Conference Room, five minutes.

computer workstation

So, the Fall lasted a week.  The Littlest Blizzard* is melting, and it’s warmed up to 39 F.  I wasn’t ready for winter.  I think everyone has Seasonal Affective Disorder, (making its status as a disorder questionable.)  They make up shit to sell more drugs.

Conditioning advert:  Are the cold, dark, dreary days making you depressed?

Everyone alive:  Duh!

CA:  You need more drugs.

I’ve been busy setting up my apartment in preparation for the inevitable depression hibernation season.  I’m better at recognizing the earliest signs of depression seeping in.  Irritability over silly shit?  Check.  Also, my body is continuously sliding back into survival mode for no apparent reason.  (I’m more conscious of my physical self these days.)  I have (full length) mirrored closet doors in my apartment.  I glance at myself sometimes, and I look like I’m making random gang signs while walking on an uneven surface after someone poured ice down my back.  Fat-the-whuck?

The worst part is, I strongly suspect I’ve been walking around like this for years.  It feels too natural to be a once in a while thing.  Why does my body think I’m a west coast gang member cringe-walking during an earthquake?  Do I do this in public?  I’m going with no because nobody has said anything.  I mean.  If I saw someone walking like that in Sioux Falls, would I say something?  Damn.  (I’m probably on YouTube against my will.)  Sigh.  I’m going to add music to my relaxation routine.  I’ll play F.U.B.U., by Solange, while I breathe in my Embodiment Oil.  And use the massager to force my body to stop (doing shit that can get me killed in California.)

Gaming station
(Sorry for the crappy photos without a flash or turning on a lamp.)

Hopefully, it’ll take this time.  Maybe I should watch the screen saver on my AppleTV 4k, too.  May as well hit all the senses while I’m at it.  With the latest update, the screen saver got a lot better.  (I’m still debating whether it’s live footage shot at a low frame rate or CGI.)  Either way, I enjoy it.  I pause The Office whenever I get up to do something, which is every few minutes.  I should add hyperactivity to my list of warning signs.  And insomnia.  (You wouldn’t believe the shit I thought up to worry about last night.  Alien related.)

I’ve set up all my abandoned monitors and HDTVs as computer workstations or console gaming stations.  (I don’t have Craigslist energy.) Between gaming, TV, and synthesizers, I don’t anticipate needing the heat much.  Last week kicked my ass.  My apartment complex was doing winter preparations, such as having the carpets cleaned in the common areas of all the buildings.  Unfortunately, this meant the insanely loud droning of the carpet cleaner truck for 3-5 hours every morning starting at 8.

It was inescapable.  My noise-canceling headphones didn’t help much.  On top of that, the driveway leading to underground parking was under construction.  At first, they said to remove our cars by Wednesday morning if we wanted to use them during construction.  Then we got an email on Tuesday morning, informing us we had an hour to move them, or too bad.  I was in the shower, preparing for my dental appointment.  When I emerged and saw the email, time was up.  And the droning of the carpet cleaning truck was still wailing and echoing off the other buildings.

Gaming station 2

I managed to text a friend before melting, but barely.  (The power of a friend acknowledging your situation sucks ass is surprisingly helpful in coping.)  Just as I was beginning to visualize strangling the (innocently by-standing) carpet cleaner, the droning ceased.  I messaged the dental clinic to let them know I was trapped.  Then I committed to winning surviving this epic battle against berating myself for missing the appointment again.  Sigh.  I lost a leg in an ambush this morning, but it’ll grow back.  (Mental limbs heal faster with/post-therapy.)

I’m leaning heavily on comedians at this time.  The Office is streaming now.  I watched The Read Late Night on Fuse (via app) three times so far.  My face hurt from laughing.  (The sign-off had me on the floor.)  I love everything about it.  I listened to Dana Carvey on Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend podcast.  Dana Carvey and Conan are now, The Comedians Who Made Me Pull an Abdominal Muscle From Laughing.  (It just occurred to me my comedy titles might not be as flattering as intended.)

I wrote the names of all the comedians who have made me belly laugh on my whiteboard.  I keep adding more while gangsta-crawking (it’s a word now) past.  Each name evokes happy memories from different periods of my life.  I still remember the awe at being allowed to watch a rated R movie (The Jerk) and understanding the humor.  I used to randomly call my sister, Heather, and say, I was born a poor black chile, then hang up to the sound of her laughing.  We scream-laughed when we first heard Steve Martin say it.

I haven’t been able to read much of late because I’m too hyper, and my mind won’t cooperate.  It alarms me as reading is fundamental.  Heh.  I’m going to switch to audiobooks and see if it helps.  Oofda, it’s going to be a long winter.  At least I have everything I can control tilted in my favor.  I’m going to get through this winter without being the Depression Monsters bitch.  I got this.  I’m off to watch Deon Cole’s Cole Hearted on Netflix.  (I love him.)  ✌🏽💜

 

*Thanks, Narcoleptic Aspie.

“It’s just noise coming out of an ugly scientist.”

sisters

I’ve been thinking a lot about my sister, Heather, of late.  The anniversary of her passing was in July.  She died the day before her 35th birthday.  She was coming to Sioux Falls to celebrate with me the following day.  I have no idea where I am in the grief process in her regard.  I miss her.

I still ask myself, would it make 7-year-old Heather cry?  If yes, don’t say it.  (A gift from my mom.)  I’ve since changed it to, don’t think it.  (I’m a notorious thought telegrapher.)  My desire to be kind is far stronger than my desire to be funny.  They used to compete.  🤭

When we were little, we had an unspoken alliance as the only black people in our family at the time.  As the older sister, I assumed the role of Heathers’ protector.  If a child hit her on the playground, I would see red and lose it.  As I got older and recognized Heather deliberately antagonized kids to see my response, I learned to relax and assess before attacking.

knight in armor

As a kid, part of me thought Heather was an asshole for doing this, but mostly, I was impressed because it worked.  As an adult, a psychiatrist prompted me to wonder why she behaved this way.  It was the first time I ever looked at it with adult eyes and perspective.  (It also distracted me for a bit when I most needed it.)

I wasn’t affectionate as a child.  Heather needed to know I loved her unconditionally.  So she tested me.  She did this well into adulthood.  I don’t remember ever saying it, (may have screamed it), but I showed her on her terms.  I think my inner warrior originated to protect my little sister.  I’m doing the groundwork (courage mustering) before letting go of that compartmentalization of my mind.

I can laugh about the time I almost went AWOL to (in my head) murder a piece of shit for beating her up.  It would be more efficient for me to surrender at the nearest police station than go through the motions of committing a crime.

Cop:  Did you do this?

Me:  (Long pause while I consciously, agonizingly, make the neurological connections necessary to speak.) Nod.  (Long pause while I debate whether I said it out loud or not.)  Yes.

It’s just not logistically feasible for me to attempt deception.  I mean.  I think there’s a 72-hour time limit to answer questions or something.  I’d need way more time, internet access, improv training, etc.  Just give me the damn jumpsuit.  (In Minority Report, I’d get suspended for murderous thoughts over horrible men who hurt my little sister.)

volcano

Fortunately for that guy, my military training prevailed.  Also, I’ve never managed to hold on to that level of rage for more than an hour, tops.  It’s incredibly draining emotionally.  I firmly believed the punishment for making Heather cry was beheading for about an hour, though.  Then I wept because I knew I couldn’t do that.

It was the last time Heather messed with horrible men.  Our relationship changed a lot after that.  We grew closer.  Listening to me weep over the phone from another country and repeatedly apologize for not being able to avenge her, even though I was a soldier, affected us both in ways I can’t explain.

Perhaps we both grew up a little.  We were honest about our feelings with each other after that.  We talked for hours about our childhood, and how we felt.  It’s when I first understood why Heather changed abruptly as a child.  When she first encountered racism, she was never the same.  She went from being called, Smiley, to an angry little girl who only acted out around me.

monarch

I noticed.  For a large part of my childhood, I hated Heather on some level, because I was the only person who was safe for her to express how she felt.  I’m just now fully grasping this.  The former resentment is now retro-honor.  I’m so glad I was a safe person for my little sister.  She needed me.  🙃

The day Heather graduated from high school, she moved out of state.  The day.  Everything she owned (and everything I didn’t take with me to the Army) was loaded up and ready to go immediately following the party.  (She relocated to the hood in a city large enough to have one.)

I moved out at 16, but only a few blocks away to my brothers’ house.  I couldn’t live with Heather anymore.  I wasn’t equipped to witness (or survive) her transformation from angry little girl to angry teenager.  (I remember crying a lot.)  She knew just what to say to reduce me to tears.  (Not like it’s hard to make a teenager cry; it’s mean.)

I left for basic training before Heather fully got in touch with her anger.  No shame in stating I’m glad.  My mom was an incredible person.  Somehow, their relationship strengthened during that time.  She certainly got over her fear of what the neighbors might think.  (Teenage Heather aimed at that little weakness.)  🤭

sisters

In some ways, I’m glad I was too busy trying to exist in a physically and socially hostile (to me) world to grok subtle racism.  Most of it flew by me unnoticed.  However, I also deliberately surrounded myself with more diversity as soon as I was old enough.  (I think this used to be a symptom of growing up in Sioux Falls in general.  It’s way better now than when I was a kid.)

I think Heather was the big sister when it came to coping with racism.  She was also the little sister; in that, she acted out her rage toward me because she was a child, and that’s how they express hard feelings.  I’m so glad I got to be Heather’s sister.  It was one of my most cherished relationships.

I’m glad I told her how much she hurt me when I was a child, and she listened and apologized.  She told me things I said that hurt her as well, and how those scars affected her choices.  I apologized, and we cried and forgave.  Then she asked me for a hug, and I presume I tensed up because she quickly retracted the request.

Sigh.  And that’s okay because it was my body speaking for me.  Hugging isn’t mandatory.  It’s just one of many ways to express affection.  I didn’t like allowing people to touch my body for most of my life outside of sexual relationships.  I now know it’s because I wasn’t in my body, and that made it a repulsive notion.

My cat forced me to get over this issue.  Weird.  A kid would have done it, too.  I’m just rambling at this point.  Heh.  I’m off to play Warcraft.  ✌💜

“That’s when I began my affair with Mohandas.”

Threads by Sheryl Crow

Threads by Sheryl Crow dropped today.  I’ve listened with my full attention twice so far.  Once with my desktop monitors, and once with Bose QC35 headphones.  All I can say is; wow.  I’ll be spending a lot of time with this album.  In my head, I’m listening with Stevie Nicks and Solange.  (I need them to collaborate on a project IRL.  Please, dear universe.)

I’m so proud of Sheryl Crow.  The track, Redemption Day, is an old song reenvisioned.  The new version made me sit down like I was getting a tattoo on my soul.  I’m listening with Grado headphones next.  I think they’ll be the sweet spot, but I have three others to test, (all German engineered.)  I love Sheryl Crow.  Her energy is beautiful.

I’m slowly rebooting post-meltdown.  I’m doing it differently, this time.  Instead of fleeing inward, I’m gradually recovering while present.  I’ve accepted it’s a process, and am not indulging in any cynical internal narration to amuse myself in the meantime.  It was fun when I didn’t know better.  Now if I do it, I picture my mom looking at me like she may have overestimated my intelligence.  (Cut to my ego in an ER where the doctor just yelled, clear!)

woman

My victories this week include things like brushing my teeth and showering.  Each one empowers me to gain another, but for now, I can do three or four hard things a day.  I exercised, ate, showered, brushed my teeth, and paid bills today.  Yay, me!  I still have energy left for the evening, plus I can find essential words on demand, today.  😆

I missed a dental appointment, but I didn’t waste energy beating myself up for it.  (I used it to reschedule.)  I’m so grateful to have my voice back.  It feels like being allowed to wear clothing in public again.  I have a ways to go till recovered, but I’ll get there.  Solange’s music is healing in ways I can’t yet articulate.  It makes me feel valuable.  I didn’t know music could do that.  I’m off to commune with Threads.  💜✌🏽

“Yeah. They should make a movie about all the Hindenburg flights that made it.”

negative self-talk

I got gently course-corrected by The Friend Zone podcast this week.  It related to how I identify healing, what it means, and my expectations of life after that.  (I’m reasonably sure I’ve established my propensity for over-excitement.)  I’ve since re-evaluated, sat with, and reigned in my expectations.  In a way, it’s a relief because my expectations were kind of lofty. 🤭  I’m grateful; (imagine how much time this adjustment will save.)  The assignment this week is to counter each negative thought with five positive (before sleeping) to train away negative self-talk.

It sounded like a lot to me at first.  But I tried it, and it’s fun.  I’m enjoying it as much as a video game that doesn’t depend solely on hand-eye coordination for advancement. 😶  It unlocked a new level in life, too.  Now, I am suddenly able to recall lots of good memories from times in my life when traumatic memories used to block them.  It’s fracking awesome!  I knew I had a ridiculous amount of fun while serving, but couldn’t trace it back to very many specific memories.  Now I can, and it began from thinking of positive things to counter negative self-talk.

The timing was excellent, as I didn’t make it north to visit my sister.  I was busy mentally tearing myself into ickle bitty pieces over it when the airshow shut me down for a while.  (Even though my sisters’ response was so kind, it made me cry.)  I was repeating my old habit of jumping in with both feet like my life hasn’t been a cautionary tale advising the opposite.  I forgot. 🤭  (My body remembered and activated all the alarms.)  I’m one of those people who have to experience the lesson to grok it, half the time.

Boxer dog

My level of interest determines how quickly I learn, which is as much a blessing as a curse.  If I’m interested, I learn so quickly people behave differently around me ever after.  (It’s weird and fascinating.)  If not, I’m no longer surprised by people assuming I’m intellectually challenged based on how much repetition is required for me to learn.  (I went from my ego being in intensive care to no damns to give rather quickly in that regard.)  It also strengthened my asshole detector; bonus.  Sometimes, I wish I could control this by faking interest, but so far, nope.

I did make it to Denver, even though I just had a meltdown recently.  Flying is a lot easier than driving for me, and TSA is part of why.  I know it’s weird, but I like TSA in Denver and Sioux Falls.  They help make it possible for me to travel alone.  I was an inch from bawling over the slightest thing and still managed to maneuver an international airport by myself without shedding a single tear.  The app on my phone failed to load my boarding pass.  Seconds before I tilted my head back and just crumbled into a most pitiful pile, a TSA person stepped in and gave me clear instructions on how to resolve it.

And when I did step one then promptly got lost, another TSA person stepped in like they were in a relay race passing batons. They even wrote me a note, so I didn’t have to stand in the long ass security line twice.  I know about the services that prevent this, but I need the time to mentally prepare for following all the instructions without holding up others.  (I’m so much better at it now than when I first started traveling again.)  A TSA person pulled me aside and told me exactly how to behave (body language) when in line so that I would stop getting all my bags scrutinized.  She didn’t have to do that, and I’m thankful.  It makes me wonder if they get training for interacting with neurodivergent people.  (It seems like they do.)

I was able to speak aloud at the time, but not much beyond lots of nodding and showing my phone screen.  I know a lot of people are annoyed by TSA, but to me, they’re helpful and pleasant.  (At least in Sioux Falls and Denver.)  Guitar Hero is teaching me how to use weed as a creative tool.  (I can tell he was a hippie because he has a lot of rules about respecting pot.)  I’m loving every minute of being calm in my body.  It’s a lot like coming up for air after staying underwater a little too long.  I’m off to introduce him to Solange. 😆💜✌🏾

“Scissors mishap, air show disaster, chinese organ thieves; it’s a dangerous world.”

reset count

I’m recovering from a meltdown.  An airshow (and the practice leading up to it) shut me down like an off switch.  Bose QC35 noise-canceling headphones, worn from sunup to sundown, couldn’t shield me from the ridiculous pilot shenanigans; she said, acidly.  I was in air defense units for several years of my military career.  I’ve been vigilant of the sky ever since as if programmed to assume watch whenever outdoors.  It wasn’t part of my specialty, but I had the opportunity to witness, and a few times, (range) fire all of the Army’s air defense weaponry.  Cherished experiences.

I don’t worry about war, as many do.  America has been at war my entire life, and likely yours.  I have a tremendous amount of faith in our military from experiencing it firsthand.  I paid for this comfort with sweat, tears, and anxiety that too often manifested as inopportune hurling for distance.  (Raising fist in solidarity with anyone who has ever been beaten up for accidentally barfing on someone.)  It was worth it.  Plus, I had access to a lot of cool shit a decade before civilians; (like email.)  I just deleted a whole paragraph about the old days.  You’re welcome. 🙃

I’m hoping to regain my ability to speak aloud today.  I’m confident Solange’s A Seat at the Table on repeat will draw out my voice.  Music’s power over my neurology and mood astonishes and delights me.  It’s my favorite survival tool.  When I can’t talk, I tend to stop communicating altogether.  People are especially dangerous at these times, so it’s isolation without my consent.  When I recover basic functionality, I may enjoy solitude a little too much.  The rock I used to dwell beneath sends such warm invitations.  (In my head, Stevie Nicks clears her throat, then burns them while making eye contact.)  No worries on that front.  Heh.

I’m off to start wrapping my head around a mini-vacation this weekend.  Good thing I like obsessively planning for shit.  😂✌🏾💜