Dark Days, Glowy Nights

December 19th, 2006

Last night was an evening of contrasts. I got home and cozied up with the kitties on the couch, knowing I had a few hours to myself, I flipped around the tv and saw, Pride and Prejudice was on (with Keira Knightley or however you spell her name.) I saw this movie almost a year ago (seems like a lifetime ago) while visiting my mom for Christmas. She was still living in Texas at the time, so I was there for about a week. One afternoon we went to the movies and saw this film and it was very good, although a little awkward. I don't know, I don't really like seeing romantic films with a parent. It feels funny to me. So, this time, home alone, I was able to really enjoy it, I was able to laugh heartily and cry too. This is probably why part of me really needs alone time, because I feel no urges to hold back what I'm feeling. I can be myself. I wish I could say I was one of those people who is outrageously authentic, no-holds-barred, what you see is what you get. It's not that I will go out of my way to be someone completely different, it's just that I'm very adaptable. I can squish and mold myself to the mood and feel of a crowd or personality. I am skilled at allowing others to feel comfortable being themselves without judgement.  Part of this is just that it takes me awhile to absorb information and figure out how I'm feeling and part of it is habit. It's a great skill to have around strong personalities. At the same time, I think I'm so much better at speaking my mind and standing up for myself than ever before. School has helped tremendously with that.  Sometimes I don't know if I'm even entirely myself with myself. I find I can even hide things from my own consciousness, which is bothersome. For example, I didn't quite let myself feel how fed up I was with my job until something broke in me and I decided to leave and then all the feelings came rushing in. I feel grateful that the fiansor is someone I feel so open and comfortable with. And he's pretty good at seeing when something is lying under the surface, something I might not have even uncovered myself yet. Art is good for uncovering these things too. It helps me to let my guard down and let those quiet whispers echo up from the depths.

So, the contrast I mentioned, right...when the fiansor got home, all pooped from working late, he put on football. Pride and Prejudice to football is quite a switch, but I didn't mind. We snuggled under a big blue blanket and chatted and laughed, ate dinner and discussed our days.

Last week was a really long one, each day stretched out long and longer. I have been experiencing what I think is a long week of pms-ing, but perhaps it's just the shortest days of the year messing with my system. I've felt alternating waves of sadness and irritation followed by lots of sadness. Sadness about nothing in particular, just this heavyness like a load of wet laundry is sitting on my chest, my head is full of sludge and my eyes are filled with sand. Sounds like a wave of depression. But I have hope that it will break soon, whenever my stupid period decides to show up. Gar.

Sometimes I get embarrassed about feeling low. I saw my best friend on Friday night. And I was all chipper and cheerful for part of the evening, even though it was a little forced on my part, but by the end of the night I'd run out of steam, I was exhausted and she said I looked tired and asked me how my depression was and I blamed my current state on pms, but I guess this would be the longest pms ever, so maybe not. I don't like to appear weak. When my mom asks me if I'm down, I always tell her I'm just tired, which I suppose is true, but I don't want her or anyone else to worry. Just makes me more agitated if I know someone is worrying about me. Blah. I like to appear on top of things. I let down my guard at times with friends. I tell a friend recently that I'm feeling low, but it doesn't make me feel better. Just makes me feel lame. I'm aware that being hard on myself isn't helpful. But being aware of it is a start. Writing it out is something. Learning to ask for what I need has been an ongoing struggle. I get all embarrassed about that too. My mom has asked me several times this year to ask for what I need and my answer has been, I just want everyone to be happy. This week though, I did ask for some attention from the fiansor, who has been super busy at work. And it was lovely to get what I needed.

I had a technique assessment in school on Sunday. Got my first 100 which was sweet. The teacher wrote that I have a compassionate presence. I think I do. It's easier to turn that light on others. I wonder if it might be brighter if I was able to turn it on myself a bit more.

Oy. I'm feeling all tender and in my head this afternoon. Things are generally very good, just needed to get that out. Breathing in and breathing out. Christmas shopping is done. I went to a fabulous crafty show with Melba on Saturday, but only managed to get a treat for myself! (It was great to meet Melba and I even got to meet the real Santa Claus! hehe) But I got all the last of the shopping done this morning and only some wrapping and crafty stuffs left to do. Not bad. And even though I wasn't sure I was going to put up my tree (a little fiberoptic glowing goofy tree) this year, I put it up Saturday night with some of my favorite ornaments, including one from the sweet Kathryn and it looks gorgeous. :-)

7 Responses

First of all, let me say it’s good to “talk” things out when you feel low.

This is what I have learned in my running years…(remember I’m an old woman, almost 64, though I’m not your typical senior citizen) Anyway, women have been given the age-old title of ‘caregiver,’ mostly because it’s true. And no matter in what capacity, it still takes from “us”; we have to always be there, be ready and never falter. And in this process we oftentimes lose sight of ourselves, I know, it happened to me. I’ve looked in the mirror and found a stranger looking back.

For 25 years my mother lived with my husband and me and as she aged and became infirmed, I became my mother’s mother. No easy task. I never have regreted doing what I did for her, and in the interim we became best friends and though she passed 5 years ago, I still miss her very much. But still, there was that task of putting myself last, voluntarily or not.

Now, my husband is 80 and not well, and so it goes, I am there for him as well. We have been married for 40 years and it’s been a wonderful marriage, sans the all the ups and downs. Oh did I mention? We raised 4 children, too.

My point is this, (sorry for the long segue) expect moments or periods of not feeling complete, or used up, or just plain tired; it’s normal as we travel the roads of our lives leading and/or taking care of others. Writing helps too; in the telling, the writer becomes the survivor.

By the time you are my age you’ll be an old pro at taking time for yourself, being good to yourself, and finding time to just “be,” and…not feel guilty about it.

I’ll get down off my podium now; You are loved, you are special, and I wish you and yours a blessed Christmas.

love & light,

I don’t know what your view of the universe is but just imagine that we all could know everything; everything that thre is to know about the past and all the possible futures. Then imagine what it would be like to have all this in your head.

Then forgive yourself for hiding parts of yourself from yourself! Its like knowing too much all at once, some things are much easier revealed bit by bit.

xxx hugs

I was feeling low, emotional and bone-tired these past couple of days too. There were some triggers, but nothing definite. It may be pms, missing my husband, missing a friend who passed away, or the time of year, …or maybe none of those things. Maybe it’s just time to feel depressed. The kind of depression that is normal and not long-lasting.

It took me a while, after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, not to be worried that every sad time was going to turn into a downward spiral. And I felt that my loved ones feared the same thing.
I was worried that they might be worried.

It’s O.K. to feel downright sad. For a reason you can’t name. I’d say try not to force the cheerfulness. It’ll return soon enough, and if it doesn’t, you know to see your doctor. Give yourself permission to feel blue, without feeling lame… and give yourself a hug from me.

(talking and writing are great releases, and a spoonful or two of ice cream never hurts, either! ;-) )

Leah, I loved the line where you were talking about making art and how it can, “let those quiet whispers echo up from the depths.” I experience those lows too, and what you said here is so true for me, too, about hiding bits of myself from my self, and when I remember to make art, it does help me synthesize and process everything…I just have to remember to do that, to make the art – the real art, not just the “I’m making this to participate in something” art. Thank you for reminding me, that I need to do that to be authentic to myself – the other stuff is fun – but I need to make my own art that’s just for me, too.
I loved seeing the picture of you and Melba on her blog. Hope your holidays are happy ones. xo

“Sometimes I don’t know if I’m even entirely myself with myself.”

I relate to that line on such a deep level. Especially now. I have been thinking alot about who I am and why I am the way I am and why are we (all) so different. I plan to explore this some more in my journal. My sister and I are very close, but experience life very differently; again I wonder Why?

It was great to “meet” you too!
I hope we can get together again soon!


ah, the shortest days of winter – any wonder the ancients in their wisdom lit the fire and gathered round the green green tree to coax the sun back? Winter Doldrums anyone?

Leah – isn’t it wonderful that your musing set off all these other musings and wise comments? There’s a book of knowledge here!

I wish you Solstice and longer days and some quiet time to rejuvenate and some social time to enjoy and the very very very best new year ever. And oh btw – congrats on you 100!

How do I tell you that your experience is at the same time unique to you…and yet so universal?
I am just beginning to break through my own “invisibility” issue-to myself and to others. I am only just realizing that I hide my pain from others because I’m partly denying it myself. I’m only just now learning that all parts of myself can be honored, not stuffed in little compartments because I think they’re unacceptable. I mean, how many Pema Chodron books can you read over the years and still not get that? ;-)
I see you. And however you feel is just fine with me. From where I sit, I see a woman of uncommon emotional courage.
{bows deeply}

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