Widowhood Season 6.5: Anniversary Episode

7/14 was full of doctor’s appointments. Maybe keeping busy would help?

Ah yes, the routine appointments: therapy and meds review. I can has stability. Now to maintain it.

MRI, mercifully short and not as traumatic. I knew what to expect. Still, I hope to see what my back looks like 30 years on.

Looking at my old YouTube account for the first time in ages was bittersweet. Oh yeah, that was real. I keep wanting to forget how much it still hurts to be the only survivor of that family. Ah, surviving trauma by only focusing on the present. Ok, I’m oversimplifying. I don’t feel like elaborating.

What really helped was Darling being the co-star of the episode. He was with me all day, to love me the way he does-looking after me. 🙂 Sweetie has had that role from Season 1, for the most part, and has been an instrumental part of the improvement of each season. For that, he gets lunch and coffee each morning.

Amour sans fou, for me, and you, and you. That’s what’s so different this season. I have these two to come home to. Here I am me. As if I got to go back to an alternative universe where there wasn’t a reason for a choice.

Widowhood Season 6.4: Survivor’s Guilt

Using the day off you’re taking because you just can’t go to work on your widowhood anniversary, to attend to your medical needs, using your insurance and FasTrack pass to drive out to where the referral is. Seriously?

The nerve… After all, you failed. You even forgave him before he died. You didn’t know what the mourning would be like, and yet you forgave him?

Gotta love survivor’s guilt. I need the damn MRI because of a dumb choice 30 years ago that resulted in a lovely compression fracture on my L1.(An alternate universe has me the parent of a 29 year old, had I made a different dumb choice that day.) Now that area is not happy with me. X-ray wasn’t detailed enough, so it’s MRI time.(My upper back is mostly muscle- related pain, as the specialist expected.)

I did what I could for Kevin. You fight the good fight as best you can and accept defeat gracefully.

I’ve done my best to create a new life for myself these past 7 years. I’ve been delayed by grief more than I expected. Significant losses of loved ones are hell to go though. Full stop.

I love where I am in life, by and large. It’s like I’m finally figuring out who I really am for the first time in my life.

Speaking of which, Darling said supper’s ready.

Widowhood Season 6.3: Couple Thoughts

Still don’t like feeling the loss. I think the extra naps this weekend were an attempt to be less conscious through this season.

Already looking forward to being quite busy on The Day. Though that survivor’s guilt is gonna really make the MRI difficult. Too bad I have to drive home, or I’d ask the doc to prescribe me something to keep me from feeling.

Widowhood Season 6.2: Stream of Consciousness

Again with the music. Can’t help it, though The Specials are as comforting as Steely Dan.

It’s nice to be able to be weird yet productive at work. Fun, too.

The 91 is only tolerable when I use the Fastrack lanes. Better when I can use the carpool lanes as well.

Sweetie is a key player in all seasons thus far. Especially the Pilot and Season 1. He walked in, and my life began again. But he’s never been “my world” the way Kevin was. This is an upgrade, not a replacement, because Darling is here too. Makes it easier to keep my head in the present this year. It’s also making me feel like I need a change of scenery. We need.

Tomorrow’s Girls is a fun song. I need to find my Kamakiriad CD. It’s a good concept album.

Sigh, the jazz I discovered from 97-00. It’s like cuddling up on a comfy couch–never gets old.

The hardcore CD I got last weekend is good driving home music. The drive home is to transition from work to home. Music is part of that.

My country turns 245 on Sunday. Driving down the main drag of where I live this time of year is the Presidential portraits. They’re banners now, and the range is much longer than it used to be. I remember when it started up the block from where I am right now, with an unflattering picture of Regan. I think he’s the only President in my lifetime to get shot. Right after Lennon too.

I should sleep, but I feel like I have less of an excuse not to write if I can post from my phone.

i miss him. And the fun times. But it’s

Funny how you like a song for ages but one day you look up the lyrics and you really get why you love it on another level.

i definitely need to dance more.

The music I got from Kevin is part of me. Very few painful reminders. Maybe the meds help? I don’t want to be on them forever.

Pat Metheny and Michael Franks are the deities of lazy Sunday mornings of another lifetime. At least they still invoke that feeling in me. It’s comforting.

Oh and it took me far too long to know Tal Wilkenfeld was quoting Metheny. She’s amazingly talented.

The pain of losing life as I knew it is still hard. It’s like a scab that never fully heals. You end up removing the scab randomly and have to let it build up again. Or it’s like finding a scratch on your hand by using hand sanitizer.

I’m learning to live with the scab and leave it alone most of the time. The emotional pain is not as intense. I can be logical about it a little bit.

After midnight? I guess I need to shut down my brain. Or at least stop looking at a screen.

Widowhood Season 6.1: Songs and Tony’s Teens

7/1/21

He’s all up in my playlist today. Stuff I haven’t heard in ages. The songs that comfort and help motivate as I make today’s use of Excel. Macros and Visual Basic, baby. Returning to my programming roots in a 21st Century way. It’s a living.

This season, I have good job satisfaction. Home life is going swimmingly, and It’s the time of year the drive home is with the top down, in my Megan Draper hat. Switched to CD’s cause it’s nice to listen to albums for a change. My Sinatra collection is scratched, and my CD’s are in storage. Yay, Thrift Stores!

I must about, I’ve gotten so spoiled by streaming music. I do love the variety and how the algorithms have introduced me to Louis Prima, turned me on to The Voodoo Glow Skulls new album, and let me find solace in early Genesis. My own Private Radio station, commercial-free and random access. Bliss.

I miss him, really I do. It’s honestly still hard to feel. It stalls me. My whole world, gone. It’s like the last 18 years were a coma dream. I have little physical evidence of that time. Like something out of Blade Runner. I just can’t go there too often. If at all.

Darling will spend Widowhood Anniversary #7 with me, as I spend the day using my health insurance. I really gotta quit with the survivor’s guilt about that. I survived, I worked hard for these benefits in the beginning. I should use them.

Sweetie has been the supporting character who’s appeared in all seasons. Last season, we moved into an apartment. Plus Darling’s first season. Those two are so great for my soul. They say I’m great for theirs too. Amour sans fou rules, rocks, and kicks ass, as I used to say many years ago.

Handmaid’s Tale was good this year. Trauma just leaves holes in the soul that you don’t know how to fill.

Sopranos prequel looks good. I need to find more Mob-themed Anime. I know they’re out there.

The music dazes in and out of my concentration. My thoughts do too.

The Minimoog will always be a part of my soul in small ways. It was in the airwaves in my infancy. I feel like buying one and seeing if I can restore it. Like I have that kind of free time.

So that’s today’s ramblings.

Mostly Narrative Freewriting #8: Friday Night Hardcore Party

Writing this on mobile, forgive me if it goes astray… Gotta start writing this way if I want to write more often. Which I do.

“Do you want to go to a Hardcore Party nearby?” As the cliche goes, that’s the last question I expected of my Sweetie last night. Yet, it was just what the introvert needed.

My Casual Friday clothes were sufficient– Pride shirt, skirt, black knee high socks. Had to dig out my Hello Kitty shoes that have seen better days.

Dinner out. Sushi because Darling, who doesn’t like that cuisine, is with his brother. So it’s a treat to compensate for his absence. (Those triad kisses are so energizing. Love wins, indeed. These two are nothing short of fantastic.)

Mom and Pop sushi restaurants are wonderful to dine in. It was a Pandemic discovery I’m glad survived. Caught a glimpse of the Gymnastics Olympic trials. Mad respect to those women.

How odd to head South on The 5 to go out. Nice area in the good ol’ OC. Not the Orange Curtain of my youth. (Those folks now live in mansions they carved in the hills.) At least the drive is nice, thanks to the carpool lanes.

Some things never change– Friday night, time to dance. In this tiny skate shop filled with people, music is the focus, unlike the establishments down the street who blast music to drink to. (Carry on without me, and we’ll all be happy.) It’s a good mix of the folks whose souls have been fed by this music for over a decade, and the Young Adults of America. And me.

I never did things like attend underground parties when I was young. It’s ok. I’m here now, and Sweetie’s doing something good for his soul. Plus there’s Pokemon Go to play when I go outside for fresh air.

Ah, the Young Americans. Certain looks never go out of style. Happy to be out and see friends again. I could sense recent high school graduates, out for the first time as legal adults who didn’t have a curfew. They were having fun in a diverse crowd.

All the usual experimenting. It’s bring your own, as these events tend to be. I was happy to smoke from my THC pen and let the kids have the cigs, booze, and balloons. Couldn’t help but crack up when I’d hear a balloon pop. That stuff’s not good for the brain, and I don’t like the way it feels. Again, carry on without me. Next time I gotta bring a backpack and things to keep hydrated.

This is not the normal music I listen to, but it’s a chance to see Sweetie happy and in

his element. Speaker worshiping, it’s called. Standing in front of the speakers, letting your whole body absorb the sound waves as you hear music that touches your soul. Greeting someone you know as they join you, and you reconnect in this shared joy. It’s a treat watching Sweetie have moments like this, which have been very rare over the past few years. I can’t help but enable his happiness because he deserves it.

So yes, the dancing! I don’t dance– I move just how I feel. Limited space means small movements I put my whole body into while planted in one spot for as long as I can before I get too hot. At least the dance classes in college still come in handy. So does all that dancing I did against my downstairs hallway walls in my former lifetime. (Walls are good back support for this 40-something. I need dancing shoes and have to remember to keep my eyes open when I move.

I do dance like nobody’s watching. I don’t move my body all that much, other than Tuesday’s Pokemon Go dates, so this is great for me. I sweat tons, both from the cramped space and the dancing. It feels like stress is also oozing out my pores. Losing myself in the beats and moving my body accordingly is second nature to me. It’s just hard to find the space to do so for too long.

I may grab a top to wear just for these occasions to keep cooler. I’ve been more inclined to dress more “girly” as of late. Even have earrings!

The drive home was easy–ever so thankful for carpool lanes! Drafting this in my head, as I’d been taking mental notes all night. I wanted to articulate this experience. These outings are good for me, and I want to keep reminding myself why. After all, there’s a flyer for another one soon.

Narrative Mostly Freewriting #7: Gen X Speaking Up

Why the hell should we try to prevent society from becoming kinder and more accepting? We know greed isn’t good, for so many reasons that have happened in our lifetime. We’re smart enough to know that bigotry really doesn’t have a place in society. We want “old fashioned” thinking to die out, and the art that represents those antiquated notions not to be readily available for general consumption. Or, think of it this way–you don’t have the right to access a piece of art that is owned by someone else if they do not want to share it with the public. Find other art to consume–there’s tons out there! Stop insisting to be entertained by art that’s full of bigotry “because nostalgia.”

Frankly, we’re tired of the “Traditional” types pointing at the LGBTQ+ community and calling them sinners while allowing their religious leaders to violate children with little or no consequence. That’s just not cool.

Really, we’re not asking much. Treat others the way you want to be treated.

It really doesn’t take much effort to strive to let your fellow humans to exist as genuinely as possible without letting it ruin your pursuit of happiness. Who cares if somebody wants to define “family” differently than you do? Is it a loving family? Does everyone’s emotional needs get met? Is everyone encouraged to be a good person and offered support where they need it? Yes? Then leave them alone and focus on your own damn family!

Surviving Amour Fou #6: The Beginning Was the End (a letter)

SB,

Of course I’m writing on the 25th anniversary of us finding each other on AOL. That day changed my life. 3/1/1996 truly was the beginning of my life with you. (And it some ways, my life began again 19 years later…)

For so many years, I thought we’d celebrate this day together with the “next generation” of cats. Probably dinner while watching a favorite show and Scrabble with desert. Instead, I went to work, listened to a bunch of albums we loved, came home to my Sweetie, and made nachos for dinner. Watched TV projected on the wall, in a nice little apartment 5 minutes from where I was raised. I’m happy.

If there is an Afterworld, and loved ones can show us little “signs”–you certainly have been at it lately, especially with the so-called random shuffle. At least I can finally get through Pet Sounds without shedding a tear. It’s going to be nice to have that album back. Let It Be is still a little hard to get all the way through. In time. And like right now… Frank Sinatra’s My Way?

Kevin, when I allow myself to miss you, it hurts so much because it’s the only time I allow myself to remember that my time with you is real. It’s gonna take more time for me to really give that past a slip. My soul knew its mate for 18 years. I’m grateful for that. The Amour Fou part I could have done without. What are ya gonna do?

Could we have avoided your death? In an alternate universe, sure. Not in this one, with who we were during that whole time. What are ya gonna do?

I wouldn’t be who I am without losing you. That’s the paradox of my lifetime. Well, one of them. This is another: If you had loved me the way my Sweetie and my Darling love me, you may not have had to suffer the way you did. What are ya gonna do?

I recently had a boss that reminded me of not-so-pleasant parts of our dynamic. Now that my soul can no longer endure certain types of behavior from other humans, it started to get exponentially untolerable. I lasted about a month between the time I realized what was going on and having to take two weeks off work because I damn near broke down. It wasn’t just work that got me thinking of you for the last quarter of 2020. Again, what are ya gonna do?

Your website’s turning 25. I’m updating it while making sure as many links as possible do not change. You should see how easy it is to program a website with a shopping cart now! I’m ecstatic to share Synthfool with my Sweetie and my Darling. We will make you proud.

It’s time for me to wind down and snuggle next to my Sweetie.

What a glorious time to be free…

LYLC

Mental Health Adventures #1: Stability Quest

This will be kinda rambly. It’s definitely along the narrative freewriting route, but focused on talking about mental health issues. Hey, the brain is an organ that can go wonky, like many other organs in our bodies. The more we talk about it, the better off we’ll be.

It really does make a difference to get ready-to-use things. You end up wasting less because you actually use everything you buy. Plus, you don’t have that guilt of wasting stuff, which is like pouring salt on a mental illness wound you’re trying to heal.

(Don’t lecture me on landfills. I don’t have kids and I’m not a multinational corporation. Plus I get most of my clothes from thrift stores.)

A few of the things I’ve found useful:

It’s a lot easier to use those face cleansing cloths than it is to wash my face at the sink. Besides, I end up cleaning a little bit more than I would washing my face. Sometimes I also wipe up the sink if I remember.

Pre-cut cheese slices make breakfast and lunch easier to make.

Small, cheap bags of frozen veggies are easy to add to mac & cheese

Picking up my groceries is much easier. I even have a way to re-use the bags.

Buying large containers of certain things (mayonnaise, peanut butter, coffee, sugar) is easier than buying everything in bulk.

It’s amazingly easy to fill a crock pot full of chicken at my last break and have it ready for dinner. Sides vary to keep things interesting.

Chili bean spaghetti is a very quick yet filling meal.

Ah yes, that whole stability thing. Doing all of the above makes it easier to start to develop a new routine, now that work issues have resolved themselves in my favor. I finally have the freedom to set my schedule, which means I can fuss with it a little as I get a grasp of what I need to do and how much time it really takes to get various things done.

It’s hard to get used to the fact that I’ve finally reached the next plateau and it’s time to get in the mode of making the most of the present. Primarily because of what’s going on in the world and in my country. I try not to focus too much on things I have no control over, or that will be emotionally taxing because it’s one of the world’s horrors. I just want people to choose love over fear. It’s too much to ask for, unfortunately.

I have to temper how much new stuff I take on, as I don’t want to get overwhelmed. I need to be kind to myself and focus on being productive. The rest will continue to fall into place.

It’s still sinking in that I’m on the mend. I can deal with grief in a healthy way, and most importantly, I have my Sweetie’s and my Darling’s love to help me through it. To be loved as I am, through a flare-up of mental illness, was part of the reason I didn’t have breakdown. (Prozac and weed are the other part. Better THC than benzos…)

I know I still have to navigate through a couple of “seasons” through the year (birthday/wedding season and widowhood season, plus the holidays), but love really does help me focus on the present and future. Taking a moment to process feelings is a normal part of these times, too. Making the effort to do the internal work to give the past a slip has paid off in the long run. Was it easy? Not really. I finally realized that it was going to hurt me more if I didn’t confront the things I kept putting off. (Yay, Amour Fou.)

My point? Do the work, but don’t forget there’s a life to build once you’re stable. You owe it to yourself to find happiness now that you’re on the mend. Be kind to yourself and realize that it’s a delicate time that still requires self-care.

How? (Freewriting)

How does one tell their boss “Your management style isn’t good for my mental health”? That’s not something people are used to articulating. But yet that’s what I find myself wanting to do.

Granted, my mental health hasn’t been ideal for awhile. I was doing a good job functioning reasonably well. Then there was that whole being triggered by an acquaintance’s suicide thing in September. Add to that the realization that my boss has done a lot of things that I know really aren’t ok because Kevin used to do very similar things to me right alongside the holidays. Not good. Thanks largely to my meds and my loves, I’ve managed to keep some of my marbles. I also forced myself to take time off work (yay FMLA) so I can start to get my head straight.

It wasn’t until I didn’t have to think about work did I realize just how lost I was. Can’t help but take it personally when someone tries to excuse their poor behavior on work stress. It’d be easier to be told that a person is struggling a little and is aware their behavior might not be completely on par and asks for patience. Exact same situation, different attitude. You’ve got it rough? I feel for ya. You’re gonna use that as justification to treat me poorly and tell me not to take it personally? I’d prefer not to continue to be in that kind of a situation.

I know what I’m capable of, and all I want to do is grow, not fall back into accepting less that I deserve.