Salix's Shiny Things

A magpie blog.

Love and others. March 7, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — LP @ 10:44 am
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I’ve been thinking about exes a lot lately.  This time, the issues are coming up not my own ex, but rather the ex of my significant other.  And how significant that other was and still is to him even now.

Recently, we’ve had a few issues come up that were set in motion by his ex years ago, but because they don’t talk, the problem got larger and is much more difficult to untangle now.  Not impossible by any means, but much hairier and scarier than it would have been had it been dealt with a little bit more appropriately years ago.

And there’s a lot of blame from her side, although technically, it was her actions that started the problems in the first place.  But she still was angry and blamed him, freaked out about the whole thing and wanted him to pay a good deal of money to fix it.

My s.o. was upset, but not angry, and he was willing to pay someone to help her fix it, although he wasn’t really obligated to do so.  Why?  Because he cares about her, and he wants her to be happy.  Even though there was a great deal of pain and resentment and rejection, he still cares and wants to help her.

I’ve never been jealous of his caring for her. Granted, I’m not prone to jealousy in general, but even so, I really have never felt like his caring for her in any way diminished his love for me.  In fact, now I even feel safer with him, because I understand a little more the depth of his heart after being with him for a year and a half.

I have come to understand more of what family means to him.  And his ex, even though she rejected him, will always be a part of his family.  And with family, love multiplies when membership increases.  With a generous heart, love has no boundaries.  That’s why I feel even safer with him now than before.  He chose me and mine to be a part of his family, and that’s a forever thing.

And even though there have been times when he has upset me, when I have felt sad and tiny and unlovable, he’s still there for me.

When I look in his eyes, I only ever see love there.

 

 

Brains. February 26, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — LP @ 11:11 am
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Brains.  Amazing miracles of grey tissue capable of producing all of our thoughts, ideas, imaginings, loves, hopes, fears, sorrows.  Brains are crazy amazing.

And yet, they can be the biggest jerks.

I have mostly, throughout my life, been able to love my brain enough to respect its needs,  or at least many of its needs.

It needs fuel from food.  It needs rest.  It needs to grow in a relatively safe environment (as free as possible from harm from chemicals or physical trauma).  It needs to play.  It needs to work.  It needs to just hang out sometimes.

In general, I do like my brain. But I also recognize that it can be a real jerk to me when its internal chemical mechanisms are a bit off, and its emotional environment isn’t healthy.  It can start insulting me, like a melodramatic teenager biting the hand that feeds it.

But I still continue to take relatively good care of it, even when it’s being a melodramatic jerky teenager.

For whatever reason, I was gifted with some internal mechanism that allows me to stay free from the kinds of chemical agents that so many turn to to make their brains do something different.

I was never that interested in alcohol, although I do appreciate a good single malt scotch from time to time.  No interest whatsoever in smoking, anything, because the thought of sucking stinky-ass smoke right into my lungs just squicks me out.  And all the other stuff?  I mean with needles and sucking up powder into your nostrils?  Also so gross I can’t even.

But I also like my brain and I like the control I have with it.  I don’t want to lose that control.  Ok, if I’m really going to be honest here, there was that one time I was drunk enough to actually have a bit of a hangover the next day, but… well, that was that.  Been there, done that, wasn’t that interesting, don’t plan on doing it again because there’s no reason to, really.

So I have a difficult time relating to people to seek out chemical brain amendments on a regular basis.  And I especially find it difficult to understand people who do so much so regularly that it affects their families, their relationships with others, their employment – in other words, their ability to be a full human being in this world.

On the surface, I kind of get it.  It’s like a temporary reprieve, or it can be a fun social lubricant. But so much, so often that it starts impairing you ability to function?  I just can’t understand that very well.  But I see it all the time.  I see the need to escape, to run, to leave, to make the thoughts stop for awhile, or shut up, or slow down.  I see that in people.

I see people who have lived with addictions for so many years that their thought processes are clogged up, like the arteries of someone about to have a heart attack.  Their thoughts just go in endless circles, impervious to any kind of knowledge, information, wisdom, or logic that you try to throw to them, like a life preserver to a drowning man caught in a whirlpool.  And it’s so sad, because you know what the problem is, you can see the problem so clearly from the stable shores of health and sobriety, but they’re caught out there in that horrible swirling sea…

So I am grateful for my own health, my own blessed, beautiful health.  Some days are harder than others, some days my thoughts become dark and distorted and horrible, but I am so, so grateful that I have been able to get through those times.

 

 

Would you have loved me back then? January 6, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — LP @ 10:55 am
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From time to time, I play this mental game where I try to imagine if my boyfriend or girlfriend could have fallen in love at an earlier stage in our lives.  Like high school or college.  This is probably a pretty normal mental game to play when you’re in a relationship, but for my past two, the conclusions I came to were not positive.  For my last relationship before my current one, the conclusion was that she would have been “too cool” to hang out with me in high school or college.  Sure, I could be dark and moody and depressive, but I was also full of passion for discovery and exploration and travel.  I was a nerd, and fully conscious of that fact, and took great joy and pleasure in it, which I still do to this day.  She was… not.  Smart, but cool.  So while we probably would have moved in similar academic circles, she probably would have found me to be too silly.

Of course, I never mentioned this to her. To do so would have opened me to her dismissiveness or ridicule.

Last night, I had the tables switched up on me.  C mentioned that he had been thinking about when he was a young man, super active and strong and “buffed out”, as he put it.  But at that time, he also had some major self confidence issues, and he had wondered if he could have attracted me back then.  Then, he said, it dawned on him:  at that point, I would have only been about 10 years old!  AAAAACH!  And we had a good laugh at our age difference.

So he’d been thinking if he’d had been a good enough partner for me way back when.  Would I have been attracted to him?  My heart melted.  I had seen pictures of him in his 20’s and 30’s, and he was very handsome, and very strong.  Would he have been attracted to me, if I had been in my 20’s or 30’s as well, of course, not my actual age at that time? Apparently yes! How amazing is that?

But that he thought to tell me that he was thinking about it?  That’s what is truly wonderful about him, and his emotional bravery – that willingness to be vulnerable, that ability to live in hope – is what I love best in him, and what inspires me to become the best person I can be – for him, for me, for us.

 

Joy in my skin. October 28, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — LP @ 3:29 pm
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So I did something that is totally kind of weird and crystal-new-agey-hippy-drippy for me, and I loved it.

Yep, I achieved approximately this level of hippy today.

Yep, I achieved approximately this level of hippy today.

pic credit: http://nemharapa.blogspot.hu/2013_05_01_archive.html

It was totally and completely unplanned, which may be what made it work for me.

What did I do?

I meditated for 15 minutes, buck nekkid in the sun.

Why did I do it?

Well, for a few days I’ve been going braless at home.  As I have a large bust, this wasn’t all that comfortable at first, but I had to because I was having some awful allergic reaction to deoderant and laundry detergent (thank you, delicate Northern European skin!) that was making me miserable, and having as much airflow as possible is the best cure for me.

And as I’ve written about in previous posts, I have a love/hate relationship with my breasts, which is usually more on the hate side.

But today they felt nice.  And as I leaned over to pick something off the floor, they felt lovely, and they looked adorable to me.  +100 for self acceptance and love!

So I was getting ready to meditate, and I started sitting in the sun inside the back patio, and I thought – gosh, what would it feel like if I sat here naked, in all this warm sunlight?  Pretty great, I’m thinking…

(Yep, I am super lucky to work from home, folks!)

So I did.  I checked to make sure I couldn’t be seen by neighbors, got comfy, and sat there in delightful nudity while my guided meditation app talked about joy and compassion and white light.

And I didn’t try to ignore or transcend my body.  I tried feeling every piece of it.  I took enormous joy in feeling the heat of the sun and the breezes playing across my skin.

I felt amazing, and it still feels amazing to just simply delight in the presence of my full, shiny body.

Today was a good day.

 

Running, in this body.

Filed under: Uncategorized — LP @ 11:59 am
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I had never thought of myself as a “runner”, really.  In college, as a fencer, we jogged and did suicide sprints and other cardio training things, and while I was decent at sprinting (thanks to Ballet-level calf muscle strength), I sucked at long distance running.  A mile?  Oh god, a whole freaking mile?  run, run, *puff, puff*, walk, walk, jog-run-get out of breath again, repeat ad nauseum.

But over the summer, I got a smartphone.  And the thing with smartphones is that you can get all kinds of apps for them.  And some of those apps are The Best Thing Ever.  So I downloaded Zombies, Run for a fun change of pace for my walks.  And then I found that I didn’t just want to walk anymore, I wanted to run.  So I did.  And then, I had the best luck ever:  I looked for exercise wear at goodwill, and they happened to have a bra that was my exact size, which is pretty much a huge miracle, because my size is a large size but not a common large size.  So I saw it as a sign:  go run, woman!  You were meant to run!

And I did.  And it was hard at first, but also good.  I eventually got to the point where a mile was no big deal.  And then 2 miles, not a big deal.

And so I went for it, signed up for a 5K, and finished in fairly decent time.

My guy has been encouraging me all the way.  He used to run cross country in high school and college, and continued throughout his adulthood, joining 10K’s and various races like Bay to Breakers in San Fransisco, but in the last 5-10 years, he’s phased out most of his running in favor of other athletic pursuits, like tennis.  But inspired by me, he started running again.  He goes on runs with me about twice a week or so.

And sometimes, it’s difficult for me to run with him.

The problem is, I am a very slow runner.  I’m big, and I have large breasts which are all fibrocystic and sensitive.  I flop, I jiggle, and none of it is comfortable.  I haven’t done anything more athletic than walking for over a decade, so I haven’t got much in the way of muscle mass, and so I’ve have to build it up, and it hurts a good deal because I am not young anymore.  For all these reasons, I prioritize endurance over speed.  I’m happy slugging along at 13 minutes/mile on the grass, enjoying the stars and moon in the evening sky, or the jackrabbits and turkeys and occasional hawk in the park behind the cemetery, for 2-4 miles.

But when my guy is with me, he needs to run at his own pace, which is significantly faster than mine.  Even though he has almost 2 decades on me in age, he can pretty much lap me easily.  What he lacks these days is the endurance to keep that pace for a mile or 2 or 3.  So he’ll run up ahead, then walk, letting me catch up, then take off again, and so forth.

Which is nice for him, but for me, mentally?  Kind of sucks.  I feel slow and fat and gross, and my self-talk tends to become very negative.  For example, I tend to compare myself to his ex-wife, who was and is an amazing athlete.  Who was and is way more conventionally beautiful than I ever was or ever could be.  Who is thin and lithe and extremely well proportioned, in the conventional aesthetic sense of hip-to-waist ratios.  And I think that that’s what my guy is thinking about.  How much he loved her, loved sharing runs with her, how well they could run together.  And how I just can’t because I am so fat and lazy and ugly and generally unworthy.

Yeah, negative self talk is nasty stuff, and I’d become an expert at it, given my depression and history of emotional abuse.

But fortunately, the “high” of running can often push the negative self talk into the background, and I can distract myself with the music and storyline of Zombies, Run, as well as the obstacle course that off-path grass running tends to provide.

But it gets really bad when we’ve gone running at the track.  Not enough distraction, and running on a flat surface in a circle that’s only 1/4 mile around is boring.  So boring.  So the negative self-talk doesn’t get pushed down as easily, and the jarring of each footfall only makes every jiggle of my body that much more obvious and painful.

I tried to explain this the other night to him, as he was saying that track running can be just fine because what’s important is that you get into that zen running state, and you learn to push yourself with little mental games, varying your speed, etc.

I tried to explain how I need the distraction, but I don’t think I was able to.  He’s never had to live in a fat body like mine, he doesn’t know how painful it can be, especially when you have large breasts.

But.

He ran with me in the 5K.  He did the thing he always does, running ahead, then taking a walking break, but we finished together, and I ran my guts out at the end.  And I really enjoyed finishing with him, and I really enjoyed all the camaraderie of the other runners and the cheers from the support crew and random race watchers in the neighborhood.

At the heart of this experience, I have discovered some important things about myself:

-I do enjoy running.  I plan to continue to do it and train for races for a long, long time, because they are fun!

-I love my guy, and he loves me, in the best way: we can help each other become better people.  I love that I inspire him, and I love that he tells me about it in plain, simple language.

-I’ve got some ugly body issues that I will probably always grapple with, but at least I am aware enough now of some of the patterns which allow my jerk brain to take over.  I need to run in nature (grass, parks, trails) to distract me from myself.  Tracks suck.  Maybe they won’t always, but for the foreseeable future, I should avoid them to protect my brain from itself.

-It’s ok to get frustrated with my guy for being unaware of my lived experience.  He’ll learn.  It’s ok to kind of not like him very much, sometimes.  It’s ok because that’s just how people are, they’re going to annoy you and get on your last nerve and do stuff that you interpret as unkind, not because they’re bad people, but because they’re people, and they can’t know everything that’s in your brain or heart.  What marks this pattern as different from previous relationships is the sense of respect that I feel from him.  I feel appreciated.  He uses his words and gestures to communicate how much he appreciates me.  So the frustration and annoyance I feel from time to time just doesn’t have a chance to linger.  And he doesn’t approach every problem or disagreement between us as a sign of doom for our relationship.  And I am learning not to do that as well.

-It’s important to seek out inspiration from friends and family and the internet, too.  Like Fat Girl Running.  She is made of pure-grade awesomesauce and one day I’d love to meet her.  Also my friend H who trail runs and bikes like a badass, because she so totally is.

 

My lovely… June 25, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — LP @ 11:13 am
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Today, I’m very ok with my body.  I even, dare I say it, enjoy looking at it.

This is a very, very rare thing.   I’m one of those people who has enormous resistance towards positive body feelings.  Yeah, loving my body?  ummm, no.  Not so much.  Most days, I try to aim for peaceful coexistence of my brain and my body.  A nice grey neutral non-feeling.  It’s just there.

I’m much more ok with feeling good about what my body can do.  Dancing, walking, kicking, stretching, typing, drawing, hiking, and these days, even having sexy times.

Last summer, I found happiness through connecting my thoughts about my body to my body’s abilities.  I dreamt that I had woken up in Jackie Chan’s body, and it was strong and beautiful.

And I started really exercising.  And I noticed how strong my arms were getting, and how the muscles were becoming more defined under my skin.  And how strong my legs and back were getting, and how flexible, as I worked on stretching out so I could kick higher and stronger.

But I didn’t entirely like the body I was in.

And the main reason:  my breasts.

I’ve mostly hated them since they grew on me as a young teenager.  They were just so… much.  Too much.  Fleshy, floppy, in the way, hard to cover so they didn’t show.

I really, really wanted a nice, neutral, fairly androgynous body.  I didn’t really want to be seen as a “girl”, most of the time.  Because I wanted to do things, adventurous things, involving traveling to far flung places, where my gender could well get me into serious trouble.  Like rape.

I didn’t really want to be a boy, because I was mostly ok with being female.  I liked my uterus and its ability to grow a new life, for example.  I liked my graceful smallness, my compact strength.  Being male seemed to me to be messy and crude.  And who on earth would really want their genitals flapping around on the outside of their bodies where they could be so easily wounded anyway?

I just mainly wanted to go unnoticed.  Boyishly invisible.

But my breasts, they did not cooperate with that vision.

I’ve been dreaming of having them surgically reduced since I grew them.

I’ve had a very difficult time dealing with them since I had a kid.  You see, when he was born, they went and grew even more, much to my frustration.

But that was ok, because they were finally really useful.  I was breastfeeding, and the damn things were finally being used for their rightful purpose.

So I was ok with them, until he weaned.  When it sank in that my breasts were no longer useful, I broke apart.  I cried.  I was depressed for a long time.  I tried talking about it to my then husband, but he didn’t get it.

So I was left with this much larger, puffier, boobier body than I’d ever had before, and I truly hated it.  It didn’t help that my then husband almost never touched me – in affection, or to rub my horribly aching back, or for any reason, really.  It didn’t help that he never complimented me either.  Never looked me straight in the eye and told me that I was pretty or beautiful and how much he loved me.

And I didn’t really know how much I needed to hear those kinds of words until I met my current guy.

He tells me.  He shows me.  He looks me straight in the eye and tells me how much he loves me, and that I’m beautiful, and how much I mean to him.

And it matters.  It matters a whole heck of a lot.  Knowing that I am loved, I know that I am lovable, and lovely.  And it becomes so much easier to love myself.  Just catching a glimpse of who I am through his eyes helps me know that I am worthy.  And that my body is worthy, too.  All of it.  The whole package that is me is worthy of being loved -not just my brain, not just my lady parts, but the Whole of me is worthy of love, respect and caring.

Even my breasts are worthy of being loved – it is possible for me to love those silly floppy things too, and not just for their bygone ability to feed a tiny human, but I can love them for simply being a wonderful part of a wonderful person.

I looked at them today in the mirror.  Really looked.  Stretched my arms up over my head and looked up and down the length of me.  And I was happy with what I saw.  I looked good to myself.  Good.  What a simple, delightful feeling!  Good is a good thing.

I put on a clingy t-shirt with a low scooped neck.

And I looked down at my cleavage and thought – nice.  Lovely.  Warm and round and heavy with life.  They are good.

Not just sexy, although that’s a part of it that I’m coming to understand more and more, and be ok with more and more.  (I’m still working through what it means to be “sexy”. That’s a whole other can of worms…)

But lovely.  Lovely things, capable of delighting and comforting.

Happy beautiful morning to me!  Happy beautiful morning to all sentient beings!

May we happy and free from suffering.

 

Hating suffering? October 31, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — LP @ 11:48 am
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From my parenting blog… thoughts on love and hate.

Z is for Zener

Hate is an incredibly powerful word.  The feelings encompassed by the word are sharp and full of pain, anger, anguish.  It’s oppositional and defiant.  And it gets thrown at us parents by our children at times when they resent the parenting we have to do, the discipline and the consequences that we mete out when necessary.  It’s a momentary thing, an expression of anger and resentment.  But as adults, with a knowledge of history and the wisdom of experience on our sides, the word “hate” can fill us with fear – hate is, after all, what fuels genocides, wars, riots – painful, awful death and destruction.

It clearly isn’t something anyone with a conscience would want to cultivate.

But what about hating the bad stuff, like suffering?  What about hating that which causes suffering?  Opposing suffering is good, of course it is – who wouldn’t want to end hunger? homelessness?…

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