Friday, January 31, 2003

Always. Frequently. Sometimes. Rarely. Never.

Those are the options I'm given when I fill out the mandatory update form at my counsellor's office to see if I'm still dysfunctional enough to warrant treatment. My answers have improved (in the sense of the state of mental health they indicate) and the general gist has changed a lot over the months, leaning away from depression and tending more to anxiety. Maybe not the best of solutions, but I can make anxiety work for me a hell of a lot easier than depression.

I usually end up picking either "frequently" or "rarely", the only time I use "never" is in the questions relating to substance abuse, and I don't recall having used "always". It's so definitive, there's so few things that one can confidently apply it to. So I end up sounding like a noncomittal depressive. Anxiotic. Ummm... is there an "-ive" for people suffering from anxiety disorders?

My point is this: there is a world of difference between "never" and "rarely", and just as much of a world between "frequently" and "always". Imagine a friend who always, without exception, turns any situation to being about them and their difficulties, then imagine a friend who does it frequently, but there are still things that remain yours, or a third party' probably wouldn't remain around the former very long, but the latter could easily be a good friendship, as long as you can see past the self obsessive tendencies.

I realise that so many negative "never" and "always" things have been eliminated in my life, or downgraded to "rarely" and "frequently" or even the middle-ground "sometimes". On top of that I've gained many positive versions too. Yet sometimes I still focus on the occasional "never" that won't go away. Or the "rarely" that feels like it should be a "sometimes".

I feel as though I have all the right ingredients now, or nearly all. No, I take that back: the only remaining ingredients to be found are seasonings, garnish, the base is there. So I have all the right ingredients... I just need to adjust some of the proportions, or maybe my sense of proportion with regards to some ingredients. A litte more of this a little less of that. Change this one from a smidgen to a splash and that one from a chunk to a chip.

Good Gods, I'm talking in code. But it's mostly for my own benefit anyway, I know what I'm talking about, and by talking about it I've remembered that I really do have the right basic ingredients, and that's something I was nowhere near having a year and a half ago.

So hooray for investigative cooking in the game of life. Experimentation in the creative process of the confection that is my life. It's turning into a damn fine cake, I don't need to fret about the frosting really, it's not the most important part.

Thursday, January 30, 2003

One nifty random thing I forgot to mention about the new Fluffcomp. When I signed up for the trial period of MSN explorer, it gave me a little icon for my account (and then a different one for Matt when I made him a user account), the icon it randomly assigned to me is a girl in a very Tang Soo Do-like uniform, in mid flying-side-kick. She even looks a little like Pinguino, I think it's an omen, though whether of happy computer usage or of a black belt in the future for me, I don't know.
Matt's icon is a pair of deck chairs on a beach, so clearly my computer isn't quite as good at guessing his identity.

I wish I had a vacation day to use tomorrow, I can console myself with the thought that my NEXT birthday will be on a Saturday. Matt picks up the keys to his new place tomorrow after work, so we will have a double celebration in the evening. We're going out for a proper meal and everything, all dressed up and stuff.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

*pirouettes around the bedroom*. Apartment. Same thing in my world really innit?

Let's just take a short break to wonder where the hell the word "innit" came from in my London-influenced subconcious.

OK, that's long enough.

This is solely to announce that I am now a web-enabled owner of an HP 523n Desktop. Boxtop currently, as it's sitting on top of it's own box until I get a desk for it to live on.

I suppose I'm glad I had my second depo shot on Friday, rather than on Monday as I'd planned, because then I would have had this migraine on my birthday. I realise that I've had many fewer migraines than usual since starting on this stuff, though it also coincides closely with leaving my last apartment, so I can't be sure it isn't change of environment leading to reduced stress.

This weekend, Gods willing, I may even get a computer. I have located my victim (an HP in case anyone's wondering) but I have to decide if it would add too much chaos to my apartment to bring in new machinery before the table project is completed. I need to get that thing varnished, so it can be used as well as admired. Having said that, I may just go and look at Circuit City tonight, see if they can offer me the same deal as HP online.

Monday, January 27, 2003

We had one of those talks last night.

With anyone else those talks are a bad thing, full of tension and unspoken wants and resentments. With Matt...we sit and have a genial conversation about what we each like and dislike about our relationship. When I say dislike, it's really more a case of "Well I'd like a bit less of this and bit more of that, but that other thing you're worried about, doesn't bother me at all."

We do that every now and then, sit about objectively discussing our relationship. Talking about how it is rather comical that he's now going to be living a block (plus half a house) away from me, but that we're glad to be doing it this way, and we'll end up living together soon enough anyway. Talking about how it's surprising that both of us are happy being around each other all the time, that we don't get sick of each other, when we're both a little withdrawn and reclusive in general (yes I am, you just don't get to see it because when I'm being reclusive I'm, well, not there). We can talk about all these things without it being a game of trying to find the truth hidden in the heap of insinuations, because what we say to each other is what we mean. That level of truth and trust is something I doubted really existed before I met Matt, especially with the trends of all the people I've known through the years.

It's marvellous to me how we can talk about the supposedly big scary internal issues and it feels like a friendly chat over coffee. The most tense we get with each other is when one of us is worrying that the other isn't happy, and maybe it's something to do with "us". Then we touch base, look each other in the eye and say I am so lucky to have you, to have this friendship and love with you, everything else is better just because I have your face at the end of the day...

Life may not be any simpler because of it, but it feels like less of a monumental challenge to get on with it now.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

And another thing...
I'm also getting back into the swing of cooking, something I had been out of practice doing for several months by the time I moved, and it's not just cooking for myself, it's for two of us, with someone else's tastes and preferences to consider. This will get much less stressful once it has passed into the realms of routine, and when I learn to ask for more help.

That last statment probably applies a great deal to my life in general.

Coffee, more coffee please...
I'm waiting for it to be 9am, so I can call and make an extra appointment to ask a woman who has seen the inside of my head why I still weep in my sleep when I think that I'm happy. Why I feel sick and wracked with misery, but have not the faintest idea why, because if you ask me, I'm happy. All the reasons that come to mind seem so ineffectual. "I don't love my job, I don't hate it, but it's frustrating in a way I'm ready to be rid of" "It's January, I always get blue in January" "He was away for two weeks and it sucked, so now he's back I'm crying about it" "I'm stressing about money because I've bought so much furniture this month" "My apartment is in huge disarray because of said furniture being mid-assembly"

Maybe (yet again) it's E: all of the above. Combined little factors making me stressed out, but stress isn't supposed to have this effect. This is closer to depressed for me, but it doesn't feel like depression, it isn't as heavy somehow.

I think I didn't expect the crying fits to be one of the things that would hang around after I'd faced up to myself, I expected the leftovers to be occasional flashbacks, a continued inability to hear some stories or kinds of jokes, the need to leave the room at certain points in movies. All I could think of this morning was that Matt had lain awake almost all night hearing me weep, wondering what was wrong, and he still reached over and touched my cheek, kissed my shoulder and held me tight as though I wasn't scaring him. It would terrify me, hearing him cry out and not being able to do anything to soothe him.

Now I'm remembering something I told him the weekend we went to Kern County, I'd been having the same problems then, barely making it through the day without collapsing somewhere to cry, but that was because of the build up of tension in my old apartment, and the fact that I hadn't told him much about my problems with depression and I was starting to feel dishonest. I told him that it's almost like an epileptic fit sometimes, I'll just suddenly be crying and feeling like shit, and there won't be a reason. That the best thing he can do is to hold my hand and let me ride it out.

Wow, it's 9.30 already, and I've almost figured it out all by myself. I'm still going to make the appointment though, that's what she's there for.

This has to go away, I won't allow it to be a permanent fixture. Maybe when the magical day comes that there is no drama (yeah right...), there will also be no freakouts. It's ok if it's just me, it's bad having Matt affected by it, but I keep getting this image of a little kid peeking around a doorway to see me sobbing in my bedroom, just like I saw my sister crying inconsolably when she was 16 and I was 7, it didn't traumatise me, but I still remember it. I don't want to be that woman, I don't want to make that kind of memory for my children.

Friday, January 17, 2003

Tonight's going to be fun, starting with an emergency trip to the airport to ensure Radiskull's passage to Berkeley is achived in a timely manner, followed by grocery shopping, table shopping (and chairs and wood stain and brushes shopping), cooking, eating, tidying, hanging out with Bob, packing up a minimalist waffle-making kit to take to La Mesa and finishing off with a second trip to the airport to collect a sleepy, frostbitten and homesick Matt.

OK so he's not actually frostbitten, but he has got an injured toe, so I took creative liscence.

Funny thing is, the prospect of all this isn't stressful, or overwhelming, or anything along those lines. Sometimes it's really great to zoom about getting things done, and it's all in the name of good causes. Causes like friends going home, eating curry, owning a table (and chairs and wood stain and brushes...) bringing waffly goodness to one much in need of home-cooking, and getting Matt back in San Diego. Especially the last one.

Happy Friday everyone, keep your fingers crossed for miraculously light traffic on 5 South.

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Three days to go!

It is also my Mum's birthday tomorrow, I hope I remember to call her before I go to work.

The trip up to LA was a great success, I feel more relaxed there now for some reason, maybe it's that I'm feeling less and less like a strange intrusion into my Californian family's life. Aunt Susan plotting an impromptu early birthday lunch for me was so sweet, she explained it by "well, we never do anything for you Rosie", which is typical Susan logic, and completely untrue if yo ask me, they are always warm and open, welcoming to me simply because I'm family. They're proud of me for what I've accomplished, though is seems so little to me, and even if they know of the more spectacular failures and mistakes (Granny at the very least must have figured some of it out) it doesn't seem to factor in.

What's more, they gave me a waffle iron, so they must love me!

Being up in LA also enabled me to forget that Matt is currently on the other side of the country, even though he called to tell me about exploring many historical sites over there with his Mom.

Soon I won't have to worry about that though, because he'll be home and I'll be feeding him waffles until he pleads for mercy. Between December and January we'll have had a whole month apart, thankfully we had a week in the middle of it to regroup, store up snuggles, and exchange yule gifts.

Friday, January 10, 2003

That's the last time I read a novel containing a powerful love story while my partner is away. Last night I wanted to turn to Matt and show him the things in the story that I feel we also have, and talk about how we have it so much better than the star-crossed lovers in my book. As it was I had to keep these things to myself and ended up dwelling on the other theme of the book, which was the debate over whether something has to endure to be worthy, and if so, then is anything worth it, because our lives are all so temporary anyway... I had a night of very strange dreams, the internal motivations of which I can't begin to figure out, but it was kind of part of an old running theme so I'm not going to try to dissect it too hard.

I'm a little ashamed of myself for calling him at 5am PST to announce that I couldn't sleep and I missed him, while he sat in class, I was also highly incoherant as my mouth wasn't nearly so awake as my overactive imagination. It's the only such incident in over nine months, so it's not a bad average, and maybe it'll teach him to talk to me the next time he's sleepless with homework anxiety, instead of letting me sleep and driving himself quietly crazy.

Ho-hum, he'll be back in a week, refilling the Matt-shaped hole he left behind in my life and hopefully helping me paint my table. The design for which I suppose I should try to figure out this weekend, I'll take my notebook and William Morris samples up to LA with me when I visit Granny. Along with my poor neglected guitar, I want to have some beginnings of calluses on my fingertips to show off by next week.

On the grander theme of permanence, my take on it is that continuity isn't the be-all and end-all of what is wonderful in this life, because we are constantly in transit. A love doesn't have to last a lifetime to be considered a "true" love, and often things achieve more meaning by being transiently beautiful, as it makes you focus in every moment of it's presence. This attitude may be due to the fact that I've never had to live through a great loss, I've seen the grief it causes up close and personal, in my family and friends, but not in myself. There has been one great loss of my own, but I didn't recognise it as such at the time, and by the time I realised I was in need of mourning I was already aware of how much I had gained as a side-effect of that loss. So much so that the departure of what had been taken from me seemed rather insignificant in the end. I still light a candle in my mind for my younger self every spring, but it is the echoes of loss in others that makes me wonder what it will be like when it is my turn to carry a flame of memory for a loved one lost.

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

I am still alive.

Just in case anyone was wondering.

Work = meh, but that's usually the case.
Friends = great.
Flat = home for sure.
Family = too far away but spectacular cooks and good company to boot.
Matt = away. This sucks, but will soon be rectified by his return from the business trip to Snowdonia. *wink
Life = good, real and unfluffy in places, but excellent over all.
Love = see above, section "Matt"