Per my usual, I am still trying to find balance, routine, and consistency with regard to posting. I am back to writing daily, but my posts are still a long way between. Real quick, my last post, a book really, ended with my personal thoughts on changing a person’s values in order to truly recover from addiction and other mental health struggles. This is my blog and my personal opinions based on what I have done for myself (which is based on reading almost the entire self-help section of my bookstore, mental health counseling, and 12-step).
I do not disagree on the importance of one’s home and lifestyle, of family and friends, of church affiliation, employment, education, pets, nature, hobbies etc. I find them all important to a well-rounded life. What I disagree with is continuing to value the people, places, things, and situations that made me suicidal, depressed, anxious, shell-shocked, frightened, and generally f*d up in the first place. For me, continuing to “value” what made me this way is dumb. Threading those things back in LATER, when I am much healthier, much more solid in myself, much more discerning for my well-being, much much stronger, and truly ready for what they bring my way; can be done. I am not advocating disowning one’s family. I am not suggesting cutting all ties to the past, turning away from one’s up-bringing, or permanently destroying our place in the Known Cosmos; what I’m advocating it that those things not be one’s core values if one wants to build a life based on recovery.
Two and a half years ago I sat in a day hospital break-out session on “Values”given by an old white religious guy. Problem number one. Everyone around me was calling out things to write on the white dry erase board. The group contained a surprising spread of demographics. Three different colors of people, three or more religions represented, a decent spread of education, household income, and employment statuses, married/single, gay/straight/, using/clean, veterans to the program and newbies. But despite the diversity, everyone said the SAME THING. They all valued things outside of themselves, things that did not necessarily put a roof over their heads, pay their bills, keep them from drinking/drugging/addicting. My point is that when it came to the “values” session, the dry erase board looked exactly the same both times and every person in both groups of people said exactly the same thing (of those who spoke, I know..). That was problem number two. It was a colossal re-run. And for some of us there, the whole experience was a re-run, and for others a re-run of a re-run. NO CHANGE.
Doing the same things over and over but expecting a different result is “crazy” right?
Here are my suggestions and what I said on my second tour through the day-time mental hospital.
I have five base values. They are for me to be able to take care of myself. They may seem selfish, but I think I deserve self-care since this is where I am sitting for the second time in two years, and on the second major mental break-down in 14. The statistics don’t look pretty after this. This is what I base my life on, and my life depends on it.
The room was silent. No one spoke for a minute or two. Then someone said, “I never thought of that”.
I think they may have meant that they didn’t think of “values” as something for themselves personally. I think most of the people in the room had on rosy colored glasses and I took them off. I tend to point out reality. Many of us were in fact not safely off the streets, not safe in our homes, not safe among our “values”. Even the staff had to think on this. Problem number three. That bothered me a HUGE amount and almost up-ended my time there.
I don’t know how to use line spacing (and a bunch of other things) on WP so this looks long and I want to keep this post short. I want to leave time for anyone reading to ponder my suggestions. It isn’t that my mother, or child, or best friend, or education isn’t very important to me, or that I don’t value them; it’s just everything else has a place AFTER my safety needs are met. I let things back in when I can sustain them in balance with my life as a whole. I spent an entire year on each value, this year I am on Harmony. As I get along better with myself, I get along better with others, but it is hard with my desire to disconnect (hence my previous post). Next year I hope to be living in a place of stability. I’ll let ya know.
Over time I discovered that each value has an accompanying character trait that I have had to develop to solidify the value. This has been perfect for 12-step work.
I advocate for people to come up with their own words, their own core concepts that will give them a place a safety, mental health, a ground zero to start from perhaps again and again until it works for them. I’m a DIY girl. I believe the ground underneath us is stronger if we lay our most solid work ourselves out of the most solid parts we create in ourselves. I know what heals me, and I believe that most people know what heals them. I think the thing mental health needs the most is CHANGE.
None of the values on the dry erase board worked for me. They actually kept me trapped in co-dependency. They took the focus off myself and my development, even my personal physical safety.
Thanks for reading and I wish you safe.
As I move on, out of a huge major depression, I don’t know how. I don’t know how to live with the idea of my life not directed by navigating the b.s. of those around me. I don’t know how to direct myself without the immediate energy of others. I don’t know how to move my day along with thoughts and feelings at the same time. I know there is much to do, emails to read, appointments to make, help to get to make my BlackBerry and my laptop to talk to each other again, swimming to do, cleaning my refrigerator, cashing a surprise check, thinking on a second job….. my question is how do I do these things without losing myself again. I am a late sleeper, a slow waker, a dawdler; until my brain realizes that time is ticking and I need to move along.
This is different from my long hatred of mornings. I no longer hate mornings. I no longer dread them, wish I didn’t have to endure them, or fight them. These days I wake up peaceful, okay with my life. I wake up safe in the life I have built on my own, for myself. Most mornings my mind is actually blank for awhile. My a.m.routine is written down so that I stay on track whether I am thinking or not.
It is after this that I have questions. And they are questions, not angst, drama, or even that much anxiety. Just, “How do I stay with myself this day and do some of the things I really should do to participate in my Life, as it is and where it is headed?” I think it is a question of balance. How do I love myself, love those so supportive around me, remain connected to it all? How do I cling and continue to grow at the same time?
These are things that get missed in abusive, neglectful, dysfunctional, addictive, and traumatic homes as we grow up. These are developmental steps that get ignored, forgotten, destroyed, or damaged; and to me, it seems, they need to be made up. I am repairing in myself those connections in my brain that say, “Hey, connection is important! Hey, yes I know you need to move on but don’t forget me now that you have found me!”
My questions are things like, “Do I just throw myself together and go swim, because if I don’t, I won’t swim today? Or can I write in my journal, maybe post, and then go?”
Then there are questions of efficiency. “If I stay with myself and write first, should I throw in some laundry or soak my dishes?” If I write and don’t have those things going at the same time, is this good focus or license to go down the rabbit hole?
Issues of time arise for me WAY TOO OFTEN. I hate my struggle with time. I hope that someday it goes the way of my struggles with mornings! Rabbit holes suck up a metric crap ton of my time. BUT I have found that I have also grown-up about 4 years in 8 months of pursuing myself through my own rabbit holes. With regard to time, I feel that time to grow-up the natural way, in the time that I should have had, was mostly taken from me; so I am doing it now. I feel very firmly about this.
So, I guess my questions of good decision making, efficiency in running my own home (for 4 years now), how much I exercise, and whether I post or not; will get answered as I muddle through my quiet solitary days. Days like today I can chose to connect with interested parties on WP as I sort these steps out. As I have shared through photograph, I can connect with my fur-babies, allowing them to demonstrate their dependence on each other. My black and white rabbit is old and frail, she clings to my young brown rabbit who is patient, kind, and quite frankly assertive if she doesn’t like something new near them. They are peaceful and happy with their lives, a good reminder for me to follow suit.
On the thread of connectivity, and now that I have written to know what I think, perhaps I will read the email from my insurance agent and then give her a call to make an appointment for a sit down. This goes to meeting my budget needs, so perhaps it should be my first priority. Maybe then a swim will be the right thing. I don’t know what I will do after that, but later tonight is my 12-step meeting, then my Monday night Backgammon game and beer.
I am learning that gentleness with myself, structure, and hope are as important coming out of depression/anxiety/trauma as they are while in their midst. I am learning that honoring connections the entire time, is critical to sure footing and avoiding going seriously backwards. Staying with myself in the face of economic, employment, social, and societal pressures is vital to my recovery. What would the point be in any of it if I lost myself again? And of course I need to continue to push myself to authentically engage with others to really thrive.
Thank you, WP.
Thank God I took today off.
Real freedom through thoughtful planning, in this case, this day, keeping my time for myself and limiting my interactions. This took courage to clear my schedule of places to be, things to do, and people to see. I realized that it has been over thirty days since I was alone and I will lose my mind if I don’t stop to rest. This is huge given that that I spent nearly 3 1/2 years retreating from life and here I am now so busy that I need a break from it. Recovery is possible. Time to balance back out letting my instincts be the guide. The only human being I can handle everyday is my own child, everyone else I need a break from or I get over-whelmed. I felt enormous relief upon waking and remembering that I don’t have to deal with anyone today. This is made possible by the day off work, letting my exercise class know I would be absent, and there being no social engagements on the calendar. My few pals were forewarned that I would be unplugged today. Although, I don’t think it is “unplugged” really, I think it’s just a “no demands, please” day.
I need an emotional break from human interactions for twenty-four hours to “re-set”.
My biggest fear right now may be committing to the rat-race again, or to the Treadmill of Life. I get exhausted to the soul and want to wither away after long periods of “doing” and interacting. I want to live as a human being, not a human doing. As it is, I live most of the time feeling blue in a fog of grey, pretending that I am okay with this running to work, school, family things, social engagements, the gym, the business of life, and fun; like other people, chasing success and happiness. Truth is, I suck at it, and I don’t like it at all. Maybe most people don’t like it either, they just do it because they know no other way. Maybe others do like I am doing and pull back to rest, I think this may be what they mean by “vacation”; although usually I hear about needing a break after vacation, so I think even vacations are just more running. Anyhoo, I can’t wait for a real vacation so this is a one-day version.
I also woke with the trippy sense of having had dreams within dreams.
When I first fell asleep last night I think I began to dream right away. I awoke in startle response and physically felt something heavy on top of me. At first I thought it was big, bigger than me, and holding me down. My mind raced, my heart braced for violence, maybe death.
I thought, “Well, this is a big city, people kill people, someone came in my window and this is it, Matt will be devastated and everyone will know that big cities are dangerous.”
Then I thought, “No, the windows are closed, the air is on. Oh, I left the keys in the door again and this time I won’t be so lucky….”
Next I realized the thing on me wasn’t that big. It was small and mostly on my shoulders and neck. It was moving, slowly, sort of gently. “Wait, there is a sound, low, steady, slightly rumbly-scratchy sound, and it is occasionally rubbing against me. Oh! It’s head-butting me!”
In my sleepy fog I identified this weight as a cat. A cat had jumped on me and was purring and butting into my shoulder, neck, head, and face for attention. I could clearly hear its happy throat, smell its hot feline scent, feel its wet kitty nose and mouth. I remembered how loving a creature a cat can be, and all the cats we’ve had over my life. Okay, a cat I can handle.
Concern suddenly hit me as I tried to rouse to deal with the situation. “I love cats, I want a cat, but I am allergic to them. This is the biggest reason I was sick most of my life. I didn’t know I was allergic to them. SHIT! I am well now, I so will not go back to constant “kill me now” sharp headaches, nausea, swollen glands, and tiredness with confusion! This cat has to go!”
” Bummer, I was enjoying the attention.”
I finally managed to move, as I opened my eyes I found nothing. In disbelief I jetted my eyes around not wanting to disturb anything. Then I turned my head and looked around. Nothing. Absolutely nothing was different from when I went to sleep. No open window or door, no cat. I shot up to a sitting position and began to shake. For probably five minutes shook, and quivered, and writhed a little. I realized that it had all been a very elaborate dream. Then I realized that it was probably my body working on trauma. THEN it hit me…
“That was trauma physically working to the surface and leaving. Very cool.”
I went back to sleep grateful that I had taken the next day off. I continued to dream but sort of realized they were dreams within dreams and life was okay. When I woke up for real and got out of bed this morning, I felt this powerful sense of okayness. I felt a re-appearance of confidence in my mind’s abilities, and the same confidence in my place in this world. I had lost these friends for a very long time, I am glad they are back, if only for the day.
O Happy Day.
One of my absolute favorite things in life is to wake up in the morning having solved problems during sleep. It is like waking up with an “ah, ha!” moment. I believe that these first moments are my best moments of truth. My brain has figured them out from all the data that I fed it and began to work out the previous day, or days, as is my life now. I often wake up to the real crux of the matter.
I think this is crucial to my learning and growing. Solving problems during sleep helps me to really feel that I have learned from my hard work. Things have solidified during z-time. I like to feel that I have truly gotten to the core of a problem, that I have mastered a process that will get me to that core again, that my brain is able to clear away extraneous debris freeing me to focus on the critical; and now as I rise, is pointing me in the right direction or verifying the correctness of that direction. Maybe this is self validation, I don’t know. What I do know is that these morning thoughts strung together over time with their accompanying work, are guiding me out of myself.
It’s the process of pealing of the onion. In the morning I have gotten to a new layer. I want to return to journaling my “morning papers” because I think they are my best guides because they are very focused. I get easily distracted and easily pursue rabbit holes. Despite my idea of the impending end of my paid job, I love my schedule right now because it allows for this slow, tedious onion -pealing process. I love the opportunity to finally have time, safety, consistency, freedom, resources, support, and most importantly, sleep; to clear up “my sick thinking one day at a time”. I cherish my small 32 hour a week commitment to a job that begins in late afternoon. I honestly need the time to get right with myself, to parent myself, and to keep calm, focused, and forward moving. I finally have a space of time and what I need to grow up. I can use this space to recover the areas that got truncated by chaos when I was young.
This morning’s papers clarified where some of my most deeply held beliefs about myself came from, how they got there, and why they are harmful to me today. This is what I meant by the “crux of the matter”. I am all about getting to the root of things. I love weeding, digging, researching, debriding, clearing, and cleaning. I am nearly masterful at getting straight to the real issue quickly and unflinchingly when it comes to others, now I am turning this onto myself. By going into myself, I am coming out of myself. It may seem counter-intuitive to get all about yourself to be a better person to others, but I swear it is true. I cannot stop hurting others until I stop hurting myself.
Rooting out false beliefs about myself happens in my sleep. I wake up with blinding evidence of how over and over again some false truth was taught to me. How over and over again someone else’s pain took precedence over healthy development for me. How over and over again I took in that false truth and believed it. How over and over again when presented with opportunity to over-throw this false truth, I could not, until now. Now my life is peaceful, stable, and full enough to over-throw my basic framework of inadequacy. I am not inherently inadequate, I was taught that I was. Unintentionally, someone else’s lacking became mine as well.
The unintentional part is extremely important for my growth in grace, humility, and forgiveness; first for myself, then for others. I have to forgive myself for what I didn’t know. I have to acknowledge that my insides were running the show because my outsides got truncated. My insides got caught in a time warp inside myself because isolation and self-deprivation are self-perpetuating. Until dug out, exposed to the light, shared with others, and fully faced with the lies that they are; my deeply held false beliefs about myself will continue to limit me. They will keep me from stepping too far from depression. They will keep me in the sights of PTSD. They will keep me under-achieving, under-earning, under my potential. The will keep me living in fear of success.
My ACOA share “The Laundry List as Expressed in Tardiness”, all on it’s own has the potential to catapult me into an entire decade of success if I continue to pursue it’s messages.
I awoke today with a crystal clear picture of why I feel I don’t deserve anything. The evidence pile is vast. And it is a pile of shit.
Walking home from church in the brightness of early afternoon, I inhaled deeply as I reached the street corner. Looking up, it was green for me to walk and I slowly exhaled as I did so. Checking in with my body, I found it relaxed, spent, almost sleepy. Inquiring further north, my mind was quiet, nothing in particular rattling around stirring up expectations, no dramas being hashed through, no critical voice demanding forward action. Nothing. Blissful peace of mind.
Recently I have come to realize that my studio door is really a time portal. Going out of it reminds me of the realities of the ever faster moving bit world beyond it’s sturdy frame. Coming back in is like stepping back into the seventies when my physical needs were met, I was safe, life was fairly quiet, and there was a dim hum of some future; but no one was home.
To this day, when I am alone I often have the sensation of being small and waiting for my mom to come home. As I enter my living space, I feel like I am eight coming home to an empty house, save for the cats and the dog. The silence is loud. My entire life I have paused to listen to the openness of that silence. My eight-year-old self had no comfort that the time alone would be brief. The expectation that I would soon be swept up in my parent’s love and attention was unrealistic and usually not met; but it didn’t keep me from hoping, dreaming, trying. When connection was not available and time stretched on, the silence would fill my head. Suddenly I would be void of thoughts, urges, movement. It was like someone took an eraser to the chalkboard in my brain. All that was written upon it was gone, no longer important. I remember moving with stealth through the empty house. Until the dog woke up, I was a prowler. Over time, the void permeated most of me. By the time I turned nine, I felt void of my body also. I existed outside myself most of the time, returning now and then out of the old hope that was once there.
We had moved yet again. This time it was with a man and we all lived in the same house. This was good because it meant that my mom would be home with me and not at her boyfriend’s. It was also good because it was almost like we were a family. My mom cooked, cleaned, ran things, and looked after me. It didn’t last long. Despite the structure, there wasn’t connection between my mom and I. It became clear to me that the house was his, she was just staying there, they were them, and I was just there. School was not going well for me. It was my fifth school and I was only in 4th grade. I was forever going to be out of the loop of kids that knew each other since kindergarten, I wasn’t from around there, hell I wasn’t even from that region of the country. That year I didn’t connect with my peers. Last Sunday while cleaning, I came across a diary from when I was 7, 8, 9, and 10. The entries were few and far between, hence covering four years, but the content was consistent. Beyond the normal angst whether a certain boy liked me or if a friend would betray me; there were entries voicing continued disconnect, hope fraying, and death talk. Of course there was the “I’ll just die/kill myself if such and such happens,” but there were also precursors to suicidal ideation. One entry sent me to the floor when I read it. I remembered it.
My mom and her boyfriend broke up and we spent the summer camping. It was a blast. My mom bought a blue 1967 stick-shift Ford Ranger, put an over-the-cab camper on it, loaded three cats, two dogs, and me up, and off we went. This was the best summer of my entire childhood. Three of the best months of my life. We got back right before school started, she married before the year was out, and I disappeared again. Her absences this time were just weekends away, but the new for sure, gone all night, rattled me as much as the gone-more-often-but-maybe-not-overnight behavior from before. It didn’t matter, I didn’t matter, she just wasn’t interested in me. Eventually I came to not mind, even look forward to her weekends away. It became a badge of honor that I was so responsible. I was eleven.
It has been nearly four decades, yet I still trip over time’s threshold walking into an empty home alone. That is, until I remember that the time is now. Real time is living in this world-class city as a grown-up with grown-up privileges and a bank account. Real time has me connecting with co-workers over new jobs, weddings, babies, funerals, and fundraisers. After six years, I am a vital part of a core group of eight at a 12-step meeting on Mondays. I am now in my first “clique”. At church I have a regular seat, regular peeps to sit with, and regular activities to attend with them usually riding shot-gun. I am a “regular” at a bar (I so never saw that one coming! I am learning Backgammon.) I belong to a “neighborhood” – these people are amazingly tight and interested in each other! I no longer have to wait on someone to come home to comfort me, to give me value, to direct me in the ways of the world. I have what I need right outside my door-portal.
Right here, right now, alone for hours in my studio choosing to write despite it’s risk to my bliss; I remain at peace. It is an absolutely beautiful, warm, sunny, spring evening; I think I will treat my amazing eight and eleven year-olds to a hotdog and chocolate shake at Superdawg.
12 step, acceptance, addiction, adult children, anxiety, co-dependency, confidence, counter-dependency, depression, development, fear, freedom, gratitude, grounding, harmony, mental health, peace, ptsd, re-parenting, recovery, respect, self-esteem, shame
Today, I awoke profoundly happy. Last night I slept more peacefully than I have in years. It wasn’t that I didn’t awake or toss and turn and destroy my bed; it was that last night, life felt okay. This okayness was a direct result of a great previous 36 or so hours. It had been a wonderful Sunday filled with a dead-on-for-me message from my awesome minister; a productive afternoon re-installing, “updating”, and managing home IT; a brief walk outside between raindrops; then a cozy social evening of beer, burgers and conversation about God and the role of play in our lives. For me, a well rounded, balanced day is Nirvana. I felt complete. I felt like my needs had been met. I felt the increase in my functioning. I felt normal. I could let go and let myself rest.
The clock read 9:30 pm by plumeria candle-light as I slipped into my bed sans feathers, but accompanied by a glass of Spanish wine. My body was willing to co-operate with the early retirement because my mind was blissfully quiet.
Saturday had even been a good night at work. As usual it wasn’t worth it to stress about achieving or to worry about the state of affairs on my unit, because as usual, the powers that be have no concern for those things; so I didn’t. I got floated to a totally chill assignment which enabled me to do things at work that I never ever do. After a couple of hours I was able to check my work and personal emails and go online. I had two hours to read up on WP blogs. I was able to respond to those who sent me “likes” and comments. I was able to read their posts, their bios, their struggles. From a dark, cold, institutionally lit room; I was able to connect via invisible radio waves sending and receiving digital data across my continent and possibly “the pond”. (I think radio waves is correct.) In those moments I was totally loving technology. Although such connections are not as fulfilling as connecting with someone ten inches from me, I am growing to look forward to checking in on this online community of fellow travelers.
As I left work (early even) I was pumped about the blogs and those who wrote them. I felt a new surge of energy and interest. Once home, I messed with IT and wrote most of the night. At 5 am-ish I was happy enough with my work to take a nap before rising for church. Little did I know, I had just written the jist of the coming sermon. I love it when that happens because then I KNOW I am going in the right direction.
WP blogs provide a relatively safe place to drop our masks. While I am mostly “out” in my world, this blog is anonymous and no one who knows me in person is privy to it. However, this is beginning to fray. My closest pal/friend wants to read more of my writing and usually wants to read as I post. I am hesitant to direct them to my WP blog because of the freedom of expression that it affords me. I can say anything I want on my blog and it doesn’t impact anyone around me. It is a space that I am free to be me. I’ve never had this before so it is beyond special and I want to protect it. What if I want to write about them? What if I want to explore my tendency to hang out with married men who have crazy wives?
A few people from my Monday night 12-step group have asked how to find my blog. When asked this I say that I am sorry but that I want to keep it anonymous. This is in part because I am protecting someone that I did write about and I don’t want to out them. But a large part of not wanting my fellow 12-steppers reading my blog is that I feel it would impact their growth. Some will feel less than, and unintentionally my blog could pressure them where there is already too much pressure. Some will get all ADD. My writing could influence them to stray from their path to investigate something on mine. Some will get compary. They will compare their writing with mine, their journey with mine, how I manage things with how they manage things, their life with mine. A few will be better than me in some areas and will either want to tell me so, want to critique and fix things, or improve how I do something. At least one will push me to improve the appearance of my blog, how it functions, and it’s exposure. I don’t want the stress.
Then there is the humany stuff. People will gossip, bitch, tease, compete, compensate, disengage, placate, and worry. It will be like high school.
I am beginning to think that thinking of groups of people together all the time, over a long period of time, is like high school. Silver lining: I am also beginning to think that my natural order of development can be recaptured in the HERE and NOW if I can learn to navigate my thoughts, feelings, behaviors, instincts, dreams, and the ethereal things that happen, right in my current environments. That is, I have high school all over again to finally grow-up! Now, we all know that in high school, the less said, the better.
“Thoughts on Suicide out of the Bleu” really was out of the blue. When I sat down to write it didn’t begin that way. At first it just meandered. I reigned it in once, then it just picked up and was gone. Someone I knew just committed suicide. This is what I meant to write yesterday. Closing my apartment door behind me, my exhalation was one of breathless exuberance. My sweaty clothing clung to me from my brisk walk home in the humid streets of my city. What had started out as a brief jont to the ATM, turned out to be a short exploration of my new grocery store across the street, a chat with a neighbor in said store, and an introduction to a rather assertive urban raccoon. I think if I were to have any notions of writing fiction, I found my first character. While out, I received a call requesting that I arrive to work 4 hours early the next day. This was okay with me, but did necessitate hurrying home and preparing for my work days right then. A fairly large wrinkle included wresting my bike out of its winter home stashed behind all manner of junk in my small apartment. As the door clicked shut and my right hand instinctively slid over the lock of the dead bolt, it came. A cool breeze flowed through my insides sending my little girl’s tummy to my toes. The forward motion of my hand over the lock continued across my adult body turning me westward into my greatroom. I felt the touch on my left shoulder before my neck had turned enough for the evening blaze to catch my eyes. The leftward direction begun by my hand continued to propel my arm, my torso, then my waist. Finally, my left leg shifted making room for the right. For a heartbeat, the difference stunned and blinded me. I was completely bathed in orange brilliance. All motion ceased except for squeezing my eyes tight shut and inhaling deeply. I remained a statue until a grey shadow covered me first left then right. Opening my right eye only, I looked out my glorious west windows and spied a grey-golden ball ringed with fire. Both below and to the right of the grey-golden ball, grey-white clouds held court, swaying and dancing for the grey-golden ball. The dance would not last long. The shadow-time would be brief. Dropping my unshared groceries to the floor, I raced to my refrigerator, flew around my small kitchen, careened back through my greatroom, now flooded in pink framed orange, grabbed a fresh journal off my desk, slowed only enough to not spill my dinner, and I launched myself, my food, and my writing materials onto the right corner of my bed. You see, evenings are tough for me. They are actually quite painful for the first few moments that my body registers the time of day. My tummy belongs to that of a six, or seven, or eight year-old. Then judgement sets in. Did I do enough today? Did I use all my time or did I waste a lot of it? Is something not done that should be? Was I naughty? Do I have to explain? Will it be noticed? Will I be noticed? Should I hide and wait? Mostly I just waited. This happens almost everyday that I am not at work. I work second shift because I cannot get up and I cannot bear too many evenings alone. The Cosmos knows this about me. Most of the time I have west and south windows. This time the Gods and Goddesses out did themselves. I have east, south, and west windows. The south windows make up most of the length of my apartment. The west ones make up most of the width. My heart, no, my soul, nearly bursts with Gratitude when I am blessed with the opportunity to bid the sun good night from my cozy perch. Light rays reflect in my brown-green eyes dosing me with anti-depressant goodness. My skin absorbs those rays nurturing me with Vitamin D. They are like solar kisses full of warmth, beauty, the promise of tomorrow. From my perch, I sup with my sleepy sun. As that beautiful, life-giving, ball of fire sinks out of my view, peace settles upon me. And I am grateful. bc