labelleizzy: (Default)
Q: What prevents me from getting started?
Q: What are the obstacles and impediments?
Q: What are my goals?


I'm keeping myself accountable for this writing by way of a facebook post where I asked friends to say: write the thing! and give me a number between 1 and 9, labeling each writing prompt with a number in my ADHD journal.

Actually the goals part is the most difficult, so it's appropriate to use it for last.
shall I write about writing? or about this therapeutic process to address the impact of adhd in my life, now that I know something about that being a THING for me?

I think I'd prefer to write about the therapy process and unpack some ideas or thoughts or just basically ... well, hopefully do better than just word-vomit but I shan't make any promises tonight. I have 10 prompts I've culled from the group on monday and therapy with Lara yesterday.

Q1) What prevents me from getting started?
--- Interest. Now that nobody's making me do shit, now I'm not accountable to a boss, a schedule, a clientele (well not precisely) I mainly spend my days doing what I want with a few commitments per week, mostly self inflicted. There's stuff that I know I COULD be doing, even SHOULD be doing,
...and I don't. I don't do them.

I used to judge myself on that, but I don't. I used to tear myself up about that, but I don't. Thank god, I used to literally be my own worst enemy that way.

---Accountability. For reasons that I hope to be able to dig into later, accountability is huge in my motivational force. If I promise to someone I will do something, I will do it solely BECAUSE I SAID I WOULD and that seems to be sufficient. If someone asks me to do something, and it's pretty direct, like Jeff asks will I pull out that part of the garden full of aphids, and I say I will, that seems to be sufficient.

However. If I don't have some kind of outside accountability, I don't do things on any kind of coherent timeline. Which is maybe not always important, but like, it feels like it would be good to shower three times a week, but I can't always hit that. And sometimes that's the depression, but also that I don't get enough human f2f feedback to notice and then to feel embarrassed when I stink.

I've actually planned to chain the showering habit to the working out habit... but haven't been successful. I don't at the moment know how to force that.

Maybe I could find a depression/neurodivergent partner, who also has a not-daily habit they want to build, and we could encourage each other.

It seems that I am better about keeping other people on track than I am at keeping myself on track.
also I am better about staying on track if I have someone else helping me stay accountable.

The last writing prompt out of ten, is, why is it more effective to have Lara or anyone else, tell me what to do, than it is for ME to tell me what to do, in this accomplishing tasks.

1) The oldest part of my brain says because what I want doesn't matter. Because you're always supposed to put other people first, because you can't figure stuff out on your own. (interesting that I chose to use second-person there...hmmm) There's a LOT of old messages there, traceries of a former self. What my friend Chelsea recently called... something like spent seed pods, or carapaces, or used envelopes.

what I want DOES MATTER. I don't ALWAYS have to put other people first, I am ALLOWED to be first on my own priority list godsdammit! and I definitely CAN FIGURE STUFF OUT ON MY OWN but I do have old learned helplessness and my constant fight against distraction to get the stuff figured out, and then the steps sorted out, and then get the shit DONE.

2) when I was teaching about study skills (bear with me a moment, it will become relevant) I had the kids take a test which would help them figure out what their learning style was like. Howard Gardner had a theory of Multiple Intelligences, for which there are Varied tests, now available on the internet. (gosh that would have been much more easy and fun to do on the internet! but it was nearly fifteen years ago that I started that unit, & in an inner city school with limited computer resources.)

I suspect that I have a deep need for interpersonal learning. I'm only sometimes good at teaching myself new skills; I hunger for someone to see me and teach me. I love dance class and working with my trainer for that... but having a teacher teach me and walk me through the material, help me build skills? so much more satisfying than YouTubing my way through something new. (I bet Jeff has a strong intrapersonal learning drive. It would make so much sense.)

What are my goals?
  • I want to feel productive, truly productive, every day.
  • I want to help other people every day. (I can be the person helped, it's allowed. *smile*)
  • I want to feel like my mind and my time are under my guidance and control.


That last item is going to require a new skills base, or a return to old skills (Flylady or Franklin-Covey 7 Habits territory), probably some new skills base. My needs are different now than when I first learned those, ages and ages ago. My mind is different.

Okay. that's enough for the first two prompts.

Thanks for listening, hopefully this isn't too much of a plate of scrambled spaghetti noodles for anyone but me to find benefit in.
labelleizzy: (Default)
Today is st. Patrick's Day. I came up with the term earlier today that suddenly Define for me what these sort of overly emphasized and made up holidays and American culture really are to me.

Plastic holidays.

My dad used to call Mother's Day, Father's Day, Valentine's Day, and a lot of other such holidays quote Hallmark holidays unquote. Because in his mind they seemed to exist only to sell more greeting cards. So that's where I'm coming from.

But St. Patrick's Day, it's not even a real holiday even in a Catholic calendar, not really a holiday in the same way that Cinco de Mayo isn't really an important historical date in Mexican history. And what I feel has happened is that these relatively innocuous holiday dates have somehow been glomped up on by American pop culture as an excuse to party, overindulge, and get drunk.

In that same vein, then this afternoon I was thinking about the Disney movie The Hunchback of Notre Dame. And remember their holiday of Topsy Turvy day? I read at some point *cough history nerd cough* that holidays like that exist in the same way that Mardi Gras exists; which is they are safety valves for the restlessness of the popular folk or the poor folk or the little guys.

The more authoritarian, the more controlling, the more class segregated, a culture is, or the more judgemental and repressed they are about sex (music, dancing, art), the greater the need for the kind of Festival that allows Dionysus to really come out.

That's how we put it in one of my Faith Traditions. It is the necessary Madness in Greek paganism. We call it the Lesser Madness, and we accept the Lesser Madness in order to prevent the greater Madness from taking over. The big problem right now, as I see it, is that the greater Madness is going to come and take control.

Our culture is fucked up in so many ways: the belief that the richer you are the more deserving/virtuous/admirable you are. The deliberate breaking of the education system so that only so many people really succeed in getting educated or in learning how to think clearly. The pervasive baked in sexism and racism that prevents so many people from achieving their dreams, their goals, or even, LITERALLY, continued existence.

The Lesser Madness is on the verge of no longer being able to function as a safety valve in American society. The Powers That Be are drowning us all, pissing us off to satisfy their endless horrific greed. Their disregard and cruelty towards "lesser mortals" endangers vulnerable lives in every walk of life, in every time of life from infancy through eldering.

Americans are learning to SEE. Americans are learning, again, to defend our rights. And the "safety valve" is going to blow CLEAN OFF. It already is, as those in the government making a power grab fail to understand that they have awoken the sleeping Leviathan with their unsubtle callous jerking back and forth at the reins.

It's probably better for us, actually, that they are so incompetent. And so disregarding of our agency, power, and willingness to Fuck Shit Up.

The steam engine of this experiment in democracy seems about ready to blow up because the conductor keeps shoveling coal in and disregarding the dials because he doesn't want to control himself.

You know *scratching chin* they probably could have kept fleecing us for a hell of a long time if they'd only gone about it in a moderate fashion. But I think between Flint, Michigan, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, so so many others, so many failures to protect the people, so many failures to look after us, the sheep are going to stampede and trample a bunch of shit, bring confusion to our enemies.

And some of the sheep ain't sheep at all. We're dragons with wings and roars and fire. We're manticores with poison fangs and lion's claws. We're fae, we're tiny enough to get between the gears of the machine and fuck shit up that way, or we're giant amazons, in seven league boots, bearing giant spiked bats made for smashing.

And those that think they control us and can harvest us at their liking will have another think coming.

Smash the Patriarchy.

further reading: Normal is coming unhinged. For the last eight years it has been possible for most people (at least in the relatively privileged classes) to believe that society is sound, that the system, though creaky, basically works, and that the progressive deterioration of everything from ecology to economy is a temporary deviation from the evolutionary imperative of progress...
labelleizzy: (bunny writer)
I never used to think of myself as an artist, which is funny and sad on a number of levels. I had this image of myself as a fuckup, someone who does stuff half-assed, has trouble with completing projects, and I wouldn't let myself justify costuming or calligraphy or writing as "artistic". I'm almost entirely self-taught in those realms, which was part of the problem.

Finally I decided I could call myself an artist once I'd become a part of the Waldorf teaching tradition. My program follows one of Steiner's precepts, that the Teacher as Artist is a goal to strive toward. And it's made clear that the artistic technique is not just meant for the Art of Teaching, though it's a part. I struggled hard to make my work "artistic" as my teachers requested, characterizing rather than defining, showing the gesture or direction of an idea rather than delineating it.

I also struggled with comparing myself to my classmates. I have always been an enthusiastic maker of images, but I had never had much instruction with regard to technique, while half my classmates produced what seemed like masterworks in comparison to my own clumsy efforts.

The first teacher training art class I felt at home at, wasn't even an *art* class.
The second half of the High School Mathematics curriculum taught to the Waldorf Teachers-in-training is Geometry, including the artistic component of Geometric Drawings.
There is a real peace in learning how to be precise. We were explicitly taught the steps and stages for any geometric construction. Bless Patrick for a meticulous teacher, breaking down the techniques with ease and clarity, having us practice until we understood.

24PointConnection GeomDrawing
(image of a 24-point geometric web)

Once I began the process of drawing a geometric figure, I found myself in this incredibly clear-headed space. Like a life-long weight of self-judgment had lifted. Liberating!
I can't even really explain how it felt, what it did to my head, to my sense of self, to be able to grok clearly and completely how to construct this precise and beautiful thing.

flowery fun with geometry
(image titled "Flowery fun with geometry" using many interlocking circles and colors and shading to create a flower shape.)

Being able to create these complex and meticulous drawings sent me into a very Zen space. My head quieted, my focus narrowed, and all there was in the world was me, my hands, the paper, tools, and pencil. Completely "in the Zone", completely in flow-state, I very rarely wanted to stop or even pause in the process. It seemed *easy*, and was definitely FUN.

I had a paradigm shift. No longer could I tell myself "it's too hard, I can't do that, too complicated, too detailed, I'm not ____..." where ___ could be anything from "that kind of artist" or "precise" or "clever like that" or "skilled like that" or even the base canard, "good enough". Those evil little brainweasel voices couldn't be heard over the all-consuming focus on the process of construction, the flow that somehow seemed so easy in such an unexpected place after so long striving after it.

SimpleGeomFlowrWNotes
(image titled "simple geometric flower with notes", seven interlocking circles filled in with blue, pink and green.)

Why am I not doing geometric drawing all the time? It's lovely, it's satisfying, and there are thousands of possible projects to practice.
Why NOT do a thing I enjoy, and that brings me peace? Why NOT enjoy exploring my skills, expanding my image of myself to include calm precision and creation of beauty?

Every day we grow and change. We all transform ourselves into new people, a little at a time. Sometimes the transformation is consciously done, sometimes simple passage of time creates the transformation without us thinking much about what we're growing into, what we're becoming.

If the time will pass regardless, why NOT be intentional about what you choose to do with your transformation?

I wanna get GOOD at the art. And I know it doesn't just happen, I know I have to work at it. I have to LET myself get good at it. I have to be willing to fail and to suck and to throw stuff away sometimes. I have to go GET what I need to get better, I have to take lessons, write scripts for comics, watch YouTube instructional videos, practice little chibi drawings, start doodling on my tablet computer, and with the watercolor paints, and just allow myself to practice and experiment.

And I have to remember that nothing worth having is birthed all of a sudden.

ComplexGeomFlowr1
(image titled "Complex Geometrical Flower stage 1", initial shading and coloring)

Art in particular is part of a slow and steady process, a conversation between me and the paper, or the clay, or the paint or fabric or the computer screen.

complexGeomFlowr2
(image titled "Complex Geometrical Flower stage 2", intermediate stage of shading and coloring)

Art for art's sake is fine, I think it's a worthy goal just to bring more beauty into the world, to provoke conversation or thought or change. Art has the ability to wake people up to something they may be unaware of in the world.

complexGeomFlowr3
(image titled "Complex Geometrical Flower stage 3", completed shading and coloring)

Art can serve an even higher purpose though. Art can bring a chance for transformation and healing, rest and respite, community and peace.
All of these are things that the artistic process has taught me, has brought to me.

This, this making things, making art, changing one thing into another thing by channeling ideas and images THROUGH ME, this is one way I can contribute to the world.
And to make this contribution, means that I can give myself permission to learn these skills properly, to practice the crafts that I love: writing, art, communication, teaching, healing. I can give myself permission to practice them until I am properly good at those skills and can then use them out in the world to the end result of community and healing.

There's so much pain in the world and not nearly enough beauty. Too much loneliness and not nearly enough love, compassion, and beauty.

I can do this. I can remember, and use as fuel for the work, the fact that the things I HAVEN'T done are the things I have most regretted.

Face the Fear and Do It Anyway.

poem

Jun. 6th, 2014 05:15 pm
labelleizzy: (forward momentum)
why is it painful to let go of unhelpful words?
perhaps these were once upon a time, protectors,
the words bookworm, nerd, gimp, weakling.
the belief that if it was hard, I wasn't meant to do it...
if I were meant to do it, t'would come naturally, surely?

i can't seem to get my glasses clean
to see my own Self in the mirror
to understand my own wingspan
or the extent of my reach
or how far I can leap

hamstrung by my blindness
the persistence of memory
self image of pale, soft, weak, fearful
but there is so much more to me
than what I used to be

Am I strong? Yes. Am I smart? Yes.
Am I capable? Yes. Am I flexible? Yes.
Am I kind? Yes.
Am I soft?

*smile* Yes, I am soft.
Soft like a pillow at naptime, and comfortable.
Soft like silk sheets, and strong like them too.

Am I brave?
Yes.
Could I write were I still fearful?
Yes, ... but I wouldn't show my heart, were I still fearful.

I don't deal in trivialities.
I want the blood, and the bone, and the sweat,
I want the gritted teeth and the grunts of effort.

I step beyond old useless protectors.
I make myself stronger from the inside
I stand strong

I do not need the deflections of nerd, gimp, weakling.

I see the world as it is and as I would have it
and I reach out my hands
to begin shaping the world
A strong, kind, smart, compassionate world

and my strong hands
will shape it

100 things.

May. 3rd, 2013 01:28 pm
labelleizzy: (autumn leaves)

Working out is *fun*.
Tal seems to grok that a) bodyweight exercises are both more appropriate for the shape I'm currently in (ROUND is a shape!) and b) that mixing it up, making each workout different, is the most engaging.
I don't think we have done the same exercise twice yet, barring warmup on the fitness center stairs.

 

bless her. I admitted I didn't do my homework between Wednesday and today (was supposed to do an hour of something cardio and an hour of yoga, oy, that's a lot!).
She asked, semi rhetorically, "what am I supposed to say to that?" in her slight accent.

 

I said mildly, "Say, 'do better next time'."
So she did, exactly so.

 

*smile* I don't know if I will be able to do all of the next batch of homework, she wants me to do two cardio and one yoga (Monday and Tuesday classes I've been trying to attend anyway) so if I can fit one cardio in over the weekend I'll be set.
she also wants me to eat five times a day.
I like how that makes me feel when I do it, so I will definitely try. I'm up to twice today, and I will see how it goes.

 

Balance work is crucial, I was very weak and noodly-muscled when I tried the various balancing exercises Tal asked me to do. Core strength also needs work.

 

well, that IS why I'm working with her. Because I know I need help to get back to a habit of fitness and flexibility.

 

This is the diagnosis phase, where we find out what I'm capable of while simultaneously working to IMPROVE what I'm capable of.

 

Forward Momentum!





labelleizzy: (joyful dance!)
This is what I posted to FB last night just before falling asleep...

"Seems I have 3 rules for dancing at 5Rhythms:

1) dance in 3 dimensions
2) take up space
3) try to detach from thinking, just move!

Oh, and HAVE FUN & SMILE A LOT"

a FB friend said, well yeah, I agree, except those are my RULES FOR LIFE!

=D

Last night went AWESOMELY. Excellent flow, mostly I was out of my own head and just moving, doing some things I believe I have only seen other people do... (but I wasn't planning them or observing myself doing them, so I'm actually not really very clear as to what precisely I was *doing*, which is a very interesting state to be in...)

I did notice that I had more people "asking to dance" with me last night, in a way... that was also very interesting (people ask to dance nonverbally there, usually by eye contact and then joining you in the space on the floor)

At one point, after the lesson, Claire asked us to join other dancers in groups of 5... < anxiety levels rising, who will want to group with me? >

We had a group of 6 for a bit, then it shifted and the 3 that joined my/our initial group of 3 melted away and we were joined by 2 others... David is HELLA tall, and looks like a friendly, meditative Lurch from the Addams family, a shorter more choleric-moving guy whose name I didn't catch though I danced twice with him later, an ectomorphic blond girl, and a (relatively) shy-moving Asian girl. I was *definitely* the fattest in our group, and also the most uninhibited in some ways. I think I blew the petite blond's mind... we were taking turns dancing at the center of our group, and holding space at the edges when we weren't dancing (and also dancing, sometimes echoing whoever was at the center, interpreting the idea or quotation we'd selected to think about)... I've no idea what I was doing that made her face and eyes look all surprised and amazed while she was watching me, but I was grinning, and moving, and loving it.

My turn in the center turned out to be brief. I didn't talk about my quotation, I just moved it. I love that I studied eurythmy with the Waldorf program... it makes it so much easier to EXPRESS some things...

The quote paraphrased: Intuition is about Knowing, not about Thinking, and something about a battle with the Ego. Maybe that last part is something I will have to live my way into the Answers, later (thank you, Rilke) because I don't really understand what was meant by it, but the first part of the passage I can live now, in Dance, and in other Expression.

Moving While Fat is still just MOVING. I dunno why, but nobody gives me flack for being fat while dancing... and 5Rhythms is the BEST about being welcoming and fun.

Just DANCE, my babies!!
labelleizzy: (stoutness)
Made it to the gym kind of late for me tonight... lots of, I guess you'd call it social interaction and/or networking and/or problemsolving happening around the late afternoon when I originally intended to go. Very quiet space in the evening after 7 pm.

only there for a brief visit, about 10 minutes on the ellipticals again, damn! that makes me pant like a dog who's been running on the beach. got my pulse up past 150, that's pretty rare, especially for only 10 minutes.

Light work on upper body on the nautilus-style weight machines, and light yoga work out in the foyer, still I was there almost an hour, and left the place in a much mellower and more centered frame of mind than when I went in. Working out is a good way of helping me manage my stress and mood, I'm glad I have the chance to get myself to such an attractive space. Since it's a beautiful place, it makes it more restful and appealing to actually go and move (and sweat).

Time to wash the workout clothes, methinks, and (le sad) the pretty new bright blue brushed cotton trousers I got on the recent shopping trip with [livejournal.com profile] runeshower. First time wearing them, and I think I got peanut butter all down the leg. Argh.

I'm also dead pleased to be 1/4 of the way through my 100 things posts. I was hoping that engaging in this posting endeavor would be of help in actually building a regular habit of exercise, and it seems to be doing so.
labelleizzy: (yoga)
Having a few thoughts about this fitness journey.

1. It feels weird doing "self-care" at all, but "self-care that involves moving my body", I only have one model for in my childhood, not from my own childhood, but from fiction: The Secret Garden by wosshername... I'll remember it in a bit. I don't have a lot of "moving feels good" memories from when I was a child, most of them happened when I was alone and exploring the capabilities of my body... I used to hold my breath for ages... stand on my head for long minutes at a time just for the hell of it... swim for hours in the pool.

So moving now, because it feels good and makes me feel BETTER when I DO IT? well. It's kinda revelatory.

2. On THAT note, yoga today ROCKED. My first yoga class since just before the knee surgery, so about ten months. It was just the right amount of gentle and the right amount of challenge for where I am. My right hipflexor and right outer thigh were cramping during a mildly challenging pose, it's a good indicator that I still have work to do to balance out the damage and imbalance from years of a broken ligament. Okay. It's data, I can work with it.

I do want to do some kind of workout and weight training earlier in the day before having a formal yoga class again next week, I was wobbly-as-heck during the balance poses (Tree was particularly difficult) and I do seem to have better balance when my muscles are warm and loose. So that's something else to bear in mind.

3. Lots of the body feels better now. Very exciting to feel warm and stretched even three hours after the workout. And my heel doesn't hurt either, thanks for the advice on that, [livejournal.com profile] blacksheep_lj! Hips and side muscles need more work and stretching, shoulders and the under-behind of the shoulders still need to be stronger and more flexible.

4. Got a date with a massage therapist on Thursday, I can't WAIT... saw him two weeks ago and he worked wonders on my neck (the airline cable previously mentioned) when paired with a nice hard workout just after the massage (only I think I will try to do it just before the massage this time and compare the results)... Hips and calves and neck again, I think. This time I get a 90 minute session and I think we can do really good work... he had an excellent delineation technique where he got into several of the tiny neglected support and balance muscles very deeply, and it was just incredibly therapeutic.

5. Food in my house is phenomenal right now. I'm so blessed and lucky. Brand new lasagna and fresh green salad last night (and sooo much leftovers), leftover red peanut curry, seafood pasta salad, and the go-to sandwich fillings just feed me right. I love [livejournal.com profile] eeyore42's cooking...


that's all I have for right now. I can't wait to have a regular yoga practice again!
labelleizzy: (just do it)
I was having dreams early last night and early this morning, all having to do with solving the situation I'm in, to wit: feeling like I lack mission and drive, that I'm "stuck" in my job search, unsure whether to continue in education (the structure of which frustrates me with an in-grown unfairness of funding and opportunity) and unsure of what else I might do (that wouldn't suck the life and soul right out of me).

During dinner with [livejournal.com profile] princeofwands last night, I came to remember a story about Steve Jobs and his perspective on success. The story goes that Steve was looking at different divisions' reports of success and failure rates, and notices one division has a notably smaller failure rate than other similar divisions.

Steve goes to visit.
At first the department chief is proud and thinks Steve's there to praise them, but instead, Steve says, Fail more. Fail bigger, and more interestingly. Learn from the failures, and use them to try to take even bigger risks afterward. A low failure rate won't lead to innovation or new sales.

Fail More. Fail Bigger. Fail flamboyantly.

In my case the worst thing that could happen is being embarrassed or ashamed, since for example, I've no job to LOSE and I'm pretty sure my spouse will stick by me even if I do something really flamboyantly failtastic.

Planning to fail means planning to risk. Risk is scary, but it's better than stagnating, which is what I fear I'm doing right now. Change is scary but it's better than stagnating.

I've prided myself on my ability and willingness to go after things which were scary, but up till now my practice with scary things has primarily been internal.

I dug up a bunch of giant old rocks out of my garden and have used them as material for fences or conversation-starting ornamental rocks. I pulled out old weeds and old stumps, and got rid of colonies of yucky stuff, earwigs and slugs and fungus, that had lived in my garden. And this endeavor, took years and years of hard work, intermittently and steadily, as I had the energy and resources to tackle the challenges.

Basically it feels like I tilled the land, reclaimed it from the wilderness, and then went to the market to get seeds to plant... only when I got there nobody had the seeds I thought I wanted to plant and grow.

So I have been sitting with my tilled field, watching the weeds start to reclaim the land.

I don't want to just grab ANY seeds and stick them into the dirt; I want to be pleased, literally and figuratively, with the fruits of my labors.

I want strawberries and roses, lavender and bay leaves. I want grapevines and wisteria and hops on trellises. I want shady bowers with koi ponds full of sweet water. I want I want flowers and fruit, I want plain vegetables and fancy decorative flavorful frilly herbs: boxes and boxes of fragrant herbs for cooking and making. I want fruit trees, where we can just walk out and take deliciousness from the branches.

And I want people in my garden. I want my garden to be restful and nourishing, and I want people to feel they have a welcome there, welcome to work and to rest and to play and to sing or play music. I want there to be cycles of productivity and rest, and for one feature to fade away for a season while other features come into their glory.

and now I'm crying again, because the metaphor is beautiful but I still don't know where and how to find the "seeds" yet.

So today it is time to return to the basics. Pull up the weeds and restore order to the grounds so that the earth will be ready for the seeds. And then I have to get working with the seed and seedling catalogs, to decide what needs to come FIRST.

I don't have to decide *everything* right now.
But I do REALLY need to get back on the work I've been neglecting.
Strengthen and reinforce my house(my body). Build up, repair, and plan my garden walls(my boundaries). Weed my fields and garden(prepare for my life and my work).
and... craft a good, solid, beautiful garden gate(to invite in those I want, and shut out things I don't.)
labelleizzy: (multitudes)
Finding myself lately, looking at a lot of older people. I see people with white hair and wrinkles, in athletic shoes and support hose, walking confidently or with a walker or in a wheelchair, hand in hand with a companion - a sweetie, a daughter, a son (or so I assume), or a caregiver (again I assume)...

and I realize I am indeed at middle age.

42 is a good age to be at, but I will be exceptional for my family if I live to significantly past 80.
So now is a good time, especially since I HAVE the time right now, this year, this season, to think and plan out what I want middle age to look and feel like, and to think and plan and imagine what eldering will or may look and feel like for me.

I think I need to really re-examine what I think I know about getting older, and what it will feel like from the inside. I think I am learning that a lot of assumptions I used to have about how the world worked, drove COMPLETELY off the tracks after I discovered a pagan practice, after I discovered a polyamorous lifestyle, after I realized I don't, and I can't, fit tidily into the boxes that pop culture seems to want to put everyone into.

I overflow. I am large and abundant and have way too much love and hope and earnest curiosity and quirky interests. I am not nearly sarcastic or bitter enough for "what it feels like is expected of me". I'm an idealist. I'm inclusive. I'm passionate and frequently relaxed and forgiving. I like to make things myself, to find things out myself.

I don't think we have enough dialog about what it means to leave the Youth Culture behind and move into ... what? What does it *mean* to "get older" or to "become mature" or "adult"?

Who are the models of behavior? What do we need to do to move from here to ... wherever there is? What can, what MUST we shed and leave behind to make the journey?

If I think of this process in a pagan context, I can use the five-stage model, which goes Maiden-Mother-Teacher-Warrior-Crone. (the last four steps, I feel, interchange and interweave in women's lives as we grow older and more experienced and sure of ourselves, rather than being concrete, definable stages we progress through in an orderly fashion.)

I've been through Maiden, Mother/Teacher stage (my teaching and librarianing all had a deeply maternal caretaking quality), have spent some time in Teacher/Warrior stage and want to spend more there and gain in strength and confidence. I want to return to Mother/Teacher stage as an artist, birthing words and images and inspiration... since I can't birth my children, I will find children to mother and mentor and teach; I can't "lose myself" in childrearing, so I will strive toward finding myself in artistic and community endeavor. I will find my own teachers, and worry later about Being Teacher, if I choose to return to that. Teacher/Warrior needs community, and I've let my community drift away from me for too long. If I rebuild and regrow Community for myself, I think that over time, my other needs will gradually be met: needs for people time, needs for meaningful work, needs for playful and productive connection and belonging. And my need for FUN. =)

Have been living in "stuck" mode for too long. Been struggling to do *anything* productive. I've been homecaring, and taking care of my own body. The good part of that, is that for the first time in my life, taking care of my physical self is an unconflicted, unguilted, first priority. Too many "wake up" calls about my health in the last few years.

No more "shoulds": The change is here. I *am* moving my body. I *am* finding the foods and activities that help me feel strong and healthy and good. I *am* looking to the future, to 50, 60, and yes, to 80. I'm Off The Path. I have NO idea what these years are "supposed to look like" and you know what? I don't care. I can survive in the wilderness, I can feed myself and take care of others and make all my own tools.

Not getting any younger. (in some ways, thank Gods for that!) Therefore: NOW it is time to take stock/inventory, time to truly see where I am as I descend into the season of Dionysos, into the dark and the cold, into the introspective time and the Lesser Madness. Sink my Roots. Allow myself the time to make my Tools, talk with others about the Path Ahead, laugh and eat and drink wine around the fire, love hard and plan to Do Important Things before I die.

Ripples in the pond. Are my ripples from a big ol' PLONK or are they the cascade of light, sweet rings shimmering out from a single smooth stone skipped far across the pond? I'm hoping for a many-times multiple skip with a surprising dogleg hop at the end before the splash...

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