Living

Funk

Today was hard. I can't exactly identify why. It appeared out of nowhere-I definitely didn't feel like this yesterday. Or over the weekend. Today I felt heavy and the weight of it (whatever It is) overwhelmed me in waves of unease and discomfort thought the day. 

I couldn't shake it either. I tried. Tuesdays are studio days, so I spent time trying to evade what I was feeling by continuing to work on the sheets of canvas I started last night.  

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I couldn't get any of the writing done that I had planned but I worked my way through these, hoping the agitation and heaviness would lift as I did. They were a helpful distraction but not the remedy I was hoping for. On his lunch break and after work, my husband kept asking if I was ok, so I know he could see it too. Sometimes I'm pretty adept at masking where I'm at or what I'm carrying (survival mechanism), but today he could see it. "You look like you've got something on your spirit. You ok?" I wanted to say yes with confidence and meet his eyes. Instead I just  mumbled something about being tired and having a lot on my mind and looked away. 

I don't know. It's hard. If I can't understand what's suddenly thrown my mind and mood off, how am I supposed to explain it to someone else? Things are just..."off" today and I don't have any explanation for it other than it's just the nature of my illness and sometimes that's just life. Both are inconsiderate assholes who do whatever they want regardless of what you're trying to maintain and accomplish day to day. Sometimes Life and Bipolar Disorder don't care that you're taking your meds, engaging in your creative outlets, and fighting to thrive. Some days they scream FUCK YOU like petulant toddlers and force you to just deal with their funk. 

So that's what I did today. I dealt with the funk. After following current events closely yesterday, I read nothing about them today. I didn't write but I painted. I'm going to go to bed early, remind myself this heaviness will pass, and strengthen my resolve to not give up. Tomorrow's a new day. Hopefully funk free. 

Breathe In. Breathe Out.

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I'm not used to living here yet. We've been here just over a month now. Friends and family ask how I like it so far and the only answer I have is this: the weather. There's something about the weather that's made me realize how much I need this kind of weather as much as I need therapy, medication, and my hands working paint on canvas. Especially in the evening after navigating life, motherhood, illness and all other intersecting points of my existence, the breeze is refreshing. It breathes into and restores. It fills and carries and quietly settles my soul. During the day it's deliciously warm without becoming stifling. (I didn't realize how stifling Austin was for me personally in some ways until coming here.) The constant infusion of Vitamin D during the day paired with cool breezes in the evenings has reset and centered my mind & mood in ways I didn't anticipate. I also didn't anticipate the tears that gather at the base of my eyes at random as I go about settling in here. There are moments when they gather slowly...others they come rushing, swelling, and crashing on top of me in a way that kicks my chest in. They come on inhales and break me open when the exhales shakily emerge free. I don't know what's been broken and set free, rebuilt and released within me but the tears have me mindful that something is taking place...

We leave our doors and windows open practically all day and my hands press the buttons to roll down the windows instead of reach for the AC when we climb into the car.  I can breathe fully here. Not sure why. I didn't realize I had stopped doing that in Austin until I took my first full breaths of evening air here. Interesting. I don't know what our lives will consist of here or what California will be/come to us. I don't know how I like it yet. I just know I'm breathing again. 

How I Get Through This Thing Called Our Life.

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"How do you manage everything on your plate and stay sane?" she asked somewhat laughingly but her eyes were completely serious. They earnestly searched mine as she grabbed his hand to take him to the back, imploring me to answer honestly.

The grappling, pulling, juggling, managing, navigating and maneuvering, keeping track and keeping pace, doing it sometimes alone, the grind, keeping it straight, holding it altogether, the staying afloat and standing upright even when your knees are buckling, the work. This work of parenting, living, surviving and grinding to thrive internally and externally. Life.  

How do any of us do it?  

"Medication," I answered with a smile. "And color. Always color. The bolder and richer the better, honey."

She nodded. "Then I guess I should tell you that Orange is definitely your power color. Every time I see you wearing it, you emanate strength. I'm going to miss seeing your colorful self and the boys here every week. I know the others here will too-we love your family."  

I swallowed back a rising flood of tears and let out a shaky breath as I smiled back. 

 "NOPE. We can't do this yet. We have three more visits left before we can get emotional about saying bye. I can't really admit it's happening because I'm still just not ready for this change to occur, you know? I know it's going to be fine, but I'm just not ready."

We hug and she takes Alex into the gym, joking with him as he skips next to her laughing. N comes and scoops up Austin, sing song-ing her hello in an effort to quell his anxiety during the transition from the waiting room to the gym. He cries like usual but I wave and smile reassuringly to let him know it's going to be fine. They disappear behind the door and I turn to Brennan. He's already engrossed himself into Creative Mode on Minecraft, and when I reach out to give his shoulder a squeeze, he looks up and smiles, scooting closer to me on the seat. 

I exhale and allow it to quiet my mind as I insert my headphones, shuffle through my library and press Play. 

This is how I do it. The living and grinding. The managing and standing upright when my knees are buckling as I do the work to thrive. 

Medication, honesty, color, reaching out for support, loving gestures in moments and in ways I didn't experience as a child. That's how I do this thing called our Life.