Wowee what a week! I have so much to tell you about!
Rose and I have just come back from a couple of days away in the bush, celebrating a friends birthday. It was a bit hectic fitting it around work (still doing too much work on my weekends) and only possible at all because kind friends came to our rescue last minute and dog-sat Zoe for us. 🙂 But we had the most wonderful time connecting with a new bunch of people. It’s often still so novel when we’re in a room full of queer families, we’re used to being ‘representative’ but in a space like this we weren’t the queer couple, we were the young couple among many other families queer or queer friendly, with kids already. Awww it was nice! Having conversations about donors with other people who have been there, being part of a beautiful little community of people navigating the complications and joy of rainbow families. The location was spectacular, with clear starry skies and kangaroos outside the windows. Rose and I feel so at home out in the scrub, and sharing meals and bathing kids in a tin by the fire, it was a wonderful taste of things to come. We fell asleep on the couch by the fire, watching the stars out the window, and soaked up the beautiful countryside on all the driving. We’re now planning to do something similar for Rose’s next big birthday – rent a large space somewhere beautiful and have friends and family visit us. It’s a sign of how much things have been changing for us that we can even consider spending money like that – Rose’s job has been a blessing and my business plans are looking hopeful!
Life continues to be whirlwind! I’ve written my first business proposal – for all my plans around freelance mental health work – and have just been accepted into the free Cert 4 in Business as part of the NEIS training – a government scheme to provide support to people receiving some form of welfare who wish to start a small business. I’m going to be doing my first online study, which is exciting because it will be a test run to see how well that format suits me… If well, then it opens the doors to finishing my psych degree or any other study that keeps my researcher part happy and not left to pick wallpaper off the walls. 😉
So this will take three months and overlap somewhat with the Cert 3 in Micro Business I already have. However I’m still keen because I’ve been finding that with all the work I’ve been doing lately on mindfulness and my anxiety levels, and having finally seen a tax accountant to get all my overdue paperwork sorted out, my mind is so much clearer and I am coping with and processing this kind of information so much better. I am gradually transforming into a business woman! It’s been a long, tiring, amazing, complicated process, but I am watching it happen. It takes a lot longer than people seem to think to regain mental space for skills like this after crisis and homelessness. I think the sexual health counselling also made a huge difference, in that I am feeling less out of my depth, less like these things are part of an adult world I don’t and can’t understand. I’m not corporate or comfortable with bureaucracy by nature, but I’m finally seeing past the bluster, the incomprehensible language, and really there is only a little man behind the curtain. For the first time in my life I am doing admin without panic attacks – in fact without even stress. I’ve had to rewrite my excel spreadsheets for expenses/income/profit and loss to accommodate changes recommended by the tax accountant, and although I could certainly think of more fun ways to spend my morning – and also appreciate friends who help trouble shoot for me!! – it wasn’t a big deal. Which is blowing my mind. I’ve also opened new bank accounts, started new systems for tracking receipts, and had possibly the most productive week in my life, lol.
I’ve overhauled my Glitter Tattoo kit and completely restructured how we store and display them at gigs – I had the change to test it a couple of times over the weekend and it WORKS so well! I’m enjoying the realisation that I am good at setting up systems that work and tweaking designs and procedures to make them easier and more efficient. I now have nearly 200 tattoo stencil designs that I use at gigs, which needed a very different set up from the 40 I started out with a year or two ago. It’s these little successes that make me feel so self-satisfied, ha haa. 🙂 And I’m thankful for that because it’s helped to buffer other moments this week where I’ve felt very vulnerable or disappointed, like my new little fish dying unexpectedly, or getting a stack of abuse from the member of an online support I volunteer admin. It’s amazing to shift from the glow of contentment to feeling so fragile and hurt, but I seem to be bending with the wind and bouncing back better.
I’ve also been doing a lot more to be aware of my system and cues that I haven’t been noticing. Such as picking up on when inner kids are close to the surface and my ability to be adult is fragmenting – before an actual switch. If I keep pushing and don’t pay attention to those needs – often around feeling vulnerable or bored – child parts naturally try to balance my adults who are all work and no play – then things get really hard. I keep working, I’m still adult and still able to reference an adult perspective but my needs and emotional responses become more and more child like and my capacity is reduced. It’s like revving the engine with the handbrake on, I do make progress but it’s ridiculously slow and frustrating and overall pretty damn hard on the car. Really, this whole mindfulness process is just taking my capacity for self awareness and extending it into all kinds of areas of my self and life I hadn’t thought to before… this is about moving out of that crisis functioning where you have to ignore limits and push right through them, and back into thriving in regular life, where the more sensitive and aware of your own cues, triggers, and needs you are, the more responsive you can be to them before you’ve pushed yourself into burnout, collapse, or internal war. It’s about listening to the small voices. Everything feels different with this sense of being tuned in. I don’t feel that horrible sense of being a machine anymore, with parts as cogs that turn, trapped and dehumanised. It feels like I remember it used to, back before diagnosis and self consciousness; a dance – spontaneous, responsive, beautiful. The system feels organic instead, something that lives and breathes and grows. It’s goddamn beautiful.
In other news, now have a dishwasher. I was super lucky and given one for free by friends of friends who found themselves with a spare. WOW. I have been in two big crunch spaces recently – handing up a semesters worth of assignments at art college, and doing tax, and my house is still reasonably clean and functioning – due entirely to this awesome machine. I can cook and trash the kitchen for dinner, then clean everything into the dishwasher and run it twice a week! No more back pain leaning over the sink, no more constant shame and frustration at the state of my house. I don’t actually have room for a dishwasher in my unit, so I’ve removed my washing machine and put it in the laundry. Going to the laundromat once a week is a nuisance, but far outweighed by the benefits! The energy I’m not using to stress about my dishes is being used to keep up with tidying, sweeping, cleaning the bathroom – or at the moment, mainly tax admin. I’m so happy about this!
Health wise it’s also been a busy week. I’ve seen a lot of specialists lately and that’s likely to continue for a little while yet. I’m coping okay with this! I have a sense of humour, I feel more in control of the process and less overwhelmed by memories of being vulnerable. Which is a massive turn around from the three week triggered spiral I went into after seeing the gastro-enterologist recently. The consensus has been that my sinus surgery IS needed and important and likely to help, and that I’m in good hands with that specialist. That’s a huge relief. Just to underline my awareness of the need, I have another sinus infection and feel like I’ve had a few good punches to the face again. Argh! I’ve had the astonishing rare experience of specialists including each other in their letters/advice, the TMJD dental specialist actually wrote not only to my referring dentist, but also to my GP, sinus specialist, and physiotherapist! I’ve been encouraged to go back to the physio, and use heat, massage, and stretches to manage the facial pain (when there isn’t active infection going on) which is great news for me as surgery or medication options will have large down sides with my liver. Basically I need to try to budget for physio type care in my business plans to keep me as well as possible and manage my pain levels better with all the work I’ve been doing. I also need a different car, preferably with power steering and a good heater/air conditioner. So there’s things to work on that don’t involve hospital/being a patient/being in pain/destroying my liver. Also continuing to look into more options for fun ways to exercise (Rose and I are starting trial classes in martial arts!) going on more walks with Zoe when I’m well enough, and cooking healthier foods.
My new book that teaches how to use In Design has arrived at last – I am going to set aside 1/2 a day a week to study it and learn how to lay out my own books for self publication. This morning I’m up blogging in my dressing gown while Rose catches up on sleep. The garden is beautiful, the animals are lively, I have friends visiting for afternoon tea, and I’m feeling on track and excited about life. It doesn’t get a lot better than this. 🙂 I may consider shifting my blogging schedule now that I’m working so actively on my books, I love and value sharing here but certainly can’t keep up with my daily posts. I may go to weekly, or do little photo-based updates instead of longer posts. I know that mostly it’s the mental health information that is so valuable to people, but it’s challenging to create that in book and blog form at the same time. Maybe I’ll just learn to be more concise. 😉 At any rate, chronic infections and tax notwithstanding, life is pretty awesome over here. I hope you are also feeling good to be alive and connected to yourself. 🙂