Thursday, February 15, 2018

I'm so tired, you guys.

And, for the first time in awhile, I don't just mean the mental exhaustion of existing in the U.S. right now.

I mean, there's that, too, but also other stuff.

The weather has warmed up in D.C. -- granted, it never really got all that cold to begin with. It snowed two or three times, maybe (which, ever since living in draught-stricken California for a bit, makes me nervous) and we had at least two days of over 60°F temperatures.

This means two things:

  1. It is more humid than Satan's foggy taint.
  2. It is rainy.
I've mentioned that intracranial hypertension responds weirdly to weather patterns before, so it's probably unsurprising that I've been hovering between "My brain is malfunctioning, let's sleep all day!" hypersomnia and "I would drill a hole in my own skull if it would actually let me sleep" painsomnia. The odd little tricks I use to control my pain still work for me, and some days I'm convinced that they're the only things that're keeping me from an emergency lumbar puncture or risky pain management. 

Pye and Kiko seem to get that I'm not feeling well, too -- they sort of hover around me, with Kittybear flopping himself down next to me, grumbling, and changing positions until I acknowledge him and let him wear my hand as a hat, and Sweetbean giving me half-lidded stares and purring directly into my nasal passages. 

The only problem is, she seems to have very definite Opinions about when and how I am allowed to sleep. Every night, at about 3-4 in the morning, I get the same thing: little pink beans patting me on the cheeks and forehead. If I open my eyes, the same sight greets me: a little, squinchy, loudly-purring cat face. If I close my eyes and try to go back to sleep, the patting starts again. In a studio, keeping her out of the bedroom isn't an option. So, unfortunately, she always gets rewarded by waking me up and slowly driving me (more) insane.

So, to recap: I want to sleep all of the time. I can't, because my spine often feels like a squished tube of toothpaste. When I can, Kiko decides that this situation is not optimal, and it would be much better if I were petting a cat instead. (Specifically, her.)

It has made it hard to write, or do much of anything else. I've managed to eke out some paid writing, but, by the time I'm done with that, all I want to do is take a nap. (I also wrote a really, really weirdly hot scene of someone having knives thrown at them, but that is something for another day.) I've also done some painting, which I'm grateful for -- I always feel like I'm not accomplishing anything when I can't. 

I have another project in the works that I'm pretty excited about, which I've mentioned before. It's about a month out still, so I don't want to provide too many details... I'm just very frustrated that I haven't been able to put much work toward it lately. 

I hate complaining about rain because we need it, but it's really cramping my style. Hopefully the weather lets up soon, or I'm able to acclimate to it! 

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Run over by the Wheel of Fortune

Remember when I pulled a card earlier this week?

It was, shall we say, accurate.

The nature of the Wheel of Fortune has encouraged me to re-frame some of the things I experience. There's that old wives' tale about the Chinese word for "crisis" comprising the words for "danger" and "opportunity" (it doesn't, but follow me for a minute) which has actually been somewhat useful in keeping me from tearing out what little hair I left myself. The Wheel represents a turning point and a chance to do the right thing, but I'll be damned if I don't want to burn some things down in the process.

I think I'm making good decisions, though. Ones that will help put my life even closer in alignment with my values, which is saying a lot considering I lack many of the conventional ways most people have to do so. In the process, I'm making a lot of discoveries -- for one, I have more flexibility than I used to, or thought I did. I'm still physically limited and don't have a lot of material wealth, but that's mattering less and less as I grow into the things I am able to do and the spaces I can occupy.

It's a really good feeling. As frustrating as it is to feel stunted in some ways (lol, hello dishwasher-I-can't-unload-without-losing-my-balance-and-breaking-everything!) I'm feeling more and more as though this is necessary to help me grow in others, the same way pinching off the top leaves of a plant encourages it to become lush instead of tall.

Here is a soothing picture of some trees and water, because it's about to get weird.

But there's a darker side to some of the things I've learned this week, too. I'm part of a really good witch group, one that has a tarot live chat every week. We talk about decks, techniques, you name it -- the person who runs the group is even generous enough to do free, two card readings for some of the people who attend and express interest. Last night, my name was picked. I held my question in my mind...

"How can I level up in my life? What do I need to do to achieve the next level of my spiritual and creative development?"

And, oh boy, did I get an answer.

Now, when you're reading tarot, it's wise to take the circumstances around the draw into account. If you're using incense and the ember flares or the pattern of the smoke changes in an odd way, if you're burning a candle and it suddenly flares, if a card leaps out while you're shuffling... All of these things can color the reading itself.

I received a Clarity affirmations card, the Queen of Cups, and the Ten of Pentacles reversed.

Without going extensively into the background and interpretation of each card separately, the thrust of the reading was this: while I am usually perceptive and intuitive in my relationships, and can quickly and easily differentiate between people who are worth my time and those who are not, mental chatter and anxiety may be causing me to place more distance between myself and a relative than is strictly warranted.

Here's where it gets weird. The Queen of Cups, which ended up making up a large part of the reading, leapt out of the deck. In the midst of the reading, there was a small flare of light and a drift of smoke, which was interpreted as a sign of sorts.

Here's where it gets weirder. If you've read here for awhile, you know that I've made no secret that I am estranged from some family members, particularly one parent who shows the signs of having narcissistic personality disorder. Unfortunately, these are often not relationships that can be repaired. You can't win with a narcissist, ever -- your needs, desires, and ambitions will always be trivialized, unless there is a way for the narcissist to directly benefit from them. They will feel entitled to every success you have, and become belligerent when you want to separate from them or express your will in any way. They also have pretty much no concept of boundaries. These things contribute to a feeling that is sadly not uncommon among people who have escaped the clutches of a narcissist -- the feeling that you won't be able to live a full, happy life until the narcissist is no longer capable of interacting with you at all.

It's an expression of the very real fear that, no matter how far you go or how well you hide, the narcissist will still find you somehow (or, if not them, their flying monkeys). That if you're successful in any capacity, it's only a matter of time before the narcissist shows up to either claim some of it for themselves ("Now that you have this, you can do something for me!"), attempt to take credit for it ("You're only successful because I taught/raised/helped you."), or belittle it ("That's so stupid, it doesn't count!"). It can become part of a very complicated relationship with praise and achievement, especially if the narcissist is also violent. It becomes about survival.

Basically, it's like having the zombie from [Rec] for a parent, and achieving anything in life is the equivalent of jumping up and down and waving a flashlight. It's like when people win the lottery and get friends and relatives crawling out of the woodwork with their hands out, but, instead of money, a narcissist wants to suck our your soul.

Sometimes literally.

I just finished reading Sandra Ingerman's Soul Retrieval: Mending the Fragmented Self. The book is an interesting exploration of some of the concepts of "healing the inner child" that counselor John Bradshaw talks about, but from a shamanic perspective. When we undergo trauma, parts of the soul can fragment as a protective mechanism. These missing pieces can continue to impact us in deep ways as we go through life -- physically, mentally, and spiritually. Unfortunately, retrieving them is not really something you can do on your own. There are things you can do to help heal and overcome the trauma, but, much like self-help books are not quite a substitute for guided therapy, it is not the same as soul retrieval.

Ultimately, I know that being no contact is the right thing to do and I will never go back from that. I also know that the unshakable fear that the narcissist will reappear in my life is not fully justified, and that the deep, saddening feeling that I won't be able to relax and be happy until they are fully gone is not necessary. Overcoming this in a way that allows me to thrive -- not just pushing the thoughts aside and trying to ignore them while they fester -- is going to be a real challenge for me.

There is a lot of work to do.