It’s still hot in Oregon…sigh. It’s funny how you can tell who the transplants are around here just by commenting on the heat. New Therapist brought up the topic yesterday, and she immediately said, “Ugh, I hate it!” Spoken like a true Midwesterner! I brought up the topic with the massage therapist I saw this evening, and she immediately said, “Oh, I love it!” Spoken like a native Portlander! I’d be okay with temps no higher than 85. The lack of humidity is nice, but I’m pretty sure the sun is closer to the earth here. Hot is hot.
I discovered that on this day two years ago, I first set foot in Oregon for a whirlwind job interview and first date with Runnerboy. That’s so hard to believe! But here it is, Brewfest weekend again. How am I commemorating the event? By moving to a new apartment, of course! Moving just up the road is rather anticlimactic, but hopefully I’ll be done with smokers in my building and can finally buy some furniture. I’m trying to forget about the view from the west hills of Salem, where while home-hunting I nearly peed my pants with excitement over the hills! With big houses! And views of mountains! So many mountains! And wineries nearby! No one ever says they want to live in Salem, and by and large Salem is a dump. But if my hobbies and social life are going to be limited by my job anyway, what do I care that I’m isolated from civilized culture? MOUNTAINS. And at least West Salem isn’t all redneck like most of Oregon is.
Goodnight moon…and goodbye to my first apartment in Oregon. I sure will miss the forest view and the ability to walk around nekkid without anyone being able to see inside. (I mean really, who wants to sweat it out in clothes when it’s 90+ degrees outside, you live on the third floor with no air conditioning, and you can’t crack a window or screen door because of the human chimneys around you? Nekkid wins!)
The past few months have been a blur – a blurrier blur than usual. But here we are, cresting the summit of 2013, and I’m ready for a few opportunities to coast and feel the wind in my hair. I’m definitely ready for at least a refreshing breeze. A heat wave has descended upon Oregon, and this A/C-less chica is not enjoying the 90+ degree days. This heat wave (plus the 4th of July) also means that the rain is done until October, which would be fine if we hadn’t had such a dry winter. Things are already kind of crispy and brown. This doesn’t bode well for wildfire season.
Today seemed as good a day as any to wrestle the cat into his carrier and take him to the vet for his annual check-up. Someone was so anxious, he left sweat marks from his paw pads on the exam table. The little studmuffin got the vet’s seal of approval, though, and I got coated in (my own) sweat and (the cat’s) fur. I daresay I looked rather Italian with all that dark hair on my arms and chest!
New Therapist did a trial run of EMDR with me during our session last week. I now have to imagine my brain as a cat at the vet’s office: flattening itself against me and then the table, taking a death grip on whatever it can get its paws on, paw pads sweating, ears back, eyes wide, mouth dry, panting… It was interesting, this trial run. We discovered that I’m still not in control of my tendency to dissociate, but I’m getting better at stopping the dissociation before I get carried away. I have a month to work on it before we try again. Here’s hoping that it cools down soon, because the heat certainly doesn’t make me want to stay present in the moment.
I am dragging. In the past two weeks, I’ve spent at least one day in each of the following four states: Ohio, Oregon, Washington, and Texas. I was in a friend’s wedding in Ohio, worked and slept in Oregon, completed half marathon #6 (?!) in Washington, and visited a forge shop in middle-of-nowhere East Texas for work.
I’m ready for some time off.
I’m still in Houston as I type this, but should hopefully be back in Oregon just before midnight. Texas is just…different. I was in beautiful country, but the culture felt so foreign. Where else would you find yourself sitting in a meeting when the guy next to you suddenly grabs the styrofoam cup from another guy at the table, holds it under his chin, and lets the brown chewing tobacco sludge just pour from his mouth? That’s just a little distracting. And disturbing.
I sure hope the mental picture of that fades in time (it happened a number of times during the meeting). I’m glad I at least have one pretty picture from the day…
Anymore now, when I catch a glimpse of my reflection while at work, I discover that it looks like I’ve been vigorously rubbing a balloon across my head. I can’t even blame the hardhat for this. Without fail, I walk around work with a perpetual case of bedhead.
In school I’d joke that the craziness of my hair was a fairly accurate representation of my current state of mind. Frazzled was a popular hairstyle for a while. Ohio humidity helped to exacerbate whatever my hair was feeling. Oregon doesn’t really do that too often, not in the same in-your-face way that Ohio did. Oregon is so laid back like that.
I’m leaving for my belligerent home state tomorrow. (More on that later.)
My anxiety level has been all sorts of mortifyingly high these days, and I’ve avoided examining the possible causes. Work has taken over my life more than ever, and I’m constantly exhausted, so if I even begin to consider stressors beyond work, I get a little meltdowny. So, not gonna think about it.
But I have a new therapist in addition to the hippie therapist, and this new therapist is eventually going to use EMDR therapy with me to more or less de-triggerify me. I sprinted through general descriptions of The Big Traumas for her, and the physical response I had reminded me that I still haven’t talked about this stuff with people out here. There’s rarely a good way to broach the subject, y’know? So I’m still simmering from last week’s sprint. I suppose what has me wound up the most is that when she mentioned that she’d need to screen me for dissociative disorders so that she’d be able to formulate a more effective treatment plan, I immediately knew that this was going to be critical. And difficult. I’m not terribly sure why no one else has thought do those screenings, especially considering how generally ineffective treatment has been so far, but here it is, finally. I’ve dealt with some version of the disorder for well over a decade, and now I find myself attempting to re-view my experiences with the awareness of my tendency to cope through dissociation. It’s unsettling…like suddenly discovering that you didn’t brush your hair like you thought you did that morning.
There are many, many reasons I adore Anne Lamott. Here’s one of them, from her post this evening on her Facebook page (errors and all):
Boston broke my heart, in the good way. I went to the great progressive, peacenik anti-racist Arlington Street Church, and the minister-at-large took us up to the very, very top floor, where the ancient bells are. It was my late father’s 90th, and George played Happy Birthday for him on the bells. I bet my dad loved that.
Don’t let anyone tell you ever that you are supposed to stopping mourning and missing people you’ve lost. What a crock. Our beloved people are forever. What a joy for that dumb song to ring out in Dad’s honor into the city air. Leonard Cohen wrote that there are cracks in everything, and that’s how the light gets in. Stay cracked; don’t let people shame you into using caulking.
This touches on one of the topics that came up in therapy this week: How, when I’m struck with intense grief seemingly out of the blue, I don’t allow myself to just grieve. In my family, there’s a statute of limitations on grieving that lasts, oh, maybe five days. I don’t know. I suppose it depends on the situation. I had less than two days to stop being upset about my mom’s suicide attempt. I could still be upset beyond that, but the family support system wasn’t going to acknowledge it. In fact, I recall getting chewed out for not processing the event quickly enough. Imagine if I hadn’t been hiding the majority of my emotions from them! Anyway, my therapist keeps reminding me that I have plenty to grieve, so even if my grief isn’t caused by something that happened in the previous few days, it’s still valid.
I like the idea of putting down the defective caulking and just bearing those cracks.
As I drove home from a friend’s house last night, I spotted something sasquatchian prancing down the street. It looked like someone wearing a costume constructed from moppy brown shag carpet, and the yarn bits flopped in unison to the rhythm of its running. As I passed it, I looked back over my shoulder, and it had turned around and started bouncing in the opposite direction on the bridge, never leaving the sidewalk. I was pretty sure I had lost my marbles at that point, and the over-imaginative kid in me was terrified. It didn’t lumber along like it was supposed to, according to all of my childhood Sasquatch studies! I said to myself. It was a person in a costume…out for a jog at 11pm?
I’m pretty much going to avoid that stretch of road for, oh, let’s say forever.