Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday (#SoCS) is “butter.” Use it as a noun, use it as a verb, use it any way you’d like. Have fun!
Look at that grease. I mean… butter.
“Butter Crust”. That somehow makes it better.
That wasn’t how the day was supposed to end, but we should have learned by now that “supposed to” doesn’t belong in our home (or our world, for that matter) these days. Nothing is normal. Nothing is “supposed”, let alone “presupposed”.
But even that realization doesn’t make navigation much easier.
I’m trying to figure out how to write “stream of consciousness” without betraying confidences or giving you a window into things that are really designed for draperies, and I’m finding it difficult. “I’ll try ‘vague generalities’ for $1,000, Alex,” and see if it’s worth reading at the end…
Last Sunday we started with a family crisis, which is really not that unusual in our family anymore. It’s sort of our vibe. The evening ended safe and sound, but it set off a week of ripples and repercussions that are once again threatening the foundations of my sanity.
I’ve learned through therapy to identify when I’m “at risk” (ALL Y’ALL should have therapy, by the way – I don’t know how anyone does life without it). I basically have four generalized compartments into which I can more or less fit any life situation or event:
- Marriage/Adult Friendships (it may seem weird to put those together, but I find the health/stability of one ultimately impacts the other, so I’m not able to separate them)
- Children (yes, my children get their own box, figuratively if not literally)
- Home (which encompasses finances, home care, cleaning, cooking – anything related to domestic life that I don’t specifically put into the “Marriage” or “Children” compartments)
Without going into a lot of detail (it’s taken years to work this out with professionals), I can continue to function at a fairly high level of excellence if no more than 2 of those are in upheaval at the same time. If a third threatens to escape its container, I risk structural failure of the dam (too many metaphors?).
Well – I’m at three of those bursting their containers and flowing all over the place as of last Sunday.
And, because I am a perfectionist and have learned my coping skills SO WELL, I started ticking off the ways to “Self-Care®”, because you can’t care for anything else if you aren’t caring for yourself. Oh, you didn’t know that? Did I mention that ALL Y’ALL need therapy? Anywho, everyone has their own self-care regimen, but some of the techniques are universal and work for everyone: Stop. Breathe. Breathe some more. Concentrate on your breathing (when you’re in the throes of anxiety, you don’t realize how much you hold your breath – I’m doing it right now). Stop. Breathe. Bring yourself to the PRESENT. Don’t try to anticipate what today’s events mean for tomorrow or the day after that or the day after that or for your RETIREMENT, for pete’s sake (<—- pointing at self here. I am pete). And certainly don’t let yesterday steal your attempts at peace of mind. Anything you can change there? No? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Deal with today. That’s enough for anyone (pretty sure I could throw a Bible verse in here if I still did that sort of thing. I don’t. Not because the Bible has become less important to me, but because I recognize many of YOU couldn’t give a shit about what the Bible teaches about mindfulness). If you are of the Christian ilk who think “mindfulness” and “meditation” are tools of the devil, go read some Jesus. The Sermon on the Mount will suffice. Crap, now I should just throw in the reference: Matthew 5-7. There, now I’ve made everyone happy, which is my modus operandi. You’re welcome.
Those two techniques weren’t cutting it for me. I was continuing to struggle with anxiety and focus (which was causing the “work” and “home” containers to JUST. GET. WORSE. (see how this goes?). Oh, I forgot to mention, I have prescriptions to help me calm my physical reactions enough to let my mind do its work – those weren’t working either. I mention that for any of you who may feel guilt™about needing medication to be functional. STOP THAT. Again, you’re welcome.
Fast forward to yesterday: I knew we needed to get out of the house (can I get an “Amen”?). By the time we were all home, my wife and I simply wanted to crash on the bed with our phones and mindlessly play Candy Crush™ or DesignHome™, scroll through Twitter, Facebook, etc. You get the idea. BUT I PERSISTED. We rallied ourselves, got everyone in the car (15 year old permit driver at the wheel – not the best choice in retrospect), and headed off to the mall and then out for dinner, now that Michigan is allowing 50% capacity for in-restaurant dining. A change will do us good!
I will let it suffice to say the drive/ride experience did nothing to settle anyone’s nerves.
Got to the mall at 6:30 (really hungry, but decided we should shop first in case the mall closed early).
The mall closed at 7:00.
I took the wheel (not without protestation, but it was the right call, trust me). We were heading to Chili’s® right next to the mall, and we barely avoided vehicle damage about 6 times between our mall parking space and Chili’s®, which was in. the. same. parking. lot. and. had. no. parking. spaces.
“Let’s head home and go to the Chili’s® by our house.”
Being the wise man I am, I had my wife call the restaurant we were heading for and ask about call ahead seating or if there was a substantial wait.
Probably about 45 minutes.
Aw, hell naw.
Headed home for pizza.
With butter crust.
My shoulders relaxed. My jaw unclenched. I rubbed my tired eyes and furrowed brow.
Today IS a new day. And hope springs eternal, right?
#SoCS comes from the website of Linda G. Hill.
Here are the rules:
1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing (typos can be fixed), and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.
2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.