Optimistic

Happy Thursday, dear readers! I feel like I have been confused all week about what day it is, and so I very nearly forgot to write something today, but here I am. Part of my confusion is, I think, related to the fact that I’m still fighting some sort of cold/allergy bullshit that’s fogging up my brain (and making me feel physically pretty blah). I’m working from home today because I woke up achy and feeling like my body temperature was all over the place, which is usually a sure sign that I’m fighting off something.

It feels like there’s a lot going on in my life, but a lot of it is at a stage where I can’t talk about it yet. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I’ll have more on that. I will say that thanks to some of these secret goings-on, I am feeling more optimistic about many areas of my life than I have in a while, and that’s a really nice place to be.

In therapy this week, my therapist and I talked about how hard it is for me to find language to express what I need (which, as a generally language-oriented person, is suuuuuper frustrating). I’ve spent much of my life trying very hard to make other people happy, and in the process have neglected to learn how to recognize what it is that want and need. I’m making huge progress here, though – my therapist pointed out that all the work I’ve been putting into creating safe space for myself is paying off, because I am finally getting to a place where I feel like I can try to name what I need instead of ignoring it. And it’s true. I’ve worked really hard to establish a sense of safety for myself, and it feels really good to have that work noticeably making a difference.

I’m not totally sure where I’m going with this post except to say that while the world is definitely still on fire and there’s a lot that I’m upset about on a global scale, things are actually going pretty okay for me personally right now. I feel like I’m getting closer to a place where I can move past just surviving and getting by and into engaging more with the world around me. So hooray for that!

Brief Bright Spots

It feels like it’s been a long week. In reality, I stayed home from work on Monday after waking up feeling feverish, and I’ve been spending a lot of time sleeping as I try to fight off this annoying cold that isn’t awful but just won’t leave. I’m still dealing with anxiety. But there have been some distinct bright spots in the week, so I’m going to focus on those today.

  1. We started putting up holiday decorations in our apartment. We have lights around the windows, and the (fake) tree is up. We still need to get the lights on the tree plugged in (we had to acquire another extension cord first – there’s a paucity of outlets in our apartment), and put the ornaments on, but that should happen in the next few days. I have complicated feelings about Christmas (it no longer holds particular religious significance for me, and the capitalist overtones of the secular side of the holiday are overwhelming and upsetting), but I do like the decorations, especially the lights. So that’s been fun.
  2. I found out my knee is not untreatably messed up. My right knee has been swollen and achy for a few weeks. Finally made it to the doctor last week, and while it looks like I need physical therapy (currently waiting on a referral), it doesn’t appear to be anything irreparable. So that was encouraging.
  3. I scheduled an intake appointment with a new therapist. My last therapist, who I adored, moved to Portland in September. I felt like I was doing mostly okay, but I’m recognizing that I’m still dealing with a lot of anxiety. I’m also finding, as my life in general becomes more stable, that there are areas of my psyche I have avoided dealing with in the past that are now coming to the surface, so it feels like a good time to find someone to process all of that with. I don’t know whether things will work out schedule-wise with this particular person, but I’m optimistic.
  4. I wrote a letter. I have this pen pal in Germany who I’ve been corresponding with off and on since 2013. He is a great pen pal and regularly sends me postcards, interspersed with occasional longer letters and some photographs he’s taken. I have been a horrible pen pal, and have maybe written to him once all this year. But this week, after receiving yet another postcard from him, I finally sat down and wrote him a proper letter. It reminded me that I really enjoy letter writing, when I actually sit down to do it. I am hoping to do more of this in 2018.
  5. Doug Jones beat Roy Moore for the Alabama seat in the Senate. I had not fully processed how much tension I was carrying about this until I got a text from my dad on Tuesday night announcing that Jones had won. It’s restored a little bit of my faith in our collective humanity, and has me feeling tentatively hopeful about next year’s midterm elections. I’m still disgusted that it was a close race and that the majority of white people (including the majority of white women) voted for a pedophile. In fact, 80% of voters who self-identified as white evangelical/born-again Christians voted for Moore. (Stats found at Washington Post and NBC.) White Christians, do better. Call this out. This is not just a southern problem – the whole country was complicit in electing 45. This is a white people problem, and especially a white evangelical problem. I found this opinion piece in the Washington Post really on point – worth a read.

All that to say that while things still feel pretty shaky on a global level, personally, I’m doing okay. Or if I’m not exactly okay, I’m finding ways to get there. And really, that’s about all I can ask for right now.