental health. I haven’t yet missed a running day and when I got up this morning, I felt so many emotions about the climate crisis and the lack of political will to do anything about it. My despair mounted and, more than ever, I needed to run. The good news is we have a 20+ year-old treadmill (that’s gone through multiple running belts over the years) and I ran on that for 25 minutes. I pounded out the miles, my mind clearing as sweat slicked my skin.
This afternoon I made the mistake of going on Twitter where I came across this tweet:
And I began to spin some more, the anxiety and rage building. So, did I hop on the treadmill again? Nope. This time I began rereading one of my very favorite books:
I highly recommend any book by Cynthia Kadohata, but especially THE THING ABOUT LUCK which is funny and tender and makes my heart sing. *happy sigh*
I have to keep reminding myself that electoral politics is not going to save us. We the people must rise up as one and stand together against the rich and powerful. In the meanwhile, I’m focusing on mutual aid in my community in addition to lots and lots of running and reading.
This day’s been hard, but I’m still standing.
Emma is a dog of contradictions. She’s small and lovable. Those floppy ears that bounce with each step always induce smiles as we walk the neighborhood. Her big brown eyes ooze emotion. Looking at her, you’d never guess Emma can instantaneously transform into a rage-aholic.
I took this photo yesterday moments after she’d gone bonkers when someone dared to walk two dogs past our home. Check out the raised ridge along her spine. Emma flashed me this innocent expression, trying to play it cool and pretend she hadn’t just erupted. But I’ve got photographic proof.
The hackles tell the whole story.
I’ve been struggling mightily with a family-of-origin issue and a while back reached out to the therapist I’d worked with years ago. Her client roster was full so I was put on a wait-list. Well, the wait is over. I’m both grateful and anxious she can now fit me into her schedule. My first appointment is in a few minutes and my insides are fluttering.
I know I need to do the work in order to move ahead. That doesn’t stop me from wishing for a magic wand that could make everything all better.
This morning I received my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. While I felt gratitude and relief to be halfway to fully vaccinated, I also felt anger, disgust, and shame. As with everything else in our system that puts profits over people (and planet), the Covid vaccine distribution is unequal. I’ve already blogged about some of the ways access is inequitable here in the U.S. (not to mention incarcerated people’s lack of access), but the situation is even more dire around the world.
The global death toll is currently at 2.77 million. Human decency would dictate that vaccines and vaccine patents be freely shared. Nope. Big Pharma isn’t satisfied with the billions they make each year. They’re lobbying the Biden administration to clamp down on countries trying to increase production. Read this article and weep. And rage.
As the needle pierced my skin this morning, I thought about this excerpt from that article:
Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer, mocked proposals for sharing intellectual property as “nonsense” and “dangerous” at an industry forum last year. The vaccines are netting drug companies $21 billion this year alone, according to one estimate by Bernstein Research.
There you have it: Big Pharma scoffing at the the World Health Organization (WHO). Silly WHO, thinking people’s lives matter more than intellectual property.
So yeah, not totally thrilled to get that Pfizer shot in the arm.
Because I’m an introvert, I’m maybe better equipped for this quarantine than others. But even though I recharge my batteries by being alone, that doesn’t mean I don’t still crave the company of others. And today, I’m missing my friends of the Sunrise Movement.
The entire time I fought alongside them, I was mindful of my very privileged position as a young-at-heart welcomed into the ranks of passionate young people fighting for a livable future. I was also completely unprepared for how quickly that situation could shift. I had no idea that in the very near future I wouldn’t see them regularly at hub meetings, trainings, art builds, and actions. While I didn’t take any of it for granted, it never occurred to me there’d come a time in which we wouldn’t trade smiles across a room and share hugs. I’m writing this with tears in my eyes and a hole in my heart. In addition to the obvious, this pandemic and our government’s botched response has destroyed so much. It hasn’t stopped Sunrise Colorado or those friendships, but it’s completely altered the landscape of each. Today I’m grateful for what we had and mourning all we’ve lost.
It’s been a day and when I went in search of an image to perk me up, I thought of my love for mannequins. I’ve posted lots over the years (unfortunately, I wasn’t great at using tags in early blogging days so can’t readily locate them now), but none tops this photo. However, that unbeatable image didn’t stop me from searching for another that would steal my heart today.
I’m going with this one because my emotions have been all over the place and this seems to encompass a few of those feelings.
Now I’m off to apply some lime-green lipstick . . .
It’s 6:00 pm. How did that happen?! But the more pressing question is: why did the photographer who posted this photo on Pixabay tag it with “joy”?
Depending on your perspective, various words could describe this little boy’s expression and body language. Possible interpretations? I think he could be dazed, sad, tentative, or demoralized. Heck, maybe his arm’s tired from holding that plane and he’s just worn out. Nowhere do I see evidence of joy.
Anyway, I popped into WordPress-land to post something before this day completely passed me by and instead of a quick in-and-out, I spent twenty minutes analyzing this photo.
Hmm. Maybe there’s a lesson here for where the day went . . .
As is typical for me these days, I had to give myself a pep talk to get out of bed this morning. After making it to an upright position, the day turned into one thing after another. Small things that demanded my attention and action, but nothing of substance. I have zero sense of accomplishment or completion.
This entire hot, smoky Monday I’ve felt scattered, unfocused, and non-productive. Weepy, screamy, and anxious. Overheated, overwhelmed, and over it all.
I wish it would rain.
I’ve had to revisit Dr. John Sarno’s mind-body connection lately due to ongoing vertigo. After three weeks of living at a tilt, I had an epiphany and realized it was my brain trying to distract me from the many emotions I’m experiencing during these difficult times. My brain thinks I’ll be better served if I’m focused on bogus sensations rather than doing the helpful things that help me manage my anger/anxiety/fear, helpful activities such as trail-running. Since the onset of this dizzy bullshit on June 9, I haven’t run on the trails. Because what’s scarier than rocks and roots sticking up on narrow , uneven trails, hoping to trip an already-tippy me?
I’ll tell you. A three-foot snake across the trail.
How do I know? This morning I finally went out in the open space. (note: the vertigo has greatly subsided since I caught on to my brain, but things are still off.) I’d only run about 20 feet from the trail head when my right foot came down close to an enormous snake. I let loose with my customary profanity as I jumped left. The snake didn’t acknowledge my presence, but my heart still pounded as I watched it slither along. No rattling. I now think it was a bull snake, but I didn’t lean in to verify whether it had slit-like pupils (rattlesnake) as opposed to a bull snake’s circular pupils. I will say that I had a whole new pep in my step when I started running again. Adrenaline can be a beautiful thing.
During my three-mile run, I also saw rabbits on the part of the trail we call the “bunny run” and later on kicked up a flock of magpies. The Spotted Towhees were also out in force, singing their “sweet-sweet-teeeeaaaa” songs. It was wonderful being there again. My pace was slow but my spirits were high.
Take that, brain!
I use this blog to maintain a record of my day-to-day and appreciate the documentation it provides me. This site means more to me than anyone else who might happen upon it, and I acknowledge this truth.
So why is it still sometimes so hard to give myself permission to post a regular day’s snapshot of me when I feel less-than-great?
For instance: I ran today (after not running much over the past quarantine months), and instead of experiencing typical post-run endorphins, I wanted to punch something. Still do. I’m feeling stabby. I’m feeling old and slow and tired and fucking over it all.
There, I said it. Welcome to my head.
Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and I felt an array of not-so-pleasant emotions. Rage was high on the list. I’m doing a little better today, in part because I’m focusing more on what keeps me going during hard times.
Today I’m grateful for the many ways nature soothes my soul.
Can’t tell from this pic
tail-flicking squirrel enraged
I feel the same way
Any questions, please direct them to my manager.
I got some bad writing news this afternoon that wasn’t unexpected, but was still difficult to hear. I had tears in my eyes. But because my agent is so kind and supportive, within minutes of our conversation I felt okay. (The two slices of butter-and- strawberry-jam toast definitely helped). And not only did I feel better post-toast, I felt a renewed resolve.
Knock down this clown and I’ll just bounce back for more!
I spent Saturday and Sunday with about 35 passionate young people dedicated to fighting for a Green New Deal. Our local hub of the Sunrise Movement (Sunrise Colorado) held a training retreat in which national organizers shared strategies to help us in this fight. It was an amazing weekend and I felt SO. MANY. EMOTIONS.
I cried at the beginning when we all shared who and what we were fighting for, and I cried at the closing when we sang together. But I also laughed a ton, learned much, and felt lots of hope for the future.
The Sunrise Movement has already gained much more traction on the climate crisis than I’ve seen in my lifetime. PLEASE consider donating a few dollars to my hub to help us continue this vital work. https://secure.actblue.com/donate/sunriseco
Or if you’d prefer donating to the national movement, you can do so here: https://www.sunrisemovement.org/
Thank you in advance.