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Doing Things Deliberately

I moved a week-and-a-half ago.

I am fully functional in my new digs. The nice part is that when the weather sucks, I am five minutes away from work (really just around the block). This past Friday was a perfect example. First, it rained. When I drove to work, it was snowing. Then, for the rest of the workday, it did something in between. When it was time to drive home, my car had a thin layer of ice on it. Welcome to Michigan. I was so happy to be home in about ten minutes, including scraping-off time.

However, I still have some boxes in the living room. I could just shove them in the closet. Out of sight, out of mind. I suspect that is what I did last time I moved. I was totally overwhelmed dealing with Barry and the house. I just crammed stuff into boxes and got them hauled from point A to point B. I refuse to do that again.

I am going through things, item by item. For some stuff, it is like, “OMG! I still have this?!” Some items are hard to eliminate because they represent dead hopes and dreams. Those parts of my life really are over.

I don’t know if this is a better way, but I am tired of being continually overwhelmed. I am gradually using my free time to finish up emotional business. I want to know what I have and where it is all at. Easier said than done.

I have always considered this to be a practice move. The goal is Not-Michigan. I have my atlas and am doing research. I could live here another few years. I have some final arrangements to make and pay for for myself. One thing at a time.

Personal Responsibility

Personal responsibility is a theme that keeps popping up in my life.

Work is in a state of chaos. We lost a manager. I heard she got fired. I suspect (with no way of verifying) that she defended a particular worker whose behavior was disrespectful and unacceptable on every level. When she defended the indefensible, her behavior became problematic. I heard that she said that someone was hurling racist comments at the unacceptable worker’s behavior. If that is the case, then that person needs to go as well. I won’t defend the indefensible.

Then there’s the political chaos we are watching now. After Trump fomenting an insurrection, suddenly many Republicans have developed a conscience. “We didn’t know he was that unstable.” That is crap. Everyone knew he was that unstable. Four years ago. I don’t know if it was Dr. Phil or Maya Angelou that said, “When someone tells you or shows you who they are, believe them,” but that’s the truth. These politicians get no brownie points whatsoever for suddenly having a conscience two weeks before the new administration comes in. The reality is simple: these Trump sycophants bet their political fortunes on a egomaniacal, narcissistic psychopath–and lost the bet. They thought they could do damage control. They were wrong. May they never be taken seriously again.

I am speaking from personal experience. My brothers did a lot of drugs and alcohol when I was growing up. Not everything they did was legal. Or intelligent, to say the least. When I defended their stupidity, the response I got was universal: “Wow, there’s something really wrong with that family. I thought Cindy was the smart one. Guess I was wrong.” My intelligence got questioned because I was defending the stupidity of others. Not okay.

The lesson is simple: who and what you defend is a direct reflection on your character. Period. Be careful. Defend the wrong thing or person and your reputation may never recover.

I moved!

I have had little else on my mind other than moving for a while now. And today I did it.

I am beyond exhausted. Physically, but emotionally as well. This is the first time I have ever moved without Barry. It feels wrong. I have cried a lot.

It has been such a disconnect. Everything in my life has pointed in this direction for years. Moving makes sense. I am closer to work. I think of this as a practice move for when I leave Michigan. This is all very logical and reasonable.

But emotionally I feel like I am dying. Maybe the old me is dying and that is the point.

I have not had TV for a few days, since Dish was disconnected. So I have been watching a lot of YouTube videos. Brene Brown. OMG. She is so good. She gets shame and vulnerability like no one else.

It’s just so odd having my brain say, “This is the normal order of things. This is all well and good.” Meanwhile, my heart feels like it is being crushed and I may not wake up in the morning.

I know what is going on. There is no mystery. For my entire life, but especially throughout my marriage, I had to function. I had to get things done. Feelings would have to be dealt with later because I have to take care of Barry or do this term paper or whatever. Guess what? It’s laaaateeeer now. That day has arrived. The massive over-reaction is actually thirty or even fifty years of repressed crap rising to the surface. My shrink even pointed out to me that it is no coincidence that the anniversary of Barry’s death is next week. My subconscious orchestrated the whole thing. So funny and annoying. I did this to myself.

I will be fine. Perhaps not immediately, but in the long run.

Literal Disconnection

I have been in a lot of pain lately over something that initially made no sense: having my satellite service disconnected on January third. I’ve known I would be moving for months. Hiring a mover? No problem. Planning to get cable hooked up? No problem. Cancelling my Dish service? I want to cry. Huh?

Talking about it with one friend, she reminded me of how certain things coincided time-wise. In 2008, Barry retired at the end of June. As part of retirement, my parents arranged for us to have Dish hooked up. One week after Barry retired, he had a big tumor on his neck and that was the start of the cancer drama of chemo, radiation, and surgery. Even when we moved to the apartment I am in now, Dish moved with us. And we have never had any problem with it whatsoever. But the new place doesn’t allow satellite and the buildings are kind of close together and I don’t know that they could get a signal.

Then I talked about it with another friend and she talked about how it would be a disconnection from my past. It hit me hard how it would be an actual, literal disconnection from some of what Barry and I had shared together. This is no metaphor. And I will have to do without any form of TV at all for a few days before I move because of my job. No TV? Part of me is panicking. And it’s not like I have no reading material.

Part of me has no sympathy for myself. One of my friends, the one in Maryland, left Michigan in bankruptcy and foreclosure. Right now, there is a bill that might not get signed into law, leaving many renters out on the street. Millions of Americans have no food. And I’m whining that I’m having my Dish service discontinued. I have some high-class problem and I know it.

At least I have some clue as to why I’m on the verge of tears now. Before I talked to my friends, it felt like such an odd over-reaction. Now I get it.

Computer Dying Quickly

I am so aggravated. My computer has been slowly dying, but the process has accelerated in the past week. I didn’t know how to find my passwords, so I looked it up online. I found it and the computer won’t let me do it. I don’t know id I will lose access to my WordPress account or my Duolingo or anything else.

Emotionally, I flipped out a couple nights ago. It took an hour to wake up my computer. That’s what I need, to have another expense during the holidays and moving.

I was so overwhelmed by Christmas and moving that I decided to focus only on Christmas for now.

I have ordered a new computer from Staples. It will be ready tomorrow, but I didn’t (couldn’t) transfer and files from the crappy one I am using this minute and might die on me any second.

I am looking forward to getting a covid vaccine, now that we are more sure what the side effects are, but I will be at the back of the line, and I am good with that. I am not 65+, have no underlying conditions, do not live or work in a nursing home, am not a healthcare or essential worker, or anything. I assume I will get it in April or May.

I am doing the best I can. When I get over-stressed, I over-condition my hair. It’s a very primitive form of self-soothing. Think monkeys grooming each other. After going to Staples, I went to Ulta Beauty and bought a leave-in conditioner I have been curious about. My hair is so smooth and soft now it is ridiculous, but this is way better than my former ways of self-mutilation I used to participate in when I was stressed-out. And I smell fabulous to boot.

Always Looking for Clarity

This is my horoscope for tomorrow:

“DEC 7, 2020:┬áKeeping in touch with your friends is extremely important in life, but so is getting back in touch with yourself! Being aware of who you really are and what you really want out of life isn’t something that comes without careful and deliberate focus. Plus, it takes time. If you’re feeling the urge to knock off the social stuff for a while and just hang by yourself, do it. Once you separate from the distractions of other people, you will be able to come to some important conclusions.”

I believe that this is what the pandemic has forced so many of us to do: have some time alone with our thoughts.

I am moving next month. So many details. First, I have to get through the holidays. One thing at a time.

Clarity has been hard lately. When I was married, I knew exactly why I did everything: to take care of us and to make him comfortable. What I wanted and needed did not enter the equation many times. I ended up with a severe case of caretaker burnout and stopped wanting to live. It took a couple of years to recharge my batteries and not be just chronically overwhelmed. At last, I feel rested.

Then I am like, “Okay. Now what?” But the holidays are here and then I move. My plate is full, but at least I have some inkling as to why I am doing what I am doing.

Oh yeah, the new manager has a big, fat orange feline named Murphy and has shown me pictures of the corpulent cat. The things that entertain me.

Vaccine Questions

I want a coronavirus vaccine. I really do, but……

I don’t know enough about Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to trust it. To me, it sounds like basic safety protocols have been skipped to get it on the market. I would feel a lot better about taking a vaccine after a few million other Americans have taken it. I am not volunteering to be a guinea pig. What are the side effects?

Think about polio. There are people in Africa today that are contracting polio. We have had a vaccine since the 1950s. But you can’t get a vaccine for a disease you already have.

My point? Wouldn’t you have to get a negative coronavirus test before getting vaccinated? I have not been tested yet and it is almost December. My understanding is that the coronavirus is in every nook and cranny of this country, including exceptionally rural states like the Dakotas. Testing is still not great. How are people going to get the vaccine when they haven’t been tested? How about all those false negative tests (tests that wrongly show a person to not have the virus)?

I believe in vaccinations. I believe that parents who do not vaccinate their children forfeit the right to a public education for their children. If you don’t vaccinate your kid, you will have to homeschool. Period. No putting other kids at risk. I am not against vaccinations that are proven effective and have gone through the proper safety protocols. I need to be convinced that EUA does not eliminate the necessary safety protocols before I will begin to contemplate taking a coronavirus vaccine. No debate.

Out the Other Side

I feel so much better now.

Warning: Do not get the flu shot and a shingles shot all at once. I did it last week and felt like crap the next day and just plain wiped out the next couple days. Friday night I took a shot of NyQuil because I felt so achy and just wanted to sleep. When I do that, I get so much sleep sometimes that I have a hard time sleeping Saturday night. Not last night. I went to bed early and woke up close to my normal time. I feel fabulous. Wow. It has been a long time since I have felt this good physically and emotionally.

Whenever I feel stuck, I ask myself what I am holding onto that is not moving. Zen has a saying; “Let go or be dragged.” The basic concept is that everything is moving and you need to be careful what moving object you hitch your wagon to. Sometimes, stillness is essential, but that means you need to let go of everything.

What have I been holding onto? My parents. They are now in Florida, a state with more coronavirus cases than New York. I just lost my husband a couple years ago. I don’t want this much loss. Who does? But they are adults and if they want to play shuffleboard more than they want to preserve their lives, that is not my call to make. I feel like I let them go this weekend. This is not an intellectual process. It is emotional and spiritual. In other words, I am not in charge of the timing. But I suddenly feel freer.

There is precious little I am in control of, but I can take care of myself. I can rest. I can drink lots of water and take vitamins.

All we can do is take care of ourselves. It’s like the emergency instructions you’re given on the plane: Put your own mask on first.

So So Glad to Be Wrong

I can’t believe Biden won! I am so happy and relieved!

Let Trump fight the Constitution and the will of the voters (who gave Biden a bigger popular vote victory than Hillary).

I hate the extremes. I hate both the right-wing, misogynistic, white nationalists equally with the “defund the police” people that want to put my safety at risk. I am hoping our divided congress can keep each other in check. I need the “lock them up and throw away the key” people to counterbalance the “set them all free and give them voting rights” people.

It will be good to have civility and decency in the White House again. A non-narcissistic President not obsessed with tweeting. A normal human with actual empathy. What a concept.

Trump is not done throwing fits, but Biden’s victory is far more legitimate than Trump’s ever was, with Biden winning the popular vote and the Electoral College.

I can just see some crazy right-winger shooting President Biden. Welcome President Harris! I would love that. That would be so very awesome.

Drowning in Grief

I don’t usually have emotional breakdowns like this, but everything hit at once.

I am seeing my parents tomorrow before they go to Florida.

I thought about not seeing them because I am in so much pain from the election, but my shrink pointed out that if I chose not to see them and then they did not return from Florida, I would regret it forever. She is so right and compassionate. I love her, but it’s annoying when she is so right.

This sounds horrible and racist, but, to some degree, I blame the blacks in Minneapolis who torched the police precinct for Trump’s victory. I said back then that they gave him the victory. I was correct. Whenever one side goes over the edge, the other side looks mainstream. Now the racist, homicidal idiots look like defenders of “law and order.” The racists have been proven right in the eyes of the voters. Blacks truly are incapable of self-governance. Why must blacks so consistently prove their white defenders (such as myself) to be imbeciles? I feel so stupid. Nothing quite like having your blatantly racist parents proven to be spot-on.

I am in grief for the Constitution, our democracy, and everything good and decent that died tonight. I am sure the world is mourning right now. We will never regain our stature as a defender of freedom. We are no different than those European nations with strongmen at the helm. No virtue, just the ever-present threat of force.

Worse than Trump is the coronavirus. Will my parents come back? Perhaps, but I’m not counting on it.