labelleizzy: (nanowrimo)
I want to thank [ profile] tenacious_snail for introducing me to the concept of enthusiastic consent. I've been thinking about it a lot recently.
Her way of putting it, was "I have a fetish for consent", actually. I like this as well.

Just before the holidays, someone I should have been able to trust, put his hands on me, not just without my consent, but in a surprising way, from BEHIND ME, where I could not see him or be warned in any way.

This is the fifth time he has done this over ten years, in the exact same kind of way. Always from behind. Always in my blind spot. Always silently and without warning, he plops his heavy hands down onto my shoulders. *shudder* I don't see him often thank the gods. But he will NEVER do this again. I was already angry and unhappy with him due to his prior history with me and stories I have heard from others about similar behavior towards other women, and I had been very cold towards him, shielded and painfully polite during the visit so far.

This last time he did this he did it in the crowded basement and came up behind me, directly in front of his sons: my husband and my brother in law. It felt like some combination of a horrible creepy crawlie landing on my skin and like ropes starting to be tying my arms to my upper body. I had a full-body shudder, moving forward in the crowded room while ducking and batting his hands and arms away from me, saying, "no, stop, I don't want this, don't touch me!"

ew ew ew ew ew.

I put Jeff between him and me for the remainder of the evening, and he didn't make eye contact for the rest of the evening either; he was holding his grandson at the far end of the table. And when it came time for parting and good byes, he strangely was not in the room.


He still is owed a long email. I'm working on how to say things that might get him to actually fucking CHANGE his behavior rather than totally just shred him, which I am perfectly capable of doing, mind you. But I've had about three weeks to think about things. He's in his sixties, stuck in his ways almost to the point of fossilization, basically a social pariah. I can't change him, but this is a HARD LIMIT and he will NOT touch me again. If I can introduce a fracture, I will. I plan to.


This was not actually the post I meant to be writing, but it is pertinent and related.

What I wanted to talk about is that it is fucking CRUCIAL to ensure enthusiastic consent with people you want to connect with.

Even for a handshake. *shrug* I forced an introductory handshake on someone once and realized after the fact that his culture did not DO that kind of thing. Awkward, but hopefully not wounding.

Even for a hug. My friend N used to have another friend who insisted on hugs, even when she wasn't wanting to hug them. N will hug me, usually... the first time though, I offered and she initially said NO.

and it's so goddam important to respect the NO.

I said NO a dozen times to the asshole who date raped me in college. He ran right over the top of my NO. I was barely 21 years old. I presumed basic respect, and did not have the tools to handle a situation beyond my assumption parameters. (I'm okay now, but I'm still ANGRY about him forcing unwanted sexual activity.)

Our culture does not respect the NO. Too many romance novels and comedies have the love interest "sweeping someone off their feet", saving them in some damsel in distress trope, "earning their love" through defeating or humiliating enemies or rivals or getting past obstacles. There's a deep stream that says "do what you can get away with", witness subway creepers, upskirt photographers, catcalling on urban streets, drugging drinks in fraternities and bars.


I want to see more people learning the delicate dance of exploring and respecting others. Of seeking the people who enthusiastically want you in their community, people who you want in yours. Enthusiastically taking someone into your life, or your bed or your body, and them being as enthusiastic to be there as you are enthusiastic about wanting them.

I *will* take lukewarm hugs, and lukewarm acquaintance if that's all I can get.

I think I can do better than that, though, honestly. I'm pretty awesome. =) If you're not into me, why spend the time? That's just dumb and kind of a waste for both of us. Find something that sets you on fire, inspires you.

I will not take lukewarm lovers, and I will not pressure someone into being with me unless they're actually, really into me. I'm willing to be patient though and let a good deep secure friendship make slow progress toward something else. I can gently express my enthusiasm about the person I am into, and let them gradually dig me more until maybe they are enthusiastic about me, too. Someone who is enthusiastic about me, who will treat me as I deserve to be treated: with attention, time, tenderness, touch, and sweetness.

And I have to understand that I need to enforce my own No, too. If spending time somewhere or with someone is unproductive, unrewarding, uncomfortable or unfulfilling for me, I need to say NO as often as possible. Sometimes you can't do that, life is complicated. But you can often make choices to do the things that feed you rather than the things that drain you or doing stupid stuff because it's a habit.

Make more CONSCIOUS choices. Cultivate the relationships you really want instead of settling.
If something doesn't work to feed you, prune it out of your life. It's deadwood anyway, why should it stay if you can make room for actual growth, more sunlight, more breathing room. It can be awkward, painful, uncomfortable to do.

Can we all speak up a little more?
"yeah, I really love spending time with you."
"no, I don't have the interest in doing that, thank you for asking."
"hey, could you scratch my back? (rub my feet, pet my hair, help me with task x)?"

Be specific. Address the individual person or persons at stake. Be honest. Be kind if you can spare the spoons, if you can't be kind at least be direct and clear.

That's what I want to see. That's what I want to try to do.

labelleizzy: (bunny writer)
it didn't feel like being crabs in a bucket
too lonely an experience for a plural metaphor.

though definitely there was a dragging down experience:
  • anything exceptional
  • anything experimental
  • anything that broke the status quo

I expected we'd be raising each other up
not pulling someone back to toe the line
I expected us all to reach for the stars
not speak only when spoken to

I didn't realize my teaching internship
landed me in a diploma-mill
churning out inferior product
with very few value-add options

Should I have known better?
I didn't.
I have always been too trusting.

I was sent into the trenches
to build bridges with cardboard
and I was guilty when the bridges failed.

when I asked for lumber they said
"There's no budget for that
You'll have to find that yourself."
And some of them smirked.

I was a hero
but I couldn't see it
all I could see was
muddy trenches and disrespect
for miles in every direction

and when I was discharged
grateful and ashamed
I took my papers and went away
glad and sorrowful
that I was too soft for these wars.

I tend my garden on this faraway hillside
watch the struggle from a distance
climb the cliffs seeking perspective -
and maybe some new way to stop the war.

(this is my entry for this week's [ profile] therealljidol.)
labelleizzy: (bunny writer)
This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.

I didn't have what I would have thought of as a "happy childhood". Suffice it to say that there was enough pain in my life that I chose to live almost entirely in books from a very early age. Also I think it's fair to say that I had a lot of difficulty making friends even under the best of circumstances. The neighborhood kids and I didn't get along, and where I'm what we now call "geek", they were all what we'd call "jocks". Family dynamics at home weren't "nourishing", and I spent almost all the time I wasn't in school, alone. That didn't change till junior high, when I finally found a safe place to make friends of my own, friends that my sister didn't know about and couldn't mercilessly tease me about.

It will be a surprise to no one that I was regularly bullied almost every day in junior high school.

So, I was humongously awkward. An ugly duckling in so very many ways, lacking in social skills and without confidence to make proper conversation with new people (which was *everyone*) at my new high school.

Somehow, eventually, I did find a few people who warmed up to me, starting with one friend who'd just moved into town and didn't know anyone else, and gradually getting to know some people I'd known slightly in junior high. I still had huge amounts of anxiety around social interactions. Thinking of my freshman year in high school is enough to bring the memory of metallic-tasting panic to the back of my throat, even twenty-five thirty years later.

(God, this is difficult to write.)

There was this small group of what I would now call geeky guys. Robert, Mark, and Erik.

My lack of experience in any kind of social interaction, my extreme anxiety (that I was fighting to overcome on a daily basis), and the, well, let's face it, neglectful home environment, all meant that it was easy for me to mistake attention of any kind for positive attention. My sister and I were used to hitting, punching, hair pulling and scratching each other on a regular basis; my dad was either emotionally distant, physically not there, or verbally abusive; Mom had her hands full juggling the whole household and a full-time job, and my brother was just a kid, four years younger than me...

Any kind of attention, really, was a novelty, and nothing I was used to at thirteen. (I was really just thirteen when I did this. Someday maybe I can forgive myself.)

These geeky guys began to pay me attention. It felt ... familiar. Trading verbal barbs and sarcastic jabs, was second nature. It was how we talked at home.
It did eventually get to be mean, moved from notes in lockers to them learning my combination and leaving things for me. Once a pile of brown apple cores. Once, actually, a dead bird. *shudder* (If I knew then what I know now...I would have done some things differently.)

Once, I returned to my locker, and my books were neatly piled as though on a bookshelf, upright. Which I knew full well was not how I had left them... With a sinking feeling of dread, I noticed wet white glue, and sawdust, all over the bottom of my locker. I guess I was lucky to have found it all before the glue dried and set, in retrospect.
(In retrospect, I now feel a blazing and righteous anger at Robert, the boy who I knew even then was the ringleader.)

At this distance, I've no idea what the chronology of events was, where in the school year these different things fell. I distinctly remember, however, that it was a hot day on the afternoon I missed the school bus home and realized I had to walk four miles home with a heavy backpack and crappy shoes.

I had had a rotten day to begin with and missing the bus felt like the cherry on top of a shit sundae.
This was in the early 80's, before anyone thought to carry a water bottle around with them regularly, and it didn't take long walking in those crappy shoes under the Sacramento late spring/early summer sunlight before I was hot, sweaty, thirsty, and even MORE cranky than I had started out.

I was turtling HARD. Head down, armor up, not noticing the world around me, stewing in my own misery, when someone goes by on a bike.
... and turns around, and heads back towards me, panting.

Pulling somewhat out of my turtle shell, I glance up.
It's Erik. Little blond dude on a bike. He's sweating. I wish *I* had a bike. I'd be home already instead of only halfway home.

He says, "Here!" and holds out a water bottle. There's beads of condensation on the sides, it's obviously nice and cold, it's everything I wish I could have but I have learned that NOBODY does nice things for me, period, unless they're going to snatch it away and yell "PSYCHE!" afterwards.

Something COLD and MEAN shifts in my chest.

I question his motives to his face. I say mean things about the water bottle even, that it's probably dirty. Wide-eyed, he stammers something about he just bought it at the gas station when he saw me walking home and thought I looked hot and thirsty. (He wasn't wrong.) The MEAN in me doesn't let up, and I think I say something about he probably already drank from it and he probably has herpes and as it leaves my mouth just as MEAN as I can make it, the MEAN in me shifts, twists and oozes away, leaving a horror in my soul. Did I actually SAY that?

His face slams shut. His eyes get dark, his jaw juts out, he jams the bottle (delicious cool bottle, that I wanted so much, I want now to say "yes, please", I want to erase the last ten minutes SO BADLY) back in his backpack, wheels his bike around and rides off.
Erik never spoke to me again.
There are things for which there is no apology possible.

And that is the lowest I have ever sunk. That is the person I have striven to make amends for, *shakes head* with basically my entire life.
One single moment of intentional, focused cruelty in a time of my own soul's pain.

I was in the gutter for so long. It took me many years to be able to know that there even WERE stars, much less figure out how to see them.

I'm sorry, Erik. I wish I could have seen your kindness for what it was, instead of what I expected.

This has been my entry for [ profile] therealljidol, Last Chance Idol, week 3. The prompt is "We are all in the gutter."

You can read my colleagues in Last Chance Idol, and vote for me (and some of the other wonderful writers there), HERE.
labelleizzy: (bunny writer)
"Fair Weather" by Dorothy Parker

This level reach of blue is not my sea;
Here are sweet waters, pretty in the sun,
Whose quiet ripples meet obediently
A marked and measured line, one after one.
This is no sea of mine. that humbly laves
Untroubled sands, spread glittering and warm.
I have a need of wilder, crueler waves;
They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

So let a love beat over me again,
Loosing its million desperate breakers wide;
Sudden and terrible to rise and wane;
Roaring the heavens apart; a reckless tide
That casts upon the heart, as it recedes,
Splinters and spars and dripping, salty weeds.

I've needed this for a long time. The last time I could be consumed by something, overwhelmed and delighted by something, had to fight with something and getting my choler up, was when I was struggling and working to teach Reading and Drama back in 2006-2008.

It doesn't have to be a love affair in the conventional sense. It doesn't have to be a PERSON. It could be a job, an idea, some issue I can be passionate about...

I need something to fight with, to strive with, or I'm only half-alive. I've been too scairt to say so, but my life has been too EASY. It's beautiful, it's rewarding, this life, but in a lot of ways it's simple. Manageable. Civilized.

Tomorrow I will take some craft supplies and camp out until my car's servicing is done, making stuff the whole time if I can.

That's one.
labelleizzy: (yoga)
Body has been tightening up and giving me pain. Have only had one even half-serious workout in the last month, today was my second time in the gym since before Burning Man.

I didn't task myself with making up for lost time. I climbed on the elliptical machine for 18 minutes, made a point of keeping it at a rate that raised my temperature and heartrate without making me stressed ... lunch was too close to when I went to workout, but I modified accordingly. And I was sufficiently warmed up before heading to the Gentle Yoga class, which was a LOT of what I needed. Not everything, not quite, but gave me a great workout and let me check in with all the tight places to see what they wanted. (more moving, of course!)

And there was a substitute teacher who was really quite excellent. She was kind enough to give me a good demonstration of bakasana (Crow Pose) which several friends have been practicing and posting photos of on FB and now I have a fairly good idea of what I need to do in order to have the basics down. I need a strong tight core, strong triceps, strong inner thighs... and a willingness to fall on my head while practicing this radical arm-balance.

Time to work on looking ridiculous sometimes. And since I also wanna get to the point of doing forearm, head and handstands? this is a good intermediate step, feels like to me.

so I will work on moving enough tonight that today's yoga won't make muscles too stiff, and try starting to practice the things I need tomorrow.
labelleizzy: (bunny writer)
I've been thinking for the last few years, that attention is the rent we pay for being in relationship, for being in community.

It was never such a privilege to pay attention as it was, many years ago, when I was teaching high school reading and drama classes, and became the advisor for the Improv Comedy Club. Thinking back, I marvel at the quick wit and facility with ideas, language and expression that these teenagers had. How fluent and adaptable they were to performance situations where anything could change (and did) with the drop of a word or addition of a new gesture!

Nick was a wiry, nervous Italian looking kid, earnest and new to the Improv team, often half-a-beat late with his responses, or just this side of awkward, in its own kind of funny. Mariel was a comic genius, with a rounded buxom figure, huge brown eyes and an impressive range of physical expression, and she could also get really LOUD in all the good ways. Tawd was clever, almost effortlessly funny both onstage and off, and a deceptively mellow, slow voice. He's the reason I acquired a nickname among the drama classes, and I remember him fondly for that. Aliza was slim, sly, sarcastic, with a drawling kind of vocal delivery that could quicksilver turn to something manic and panicked if the character called for it. Lucas was tall, with what his friends teased him was "emo kid hair", at that gangly teenage stage where his every gesture seemed floppy, but he sure knew how to use that puppety-ness to his advantage, like a Tim Burton character. Brandon was short and compact. He had a deep voice that belied his small frame, and an onstage poise and speed on the uptake that was nothing short of marvellous. Adam was blond, almost with ringlets, and our tech guy when he wasn't onstage. He was ridiculously silly and ridiculously smart, and I still remember one skit where he was spontaneously, slowly, somersaulting around the stage for no apparent reason.

They were all, every one of them, hilarious, but Parker felt like the ringleader. That kid... well. Damn, that kid was a force to be reckoned with. Sandy sort of dishwater brown hair (and I'm not just saying that because he had a positive TALENT for pissing me off), a nondescript sort of everyman face, and sleepy-looking hooded eyes, he was an absolute fucking chameleon onstage, with a rubber face and a skill at vocal characterization that reminded me of the young Jimmy Stewart. He's the one who I remember (with Mariel and Tawd) as starting the club and teaching the other kids all the improv games. He had a very strong personality, and he pushed hard to get the team members to practice all the different kinds of games and to get them in shape for competitive Improv Comedy events with other schools.

Parker was so funny and occasionally so bizarre... I remember how impressed I was with how much he knew about comedy and improvisation. I was brand new to the drama gig, and I don't mind at all saying that I learned virtually everything I know about improv and theater games from these kids. From Highway Patrol to New Choice, tongue-twisters and physical warmups, their speed and sarcasm and joy and silliness just delighted me. I would watch from the audience space and sometimes grade papers as they worked and played and tried new things, always new things, even with the old games they all knew well.

Building characters and scenes with zero stage props or maybe only hats or scarves or a couple of chairs from the audience is what made me think of them when I saw this week's prompt. These kids? I could imagine them EASILY getting a "confession from the chair." You'd be laughing at the one-sided conversation, imagining the chair's responses, and then cheering as the chair is dragged offstage. Of course, there'd be implications that a well-deserved beat-down will happen once the chair is in lockup.

It was a privilege to pay the rent there, to be on the sidelines watching the worldbuilding these kids could do in the blink of an eye. I got no call to be proud of them, I didn't teach them anything. They did it all themselves, but I'm proud of them nevertheless. It was a pleasure to know them.

I hope they are all still finding joy in words and connection and their own quick minds, making creative and subversive things in the world, and messing with people's heads.

This has been my entry for [ profile] therealljidol . This week's prompt was, as I mentioned, "Confession from the Chair."

Here is a link to one place you can find short descriptions of improv comedy games, you can also google "theater games" or improv games if you would be interested in learning more. Also I recommend comedysportz san jose as an example of improv comedy as a hell of a lot of fun for an evening's entertainment. (hmmm, I need to get out and see that again sometime soon!)
labelleizzy: (bunny writer)
You've got to be careful with wishes.

I heard of one witch who said, I wish my husband would shut up... And then there were silent, violent, dark days afterwards...

It's why we're in such demand, witches... Wishes have real power.

You've got to be careful with words as well.

It's through words, after all, that we convince the world to be other than it is.
From sickness we can coax health, from discord, harmony.

But it's easy enough to make the world change in the other direction as well, if we're that-away inclined. Like the silent-husband case I've already mentioned, careless words in the world, in this line of work, can have horrific consequences.

The final element is will. Will-forces are the hardest thing to train up in the apprentices! And will-forces are terrifically important!
You can't expect even the most poetically-worded wish to deliver results if you don't have enough OOMPH to back up your desire and make it happen for real.

"With Wishes, Words, and Will, witches work in the world."

*grin* We've got that engraved in a nice signboard and hung up at the entrance of the School. As of this year's enrollment, we've got witch-children from most every religious tradition, and teachers from almost every tradition as well. Our School has a very strong commitment to cross-training and to understanding the philosophical underpinnings of the World-Soul, That Which Moves Us All.

Would you believe, that even now, some of our students come to us thinking that the way they have been taught is the Only True Way, and that all other Paths are invalid? No?

It's the truth. We do have quite the challenge to explain and demonstrate otherwise, but when the children all have to rub elbows with one another in all their classes, it tends to take the rough edges off any sharp belief systems pretty quickly. Added to the impressive experience of our teaching staff, and our Silent Recess policy, the children build tolerance and cooperation faster than in any school system I've experienced before.

I'm sorry, what?

Oh no. The Silent Recess policy is intended to prevent any apprentice-level mistakes out on the playground. Children feel things so intensely, they certainly do not lack for force of will! And a strong force of will is QUITE enough to enact some serious levels of mischief upon one's playmates. All the teachers concur, having all experienced, well, pretty appalling things out on the playgrounds themselves, before the Principles of Magic were studied and understood thoroughly. The voluntary Yard Duty roster is always well staffed, and the children are always well-supervised.

Yes, I know. Our children are lucky. Now that we understand the Principles, we can teach Ethical Magical Behaviors at all levels of school. We can train the children up into the adults we all know they have the capacity to be. They can all be strong, ethical, committed, principled young people that we can be proud to unleash upon the world.

*cough* Oh, unleash? My mistake. I meant, um, well, I meant...

May I offer you some more tea? ah, here we go. *pours*

Yes, well, our graduates find regular and lucrative employment in all walks of life, as a matter of fact one of our recent graduates is now Head Pastry Chef in our kitchen. Oh, yes, the petit-fours are her specialty! Here, DO allow me. And one of the small eclairs? Splendid.

*lengthy pause*

That said, shall I draw up the enrollment documents now? I think you will find the terms most competitive with the other Schools in town.

*sly smile*

Yes, I thought you might.

This has been my entry for [ profile] therealljidol. This week's was an Open Prompt week.
labelleizzy: (bunny writer)
You'd think, with how good my life is now, that it'd be easy to pretend.

Pretend WHAT? says the acidic voice in the back of my head...
Pretend that you were happy? Pretend that you felt loved? Pretend that you ever felt safe?

"Yeah," I shoot back at the Nasty. "Pretend that I had a 'happy childhood.'"

I'm an optimist now. It feels as though I have always been an optimist, and perhaps I have. I'm not SURE, though.

From a very early age, I remember... melancholy, and a sense of disconnect from the world around me. I remember deep suffering, and an almost equally sharp despair. I remember a fierce yearning to BELONG somewhere, or to someone, as I never did at home. Convinced that would never happen, I still determined I would somehow learn to be happy. I knew that people were happy, somewhere (though not my family, except in brief glimpses.)

Wasn't it Tolstoy who said that unhappy families were all different and happy ones were all the same? I disagree. I've met so many people from unhappy families, and we all have so much in common... It feels like Tolstoy had it backwards. The folks I know who had happy childhoods seem to me like visitors from another planet.

My own childhood feels as though someone else experienced it. It feels like a story I was told long ago that no longer apples to me, so I have mostly forgotten it.

It's no longer relevant to my current life, my childhood, but it's still true. And it's still a part of my story.

Joy staining backwards. That's how Lucy Maud Montgomery defined it... In her book The Blue Castle, the main character has a miserable life under the thumb of her family and the small minded society of the small Canadian town she lives in. Valancy has a brush with death, determines to make a change for herself in the short time she believes remains to her, and finds happiness for the first time in her life. Her joy in her new life with her new husband is so vivid and rich that she finds even her memories of the miserable grey childhood of neglect, control, and verbal abuse, seem happier as she looks back on them. Like looking on the past with rose colored glasses, her past did not change, but her present joy gives her a new perspective on the horrible events and the grim family that were all that she knew for most of her life.

Sometimes, nowadays, it does seem as though my life has only been contented, full of love, happy, and with my needs met. It's because the contrast between then and now, makes THEN seem completely unreal and distant. Now is what's real. This hilltop I live on now, these woods I ramble through with those I love and those who challenge me and make me laugh. I don't delude myself anymore that I was truly happy, back then. I was lonely, miserable, heartsick, and friendless.

But I am none of those things anymore. Even when I am completely solitary, I am none of those things anymore.

I am standing beneath the same moon as my childhood self, and it is a comfort to me... a comfort that I still have a childlike sense of connection to the universe, to the impersonal unending beauty of nature and the cosmos. I have joy, I have courage, I have friends and family and beloved community. I have plans and goals that draw me on to the next chapter, the next goal, the next adventure.

I know that this moment is just a pause to rest and refresh myself. Anticipating the next big adventure, like my heroine in The Blue Castle, doesn't mean I've forgotten my past, or am in denial of what life was like, then.

Now is different. These hiking boots don't come with a rear-view mirror. They do help me carry my permanent sense of wonder, along with all the other tools I now possess. Life is amazing, NOW.

And Now? That's where my focus is.

This has been my entry for [ profile] therealljidol, week 11. The prompt was "recency bias."

I'm enjoying writing within this community very much. If you enjoyed this post, or got something out of it, please consider voting for me so I can continue to write with these amazing and supportive people. The polls are available HERE , and I'm returning back in Tribe One.
labelleizzy: (bunny writer)
Is your body YOU?
Is it all of you, part of you?
Does your body carry "you" around?
Is your body different from "you"?

I had a knee injury for fifteen years. As of November, that's 1/3 of my life. I had ACL replacement surgery 2.5 years ago.
And I've now been doing prehab, rehab, and working with a trainer for three years.

When do I get used to THIS body? This body is tons stronger and more flexible. This body can Do Stuff I wasn't able to do before. In this body my feet stay parallel instead of duck-footing to try and keep the knee stable. This body can balance on one leg to put a sock on, and hold a high plank position for almost a full minute, and roll out of bed without effort or pain. So many changes.

I keep getting shocked by this body... In good ways, true, and I know intellectually that I've worked hard to get here. But my gut, my feelings, keep expecting ... Like that this is too good to be true? Like somehow, without warning, I will automagically return to pain, and weakness, and brokenness.

Why can't I believe that my body has become strong? Why is it so hard to use that word to describe myself?

Posted via

labelleizzy: (thinky thoughts)
Last night I was telling Nick about a (possibly apocryphal) Buddhist teaching story:

The master has a large jar, a bucket of big rocks, a bucket of gravel, a bucket of sand on the table.
He instructs the student to fill the jar with the big rocks, as full as it can go.
Then he asks the student, "Is the jar full?"
The student replies, "Yes, teacher."
Now the master asks the student to add the gravel to the jar. Most of the gravel in the bucket fits into the spaces between the stones.
And he asks the student, "Is the jar full now?"
The student replies, "Yes, teacher."
The master indicates the bucket of sand, and the student knows what comes next, and pours the sand into the jar, and it settles in around the gravel and the stones.
"Surely it's full now, teacher?"

The master smiles, and pulls out a bucket of water from beneath the table.

I heard this story used by Steven Covey to talk about prioritizing your life according to the values that matter to you. In the video, the Big Rocks all have words painted on them. Words like "Family" "Romance" "Health" "Job Advancement" "Planning" "Self-Care" "Spiritual Development". All the kinds of things people talk about as their Highest Values.

Only Covey told the story backwards.
He had the folks taking his seminar fill the jar with sand first, and then try to fit the big rocks in on top of the sand.
All of the taking care of yourself kinds of Rocks got left out, and it was a pretty powerful symbol.
Then he had his demonstration victims Subjects dump the sand out, and fit all the Big Rocks in FIRST. THEN add the gravel, THEN add the sand.

So, he points out, if you take care of the big Values first, you can fit the Projects and the Everyday Little Tasks in around them.
But you can just as easily let the Everyday Little Tasks take up All The Time You Have, and get to the end of your day not having taken care of any of the things you really find VALUABLE.

I'm finding myself dealing a lot in Sand, and not so much in the Big Rocks as I would like to.

So I'm making a drawing, and trying to set up a visual reminder of my priorities.

I've marked one "rock" as Dance, Music, Art, and Writing. I'm struggling for brief vivid descriptors. I could put Roles in, i.e. Wife, Friend, Sister, Aunty, Daughter, Lover. I could put it in as Nouns for the things I value: Self-care, Artistic Expression, Kindness, Philanthropy. I could use a personal pagan metaphor: Persephone, Demeter, Hermes, Artemis, Athena, Dionysos, Cerridwen, Brigid, Argante.

I'm leaning toward the Nouns at the moment. How about you? How would you describe the things you Value above all others?

How do you fit it all in?
labelleizzy: (strong)
When I was little I thought I was just BAD at chores. They were so hard, so much work. And Mom made things like making beds and folding sheets look effortless.
I've been realizing lately that I bought into the childhood meme of if it's hard for you to do, you're not meant to get good at it.
Which sucks, because determination has been dearly bought, down the years.

Another take on the first thing, is: My Mom was Strong. Like PHYSICALLY strong, because she Did Stuff all the time.
And I didn't realize till now, THAT'S the lesson I wish I'd learned. It's not the one I did then, but I can learn it now.

Today I went to the gym again. Ran into [ profile] angelkatharine toward the end of my hour working with Tal, said hi, got to check in briefly once Tal and I were done.

Today Tal ran me through three different supersets of ten minutes length, and I had to keep moving the whole time, for ten minutes straight.
And it was WORK.
But it didn't kill me, not even a little bit (though those long muscles at the side-back are sore right now...)

I did that work, three sets of ten minutes not stopping, and it totally Did Not Suck.
And I could do All The Things, and do them well.

(Though I find that when I'm totally engaged in weights or body-weight training, I spend all my mental forces making sure my form is good, and I lose the ability to count, even to ten.)

This is a Thing. This is a Thing that I can DO, now.

Somehow I have to accept the wonder at my own ...ability.
And somehow I have to accept this as The New Normal because there's Shit I Wanna Do that involves me getting even stronger and more flexible, even than this.

After so long of struggling to Do Stuff... Now I can.

(this post brought to you by making the Guest Bed and shaking out the sheets and blankets and making everything smooth and pretty, and I Just Did It. It didn't hurt and it wasn't any huge effort, and this is... this is uncharted territory. Physical competence and emotional equilibrium. I've never had both at the same time.)
labelleizzy: (mad scientist)
Good workout today. Tal reviewed the "homework" with me, I was doing the side lunge wood-chop thing wrong, as it turns out. Good she's on the checking on details kind of thing.

I want to start doing belly dance drills. anyone want to join me, IRL or virtually?

Yesterday I picked up the glucose meter, and the pharmacy pushed my Metformin prescription through a day early, since I was there. Go go gadget pharmacy techs! Then I got basic training on how to use the glucose meter, and by now (late afternoon on day two of owning it) I've done three self-sticks thus far. Forgot to dispose of the lancet after use this morning, remembered about two hours ago that I hadn't reached down the sharps container from where I've stashed it atop the fridge. Went to get my kit and took care of that.

I don't feel very different. Maybe a little clearer headed? Last night my guts were rumbling audibly and I figure that's the Metformin starting to kick in. Good thing I have already been changing my diet to lessen the carb load, I didn't experience any of the unpleasant side effects that I've read about. So yay for that.

As soon as I had the diagnosis I cut two things: I quit eating just-carbs or just-carbs and cheese, and I put the honey away that I've been using in my tea. Daily. Fortunately I am the happy possessor of some really good quality looseleaf black tea and I love how it tastes with just milk, so I am not missing the sweetening.

Blood sugar levels thus far have been smack in the middle of the 70-130 before eating (91) and at appropriate levels of two-hours after eating as well. I only have three data points so far.

I've decided to treat this as an experiment in mad science, where I am both the scientist and the experimental subject.

Muahahahah. That always ends well, so I am told! =)

Trying to figure out what to make for dinner, and I've got some picking up and put away to do before the cleaning ladies come over tomorrow. So I'm off the 'net for a little bit. I've got tons of reading to do on LJ Idol and I am not keeping up well with that responsibility.

Though I do cut myself some slack for the sudden shift in my health status...


How are you all, on this lovely Wednesday afternoon?
labelleizzy: (creating yourself)
Today's massage was pretty darn good. This was the first time in recent memory that I showed up for a massage with nothing actually hurting or needing the therapeutic work. So on the therapist's suggestion, I opted for a relaxation massage. That was nice, and he (he and I are new at working together) seemed much more comfortable in this mode than the sports-therapy massage I requested two weeks ago. So that went well.

I'd had Wrenb drop me off for my appointment, we'd been doing errands together, so I opted to walk home via the bike trail. Less than two miles, I figured...
(How tough could it be, right?)

Oh dear.

Upside: no muscles are sore, my back is fine and my endurance for such things is hugely increased over the last time I took a long walk like this.

Downside? My shoes/boots weren't entirely the optimal choice for a long walk down the asphalt bike path. No heel blisters, thank Hermes, but I have blisters. Under my calluses. On the balls of both feet.

And the first of the early morning workouts with Tal and Tshuma. Like ready to work at 8 am early, when I usually roll out of bed between 8 and 8:30 kind of thing.

Oh well. I'll make it march somehow, and Tal probably has ane encyclopedia of things I could work on without straining foot blisters.

I have faith. Tomorrow will be good, and I will work hard, because I want to be tougher and stronger.

That's that.

Now to check in on Spouse and Tshuma, and rustle myself some more food.

Posted via


Mar. 9th, 2014 12:39 pm
labelleizzy: (bunny writer)
Love is a verb.

It’s taken me many years to realize that intentions don’t count for much unless I actually DO SOMETHING about them. Teach. Reach Out. Help people who need it. Talk. Listen. Figure something out and then Do that thing. Make. Write. Art (yes, it’s a verb). Dance. Share something that’s important with people who matter.

Make stuff. Laugh. Sing. Enjoy where I am now. Strive toward something meaningful.

What’s next?
No idea. I’m making the map as I travel. I used to believe that everyone else had gotten the map, and I was stuck behind the door somehow, but I know better now.

We’re all on stage, improvising. Or in the workshop, building from scratch, solving problems, making mistakes and fixing them. Or writing, revising, sculpting a new shape with words on a page.

Starting from the quiet place works best for me.
Here’s a moment of quiet.
labelleizzy: (nanowrimo)
Remarkable celebration today with Community Seed in Santa Cruz. Damned effective ritual.

Had a Something come to the surface, this is why I love ritual so much.

It doesn't want words wrapped around it yet (thanks, dear Childself) but I have a direction, much clearer now.

And I have a Patron.

Thanks, dear Brigid, for waiting while I kicked my own ass (or while life kicked it) and thanks for being there when I came to myself again on the other side of the beating.

Time to remove the last vestiges of old childishness (and in one small regard I have been *persistent* about being childish) and as part of today's burning away of the unnecessary and unwanted...

Done with that. Done with believing in my own helplessness, done with doubting my worth in the world.

Fuck all that shit. I'm going to learn where I can insert myself between something wrong and someone who needs help. Period.

THAT'S the job I want.

Posted via

labelleizzy: (yoga)
Today's workout was a check-in day to start with. Did a weigh in, body fat percent check. Both are down, weight and body fat. That's because now I have some muscle to work with.

*nodding* YEEEEAH. *flex*

Lots of dynamic-stability work today. Squats into biceps curls, inverted rowing (where you let your body plank backwards and row up using handles suspended from the structure above you), backward lunges into knee-up and twist at the waist. Wow. A lateral leaping from side to side that makes me feel like an Olympic speed-skater. Jogging in place by hop-touching my toes to one of the lower boxes (or sometimes the Bosu half-ball)

Rats. I wish that I listed all my exercises every time I worked out. I know how to DO quite a few exercises, but I'm not necessarily going to remember them in a useful sequence when I go to do them for myself.

Well, doing something is a damn sight better than doing nothing.

Oh! and today, Tal actually had me RUN. 4.0 mph on the treadmill. We did intervals: it was something like 4 minutes of walking to get up to 3.5 mph fast walk, then kicked it over and started to jog for one minute, walk one minute, jog, walk, jog, and then walk to cool down, making note of heart rate both on the way building up to running, and during the cool-down.


And now I have two homeworks.

One is to write up my food intake like I've been supposed to for like three months.
Two is to do that jog-walk interval training at least three times a week for the next three weeks. (and probably beyond that.)

Here is the progress-check since I started to seriously work out again last April (with Tal).

Surgery knee: stable, and up for all kinds of walking, dancing, even slipping and falling. Also up for running and full strength lateral movement. *thumbs up*
Back: Strong, though I do want to work more on the limberness/flexibility. Hurts a lot less than it used to, bends a lot easier than it used to, and I am more interested in moving in new ways.
Arms/Shoulders: Stronger and more flexible, have some muscle definition. My shoulders, more than any other body part, resent it and protest loudly with crunchy discomfort when I do not get enough work out time in. Interesting.
Feet: Have had little to no pain in the foot since I went for four sessions with Dr. Larry, the chiropractor who is also a member at my gym. The main adjustment at the sacro-iliac joint is something I can reproduce in a different, slower/more gradual way, on my own with a particular twisting stretch (the one my brother Scott called the "shortstop stretch") that makes my back make the most UNEARTHLY noises but it feels so much BETTER when I am done.
Neck/head tension: Notably decreased. Head rotation is natural and smooth (unlike some other times in my life), the airline-cable muscles have softened and are more flexible and amenable to stretching, and I can actually get traction on the times I feel like massaging my neck (unlike some other times in my life).


The JCC that includes my gym, is having a Happy New Year! Post your fitness resolutions on the wall!

They advised being very specific, because you could win a prize, like having the gym pay your registration for a race you said you wanted to finish.

I was very specific.
I want to be able to do headstands and handstands, with good core strength and control, and SLOWLY.

On the back of the card we are supposed to say WHY we have this goal.
I said something about I loved headstands when I was a kid, but never had the strength or courage to work up to doing cartwheels; I'm stronger now than I was then, and more intentionally building that strength.

And then I said that someday I want to teach yoga.
I didn't consciously realize that is something I want, till I wrote it on the card.

So the goal manifested, in part because I have an intention of working with two girlfriends' less-flexible spouses, because they need some yoga, and I need to be teaching so I can remember that teaching itself doesn't suck. Other stuff AROUND teaching sucks, but teaching does not.

Teaching yoga wouldn't suck. I could do that. I want to do that.
labelleizzy: (strong)

(Hell, I could make that one word the whole post, just leave it there. But that's not ME, so...)

Workout on Wednesday again, after something like two weeks of not working out, letting my gum graft and top incision heal. I did light housework and gardening, and I'm still getting used to the idea that my body is what it is now (as opposed to what it was while my knee was borked and I slowly gave up dance and most of my other active hobbies). My body is pretty strong now.

But stronger doesn't mean I'm not gonna hurt pretty bad after a solid workout, especially one tailored towards my current weaknesses.

I let Tal know that I recovered well by two weeks after surgery, but that I'd had a couple troubling things happened toward the end of the two weeks.

One was, I'm working on disassembling a structure in the backyard (a kind of cat-run installed by the previous tenants), and discovered that using a hand-screwdriver with hand-arm at shoulder height, led to numbness and tingling in the ring-&-pinky of the hand I was using (my dominant hand), and that I'd dropped the screwdriver three times in an afternoon after those symptoms made it difficult/awkward to hold the screwdriver firmly.

Tal asked had I had any carpal tunnel; I have no such diagnosis, but I allowed that I had, after many years of mousing on the right, and some nervy-feelings in hand and elbow, moved my mouse to my left. But now that Jeff and I share a desktop machine, that's a less convenient thing; and I'm mousing on the right again. Meh.

I suspect that may have contributed to a particular part of the workout where I laid on a mat on my belly, externally rotated my humerus and attempted to point my thumbs at the sky, and then had to pump my arms backwards (up) and hold; had to hold there and raise my chest from the mat. (also that's probably contributory to why my lower back is SO freaking sore that I had trouble sleeping, and was walking like an injured person when I got up this morning.)

Two was, I'd been losing my balance slightly as I've been walking around the house. Catching myself on walls and counters, not all the time, but y'know, a few times is disconcerting enough.

I suspect THAT observation may have been why Tal had me do a lateral leaping movement-exercise, like the Olympic speed-skaters; and why my damn hamstrings and inner thighs are crying out in pain today.

If it hurts bad enough after working it that I need ibuprofen and careful warmups and stretching (and even a soak in my god blessed hot tub!~ for the stretching), then OBVIOUSLY I need to be working those more.


This too shall pass, I know. I need to drink more water today (and less tea generally when I am this sore), keep the ibuprofen regular, and move more than I sit.

that said, I'm off to dress in real clothes and get back to work on disassembling the cat run.
labelleizzy: (Not Afraid)
Dang, you know its been six years since some of my friends IRL stopped posting over here on LJ, and I (mostly) can't beat to "unfriend" them.

Naetheless, just did a small amount of maintenance on my flist.
If you're a new friend, or changed the name of your journal, I may have removed you by mistake. If you're actively reading, but don't comment, now is a good time to let me know.

And! In the housekeeping spirit, hello new friends!
Still welcoming folk from [ profile] ghost_light's friending friendzy, welcome to my space.
The kettle's over by the sink! The tea is in the pantry, the teacups live in the drawer at the left of the stove. Once you've visited once or twice, you can raid the fridge, (try to) pet the cats, and help fold the laundry.

Irish hospitality. :) I learned from the best (god rest her soul and grant her peace, she was and is deeply loved)

Oh, and if you love fanfic we should totally talk. :)


labelleizzy: (Default)

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