Day 365

One year.

I have been writing every day, for one year.  The chronicles are lengthy and deep, laugh-inspiring and dangerous, loving and deadly, long-winded and diminutive.  365 steps in the direction of recovery, that’s what that means.  But perhaps not.

Yesterday, my wife had a risky yet eye-opening foray into job-people-asshole-relationships.  This foray showed us that her next steps require some sort of job search, career path.  I am on board; ultimately, I want her happiness, for her to be grateful and appreciative, above all else.  I love her and we will make it work.  Luckily it was just a warning shot though, a burnt orange instead of a bright red, one that will allow us to take the next steps – while tenuously – on our own terms.  Given how things have been articulated here, recovering herself would be a way to frame this.

As for me, I am currently stepping into a new form of self-reality (I know that self-actualization is a more proper term, but the douche factor requires a less-accurate synonym), stepping into a new understanding of myself.  I started writing because we understood its value as a recovery tool for me, because we were looking for experts on me when we were the only two true ones.  As a result, we know many more of my triggers, warning signals, agitators and alienators than we did one year ago.  We also know that when stress gets away from me and us that dire consequences ensue: judge and jury, I give you broken hand.  I also know many more of my feelings, my loves and desires, my cares and Tz’u, my purpose as Don and my hopes and faith.  I feel more comfortable being who I am after 365 days, partially because we have expanded the me version of me, but also because we have explored the me version of me, which has given us an understanding of shoulds and the parts of me that are me, not black.  As we discussed earlier in the week, my wife and I know that my next steps in recovery include rest and managing the inevitable stresses of living on the edge, of giving 100% to do good and be beautiful, amazing and loving.

Odd thing is, if I hadn’t been pushed off the edge two weekends ago, I wouldn’t have had cause to have the difficult conversation with my aunt last weekend.  And if my wife hadn’t had her encounter of the fucked up kind, I would not have gone to my aunt for counsel about college teaching (a reach out that wouldn’t have happened without the difficult conversation), she would not have seen her potential for vivid expansion and I would not have found a potential perma-support in Kind Science Work Friend.  So is this really about recovery?

Through blogging, I have learned so much.  By writing, I have faced demons with my wife, with her affair, with my family, with my brother’s illness, with my blackness.  Like our summer before life happened, writing allowed growth beyond belief.  However, I will stop blogging after today and this is my final Tale as the Recovering Recoverer.  Not because I don’t love writing – I will continue to do that as a tool.  But given the acquired understanding of the last 365 days, I now understand that this is not a path of recovery, not solely.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I am recovered by any means.  I will continue to understand that I am recovering from anxiety and hyper-vigilance, perfectionism, orthorexia and disordered eating – my personal blackness.  I understand that the potential for that blackness taking over will always be there.  I understand that we will need to face every day one day at a time, with serenity and courage and wisdom.  I understand that I and we will continue to adapt our vivid to fit the current lines and colours, to use my tools and support system and stay vigilant against the blacknesses within us.

But I understand that this is only a part of me.  I have realized that I have not been writing about a path of recovery, not solely.  This is not a story about recovering from a deficit; this is a story of growth.  No, there is not an ending here, but that’s because this is a tale of a different sort – this is 365 days of life.

Day 362

12:53AM:

Take care of yourself; you’re worth it.

That is a should for me.

I find value, strength and purpose in others, in connections, in care and Tz’u, in love and Don – to be that, I need to take care of me.

Take care of myself, by using the candle a day.

Take care of myself, by limiting myself to two things a day.

Take care of myself, by having a cut-off time for work and emails.

Take care of myself, by listening to my support system (the ever-strengthened one) when they see I’m doing too much and lend a helping hand (or hug).

Take care of myself, by having food timing and systems that work for me and us.

Take care of myself, by having (and really enjoying, a forgone conclusion) sex dates.

Take care of myself, by using my anti-blackness toolbox, like happy lists, looking up and writing.

Take care of myself, by alleviating the wife-blackness-related stress, being knowledgeable of her tough hormone weeks and setting lines with her of support, for her and us.

Take care of myself, so I can be Don for others.

Day 360

4PM:

My wife has a great saying on one of her motivational chalkboards = hard work is hard for a reason, so work hard.

Last night, after receiving an overly-transparent check-in text message from my aunt (yes, the aunt of last weekend) in the afternoon, I called her.  I knew it would be hard.  Hell, I usually know what conversations are going to be hard.  That doesn’t mean not having them is the solution.  Mom and the middle sister haven’t spoken in a quarter century.  That’s because the hard conversation didn’t happen.  The middle sister’s daughter, my cousin, practically grew up with a piece-meal family as a consequence.  That’s because the hard conversation didn’t happen.  Both Mom and the middle sister feel like the black sheep as a result, feel hurt and abandoned – both of them feel that way.  That’s because the hard conversation didn’t happen.

I called my aunt knowing these things.  The hard conversation happened because even though it has come to the point that the benefit of the doubt no longer swings in their favour (as their honest mistake from last week demonstrated), even though she didn’t call after a couple of awkward and frosty encounters that fueled that pendulum of doubt swinging in the wrong direction, even though I was able to maintain an awesome relationship with their kids through it all, I love them.  I love them for everything they have done for me, for all that I believe in them for, for the people that I know they are.

I called them because while they should have been aware of these things, who’s to say what “should.”  There is just what is.  The door is open, the awareness there, the seeds planted and our tears have fallen to help them grow.  Blind faith in them, because that’s what it nearly has come to, has the chance now to be faith, to see.  That’s because the hard conversation happened.  The hard conversation of 58 minutes and 59 seconds; no longer will an hour will be spent without love and care.

My wife and I have to talk tomorrow about our recovery direction, about how we will move forward after last weekend’s breaks.  We will speak of hope for recovery, of reclaiming our dreams, of rest and stress management, of reclaiming healthy minds, bodies and souls.  The hard conversation will happen, because the beautiful things are never simple and the blackness cannot scare us away from them.

The beautiful things are beautiful for a reason; the beautiful things are always worth it, so love hard.

Day 358

11AM:

My hand is broken in three places, but it doesn’t need to set off metal detectors.  I fought for a splint over a cast, knowing that since surgery isn’t needed, there was more to lose by not having mobility (not being able to wash, NEVER being able to type or write) than by not having security (not being able to knock it around, NEVER being able to weight-train).  I know that we dodged a bullet here.

Two years ago, there were motivations on her end.  This needs to be the last motivation of this year: my drinking, my loose language at work and this.  Her trifecta (belief in threes) is complete.  My hand being broken, that needs to be it.

Part of me reclaiming healthy is taking care of myself to take care of others.  That means using the tools, scaling back the stressors, leaning on my supports (even if they can let me down unpredictably, hopefully temporarily).  I got sucked in last week because I wasn’t healthy enough to support who I want to support and be prepared for when the shit gets flung from all directions in my direction.

She needs to do something, I need to do something, we need to do something.  Reclaiming healthy is on us – it is fueled by our hopes, our belief and faith, our strength and love and respect, our serenity and courage and wisdom, our unbelievable ability to soar, as only penguins can do.

Day 356

7:45AM:

Even after this weekend, after the pain of losing a hand to uncontrollable anger (hers) and exhaustive stress (mine), she still makes my life.

Before her, there was living, there was not LIFE.  There were moments of love, but life, that came the day she opened me up and made me believe.

That is why driving to school, my heart – still beating with life – yelled atop the pain and frustration, atop the blackness, to make me cry.  Music revealed that life still beats louder than the blackness, and as long as there is love, that life will never die:

Day 350

7:15PM:

I do not regret that I find my value in people.  I find value and purpose in people, in others.  It means I get really fucking hurt, that I feel it to my core, in my nerves, throughout my circuitry.  Every time someone asks, “How are you?” and isn’t there for the answer, they take a part of me with them.  I am not necessarily surprised when I turn around as I am saddened by the loss of another part of my happy.

But in finding value and purpose in others not only gives me the reason to be Don, but the strength to do so as well, because it also means that I am not alone…

#1

can-stock-photo_csp18136716 “How’d it go today? (I figure you knocked it out of the park)… Good post-observation meeting?”

 

“And that’s why you’re awesome.  A lot of good comments.  And now I have some wisdom to share with you!”

can-stock-photo_csp18136716 “:).  I knew you would knock it out of the park.”

 

 

#2

 “You ok?”

“Unappreciated.  Not under, but un.  You know how it is here.”

 “Sorry a lot are feeling that way” (for an English teacher, not that grammatically correct when it comes to text messaging! – but I digress).

“Fuck ’em.  I know everything you do and all you do for that place and the support you give.  You were more thoughtful in your one phone call yesterday than most people there have been all week.”

 “Thanks friend”

 

#3

 “When a lot becomes too much I’m happy you’re by my side.  I can feel scared and at points hopeless, just for a second.  Because I know you’re there.”

“And that’s why it will never be too much.  Because foreverever together beats it every time.  Foreverever reclaimed.  I love you.”

 

 

 

Day 348

2:30PM:

Tired, beat down, worn out.

Don’t want to burden the evaluation process on anyone else, don’t want to burden the sleep on my wife, don’t want to be in oblivion like this though.

Not even sure I know what tools to use right now.  The hours of solace are fuzzy, not enough, not managing the pain.

I might be stronger, braver, wiser, more full of love and care.  But when the blackness shouts, making me blurry, making the spiders scurry in my brain, caking my soul with cobwebs…  When the blackness shouts and there’s no one to hear (or listen for or remember) my screams, I need this.  I hurt, that’s why I have to use those tools.

Remember the beautiful:

“Just because an animal is large, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t want kindness; however big Tigger seems to be, remember that he wants as much kindness as Roo.”

— Roo, Pooh’s Little Instruction Book, inspired by A. A. Milne

Day 345

6:30PM:

I cannot even trust myself with my judgment about Grilled Yam Soup.  My first reaction was that this would be great!  A second later, my second reaction was to question it.  “Ooooh, that looks good” VS. where does that come from: the calorie-less brothiness or my actual soul?

Am I missing a part of my heart?  Or have I fractured/fragmented/frazzled/fractioned/frayed so much that because this reaction felt like it came from my head (my thoughts, my perception), it is somehow less?  Do I need to expect something more visceral?  Is the ME version of ME more visceral or does the ME version of ME that if it comes from my head, then it comes from me!?!

I think about it thirdly, as I like the idea of Grilled Yam Soup.  I like the idea of coming home to it, taking it to school, putting it in boxes and being able to focus on enjoying every morsel.  But I cannot trust the why – I question the why.  I am so disjointed/disassociated/disgusted/dismayed that I cannot hear the voice fairly.  Or is it that I am so tired (no synonyms for that one; maybe just FUCKING tired), that I cannot hear it, that my soul and desired do not have the loudness that they should?  To bring it back to this recovery stage, stress is bogging down my soul?

Extrapolating from there: let’s say it is about the brothiness.  Maybe I just prefer quantity.  Maybe (in terms of my wife’s recovery), I am a finisher.  I can avoid the mistake by finding comfort in this.  The first stage though, is about dealing with the stress that’s bogging down my soul…

Day 339

1PM:

I thought that the concept of the Uncarved Block

“According to Lao-tse [author of the oldest existing book of Tao-ism], the more man interfered with the natural balance produced and governed by the universal laws, the further away the harmony retreated into the distance.  The more forcing, the more trouble. … Everything had its own nature already within it, which could not be violated without causing difficulties.  When abstract and arbitrary rules were imposed from the outside, struggle was inevitable.  Only then did life become sour” (Hoff, 4).

“The essence of the principle of the Uncarved Block is that things [and people] in their original simplicity contain their own natural power, power that is easily spoiled and lost when that simplicity is changed … ‘things in their natural state’” (10-11).

“When you discard arrogance, complexity, and a few other things that get in the way, sooner or later you will discover that simple, childlike, and mysterious secret known to those of the Uncarved Block: Life is Fun” (20).

“When we learn to work with our own Inner Nature, and with the natural laws operating around us … then we work with the natural order of things and operate on the principle of minimal effort.  Since the natural world follows that principle, it does not make mistakes.  Mistakes are made – or imagined – by man, the creature with the overloaded Brain who separates himself from the supporting network of natural laws by interfering and trying too hard” (69-70).

…spoke to disruptions in sex, in emotion, in fatigue signals being the result of my disruptions in hunger.  By automating hunger, I disautomated the things of which the universe takes care.  I created difficulties and struggle and sourness and spoilage and overload and separation by messing with hunger.

It does not appear that that’s the case.  Based on our mistakes learnings, the disruptions in my hunger appear the same as the disruptions in sex, emotion, fatigue, gentleness.  The disruptions in all these appear to be because of difficulties and struggle and sourness and spoilage and overload and separation brought on by me messing with the “a lot / too much” principle.  They’ve been caused by me walking a very fine line between taking on a lot and taking on too much, probably on the latter side much more often than I’d like to admit.

My Uncarved Block is buried in black gook.  Our road of recovery, the path to reclaiming healthy, is about washing and scraping and chipping away that blackness surrounding my ME.