Whole for Whole

A little over a year ago I started taking a new medication. I’d had a blip, and I was pissed off about that, and I really didn’t want to have to start another medication. But I took it, and aside from feeling drunk and having a very weird middle-of-the-night conversation on the first night I took it, I hardly noticed it. Except not long after I realized it had one profound effect: It finally, miraculously allowed me to control my anger.

This was revolutionary for me, in the holy-crap-how-is-it-five-years-later-and-I-am-only-figuring-this-out-NOW sort of way. A pill to control anger? Sign me up!

It does have some side effects, though, one of which being that it masquerades quite nicely as a sleeping pill. Which is fine, except it makes mornings sort of drowsy, and that’s not helpful when you have two small children who are awake at an ungodly hour, and it especially wasn’t helpful as I prepared to go back to work after maternity leave. So after talking to my psychiatrist I went down to half a pill.

For the better part of a year, I dutifully cut that little round, orange pill in half and popped that half every single night. But mornings were still a little rough, so I started taking the pill a little earlier in the evening and planned my activities around the hour and a half I had before it was nearly impossible to keep my eyes open.

And so it went, and things were mostly pretty good.

And then, after a while, they weren’t.

railroad tracks

Since late spring (maybe, in fact, for longer) things haven’t felt quite right. I’ve been blipping too often and struggling with the great why and generally feeling like c’mon, please, for the love of all things holy, there must be a way to manage this. And I was angry about that.

I was angry about a lot of other things too, but I didn’t realize it at the time.

And then one day something happened and I got really mad and my husband pointed out that I was angry all the time and we had a rager of a fight and I decided I needed to do something about it. So I stopped cutting the little round, orange pill in half and started taking the whole thing again.

I think (though I haven’t verified this with my husband) that it has made things okay. I still get mad, but the thing about this medication is that it allows the normal, sane version of me that still exists inside my head to stand off to the side and point out that the anger is irrational and I should probably just let it go already. Sometimes I still get mad, but I have the ability to choose not to react. I have the ability to control my reaction. Control! It’s a wonderful and quite helpful but often elusive thing. I look back now and realize that lack of control has made the road I’ve been on the last few years a pretty rough one.

So no, I didn’t want to start another med, and yes, it does have some side effects, but I got over it and the side effects are quite manageable. So I take medication for anger, because the benefits outweigh my pride and the challenges of drowsiness and put me back in a place where I can (mostly) act like a rational human being towards those around me. And perhaps (dare I say it) even more importantly, it puts me back in a place where I am me. Where I am more whole. And the implications of that are many and far-reaching and something I will share with you in another post sometime soon.

Waiting for Perfection

Thanks to Grammarly for sponsoring this post. Use Grammarly’s plagiarism checker because it also checks your grammar, and no one wants to be the person everyone thinks about when they post bad-grammar memes on Facebook.

I haven’t been writing a lot lately. Largely because of time—I’ll put 75% of the blame there—but also because the topics swirl around in my head and I wait for them to position themselves just so before committing to putting words to my thoughts. I only want to write if it’s meaningful. I only want to write if I get it right.

atwood-on-writing-perfection

There’s no such thing as perfection. I know that. And there’s especially no such thing as perfection in writing. Words are living, breathing things and a piece of writing is never truly done. It’s just finished, and the writer has to release those words to the world and let them continue to live on through readers. As you peruse the words and unravel their meaning, the words breathe. As you comment, continue to ponder, or share, the words’ breath, their very being, carries on.

Often, when I really have something to say, I will think and write and revise and think some more. I will edit and re-write and let the words lead me to making sense of my world. And when I finally let them go, I wait for the answer to one question: Did I get it right?

But there is no right. There is only right now. Whatever I write, whether I publish it or not, is my reality in the moment. It’s part of how my world evolves. The words I use and the paragraphs that form don’t have to be perfect. They don’t have to be right by anyone’s judgment. Not even by mine. Those words are merely part of the picture.

I know this, and something someone shared recently (that originally inspired this post but that I can no longer find) has reminded me of it once again.

I don’t have to finish writing. I just have to start.

Look to the Sky

I left work late tonight, as is often the case these days. But I guess the days are indeed getting longer, because instead of being dark the sky was full of brilliant tiger stripes of colour – pink and red and orange and wisps of blue. The city skyline was a barely lit silhouette, and at the end of the wash of colour was the outline of the mountains and a brilliant, golden glare as the sun started to sink behind the horizon. It was incredible. Stop-to-take-a-picture incredible. (But of course no picture I could take would ever do it justice.)

I breathe deeply when I see sunsets like that (even if I’m in my car). And in doing so I pause, sometimes just figuratively and often just for a moment, and think about something other than what I have to do next.

brick wall

Your comments on my post about missing inspiration were interesting. Good interesting, even though I don’t agree with many of you, including my mother. (Sorry, mom.)

Here’s the thing: I like that wide open space of a new year. I love the anything-is-possible feeling. I thrive on change and possibility and new. Day-to-day life gets boring pretty fast, and if I don’t have something to jolt me into a new perspective I will blink and 20 years will have gone by and my small boys will be big and all I will remember is how much laundry I did.

That is not how I wish to live my life.

I realized, upon reading (and railing against) some of those comments on that last post, that I don’t necessarily want some huge, gigantic goal and I’m not really looking for change. But I also don’t want to let life just happen. I prefer living with intention.

That’s why I’ve chosen one word as a guide post for the last few years. It’s why I have a life list and why I breathe in sunsets.

Northern lights in night sky

So where does that leave me? I’m not sure yet. I will probably start by committing to my one word for 2014 (and sharing it here). I’m going to make some changes to my day-to-day focus and schedule. I’m going to move away from feeling stuck in the everydayness of wake/feed children/commute/work/commute/feed children/put children to bed/walk dog/do dishes/fold laundry/repeat.

I’m going to look to the sky. And see where it takes me.

Missing: Inspiration

The new year is normally soaked with inspiration for me, like a path laid down just waiting for me to walk it.

I never quite found that path this year.

snowy path

I looked for it. I waited. I read the usual things and saw the usual references to potential and opportunity and new. But by the time the new year came it seemed like the path had been walked by everyone else already.

This time last year I was pursuing my goal of exercising for 30 days straight and looking forward to a year of adventure and exploration. This time last year, not incidentally, I was on mat leave.

Maybe the path is always well-worn and maybe it’s up to us to find our own footsteps or our own way to walk it. Or maybe my path is just filled with other things right now.

Every other year, it seems, I have felt like I can do anything. Anything! I just have to decide what to aim for. And then of course the inevitable everydayness sneaks in and turns that anything into well, maybe something and eventually it’s more like at least I can do a few things, but it has always started as a wide open space.

This year that wide open space is filled with laundry.

It’s hard to make new goals and seize opportunities when it’s all I can do to remember which day we need to put the bins out and when I’ve been carrying cheques in my wallet for weeks (months?) because I can’t figure out how to get into the bank to deposit them (because cheques in US funds need to be deposited in person and do you ever find yourself in a situation like this where you wonder if it’s really worth the 30 bucks?).

So I haven’t found my 2014 inspiration. I’ve chosen my one word for the year—or, I suppose, it chose me—but I haven’t quite managed to commit to it. I haven’t spoken it out loud.

Maybe this year, this time – maybe right now I need a different path. Maybe inspiration will only come in small doses.

Think small instead of big and a month instead of a year at a time. Chase moments instead of mountains.

It’s a different path forward, but it will be okay, I guess.

It’s an okay path.

I’m trying to believe that.

How is your new year going?

 

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Join Greta from Gfunkified and I for #iPPP (iPhone Photo Phun), a weekly link-up that requires nothing more than a blog post with a photo from a phone camera (any phone camera, not just iPhones). We want to see your funny, your yummy, your heartfelt, your favourite phone photos of the week. 

Picture in Picture

marble cam image of ferris wheel

Any guesses what this is?

I took this picture with an app that takes a portion of an image, flips it upside down, and puts it in a little bubble so you can see it clearly. All the rest fades to a blur in the background.

I didn’t think of it at the time, but this is an interesting way to look at a situation. Instead of looking at the whole and seeing what you expect to see, pull out a small piece and look at it in a different way.

I tend to be a fairly black and white thinker, at least initially. You’ll occasionally find me planted firmly atop the metaphorical fence, but more often I have a definite viewpoint on things. The good thing (at least I suppose it’s good) is that I’m open to other perspectives and have sometimes been known to be persuaded to take a different stance.

I’ve had my chosen perspective challenged in any number of ways lately: Going back to work and seeing my connections to things and my priorities shift subtly from where I thought they were; letting go of things I thought were a given; accepting that taking a deep breath and a step back is okay, even if it means I have to play a different role.

One such challenge presented itself at work recently. In a very déjà-vu-esque sense I found myself staring down the mouth of a dragon I’ve fought (and been burned by) before. I didn’t want to be there, but I was having a really hard time changing my point of view.

Then a cherished colleague did for me what that app did to this picture – turned a piece of it upside down and gave me another way to look at it. I’m grateful both for her support and her insight, and I may just keep this image on my desk as a reminder.

Is there something you need to think differently about? Try this – grab hold of a part, flip it, turn it, and toss it into the air like a soap bubble. Let it hang. It might tell you a different story than the one you tell yourself.

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Want to know what the photo was originally? Here’s your answer

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I’ve joined Greta from Gfunkified as co-host of #iPPP (iPhone Photo Phun), a weekly link-up that requires nothing more than a blog post with a photo from a phone camera (any phone camera, not just iPhones). We want to see your funny, your yummy, your heartfelt, your favourite phone photos of the week. 

 

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