“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. 😆💜✌🏾

“And you’re gonna need it.”

feet showing under covers in bed

Aunty Extra

Welp.  Healing is hard.  It takes a lot of energy and mindfulness.  I didn’t realize it, but living on autopilot for so long has consequences.  I’m having to train my brain to be present without exhausting my energy levels at an alarming rate.  It’s rocket science, yo.  This level has a lot of work involved.  I feel surprised every time I get a moment to catch my breath (thanks, Solange) and look back at what I just accomplished.  It’s not a comfortable feeling;  more like, whew!  I don’t have time to over-analyze everything while zoning out anymore.  It requires me to trust my values and make decisions before I feel confident in my choices.

It’s another part of adulting that wasn’t in the brochure.  I’m relieved my love of speculative fiction comes with the bonus that most epic sci-fi and fantasy novels are also ethics training guides.  (You still have to do the work of understanding the symbolism and lessons interwoven into the story, though.)  In my case, it means rereading and or viewing after thinking about it for a while.  I often have to listen to my favorite podcasts more than once to take it all in.  I love this quirk because they’re always funnier the second time.  (My epitaph shall state:  She lived her life on CP time.)

Speaking of podcasts;  I want Crissle West and Kid Fury (of The Read podcast) to read my life when I pass.  (I set up a savings account just for this purpose.)  My funeral is going to be hilarious and healing (assuming they agree to do it.)  I’ll leave them a note, a recent decent photo, and the keys to my apartment, and let them snoop through my stuff (and kiki until they feel like they get who I was.)  Random peeks at my journals, going back to age four will probably more than suffice.  (Good thing I had access to a typewriter, but my spelling was phonetic-ish.)

adorable child

I want it to be for the people who grew up with me.  The kids who went to school with me and played with me as a child.  The neighbors who were part of my village and accepted me as a child in the community.  The teachers who stood out as exceptional and excellent.  The people who perhaps didn’t treat me well, but since evolved into better people, and want to heal from past mistakes — my village.  I’m very attached to Sioux Falls.  I’ve traveled and lived in other countries, but when I got to choose, I came home.

I recognize this is a wee bit morbid, but I still have PTSD.  One of the symptoms is being hyper-aware of my impending death.  (And every single time someone murders a transgender woman, I have to claw my way up from the floor and somehow convince myself I can handle living on a planet where people do such fucked up things.)  When I stop having a blast planning my funeral to amuse myself, I’ll know I’ve healed.  Until then, I’m good at managing it.  I’m no longer treading water;  I have the upper hand with depression and anxiety now.  They can only challenge me, not own me, which is a blessed distinction.  I celebrated hard and long, heh.

Depression: Whatever, bitch, you still have to fight me off, even if it no longer takes all your resources.

Me:  Look at you, so sassy.  Don’t interrupt when adults are talking, please.

The Friend Zone podcast logo

This week on The Friend Zone podcast was their 200th episode.  It was so good.  I mean it’s always good, but this week was special.  They were openly vulnerable to the degree you couldn’t help but love them to pieces.  It’s so rare when people you don’t know IRL are publicly unshielded like that.  Part of you can’t help but slide into protection mode and start daring anyone to criticize them in any way, (because you’re unbelievably poised to correct any such shenanigans with a thoroughness likely to result in mild emotional trauma for anyone feeling lucky.)  That good. 💜💜💜

I’m still stunned these babies (to me) are teaching me so many things for which I didn’t even know to wonder.  My life is more joyful since I started listening to their podcasts and trying the things they introduce, reading the books, and doing the homework.  I need to get busy paying it forward because I’m building up a deficit.  I signed up for Daily Harvest after Fran mentioned it thrice.  (3 times is magical to me, thanks to Patrick Rothfuss.)  I’ll update when I get my order.  It’s as if the universe witnessed how preparing a whole chicken ruined my ability to eat meat, and said, I got you.  Yay.  I’m off to beat my drums with sticks. (Excellent way to recalibrate my brain when I sense an impending meltdown.) 💜✌🏾

“I’m an old man! I’m confused! I thought I paid for it!”

amethyst

I’m so jazzed because my comment got read on The Friend Zone podcast, the other day.  It was a double down on the best gift ever.  It tied into my recent course correction and reaffirmed I received and understood the adjustment opportunity.  Just for listening to a favorite podcast. (!!!)  And there was a follow-up gift of custom, created just for us, tools I know how to use in my healing.  Yay!  (I ordered mine, and in 2-3 weeks, I’ll show and tell.) They even gave us a heads up to set aside some fundage. 👏🏽

Seriously, if you’re not listening to The Friend Zone, why not? They’re explaining and showing how to level up in life for free.  It’s three (or more) people who are padawans out loud.  These are creatives and influencers who are playing the long, deep, sincere game.  I, for one, am not blinking.  Be nice to yourself.  (You’re on the journey of your life, and kindness feels right.)

bridge

Jade (of Jade and X.D.) presented a special podcast this week where she interviewed three teens.  They were intelligent, but as teens, they haven’t yet linked the part of their brains that allow them to translate their thoughts into language that matches their articulation potential.  It’s super frustrating, (which is why I remember so clearly, even though I’m oldish.)  Jade was a delightful, patient bridge that allowed them to share important things.

I heard them and learned about how to do better by them as an adult.  I strongly suspect these three teens did a solid for their entire generation by stepping up.  The urgency was palpable because they pretty much have to scream to get a whisper out (figuratively) at that age, which is just one of the many reasons adolescence is so traumatic.  I’m so proud of Jade and the kids.

Here’s an update on my progress with this year’s challenge.  I chose a neighbor who wears Cult 45 t-shirts.  She’s the same age as Stevie Nicks and recently retired.  She’s from a small town in Iowa, and she used to support Ben Carson before settling for 45.  Openly.  We exchanged emails yesterday after a friendly chit-chat.  We used email like long-texting for a few minutes, and she told me a little about herself.

basketball hoop

We have plans to go to the park to play basketball when the weather cooperates.  The last time, she attempted this alone, the kids in the park wouldn’t let her play.  I told her I would mediate that situation, and she was visibly relieved.  (+10 for recognizing it.)  I think we’re going to be friends by July.  It’s headed that way without me doing anything but being myself, and taking the time to connect with someone who sees the world differently than I do.

Also, I like her.  M thinks she’s a harmless kook.  (That’s pretty much his way of letting me know this is a solo expedition.) 😂  I like that M doesn’t participate in anything I do that doesn’t interest him.  He also doesn’t invite me to places I’d want to leave after ten minutes.  Like Las Vegas.  Nothing about me says: add alcohol.  😂  (The universe already taught me my body transmutes alcohol into tears.)  But I like knowing he’s having fun there, now, while I’m in my airconditioned safe place with candy. 😆

It's a beautiful life

I watched Dead to Me through twice, recently.  They had me at Christina Applegate.  Duh.  It’s brilliant.  This weekend is all Grace and Frankie on Netflix.  It’s my favorite show now that Thrones is over and Westworld hasn’t resumed.  It’s even better the second time around.  Brianna is who Daria wanted to be when she grew up.  Love.  Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are teachers.  This show is their school.  I’m learning about aging beautifully, realistically, and joyfully.

I’m also learning about sexuality, marriage, divorce, breakups, raising multiple children as a single parent, interracial adoption (FINALLY portrayed in a manner that doesn’t offend my bullshit detector) and more.  Thank you, everyone, who made it happen.  It’s a fabulous show and such a fun way to learn about life.  I’m off to continue watching.  💜✌🏽

“You’ve got a little rage.”

child swinging over water

Welp.  I’m still sporting Distracted by Everything mode.  Instead of pouting about it, I’m going to have a ramble.  First, shout out (into the void) for the cop and theme park worker who fist-bumped Karma, recently.  Way to flex your inner superheroes.  So shiny.  I’m proud of you both.  (Hey everyone, lets copy.)

(Rips off bandaid)  I got a thorough, tailored to fit like a glove, still has me a wee bit shaken, earned, course correction, the other day.  Sofa king ow.  And after much thought, the only thing I have to say in response, is, thank you, Maryam Hasnaa.  Okay, maybe more than a wee bit.  Shook, but extraordinarily and helpfully.  (How did they do that?)

I started reading; The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D. It was recommended on The Friend Zone podcast recently. World rocked. So hard.  Must read.

toy soldiers

I’ve accidentally remembered and resolved several things from childhood, just from the information presented so far. There are no cures in the book, duh. But it has resources galore, and at least three of the methods defined will undoubtedly work for me (PTSD.) I’m not even done reading it yet!

Then my VA trauma popped up and said, hey. So I burned through a shitload of rage energy with my drum kit. I’m angry there exists numerous, cheap, quickly taught, scientifically supported treatments for PTSD, and not one of them were ever offered to me by the VA, despite the fact I endured several stays in the Mental Health Ward over the years and acquired the autoimmune issues that often accompany.

I’m furious to know I lost years of my life suffering needlessly, merely because the VA only decided a few days ago to follow up on giving a shit about veterans’ health. Also, that 82% trust rating of the VA hospital system by veterans is bullshit. (You only asked the ones who still bother going there.)

That’s, How To Further Lose Our Trust 101: Lie to us about how we feel about your not holding up your end of the deal ever, VA. 🖕🏽Just legalize weed and focus on the ones coming home today. The damage exists, and greedy indifference is mostly why. Maintain for us, do better for them.

masked person flipping the bird

Train all in the Mental Health department to recognize, understand, and assist veterans learning to cope with mental illness via the useful studies and tools that have been available for decades, but have been passed over in favor of medicating us. (You bastards. Shame on you. You put government contract shenanigans ahead of our health, and we know it.)  Congress, we know your part in this.  Stop fucking us for doing what most of you wouldn’t.

Years of my life spent barely functioning, believing all I could do was battle the symptoms from hour to hour, and keep my rage in check. The few times, I managed to accomplish incredible feats, such as completing my education, were hugely expensive to my body. That’s what trusting the VA got me.  My rage is healthy. I’m learning all sorts of things that are eventually going to lead to my being a devastatingly effective bitch who will get off on making sure the VA evolves into what it should have been all along. I’ve had a lot of time and experiences to draw on. Glad I got that off my chest.  ✌🏽💜