Who is it?

I play a lot of phone tag at work, get mistaken for a tele-marketer and lend ears towards people’s days, activities and fears when trying to schedule appointments.

One individual absolutely refused to talk on the phone at all: “If you want to talk to me, you can write me a letter!” And the line went dead. I’m not easily dissuaded, so I called her back; I got the exact same response, and closed the file by writing her a letter.

Another person was experiencing extreme frustration at not being able to reach me, despite the fact I had reached out to him several times and returned all of his calls promptly. As some people find it easier to communicate via email, I had offered them that information, also.

The following morning, I opened my inbox to see a rather suspicious looking message: see attached. I opened the message to reveal a multi-page document that went on to detail how frustrated this individual was feeling, and concluded saying the sender preferred to talk on the phone or in person and found it difficult to communicate by email. Why compose a multipage email just to say that email doesn’t work for you?

We agreed to speak on the phone the next day at a mutually agreeable time. End of story!

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From before (6)

I was reading the Mental Health special published by TIME magazine at work this week, generously shared by my friend and colleague across the way. I became utterly absorbed in its pages which contained stories on everything from student life, to physician training, the evolution of our understanding of mental health and mental illness, new therapies, supports and treatment to thoughts on the celebrated chef and fashion designer, Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, both of whom died by suicide in 2018.

To find this publication offering such well-crafted content that is both timely and educational —and fun to read! was an amazing breath of fresh air. To have it immediately to hand, in hard copy, was such a comfort: to be able to flip to a page and jump right in without worrying about when you have to give it back or renew a subscription or brush away pop up quizzes and videos on autoplay, without being distracted by the world, or the author’s credentials or agenda.

The articles touched on important issues and made good use of visuals and choices in vocabulary and tone to deliver a powerful snapshot of where we stand today and offer hope for the future in an increasingly busy world.

From before (5)

A recent conversation with myself:

~

Hi, How are you?

I want to acknowledge that it is ok to feel whatever it is you are feeling. I want to ask you ‘how do you feel?’ and understand the answer. I want you to see and be seen and to not be afraid to be yourself. You are not alone. The world is better with you in it!

: I feel breathless. I can taste honey on my tongue. My hands are sweaty and my heart is beating fast. My chest is tight. I am warm all over. Worries about the future jump in and out of my mind. I feel full. I am contained but not calm. I do not feel compelled to take any action. I feel supported. I don’t understand the answer yet, but there it is.

: I think the room is too warm and that I’m thinking with my sub-conscious about things that cause more trouble than they should. I want dinner and a good sleep.

~

Check in with yourself every once in a while! 🙂

–Sam

Meld

As I might
Mince words
Stone-faced and cold
Data stacks and tallies counting
Black paint in tall spires

As I could
Pour water
Strong willed and bold
Thunder falls and lightning rages
White paint in feral whorls

As I build
Trace wounds
Gregarious and pulled
Time marches and seconds mounting
Grey paint in stealthy mires

white black and gray floral textile
Photo by Andreea Ch on Pexels.com

An account of friends, place+cake

My sister and I went to visit our friend Sarah over Christmas. Sarah asked if I remembered her birthday from last year, and if I had posted about it on this blog. I wasn’t sure at the time that I’d written anything on that occasion, but it now seemed a good place to start for a new post and for a new year. Sarah is person I feel privileged to know, and to call a friend. She goes at life with great strength, wit and wisdom.  

What I remember of the party past is this: I remember the energy in the room, alive and bright, full of happy people and pleasantly warm. Tables and chairs and balloons, friends and guests, in abundance; the band; the birthday cake, delicious in it’s own right, chased down by another monstrous slice of vegan chocolate cake I split with Rube. The sense of being a part of the celebrations for someone who seemed at that moment, larger than life, but without any of the anxiety that I would feel at a similar gathering. Pure happiness is contagious.

Here’s to friendship, place and more cake in 2019 ❤

 

From before (3)

2019 will be the new year I’ve worked toward:

I’ve already done the hardest thing. And it was just as terrifying as I thought, but not as terrible.

I always believed there was a sort of map through life, that people will look out for each other, but I think really people just share and tell and witness stories, and there is no map. Which is good. Because I am terrible at navigation.

This year, my story begins in New West, with a bedroom I love and a balcony that bids light enter every morning, a larger kitchen than the last several, and trains in trade for that space that reminds me now of murder of crows on an urban telephone pole, a community above the bustle of city life.

I’ve vacated the cupboard under the stairs and am starting over in new place. Here is quieter these days, with less surprises, which is a relief. I’m not going anywhere. I want to tell my story and bring this chapter to a happy ending. I’m working on it. 

From before (2)

Listen: Today is your day: eat, sleep and be well.

I haven’t done anything today, really. I’ve been alone in the best, day-in-the-life way, and not getting wrapped up in it, but just listening and following through at my own pace. I was up at 830am, had breakfast and did a few dishes, let the sunshine in, folded some laundry. Washed, cleaned my teeth and tidied my hair and nails and dressed in clothes for moving in; I hate clothes that feel like you’re drowning in a box at the bottom of the sea. I like clothes that make me believe I can do anything. Pants you can get on and off without a fight to the death, tops you can pull out when you’re tearing off, without worrying about how many directions you can’t go in.

I had a crappy sleep last night, but a decent nap this afternoon. I’ve eaten my way through a bowl of porridge with 1 whole banana, flax seed and coconut milk, topped with peanut butter. Tea and toast and an orange. Dinner will be a tie between stir fry and something with potatoes and beans.

I’m feeling sane today, if unsettled. I love my bedroom. I’ve finished re-reading the chronicles of Narnia and have to admit I have no memory of such a finale as is found on the last page. As season four of Outlander is airing in the universe of restricted access, I’ve gone old school and am rereading book 4 which is the best kind of guilty pleasure and has all the riveting and mundane pieces that make up everyday life in company with Jamie and Claire, which anyone might bristle at when artists of adaptations find they must leave out, or alter them in the interests of budget or time or the fact that the artists themselves are not omniscient and all-powerful enough to bring fully to life the story everyone plays in their heads. I have to find a new page-turner — with pages unturned — sourced from my newly beloved bookshelf.

From before (1)

January 8, 2019 is today:

I finished work early today because we are at capacity and have taken everything as far as we can as best we can and the energy around it all is good, but I have no more choices to offer, and no more support that I am able to give any new arrivals at this time. I read several articles in the Time magazine special on mental health, then I went to the library and was kicked out at closing just before 9pm. It was a good day and time well spent. I came home to a warm space and had toast for dinner and listened to the radio, jotted a few lines in my journal and jumped into bed to start this project which has come forth of it’s own volition and will not be silenced.

Ideas were boiling over in my brain on my departure from the library, about Christmas, and friends and feelings, work and movies and music and how ridiculously cold and dark it gets this time of year when the sun goes down. 

I don’t want to lock myself away. I want to inspire confidence and give a voice to what I experience. I spend so much of the day holding space for others’ words and experiences and I know that is vital and important work that gives people an avenue of expression and acceptance, empowers and inspires positive change. That is an amazing thing to be a part of every day; to work with a team so dedicated to helping others. To help change the world for the better, one person, one step at a time. You are not alone. The world is better with you in it!

All this to say that I feel I should give myself the time and space and words to bring my own experiences forward and acknowledge them and let people in a bit more. Hard to do as an introvert, the letting people in. For me, finding time, space and words is less of a challenge. But it is something I want to be mindful of.

Take Christmas, for example. I was home for a week, and it was one of the best holidays I can remember. My terrier, T was in good spirits, as were all of the family and friends I connected with. ‘Eat, drink and be merry’ as the saying goes, and everyone did. The tree was beautiful, the food was indescribably good, the celebrations superb and the company the best.

Stress evaporated on exiting the office, leaving the city, and being unplugged. All the pitfalls and planning associated with my usual existence were seen to, or ceased to be relevant: Sleep (no problem), Get food and remember to eat it (done), Shine a light on Mental health, keep the team in the loop and the database current (n/a, Deferred to January 2019), Pay bills (done), Housekeeping and Communications (done), Schedules and Transportation (n/a; we have lots of time, cars and drivers!), R+R (tunes, beach, friends, bliss, DONE). But I did crash at the end of the pier.

I was so cold, and everyone was talking so loud and fast, and after days of excitement and extroverted activities lined up like dominos (which was amazing) I needed to recharge under a blanket with a book and when that didn’t happen, I barely had enough energy to keep putting one foot in front of the other. A similar scenario repeated on my return to Sami Central on the 29th. After packing and goodbye-ing, travelling, shopping, sharing lunch and unpacking, Mom and Dad seemed happy and in no hurry to leave me, which was both pleasantly surprising and rather exasperating. Because countless times I have wished for a happy, relaxed, visit with my parents in a safe space of my own. But just then couldn’t think of anything more fantastic than falling immediately asleep in my living space as it’s sole occupant without any further activities, obligations or responsibilities left to tackle for the remainder of the day or the one following it.