Week 04: Fragments and Snatches

This week promises to be another busy one, but not nearly as busy as the last two. The problem really isn’t the workload, but the lack of help I’ve had of late. One coworker is out with an injury and another left for greater opportunities elsewhere. There are still members of my team available, but still fewer to carry the same load, so each has a heavier weight.

This week the load is lot lighter in some ways, and a little heavier in others, but none of it is anything we can’t handle. It helps that I have been practicing preparing myself ahead of time for these weighty weeks. I knew my calendar events would grow dense and I would be more tired and less motivated than usual, so I gave myself permission to use my free time to rest or retreat when needed.

These weeks I am reading, writing, and learning in thought fragments and snatches of time rather than by hours or essays, and it’s ok. I’m ok. When there is more time, I can pick up right where I left off.

In the meantime, this week I will

Wake up 15 minutes earlier. I have been struggling to get up with my alarm and find myself cutting corners in the morning to make up time. I’ve been starting my days with frustration and forgetfulness and wasting hours and energy just to get back on track. I need to do better, but to go from what I have been doing to what I should be doing would mean a 45-minute difference, too much to ask from myself before sunrise. So, just 15 extra minutes this week, please?

Read more. I am proud to have finished two books already this year, but with increased mental strain comes a sharp downturn in my discipline. There have been far more episodes watched than chapters read and I’m disappointed in the disparity. I don’t want to stop watching TV. It’s not rotting my brain, only taking too much time. This week I just need to even out the split.

Keep up with my paper journal and logbook. I had one goal this year, and this was it: document what you did and how you felt. Keep track of what you think and how you change. It’s a small thing that I am convinced will, in time, make a vast difference to how I write. As you do it, though, the act can become mundane and feel unimportant at the moment. You throw the notebooks in a bag and forget. This week I will keep them visible during the day and make time during all those episodes in them every night.

Use my weekend mornings to my advantage. I have been lamenting the lack of time during the week and complaining about the endless obligations during the weekend, but I know there is time enough available. To start, I have Saturday and Sunday mornings entirely to myself. If I could get myself up and get my ass in the chair. There is more, but this could be a start—or a return, rather. Wake up a little earlier and take some time for yourself.

Make my health a higher priority. A busy work schedule makes it too easy to push your basic needs aside. You arrive at your desk and set down your water bottle, your breakfast smoothie, your medications and supplements, and your lunch, and never pick them up again until it’s time to return home. This week, eat when you are hungry, drink water when you aren’t thirsty, and take your medications and supplements at the appropriate times.

This week I will not let fear limit me. I try so hard to be brave every day, but I fail in moments when later I think I might have been able to be strong. I want to practice saying yes when fear is the only reason to say no. The hard part is discerning when that is.

For me, fear always arrives in disguise. Fear pretends to be wise, and I feel foolish to ignore it. There are reasons why something is scary and I have no trouble explaining and convincing myself to avoid what I know I need to do. Even when guilt comes nagging, I say, “Wait until you are stronger, better, smarter. Wait, wait, wait.”

This week, when my first instinct is to say no, I will figure out why. When my mind provides the worst case scenario I’ll then ask, “And what if the worst truly went wrong?” For every reply, ask again all the way down until you have found nothing but your fear standing in the way, do it anyway.

Photo by Katie Doherty on Unsplash


Constructive Use of Anxiety

The capacity to bear anxiety is important for the individual’s self-realization and for his conquest of his environment. Every person experiences continual shocks and threats to his existence; indeed, self-actualization occurs only at the price of moving ahead despite such shocks. This indicates the constructive use of anxiety.”

— Rollo May, The Meaning of Anxiety (via The School of Anxiety is The School of Greatness)

If We Were Having Coffee // When She’s Gone

Hello dear readers! Happy Sunday and welcome. Thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.

It looks like my morning is starting in the early afternoon today. I woke up with an earache and exhausted bones so after making it to the kitchen to let the dog out then in then fill her food bowl; I turned back around and followed the same sleepy path back to the bed. Two hours later I was up again and through cold brew coffee, loud music, and pure determination I am moving about and getting myself and my house ready for another week.

So, pull up and chair and, please, fill up a cup. You’re welcome to the cold brew or a hot cup from the Moka pot but hot or cold all I have on hand is a light roast. It’s a nice compliment the spring sun shining through the open blinds.

Let’s talk about last week.

“When I get up early, I appreciate the quiet time to enjoy a coffee or water my plants.”

― Christina Tosi

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this past week was an interesting one. It was educational, sad stressful, lonely, and full of tiny little victories.

On Sunday we got the sad news that my girlfriend’s grandmother had passed away. This is one of those stories that isn’t mine to tell but I will say my heart is in pieces for her and her family. I wish I could have known her grandmother, but I never got the chance to meet her. Once again we are taught the lesson. Talk to the people you can while you can because people leave this Earth every day and you don’t have all the time you think you do.

Monday and Tuesday I got the chance to attend a statewide conference for work. I learned a few things and my task now is to bring back what I have learned and incorporate it into the training we do for new and existing employees.

Much of what I saw we are already doing so what I took away more than knowledge was an emotional impact. For one, I met many people working for other districts who are doing exactly what I’m doing in mine. Until now I have felt somewhat alone in my position.

My position isn’t a prestigious one. I’m rather low on the totem pole but I’m passionate about what I do and think despite the low prestige having people in my position that care about the issue and responsibility is critically important. It was refreshing to meet others who feel the same way and do their work enthusiastically and from the heart.

I also sat in a presentation that gave me a lot of hope for the future of our schools. When I was a teenager I struggled to cope with my emotions and to relate to other kids my age. I was angry and; I know now, very depressed and back then the only way to deal with angry and depressed kids was to suspend them until you could send them somewhere else and then to keep the expectations placed on them so low that they graduated without any skills, emotional or academic.

I was lucky. I dropped out instead and found my own way, but there are so many who were neglected and abandoned by the system.

The presentation I saw was on moving from the suspension, detention, and isolation disciplinary system to one that teaches reflection, responsibility, and restoration. I was nearly in tears imagining the way a younger me would have thrived under that system. The woman who spoke told us that their aim is to make each school into a small community and to teach children how to live in it by connecting them to that community. It’s bittersweet and so beautiful.

I hope every school moves to hire teachers, administrators, and support staff that can be open-minded enough to do better by their students than was done by them.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that Wednesday my girlfriend left town to be with her family and attend her grandmother’s funeral.

I never do well when she’s gone. We’ve lived together for something like 15 years, and since we work at the same place, on the same schedule, and doing nearly everything together, I struggle when I have to be on my own for more than a day. I’m just bored mostly, and I miss her a lot, and I lose most of my motivation to cook, or clean, or do anything but read and sleep. I make it sound worse than it is, really.

I did manage to get a lot of reading done since I rarely watch T.V. without her. I finished One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, my 7th book of the year, by Friday and loved it. I’m already ready to read it again. I was thrilled by the news that Netflix is going to make it into a series. I hope they stay true to the book and include every beautiful and terrible event.

I started Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge and though it’s about as far from Márquez’s magical realism as I could get it’s very good. I’m having a hard time putting it down this weekend and expect to finish within days.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the other issue I have when my girlfriend is gone is having to drive. I mentioned it last week but for those new to my blog; I suffer from terrible driving anxiety. I dread having to get to and from work or anywhere else on my own.

My girlfriend is understanding, though it is hard on her and she would like for me to be more comfortable behind the wheel, but when she is gone nothing can be done and I have to push through it. My heart was pounding, and I was nauseous with nervousness every day but I have to say, I did really well. So well in fact that I almost enjoyed it!

I’ve been waiting for some kind of breakthrough. I’ve been waiting to feel motivated not just by shame but by possibility, joy, and pride. I think I’ve had that breakthrough. Working through this fear has become something I want to do, not just something I need to do.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that, my girlfriend is flying her way home to me now and that means getting I’d better go. I have to start cleaning this house out of its current sad and stale state.

I hope you had a good week. I hope you are well and that the weather is improving, and that you got to smell the spring air and feel the warming sun on your skin. I hope the new month finds you well this week and that you can meet it without regret or panic.

Until next time. 

Move // Jazz Spastiks feat. Apani B Fly

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Photo by andrew welch on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // A Dumb Fear to Have

Hello dear readers! Happy Sunday and welcome. Thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.

I’ve never been good at mornings but this morning is especially slow. My body isn’t cooperating and my mind is even more useless. Coffee is helping though and I feel my bones waking and loosening with every sip.

The sun is helping too. Spring has definitely sprung here in Colorado quite suddenly and without fanfare as if she had been here all along. Being able to open the windows and let the warm air in is doing wonders for the Sunday soul.

So, pull up and chair and, please, fill up a cup. I’m sorely missing my old espresso machine today but the Moka pot is on and a bit of coconut cream in the bottom of the mug will smooth out the texture and flavor. Let’s talk about last week.

“Chugging coffee this morning, not because I’m tired, but because it’s so damn good, for some reason. It might be the lingering feeling of actual sunshine, or a good night’s sleep. I don’t know, and I don’t really care. Take the good when you get it, and just enjoy it.”

Thord D. Hedengren

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that last week was my Spring break but instead of a whole week off I only took two days. With the wedding coming up, and the snow days from the week before, I just felt that a whole week of pay was too much to sacrifice for a little free time.

I had hoped for a week of easy work, the typical stuff I do but with fewer people around. I hoped to put in my headphones, catch up on a few podcasts and make progress on my courses. Oh, how wrong I was.

I ended up being “volun-told” to help out in our hiring department making phone calls to prospective new employees. I was to help them fill out applications and once the applications were complete, I scheduled them for interviews. My anxiety levels were sky-high, but I did my best and my best turned out to be pretty damn good. More than that, I actually enjoyed it.

I called nearly every person in the stack they gave me and scheduled all the interviews I could. It’s been a long time since I’ve worked on the phones, over 10 years, but I was good at it then, and it all came back to me last week. Empathy, patience, and communication have always been the areas where my strengths lie.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that we have made a lot of wedding progress this week. We now have our ceremony site permit, two photographers, a caterer, and an officiant. We have our colors settled on and my fiance has an appointment to try on prospective dresses in the next couple of weeks.

Things are moving along. I just hope we can keep this momentum going. We’re easily overwhelmed and prone to long stretches of procrastination.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I can feel my health is going downhill though I can’t tell if it’s all in my head or not.

My joints are stiffer than usual. The ache all day and if I push myself too hard they are throbbing painfully by bedtime. I’m still losing weight but not rapidly enough to panic yet. Just under 10 pounds in the last couple of months though I haven’t changed my diet, nor have I been working out more, yet. I’m afraid to push my body any further.

I’ve still not started the medication my doctor prescribed for me because I am still caught up in the bureaucracies of the health care system. I’m being asked to be patient without being given any explanation but my gut is telling me that my insurance company doesn’t want to pay for this medication. My gut is telling me that when they do call, I’ll be told to try something else first and all this stress and patience will have been for nothing.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that as I type this my fiance is receiving some rather devastating news. There has been a death in her family and she’ll have to leave the state this week to be with her family and say goodbye to their loved one.

My heart is breaking for her and I wish I could go along to help her through this time but to make arrangements for the pets and for work with such short notice would be too much. I’ll have to accept that this is something I cannot fix and offer what small comfort I can from afar.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I hate whenever she has to go out-of-town, not just because I will be alone, but because I will have to drive.

For my new followers who may not know, I have a pretty severe phobia of driving. Even thinking about it now is making my heart rate increase and my palms sweat. My girlfriend is quite understanding about but it hasn’t been easy for her to take on most of the responsibility of transportation for both of us. Of course, when she’s gone, I have no one to help when it gets hard. When she is gone I have to be brave and fight myself while operating a moving vehicle.

I know I’ll be okay. I’ve driven to and from work, and to the grocery store, and many other places plenty of times, but somehow it never seems to get easier to get behind the wheel. In the winter I am especially averse to driving and so it’s been a little while for me. I have to get used to it again and quickly before she goes.

It’s a dumb fear to have, I know, but that doesn’t stop it from being real and it doesn’t make it easier but I’m determined to be brave especially after this week when my fears came up at work and I felt, once again, embarrassed and ashamed to speak my truth. So, I have to be brave not just in facing my fear, but of owning it too.

The truth is that hiding makes it easier to stay stuck and hiding makes me feel worse and worse as the years go on. I’m done hiding, and I’m done being afraid. I want to move past this and I know that once I do there will be nothing left that I can’t overcome.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that, now that the day is nearly over and the evening is ready to settle in, it’s time for me to get up and do all my Sunday things.

The conference starts early tomorrow and being across town (I’m carpooling with coworkers) means I have to get up a lot earlier than usual and that means I need to prepare more and better for the coming week than I normally would. Everything has to be ready.

I hope you had a good week and that wherever you are the sun is shining and you feel loved. I hope you made time for you and that we can all face our fears and overcome them too.

Until next time. 

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Photo courtesy of Barn Images