Thursday, June 16, 2022

Feeling, nothing more than feelings

 I have been feeling a lot.

There is so much going on in the world and around where I live and with the people I have in my life...

I am overwhelmed and have shifted to staring into the ether a lot these days.

We attended the "bans off our bodies" rally locally, I was proud that The Barren had ZERO hesitation about going, knew what he wanted his sign to say and was next to me the whole time while I was overstimulated by simply being outside in public.

There were about 600ish people there and we marched through the downtown corridor.
It seemed like the right thing to do, sitting at home was not what I wanted to reflect on when I thought of how I lived my life.
Ironically, one of The Barren and my first dates was a pro-choice rally nearly 30years ago!! 
I wanted to photograph the protestors and he said, I'll go with you. Then in the middle of it all, he walked up and tried to reason with one of the sign holders screaming how it was murdering babies.
I have a photo of that too

It feels like a Goliath task to try and change things...
every vote seems wrong, every law seems aligned to attack people.
I am scared, like seriously concerned that things have slid and now I am chasing the car as it drives out of sight  down the road. 

Our neighborhood is under the influence of a Chevron effort to secure more drilling and potentially pollute our water and Edison (power company) is set to put a new compressor station not even two miles away and put us into harms way from leaks and damaging noise.
Then there is the war against Ukraine and hunger and a million dead from Covid-19.
My parents seem to be rapidly aging before my eyes and my mother in law went out for a drink last week and when she got up in the middle of the night to get a drink passed out and split her head open and fractured a bone in her back....but she didn't tell us until she was home from the hospital.
EVERYTHING I have submitted this year I have been rejected from, which has really made me reassess my life and also our eldest niece has graduated high school and I feel a million years old.
My darling husband is so stressed he is considering quitting his job on a daily and I have learned to not react to talking about it or working through alternatives seems to amplify things and makes him even more upset...and it doesn't help the situation for him. 
(I have mentioned again him getting some professional help to manage stress)

I am having lots of feelings with no place to take them
We got boosted again (second boost) and I have been trying to go to the least congested yoga classes in studio with a KN95 mask on...I am the woman in the mask in the back of the room!!
I thought that maybe my mood would be boosted if I did some social yoga instead of impressing the cats with my bedroom yoga.
We are still out on the results on that one.
I also got The Barren to help me shift the garage around and cull many things we are feeling weighed down the thrift store picked up a heavy load.

I gave my darkroom enlarger and assorted trinkets to a local guy who was setting up his first darkroom, my meditation teacher helped arrange that match. It was bittersweet when he drove away...I only cried a little. It seemed like a perfect example of time passing and aging.
I decided to focus on what I could do, and 
I signed up for some alternative process classes, using less toxic elements and I am looking forward to learning new things.

I am feeling time more these days than normal...I feel myself becoming another person. I am not sure who she is yet, but she is learning to navigate a lot of life on her own, weighing situations out. 
On the outside that mostly mostly looks like, watching and listening more....
I feel more like an adult, I never wanted to feel like a grownup, and suddenly here I am feeling just that.

Here is a photo of me doing what I love best. My friend produced this image.
We have not been able to visit as often as gasoline prices are between 6.50-7.00 dollars a gallon now and it has factored into my budget now.
I am looking forward to some good changes...there has got to be some good changes around the corner... right?!?


Wednesday, May 25, 2022

no words

 There is no words

I am without a path to navigate this

This is just nightmare on top of nightmare, and then another nightmare.

I wrote about babies dying in school in 2012


I am not able to write about it again.

I am too overwhelmed and too shattered.

My youngest niece awoke at 3am this morning, feeling out of sorts.

Her mother did what she could to comfort her, then when she woke up for school later today, she proclaimed that she was "sad" and just wanted to be with her Omi (her grandmother)

so her mom called the school and said that my niece was taking a mental health day.

This child has not had two solid years of school yet...

she is just learning how to make friends and play with others.

I am like a string in the wind...totally untethered and lost searching for any connection at this point.

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

52 like a deck of cards


How my birthday weekend started.

I thought I had simply overate, but my stomach thought differently and proceeded to make the next 24hours living hell for me. It was when I started to vomit blood that The Barren started panicking.

(it was not a lot of blood according to the doctor, so the level of terror The Barren displayed was misdirected and I was not bleeding out)

He started screaming that we needed to go to the ER, I meanwhile was hunched over a toilet discarding whatever was below my toenails was unable to stand. 
YET I was still convinced I didn't need the ER, anything but a DOCTOR or an emergency room or any medical person for that matter... but we got to the ER and as soon as I walked into the door, I felt fine.

The Barren was shocked, I in turn was not. I was terrified of what lay before me and I think went into total trauma mode. We got in quick and of course the nurses were amazing, the doctor was confused why I was asking so many questions and asked if I was in the medical field...and I told him that I was familiar with pain, and emergency rooms and I was someone with stage 4 endo.

He offered pain meds and I refused. Then I sat there for a moment with the nurse and said, I should give my body the option to be comfortable, and not just sit with discomfort.*

* I later reflected on this concept of being uncomfortable and sitting with it and dismissing aides to medically make things better. I felt like my mother taught me to "buck up" and manage it alone, in solitude and you'll get past it, eventually. I am glad I recognized this while in the ER and able to make those elements dissipate.

So I got some light drug to mostly numb my stomach and all my blood tests were good so it was diagnosed as acute gastritis.

No spicy, oily food. No alcohol or caffeine.

Happy birthday!

I am on stomach drugs for two weeks and a bland diet.

The next day I was back to normal actives and when my birthday rolled around a couple days later I was my normal emotional self. I made myself some birthday cupcakes, and headed to the family home. I had loaded up my camera and I shot photos of my immediate family.

It was a relaxing quiet time, simple food and I had a bite of birthday cupcake.

okay, I ate a whole cupcake

Vanilla cake, lemon curd filling and topping.

The Barren had taken time off work so we could celebrate my birthday together....

but he neglected to make any plans, so after he berated himself for being bad at birthdays...I told him that we could freeform the days off.

I also had another epiphany:

When you are younger, you have elaborate birthday parties with friends and big Ta-dos, and as you age those sorts of moments become harder and harder. All we are trying to do is capture that same level of joy from childhood...recently when I thought about my birthday I cry. I realized that for me, it highlights my loneliness and lack of social circle. So birthdays have to become something else for me.

So I found a botanical garden, and took my cameras and photos and walked near trees and forgot all about my sadness, and about being lonely. I forgot about the ER and the pain, I just was away from it all with The Barren.

When the days off had past, I got a text from my bestie that she was coming into town for a hot 36hrs to pick up a HUGE plant from her mother and then was going back home. Then asked if I had an hour or so to hang out...I of course said yes and with The Barren in tow we met for a meal and a chat and it ended up being longer than an hour and it was like my birthday extended for another day. We took photos and she jumped back into her car and drove home 6+ hours away.

When I was with bestie, she mentioned that 52 was like a deck of cards....

I thought about that, mostly that I hadn't thought about a deck of cards being 52, but then how that relates to me. 52 options, some similar to others but each unique. 

I guess the theme of my newest circle around the sun is reframing.

I am reframing how I relate to myself, the world around me and others in my life. I mean what birthday would be complete without a little existential meandering, right?!

Which card will I pull for this week?

52 cards, 52 weeks in a year...

Monday, February 28, 2022

The Barren's birthday

 After weeks of planning, The Barren's birthday arrived and we drove to a town about two hours away. We stopped in the downtown area, ate some diner food (that later gave us both indigestion, because we are 50 years old) and then checked into a hotel that overlooked the sea.

Like was 20feet from the ocean

After taking three deep lung filling breaths of the ocean air The Barren turned around and fell onto the bed and took a multiple hour nap. 

I sat next to him, listening to the ocean and his snores.

After some time had past and I my level of boredom had peaked, I woke him up we walked to see the sunset on the private beach footsteps from our room...The Barren gathered stones for a hopeful future inlay project and I took photos. We then returned to the room to sleep some more.

We woke up in time to watch the sunrise from our private patio, listen to the sea birds awake from their nights slumber and begin search for food.

It was quiet, it was peaceful and it was prefect.

Here is a photo of me, in a tee, a sweatshirt and a thin puffer jacket 
(because that is how you dress when it is cold here on the west coast)
on our sunset walk before falling back to sleep.

It was a moment in time where nothing was wrong, 
we were adulting like real adults 
and the world was quiet so The Barren could turn 50.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

This new year

 It has been a little bit since I've checked in here, 

Well, I check every couple of days and read your blogs, 

but it has been a little bit since I have sat down to write something.

So hello and happy new year

I never got our holiday cards made, and I even missed the chance to make them New Year cards, and now they can not be Valentine I need to let that rope loose.

I was sitting in my bathroom, after sneezing repeatedly from my nasal swipe home test, looking at this tiny piece of plastic....wondering what will the answer be?!

Anyone else been triggered by this act of home testing?

I was surprised at how quickly this became a flashback to days of yore.

I sat there for 15 minutes waiting, wondering and hoping for a negative so I could visit a friend who had tested that same morning and was also negative.
This is the new weekly normal it seems,
We test ourselves before visiting and then can hug and laugh and share a picnic.

I have been struggling to find a new normal for myself. 
A new studio practice, a new routine, a new self. It has come to my attention, that home chores are now a predominate part of my week. I sit in my workspace daily: often distracted/interrupted with making meals, doing laundry, being a cat entertainer and my anxiety from not making new artwork.

So I have taken to visiting with a friend weekly. I take my camera and shoot film and laugh and try and find a new moment of clarity and less guilt.

The Barren is home during this time, working and stressing and I am off playing with a friend.
It has me feeling conflicted, but The Barren assures me that he wants me to find this time to be creative.
I come home from these visits and either bring home food or immediately hit the ground running to make a meal when I walk in the door, as I am wanting to counterbalance these feelings...
I don't like that I feel this way...
I don't make much money anymore and The Barren is carrying the load. Once again he assures me that he wants me to have space and time to make art, as he feels that is my true calling.
I adore him more than words can describe for this vote of confidence.
I sold almost nothing last year (I just did our taxes) I made $148 from the sale of 3 packs of cards and two prints. So I am clearly not the next breadwinner in this house.
So in exchange I do all the housework, food shopping, laundry, dishes, cooking and dishes.
While still trying to make art, and check into my remote job (it is pretty quiet this time of year)
so that is what I have been doing.

The Barren turns 50 next week, he is feeling low and super stressed. (compounding my guilt)
I booked us an overnight at a hotel in a town about two hours from here. It is supposed to have ocean views and a balcony to watch said ocean.
An overnight means the cats can be left alone without needing a check-in from a third person.
I also sent an email out to everyone I could think of to send birthday wishes so I could put them into one book for him and he could see how special he is to so many people.
They are trickling in slowly, and that has raised my anxiety a little...but I am trying to let it swing in the wind. He will have wishes from a few for sure and I have a crafting project to make.
His best buddy has three concerts for them to attend in the next week. The Barren has been pretty isolated and hunkered down here at home in preparation (really it is social anxiety, and Covid fears)
for the last month! So that has added to his feelings I am sure...
But tomorrow he starts to break free and attend events outside the house.
We have a stack of home tests, and are crazy careful and cautious about masking around people.
So far, it has served us well, as neither of us has gotten the virus.

On another front:
I reached a milestone, well a touchstone? or a life marker?
I have not had a period in over a year now! 
I am in a whole new land.
I had a follow-up ultrasound to make sure that the polyp, that the GYN gave me while trying to take an endocervical pap was gone, and thankfully it was. All seemed calm on the cervical/uterine front ⭐
So here I am, avoiding going back to the gyn to try again for that same pap.

This new year has been trying and my gosh we are only just finishing up the second month.
I am feeling lonely, but as mentioned I continue to make real efforts to find a social feature outside my home once a week...and I am still doing online art discussion class, and yoga practice (at home) and meditation group (4 people in a HUGE multipurpose room with masks) but the overall feeling is still very isolated and alone. Like a thirst that is unable to be quenched.
Is anyone else feeling this too?

Okay, I am babbling again.
Happy newish year...I'll be back sooner to reflect on some thing or another.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Another Year Ends

Merry Hanukah, Bright Solstice, Happy Christmas, Festive Kwanza

Another year comes to an end...I have come back here multiple times to write about feeling, fears, hopes and sorrow. Many times simply staring at the blinking cursor. Other times spilling words easily onto this magic writing pad. All the times, knowing that there would be no judgement in what I came up with, mumbled about or struggled with.

I can not thank you all enough for that.

I feel like I am safe in this space, with expressing myself.


I hope that whomever is reading this, feels the same, even for just a moment in time, as that can build to 5 minutes, than a half hour then a month, and a year.

You are magical and unique and so worth fighting for!

Happy of any holiday you acknowledge.

look at you shining so brightly


Tuesday, November 09, 2021

My Cervix

****candid- real talk about exams****

 It is that time of year again...check under the hood and see how things are.

Like years prior I tried to make all the appointments in a week, so I could get them all done and then be done for a year...but that circles thing is still haunting me. I had my general checkup/in and to say that my primary wasn't happy with my answer to her : Are you happy? question is kind of an understatement. What did she really expect...I mean I think all of us have been run the fuck over these last two years. My response of "mediocre" was not received well and she offered no other options other than noting that she wanted me to take care of myself?! WTF

I was cleared and told that my cervix was too closed to do a proper pap and that I needed to have ANOTHER one done by the GYN well as a stack of other orders for mammos and ultrasounds and follow-up bloodwork.

Meanwhile the gastro doctor needed me to REPEAT all the samples I had done two months ago because the lab didn't culture them all.

I went for my pap redo yesterday and aside from a single extremely pregnant woman in the waiting room, the other ladies in waiting all seemed unfazed and not pregnant.

I decided to have the NP that did my endo biopsy do this retry and she tried...and then asked for more things to try and do it. I was laying there flayed open with a speculum in place for longer that most of us would like, she proclaimed that more things were needed and rang for another woman in the office to fetch other devices to try and open my cervix enough to get cervical cells....after what felt like an entire construction site worth of devices she said she was not able to open the cervix enough.

She prescribed an estrogen suppository for me to take for a couple months in hope that would soften my cervix enough to take a proper pap. So she wants to try again in February. 

I felt defeated, and disappointed and after I got dressed, it also felt like I had been punched in my vagina. I have had some mild cramping too...but I am guessing that was from the clamp they put on my cervix while trying to get a cervical dilatator into me.

Today was my pelvic was obvious when the ultrasound tech started to place the probe that there was a tissue tear in my vaginal wall from yesterday and then she said she could see where the NP tried to get into my fact she said to expect spotting in the next couple of days as things looked poked. She told me that my ovaries are starting to get smaller too. I was thankful for the heads up and the repeated checking-in on me to see if I was alright and not uncomfortable. 

I left the appointment and sat in my car for a little cry, my vulva throbbing and aching.

It was a lot of things to process.

I am cooking tonight, feeling like I need to control something today...anything for that matter.

I was suppose to do a family photo shoot, but the family postponed and I am kind of grateful. It means I have some time to work through some feelings about this whole couple of days. I think I am going to soak in a tub tonight too, ideally it will help start some healing.

I know that a lot of my feelings are surfacing from my IF days, when I had most of the people from my county in my vagina, looking around and giving opinions. I can put on a mask, swallow pain, discomfort and make little jokes to deflect real feelings...but I am not so okay with doing that anymore. I am tired. I am tired of feeling like I am broken or unwell. This entrance into menopause is like taking a dive into a dark deep pool and no one tells you what the water temp is, what is in the pool or if you will sink or swim....because each of us sees that pool differently and so why tell you anything.

It has been a rough start to the week, I still have a breast ultrasound, and a follow-up with the gastro doc (who will be wondering why I am not sicker)

I am not wanting to complain, but really wonder if this is what to expect from here on out. Does anyone else have this experience? closed cervix with the onset of menopause, having to do paps over and over? How are you handling the beginnings of menopause, or perimenopause? 

Any advice or tips would be of great enlightenment.