Monthly Archives: March 2011

Life During Peacetime

Burned all my notebooks — What good are
notebooks? They won’t help me survive.
My chest is aching, burns like a furnace.
The burning keeps me alive.

Talking Heads “Life During Wartime”

Feeling overwhelmed when the situation is bad is totally normal. When my life was a freefall of poorly placed faith, badly chosen partners, untenable, inconstant living situations, and marginal employment, I was forever swimming upstream at a feverish pace. Racing, leaping, grasping, waiting for the next big setback to smack into me and send me sprawling. When I remember my day to day struggle at the time, when I tell stories about it, it sounds (and _was_, in every sense) exhausting. But it was easy. It’s easy to come home so tired you don’t care where you live. It’s easy to shuffle from job you don’t care about to job you don’t care about. It’s easy to think of everyone as an enemy or an obstacle. It’s easy to dismiss all good things in your life as coincidence or happenstance, because then you aren’t surprised when they disappear again. After all, it’s not your fault, it’s just that life sucks forever and that situation NOT sucking was a part-time exemption. You had your vacation and now it’s back to the slog, sucker.

Well, my life isn’t a freefall any more. I’m no longer marginally employed. I choose the people I spend my time with and how much energy I expend on their needs with a more balanced and even hand. I’ve lived in my own house for two and a half years now. I own my car outright. I’m dating a wonderful person whose company brings me a lot of joy. I’m thinner than I’ve ever healthily been, I’m having sex regularly, I never really have to worry about money (day to day), and after weeks of PNR stretching, meditation, and plenty of swearing, I can almost touch my toes. I have friends and family who love and care about me, even my PETS are clean, healthy, and happy for god’s sake.

So that brings me to last night, when I was again sitting in my garage, endlessly fretting about whether or not my friends _actually_ like me. Whether or not my life has meaning. Whether or not any of what I have accomplished is “real”. Just a self-effacing pity cycle. Mope mope mope. I used to think this was OK, a defense mechanism for preempting disappointment. I encouraged it, even. I took snippets and misquoted Nietzsche and the Hakagure and pop culture. I cultivated a philosophy of pessimism. A grim hedge around my happiness — carefully trimmed to suit my mindset that I was fundamentally not worth attention or affection and that life is fundamentally unfair; a rigged game whose rules were either so unimportant I shouldn’t learn them or so ludicrously set against success that I should actively avoid engaging it.

This negatively weighted world is simple, and when things are bad, it seems to be a great philosophy. If all you know is self doubt and suffering, you are never surprised when you suffer. But I never knew what to do with joy, never learned how to trust my heart, and because of my overwhelming negativity, I never planned to live this long. It never even occurred to me that I might be 32, rested, well-laid, and gainfully employed some day. So, nonsensically, my biggest problem right now is learning how to be happy when I am _happy_. It’s harder than I ever thought it would be.

Projects – Spring 2011

OK, this is just a huge dump of projects I’ve been tossing around in my head and I want someplace to organize it all.

  1. Fix garage roof
  2. Front/back deck
  3. Get Yamahahaha going
  4. Rewire Datsun w/LED lights/new alt/fancy fan
  5. Sell Versa
  6. Sell Kymco
  7. Chicken tractor
  8. Raised beds for front yard
  9. Tear down shed/build tea house
  10. Fence front yard
  11. Fix edge of driveway/complete earth ramp in yard corner

Brain Pain

I remember when I was very young, getting frequent ear infections. All the time. I’d wake up and feel vaguely sick, the side of my head would hurt, I’d have a fever and the sniffles, and we’d go to the doctor for some bubble gum pink amoxicillin and another admonition to jump up and down and clear my ears after swimming. They’d pass, I’d feel better, and everything was fine. One day, I woke up, and I could hear the air pump on my aquarium like it was a kettle drum. I looked over at the tank to see if something was wrong with it, and the light intensity from the lamp on top was so high that it felt like knives in my eyes, and made me instantly nauseous. I stayed home from school and about an hour later, I crawled on my hands and knees toward the bathroom, made it halfway there, then fell on the floor, vomited clear bile everywhere, and then slept in it for about an hour. That afternoon I felt completely fine. I think everyone assumed it was food poisoning.

Fast forward to Monday night. I was sitting down watching a movie, and I felt a headache starting. It had been about 36 hours since the last one. They come on quickly, and present with watering eyes, my nose either plugs or just one nostril plugs (the right one), and then the headache starts: an eye-socket-to-hairline swath of unrelenting ant-bites-inside-my-skull pain. Monday night I would have done anything to make it stop. I had my shoes on and my jacket on to go buy cigarettes on the off chance THAT would help. It was probably a 9 on my pain scale. I couldn’t sit down, I had to be moving, I was rubbing my head and neck and nothing was helping. I took a hot shower and laid down on the couch and finally all I could do was lay in bed until I fell into fitful sleep. Thursday morning, when I got to work, I had another one. Exactly the same, another 9. Eyes tearing, nose plugged. I’ve never had a headache as bad at work. And people were visibly concerned. It’s disconcerting when I can’t even concentrate on a sentence long enough to get from the start to the end of it. And I recognize the discomfort, the nausea, and the “like a storm clearing” speed at which the pain recedes from headaches of my youth.

I’ve been having these headaches basically daily (or multiple times daily) for a month now. I finally stopped just ignoring the “if you have a bunch of these they’re not migraines” paragraph at the end of every migraine description and clicked on a link to cluster headache. It’s… undeniably what I’m experiencing. There’s no cure, just prevention. So… I’m keeping a headache diary. Trying to track all the triggers which might be causing it (all of them, aside from cocaine, are basically in the running, since I don’t do that yak). I don’t really have much to say about this other than I hope it’s not a tumor (knocking on your mom).