2.22.2020

222 in rocks

On this, my 9th Blogiversary, I have successfully broken inertia. It’s incredible.

I often feel, on 2.22, a late Winter malaise. I do not suffer now. I set an intention to GET UP, and I did! It was a dizzying pace for one so accustomed to sitting, waiting for life. It was rattling in the beginning. I did get a little buzz of insomnia in January, but afterward settled into a more regular routine. I nap when I need to, not out of habit.

I’m feeling so accomplished and excited for what’s to come. It’s amazing how quickly your vision comes into focus when you take one step toward it.

I’m still high from Rock Camp. In less than a week, my guitar callouses are well on their way, and then we’ll really see progress in leaps and bounds. So far, my wrist doesn’t hurt! My shoulder does, my tendons do, but my bad wrist is aching normally. No prohibitive worsening of pain.

I started a Massage Envy membership this year, and I count it part of physical therapy. I haven’t made it back to yoga yet (and, oh! I’m tight!), but I have returned to belly dance. I’m thrilled to be back on my feet – though I’m a long way yet from recovering from my surgery (or even being happy I had it, eek. We’ll see).

That means, when I get yoga back on the roster, I have even more to expect in the way of comfort, health, and strength. I’m on the right track.

My friend and I have made Wiseguys Comedy Club a regular part of our entertainment budget, and she’s the perfect companion. Nobody laughs harder or better than we do. She dreams of doing a stand up set, and I hope she does. She’s brilliant. Understandably, she wants to be completely alone when she first dares take the stage, but I can’t wait to be invited to the audience.

For my showcase last weekend, I didn’t think anyone would come. No one replied. The day before my show, my friend told me she’d be there and I hoped maybe Galen would be, too, but really didn’t count on it. Imagine my surprise when nine friends attended!

My landlord Molly came with the neighbor rockstars. (No, really. Chandra is in a band called Ginger and The Gents – so jealous! – and she and Misty sing together all the time, including my birthday this year. Intimidating, and awesome!)

A small contingency from Salt Lake’s famous party house, China Blue, came together. I couldn’t believe it. I’m so touched. I almost cried. I was a late-comer to the scene, and now that I live around the corner, I’ve developed real friendships with the residents who, like me, are now middle-aged and tired. These days, they feel pressure to remain a community gathering spot along with a desire to quiet down and prioritize.

One party they maintain every year is the pre- and post-game for the White Party. (My favorite comment on the White Party Event page one year – and I’ve been saying it ever since – was “Black parties matter.”) This year was the 20th Anniversary of Salt Lake’s annual gathering, making it White Party 202020! You know how I love my numbers, especially with all those 2s. They made it a Great Gatsby theme, putting the Roar in Roaring Twenties, giving me a chance to dress as a kitty, which I always love. I even participated in a Flash Mob for the first time! It was so fun! One of those things you never knew you wanted on your Bucket List, check! Oh! I also helped decorate! I signed up for a 4-hour shift and ended up staying six. Wonderful.

So far, so GOOD. I love Hindsight 2020. Way to GET UP, Christie!
w randi and sable
crew at the blue

flash mob

Surprise! Flash Mob!

with zack and jordan

penny and me white party 2020

Perhaps my favorite pic of all time of my Penny and me. >^..^<

Headlong into Hindsight 2020!

It’s here! It’s here! It’s actually happening!

Did anyone else do that? Set an intention for Hindsight 2020, when they’d have all their shit figured out? Well, I did, and I marked it a long time ago. Like, 20 years or more.

The confluence of midlife and that symbolic cliché struck me long before I knew what a bitch this shift would really be. I mean, I knew it would be. My early life was painful. I knew it would be the work of my life to process all that.

I planned to have it done by next month, haha! The weird thing is, I do.

2019 was the first successful hard year I’ve had. It was productive. There were so many opportunities to state feelings of upset, anger, and fear without freaking out, and I did.

The thing I have that I didn’t before is confidence. I trust myself for the first time.

The sexual violence I experienced during festival season, culminating in Burning Man, was a trauma I only just released… last week. I didn’t realize how much of it I was still carrying around until I wasn’t.

I’ll never allow predators to remain again. I know it, because I don’t apologize anymore for my limit. I don’t question anymore if I’m worth walking away from people who don’t honor my boundaries. My safety’s not negotiable.

It’s not asking too much. Refusing another chance – when your needs have been stated and ignored, multiple times – is normal. It’s called Healthy Boundaries.

“Actions speak louder than words.” Listen, dummy!

(It takes time to learn a foreign language, and quite literally, boundaries are not my native tongue. It is what it is. I got it now. I probably have an accent that gives away my place of origin, but that’s fine.)

“Fool me once, shame on you… twice, shame on me” is too reactionary. The benefit of the doubt might enrich us both. Show me it was a slip-up, not the norm. Or don’t, but that tells me about you, not me. I’m not shamed by that.

I legit did not know that. I couldn’t connect it to emotional truth, that I really am allowed to call disrespect by its name, and walk away.

believe them

I’ll give one chance more. Fix it or confirm it. Your choice.

“Disregard those who disregard.” That’s my MO. No guilt or guess-work.

Y’all, I know my boundaries for the first time. Take that in. It’s life-altering.

Kids who grow up with abuse have to love the person(s) hurting them. Boundaries don’t form there. I forgive myself for being a perfect target, because I didn’t create the circumstances that made me a victim.

It’s weird that it took me so long. I knew what I knew what I knew… but not really. I knew what I didn’t want. I had an idea what I did. But real boundaries? I just didn’t have any. I couldn’t. I didn’t know what they were. I was ruled by fear of what I didn’t want to repeat, and terror of being found out: I can’t do better. (I’m not worthy of better!)

Well, I am. Let’s build something!

Now, the only thing keeping me from the future of my dreams is inertia. And that’s a big one for me. I’m lazy. I could blame my luxurious, indolent Taurus. I could blame a life of vigilant anxiety. (You hunker down and dip your toe in, never swimming freely.) Yeah, sure, all the things. I could blame. But I’m staring down 50. It’s now. Holy shit!

I’ve joked for decades, “My epitaph will read, ‘Lovingly gave half her life to sleep.'” If I don’t get up now, I will die never having truly committed to any life. I’m sitting, waiting for it, watching. Get UP and make it!

I feel myself very clearly looking behind me at a wild, manic, amazing first half. I see me – oh, wow – aching for that girl, understanding her, cringing and regretting her, LOVING her. I’m so strong! I survived! I fought like hell not to stick my head in the sand that shields my family from reality. I’d rather kill myself than hide from the truth. I LOVE THAT ABOUT ME. I stared down death to live honestly.

What I see now is courage. I had strength without the tools to voice it in meaningful ways. I was screaming for my very life, and that’s how it felt. What I see now is power expressing itself weakly, and it will again, but not as often, and not blindly.

I’m not as afraid as I was, even two years ago. I think that’s about where the shift took place in space and time. The last two years. In other words, now.

I see myself pivoting, with intention, 180 degrees, to look out on a tabula rasa. Its blankness doesn’t scare me. I don’t have to control right this second what might happen out there. I’m going to make what I make, and I’m excited! I want to start walking, now.

A sad truth of this change has been the adjustment of several relationships. Unfortunately, young Christie’s friends aren’t used to this middle-aged lady’s insight. I built those friendships when I was sick, and those patterns of interaction don’t work for me anymore. I’m not operating from weakness, and I’m not apologizing.

I had to leave a decades-old friendship last year. I sent a card six months later for her birthday, a love letter, really. She called. I answered, glad to put it to rest and move on, only to have her start up with justifications and explanations, and a complete lack of awareness. She was still in a fight that didn’t matter anymore. I tried to work through it – I believe in working through it – but we were talking in circles. At the end of the day she confirmed what I saw for the first time six months prior: a woman who will not share responsibility for misunderstandings. I owned my shit and wouldn’t let her off the hook for hers. I deserve friends who apologize when they’re wrong, of their own volition. I do.

She can’t. She’s not sorry. She’s comfortable in a world where I blame myself for the behavior of others. “I’m fucked up. What do I know?”

Not anymore. Level up.

I had no idea she needed to be “the healthy one” until I got better. In 22 years, we had two fights. After the first, I acquiesced (apologizing without reciprocation) because I needed her and didn’t know my worth, so I couldn’t recognize that she didn’t either. After last year’s argument, I couldn’t stay in a friendship that won’t grow with me.

I love her so much, and I know she’s out there with no clue why our friendship is over. She actually thinks it’s because we had a fight. She needs me weak, and if given the opportunity, she’d go over the minutia again, to prove her point under the guise of resolving things, when it’s long-since moot.

That friend is the keeper of my youth and beauty, of joyful exuberance, freedom, and fun! I’m still fun, can’t help it, but it’s different. I’m fun, with edge. And I love my edge! It’s wicked and sharp, still silly and laughing at my own expense, but not… young anymore. Anyway, the pictures in my mind of this sweet friend and me are footloose and fancy free, if anything ever was. We pranced through mountains singing, and swam in glacial lakes – head underwater three times or it doesn’t count – not a care in the world. She’s a hallmark of an unpolluted era. She holds my innocence, and I love her forever.

Moose Falls

Some badass chick I used to know ~ 1995

kayaking Hoback

Adventure Duo! ~ 1995

I wrote about the friendship that changed after Burning Man, the couple I introduced who got married out there and then hung out on Zafod’s art car after he assaulted me. It doesn’t hurt anymore to accept them at their level. They were friends of long standing that I thought of as intimates, but I see now a childish eagerness to make family of peripheral community. They’re friends. Their values are different from mine. Okay.

I like them. I enjoy them. I’ll seek them out at every gathering. I invest nothing more.

One more important friendship is in 2019’s crucible, on the verge of moving from sister to drinking buddy. We’re in process, and I think we’ll be okay, but my new boundaries are being met with a resistance familiar to me now. The equalizing of power imbalances doesn’t feel as hopeful and thrilling to others as it does me, it seems.

“I’m changing,” I told her. “Keep up or don’t.”

I have no delusions that my patterns and problems will go away, but I’m a different person. EMDR is hard. I hate/love it. I’m hoping to love/hate it soon, but one year in, I still can’t sleep soundly the night of a session. It’s disruptive to a brain!

I have gods-honest panic attacks now, not just the white-knuckle, jaw-clenching stranglehold I’ve had on the day-to-day. On one hand, I prefer it. It feels more honest, less monster under the bed. “Okay, you’re real. Let’s face this down and really talk to it.” On the other hand, panic attacks fucking suck.

I asked my therapist if I’m having fits now because growing new neuro-pathways has basically turned me into a toddler. He said yes, haha! It feels like it. It eases my mind a little to think of them as the tantrums of helpless child because, well, it amuses me, and because a phase is less menacing than a condition.

I don’t have a panic disorder. I have control issues, sure, but I inherited those from a scary childhood. I expect it to settle, because I also feel, for the first time, like a mature adult who can handle her shit without losing it.

I DARED, and I’m so glad I did. I see real results from intense therapy.

(Sometimes, when my practitioner passes over the hand buzzers, I still see them coming at me in slow motion. It’s the craziest thing, like I can watch how I used to “pop out,” but I stay in my body now. It makes me feel faint, and I sense my whole body, the fluttering in my gut, the tingling and numbness in my limbs of staying put instead of running away.) (At this point, as a kid, I just started screaming god-knows-what stream of consciousness, and by age 7-8, I was being mocked for how “smart” I was. I couldn’t stop the violence, but I could get in your head.)

I’m not afraid of that screaming thing in me anymore. It kept me alive. It’s the same warrior that made me willing to stare this down, and put it to rest. Real strength is nascent in me yet, but I trust it. I believe it. I can do it. I am.

It’s not my fault what happened to me, but it’s my responsibility now.
go bravelyLooking forward, the only thing I have to confront (that has nothing to do with cPTSD) is that lazy streak. I have to muster up some self-discipline! I got no time left. If I keep sitting, I will actually die waiting for my life to happen.

So, to that end, here are my plans:

Get my ESL certification in preparation for moving to Bolivia to teach English.

Finish my recovery. (Unlike Donald Trump, my bone spurs were real. You don’t get out of Vietnam. You get surgery.)

gross foot

It was so swollen under the bandages, I have to slough that skin entirely. The peeling!

Keep up Afro-Brazilian drum lessons until I can…

Return to yoga and dance!

Audition for Samba Fogo drum corps.

Restring my guitar and start online lessons.

Participate in SLC’s 3rd annual Rock Camp for Womyn.

Build the E11 Temple again (Hindsight 2020 theme!) and join an art installation crew.

Tarot… Actually learn the deck, and do readings at E11.

Cook something healthy at least once a week, for the love! (I’m skinny fat.)

Oh. BULLET JOURNAL! Why have I never done that? Oh, yeah. I’m not busy enough to need a planner. But I love lists, and I love pretty things. Boom, done. Bullet journal.

Write short blog posts. 😆

The end.

Cured!

gentle power

I didn’t believe quiet strength was available to me until 2019.

(P.S. Two fights in 22 years? [222!] … Ignoring my experience and intuition is my Achilles heel. “I’m tripping myself up” repeating old patterns of unhealthy relationships. Foot metaphors? [I fixed my toe, and relationships are changing.] I love synchronicities, and that’s too coincidental not to notice. *hi, angels*)
repeat repair

Solutions

Karel at Peace With My Life posted “Finding Solutions” yesterday. I read it after I’d already ranted over here. She helped me remember that I’m perfectly fine being perfectly human, and that solutions will present themselves whether I want to wallow in awful or not.

In her blog, Karel has written much about animal communication sessions she does with Danielle Tremblay at Insight With Animals. I’ve always wanted to do it, but couldn’t justify such an expense. She recommended it to me, though, and today it just felt like the right thing to do. Odd, since I’m still having security anxiety, which always reduces to money (even though I don’t really think that’s what it’s about).

So I did it! I’ve signed up for a 15 minute session over the phone on Friday!

When I’m feeling down like I was yesterday, my beliefs –  angels, repeating numbers, psychic phenomena – become laughable and I’m just stupid, but even if this woman can’t help the cats in our home, it worked because I feel better. I’m so excited!

And whadya know? Instantly, I came up with a solution I couldn’t see yesterday. I’m adding a litter box to the spare room. Perhaps Penny will feel like she gets to “break the rules” by using a box other than her own, and she won’t have to share with Stinky Cricket, bless her, who doesn’t cover her contributions.

This will make a difference, I know it, and so will our session on Friday.

7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7!

WOW! Today was such a stressful and fretful day. I came home from work last night to find my little fatty’s ear had swollen with some kind of huge cyst or abscess. I took her to the vet this morning and had to worry all day.

I finally spoke to the vet, who diagnosed an aural hematoma. He couldn’t explain why she got it; She had no signs of former ear infection, which often is found to be the trigger. Ultimately, it will cost me nearly a thousand dollars. Oy! *sigh*

hehe

hehe

While I was on the phone with the vet, I got a call from an unknown number. I returned the call immediately upon hanging up to learn that the nurse from my dermatologist’s office had gone home already, having closed the office early that day.

Sure enough, she’d left a voicemail. But here’s the thing: I had a little bad patch of skin removed from my hand 2 weeks ago. The doctor didn’t think it was anything to worry about. Neither did I. Just figured, at midlife, it’s time to start that maintenance. He said he’d call if there was any cause for concern, not expecting there would be.

I clarified, “Okay, so you’re sending this to the lab and when I don’t hear from you, I don’t need to call panicking, ‘I had this thing biopsied and I never heard back…'”

“No. We’ll call you if it’s anything to be concerned about.” So this chick leaves me a message at the end of her day and leaves me to worry ALL NIGHT LONG about what the hell she was calling to tell me.

So then I reframe it. “Okay, Christie. It’s an opportunity to practice patience. You don’t have a choice, so just be.” I took a breath. “Anyway, it’s nothing. It’s probably something clerical or stupid, in which case it’s an opportunity to prepare to treat the caller with respect when you finally reach her, even though she created unnecessary worry for you.” (It’s not administrative. Otherwise, an administrative person would have called.)

In any case, it is what it is and I get to sit in the not knowing all night. Okay. I called my mom. We ended up having a lovely conversation. We’ve been speaking more and more the last couple of months. It’s been nice.Today, especially so.

****

I picked up my little fat kitty cat from the vet, and as I sat waiting for the cab I noticed the door of the pet hospital: “Hours: Mon.-Sat. 7-7, 7-7, 7-7, 7-7, 7-7, 7-7.”

Oh my goodness! It’s 7-7!

Oh my god! It’s Christine’s birthday! She was apprehended and questioned by the police, on her birthday, for the physical assault that occurred two days prior as I tried to escape last year. I was happy they were located and hauled in at all, but especially that it happened on her birthday. I knew there were no consequences beyond that. I’m sure the whole inconvenience took no more than an hour. All I wanted was for her to know that she did not get away with it.

I know who you are. What you did was wrong, and you know it, too.attack Christine loved that her birthday was 7.7.72. The reason for my visit last year was to celebrate our friendship one last time before finally phasing her out. She didn’t know my plan. I intended to celebrate her with one last round of blind drunkenness, and move on. You can’t get wasted enough to enjoy her company anymore, and I just wasn’t going to feel guilty about it any longer.

We were party girls together, Chrissy Squared. We were disgusting, the most obnoxious 20-somethings and beyond. She grew up in Salt Lake, but never lived here since I met her. She visited, often, and we had friends in common.

Of course, I saw the changes over real time, but I could keep up. I’m a drinker. Everyone has a friend you have to be drunk to enjoy anymore, so I joined her when she was in town. When I drink, I’m all in, still, and I’m perfectly aware of how obnoxious I am. Together, we were obscene. We had so much fun!

She’s not obnoxious now. She’s deranged. Violent, incoherent, out of control.

She harangued me for years to join her abroad. At last I agreed, knowing I’d be drunk around the clock, and then finished with her. With love. The end of a season. Good-bye, dear friend, now lost in alcoholism that took a different turn from mine.

My intentions were good, but I’m not in control either. I shouldn’t have gone.

I wanted a cute pic, but this was all she'd give me.

I wanted a cute pic, but this was all she’d give me.

I’m so grateful to be home and healing, continuing to learn. My family is getting better, stronger. My new boundaries are protecting me. I still feel a lot of pain and sorrow for the difficulty we experience(d) as a profoundly ill family, especially as I watch the trauma become more disruptive for one of my dear brothers. I think he’ll have a lifelong journey with Depression and anger, and so far I don’t have a lot of confidence that he’ll even look at it as something to recover from and live with.

But things are good.

My angels greet me now and then through numbers, and I don’t care if believing that makes me nutty. 🙂 Sometimes it’s just a little nod, a hello, but I’ve never got one like SEVEN sets of SEVEN in a row! What a reminder to take stock and express gratitude. Thank you, angels!7 of heartsWow. I got a new follower moments after publishing this post. I checked out her site and right there on the front page was a post called A Copper Penny In Your Eyes.

Pennies became one of the first symbols of angel communication for me. I asked my Grandpa [after his passing] to send pennies, and he did! I was practically knocked out by pennies from heaven, there were so many the first five years or so. It’s less frequent now, and less personal. I don’t feel his energy, exactly, every time. It’s just a smiley face each time I see one now, but after the connection I felt this afternoon, I can’t help but find it to be a confirmation of the day I had and the feelings it inspired.

All is well. “Cuddle doon, me bairney,” Grandpa used to say. It’s a Scottish poem.
pennies and quarterThe author of the poem I found today used pennies to represent the low regard shown by a false friend. Nevertheless, my meaning for pennies remains untarnished and the poem itself is quite profound and well-written, about honoring oneself and drawing on courage to stand tall in the truth of who you are. (A timely nod after my reminder of Spain today, and confirmation that I did well to leave my own false friend.)

Fatty’s surgery is slated for SEVEN SEVENteen at SEVEN a.m.
I don’t make this stuff up.
(For those of you keeping track, that SEVENteen SEVENS in a row.)

*****

“The repeating Angel Number 7 indicates for you to keep up the great work you’ve been doing of late. Your angels are telling you that you are on the right life path and that you will find that things of a positive nature will flow freely for you.  Your job is to maintain your momentum and enthusiasm, with the highest outcomes for all in focus.

Angel Number 777 is a positive sign and means that you should expect miracles to occur in your life.”

I love this site by Joanne Sacred Scribes. I don’t remember when I first found it, but I just love it! 77777777777777777! http://sacredscribesangelnumbers.blogspot.com/

THE YEAR OF THE ANSWER IS WORKING! 42! (7×6, like the wall of the vet clinic. 🙂 )
Mid-life is kind and difficult and funny and strange and wonderful and MIRACULOUS!