Accidental Fudge

Updates Thursdays

Tag: life (page 1 of 5)

Change is Disorienting

Last weekend, for three days in a row, I drew The Tower for my morning tarot meditation. 

The Tower is a card of sudden change and destruction. Traditionally, it depicts lightning striking a tower that is on fire and crumbling, as two figures fall from it. It’s not often seen as a positive card, because while it can be the catalyst for positive change, in the moment, it tends to hurt. 

Each one of the three days that I pulled The Tower, I was wrestling with a lot of anxiety. Seeing that card first thing in the morning didn’t help.

One of the days that I pulled The Tower, my parents were coming to visit. We have a complicated and, in many places, painful history, and I was already nervous that the relative peace we’d been enjoying recently would fall apart when we were together in person rather than just over the phone. I spent a lot of the day feeling like I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop and one of us to blow up. 

It didn’t happen. We actually had quite a nice time, and the exhaustion I felt at the end of the day had more to do with my unnecessary worry than it did with anything else. 

That night, I pulled The Chariot before I went to bed. The Chariot is all about moving forward, about making the choice to keep moving, about not clinging to the parts of the past that will hinder your progress. In this instance, it was a reminder to let go of hurt and bitterness and let what positive change is happening happen. 

It wasn’t until the next night that I fully appreciated the lesson to be learned from those cards. Change is disorienting, and that’s true whether it’s a painful change or a positive one. It takes time to adjust perspective. That’s okay. Trouble arises when we resist the change. After all, change is life’s only constant. Accepting that is what allows us to grow. 
So, I’m making a conscious effort now to let go of the anxiety around change of all sorts, despite the fact that I am very much a creature of habit. I am going to work to embrace change in my life, even when, in the moment, it might hurt. 

It’s been a bit of an off week. My partner got sick at the end of last week with a nasty summer cold, and while I never developed all of his symptoms, I definitely got the fatigue side of it (along with some sniffles and a sore throat). It meant weekend plans had to be canceled, and I missed work Monday. I still feel like I’m a few steps behind in everything, I’m still tired, and I’ve had a pretty persistent headache that has not been helped by whatever the weather is doing here in Chicago this week. 

That said, it hasn’t all been awful. There is a certain sense of relief that comes with being forced to slow down. On Monday, since I stayed home, I was able to craft and watch movies and play some guitar and take naps, and that was all a nice break from the stress of work. 

This week at work has seen the (mostly expected) onslaught of complaints about the new project that we launched last week, mostly by people who didn’t read their (many) emails about the changes that were coming and then found themselves scrambling to catch up. It’s frustrating, but again, not exactly unexpected. I’m now trying to pick up the threads of other, smaller projects that were put on hold as we pulled together the final details of the big project, which has been a challenge, since I’m still not feeling great and the persistent headache has made it hard to concentrate on anything for very long. 

I’m looking forward to the weekend, not for any particular plans, really, but just for a chance to hopefully kick the rest of this cold. Right now I feel like I could sleep for days. That’s not an option, but even a couple of extra hours here or there might help.  

Stressed

I almost didn’t write anything this week. Life has felt a little overwhelming lately in ways that don’t lend themselves to very interesting blog posts, and I feel like all I have to say is, “Overall, things are okay in my life, but I am extraordinarily stressed.”

Monday morning we went live with the project I’ve spent the last few months on at work. It didn’t go off entirely without a hitch; there have been some minor road-bumps that we’re still working through. But overall I’m really pleased with and proud of the work I did, and I’m calling my first project as project manager a success. 

The stress of the last couple of weeks continues to make me wish our August trip to Song School was closer. At the same time, there are still details we need to nail down about the travel there and back and some of the stuff we need to bring with us, so perhaps I shouldn’t be wishing for the time to pass so quickly. 

This weekend is the Square Roots Festival put on by the Old Town School of Folk Music. I’m volunteering for part of it, and I’m looking forward to it despite feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.

I feel like I’ve gotten better at managing anxiety about some things lately, but not others. It might be time to review the coping mechanisms I have at hand and try to be more consistent with the things I can do daily. I don’t like feeling caffeinated all the time, especially when I’m not drinking regular coffee anymore. 

A Handful of Happy Thoughts

It’s been a week. Work is overwhelming (my first big project of my still-newish project management job launches into our live environment on Monday, and I’m scrambling to get the last-minute details nailed down). I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water. In theory, things will lighten up next week, but that doesn’t really make me feel less overwhelmed right now. 

Still, the past week has brought with it some happy moments. A lot of what’s kept me relatively sane has been music. 

Last Thursday we saw Minnesota duo The Home Fires. It was a great show. 

Friday we saw another musical group hailing from Minnesota: The New Standards. My partner’s parents bought us tickets for my birthday, and it was so much fun!

Tuesday my partner and I set aside time to play music together. It was fun to work on some songs and start to get a feel for how our voices work together. 

I’m taking this session off from classes at the Old Town School of Folk Music, because I knew I’d have to miss the last couple of classes. In August, my partner and I are going to Song School, a week-long songwriting summer camp for adults out in Colorado. Knowing that trip is coming up is a large part of why I’m managing to hold it together at work. Just a month and a half until a creative vacation!

One of my short term goals is to start setting aside regular time each week to work on music. Particularly when other areas of my life feel unmanageable, music is a really great grounding activity. 

Three Things

  1. Over the weekend, two of our favorite ladies from the Twin Cities came and stayed with us. We cooked a rather ridiculous amount of food. We went to Zoo Lights. We enjoyed hot cocoa with peppermint schnapps. And we spent a lot of time just hanging out. It was really wonderful. I am so incredibly grateful to have friends who are such lovely and charming houseguests of the sort who don’t leave me feeling particularly drained when they leave. My people are the best people.
  2. There’s so much going on in my brain that I feel like I don’t even know what half of it is anymore. I really, really need to be more consistent with taking time to meditate in the mornings. I’m also thinking I maybe need to start utilizing some meditative techniques outside of tarot – focusing more on breathing and on posture.
  3. Last week, without realizing it, I hit the two year anniversary of this blog. I’ve posted something damn near every Thursday for two whole years! Sure, a few posts went up late, and one or two maybe never went up at all, but on the whole, I’ve been consistent. I often feel like I don’t have a lot to say; I’m often scrambling to come up with something to write about on Wednesday evening. But it’s a good exercise, getting myself to write something each week, and something I feel like I can be at least a little proud of. Thanks for being along for the ride, folks!

Journeys Old and New

I feel like the past week has been a bit of a roller coaster. From a lovely weekend of domesticity to the incredibly sad news of the passing of a kind knitting acquaintance to some family-related angst, all while wrestling with intermittent vertigo (a hanger-on from the cold that laid me out last week)…it feels like there are a lot of things I could talk about for this week’s blog, which is giving me a different sort of “what do I write about this week?” struggle than is usually the case.

Yesterday my newest tarot deck arrived in the mail. It’s the simplest and, in some ways, most abstract of the decks that I own. It’s called the Nømad Tarot, and is a lovely thing of deep, dark navy (nearly black) backgrounds with white edges and white line drawings. The cards have a gorgeous linen finish and are a joy to shuffle, and I’m super excited to start working with it.

The deck was a bit of an impulse purchase. I’d been looking at it off and on for many months, but I still felt a little apprehensive after placing the order – I had been wrestling with the impulse to order a new deck over the weekend, weighing the fact that I really like the collection I’ve got against this feeling like there was a certain element missing from that collection. I debated back and forth among three different options (all of which had been on my wish list for ages) before finally caving and going for the one that seemed like the best combination of characteristics that would make it fit what I was missing.

Now that it’s here, I’m happy with it. I’m glad I went ahead and did something to get me a little more excited about meditation again, because I fell out of the habit a month or so ago, and I’m realizing more and more that it’s a habit that I really need to get back into for the sake of my overall well-being.

The fact that it’s called the Nomad Tarot feels fitting for this place of movement that I’m finding myself in – movement in relationships, in identities, in beliefs.

For the creature of habit and ritual that I am at heart, the fact that my life has been sort of ruled by regular upheaval for the past several years can be kind of exhausting. At the same time, it’s an exciting journey that’s taken me to places and people I never would have dreamed were possible.

So here’s to movement, and change, and not getting stuck in a rut. There are lessons to be learned in the stuck places, for sure…but I’m ready to get back to forward motion.

Sickness and Silver Linings

I’m writing this on the bus on my way to work. Yesterday, I stayed home sick. I couldn’t manage to drag myself out of bed until 1pm, and I neglected to write a blog post for this morning. I wanted to stay home today, too – I’m still feeling pretty under the weather. But there are too many things I need to get done today, and I don’t have enough sick time left, anyway. 

It’s been a week of emotional processing. I’m thinking a lot about the future and what I want the next year to look like. Nothing is concrete enough yet to write about in detail here, but my mind has spent a lot of time racing lately. 

In the midst of all the mental chaos, though, have been reminders of how good I really have it. My partner’s dad visited us last weekend and helped us acquire and move around some furniture, and our apartment is feeling more like a home than it ever has. I’ve gotten to spend some great time with friends, including one friend who is moving away soon, so that time has been particularly special. I’ve gotten back to knitting after about a week of ignoring it.

My mind may be struggling a bit, but really, things are okay. And there’s the promise of improvement, which is always exciting. I just need to remember. 

Gratitude and Grace

May has been an interesting month so far. This week has been particularly full of surprises:

  • I woke up feeling pretty miserable last Thursday; when I tried to say I’d work from home the second half of the day, my boss convinced me to take it easy and actually rest so I could recover. I wound up taking Friday off, too, and by Saturday I finally felt like a human being again. I made good use of my convalescence, and got a ton of knitting done for our friends’ baby who’s due to join us in this great wide world in about a week.
  • Sunday night we wound up at a concert at a super Irish pub (by which I mean probably 80% of the patrons were from Ireland, as were the folks behind the bar).
    • Somewhere along the line my partner got to talking with a woman at the bar who informed him that her kid had just recently come out as trans. We didn’t hear much of the concert (both because it was loud in the bar and because we were distracted), but spent the whole evening talking with this woman and her friend (a rather drunk Irishman who laughed a lot), who bought us several rounds. (I think I had more to drink Sunday night than I’ve had in the past two months put together…)
    • I can be a pretty cynical person a lot of the time, but I found myself telling this woman repeatedly that her kid was going to be okay, because progress is happening everywhere. And this kid is just going off to college – just imagine how much farther along we could be by the time they’re done!
    • Rather remarkably, I woke up feeling pretty great on Monday.
  • Tuesday night after songwriting class, I was invited out for wings and drinks by some of the other guys in the class. It was the first time in my life I had the experience of just being “one of the guys” in a non-queer context. It was a little weird, and pretty wonderful.

Which is all to say that life is good, and I have a lot to think about and a lot to be grateful for. I’m a seriously lucky guy.

Thinking of Spring

We have once again reached that delightful time of year when I am frequently overcome by the beauty of nature (read: watery-eyed, sniffly, exhausted, and allergic to every blessed thing outdoors). As obnoxious as spring allergies are, though, I am thoroughly enjoying the warmer (but not-too-warm) weather, the sunlight we’ve had so far, the longer daylight hours…perhaps it’s just a function of the enthusiastic reproductive efforts of the local flora (and fauna, I suppose), but there seems to be a renewed sense of vitality after the drabness of winter.

I am finally getting around to dealing with some personal things that I have been avoiding for several months. I haven’t had a huge increase in energy, but some things that seem impossible during the grey and dreary times of year become possible when the sun and the green start to come through again.

This weekend, we have a friend coming to visit us from Minnesota. They are one of those friends whose company we don’t get to enjoy often enough, one of those rare souls who leaves me feeling emptied, renewed, and refueled after contact. The weekend promises to be intense and exhausting in some of the best ways, and I’m very much looking forward to it.

I’ve been thinking about relationships lately, and the defining characteristics of the various relationships I’m in with people, from my partner to my friends to my family. This season of renewal and rebirth has me contemplating a sort of social spring cleaning – not necessarily cutting people out of my life completely, but working on strengthening healthy boundaries when dealing with dysfunction, and taking stock of where I am most supported and most relied-on for support, so that I can balance the two. I think I spend too much time wondering how in the world to make new friends, and not enough time cultivating the friendships I already have.

I guess changes in weather bring out my contemplative side. There’s a lot of planning going on, and some big things coming down the pike this summer. It seems it is time to come out of hibernation so that I can enjoy the relative calm before life picks up again. If only I could do it without sniffling…

Reasons to Smile

On the one hand, I feel like I’ve been running around like a headless chicken all week; on the other, I feel like I have nothing to write about. Neither of those are entirely accurate assessments of how my week has gone, though. Things are pretty great. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. My tattoo turned out even better than I was hoping. Seriously, the cards look beautiful. (Well, okay, at the moment they look like a flaky mess, but under that, they’re beautiful.) I’m so pleased with how they turned out! And the appointment itself was enjoyable – a couple of friends sat with me through the bulk of the process (thanks, E & B!), and even came back when it was over to drive me home (which was super kind…I probably would’ve gotten on the wrong train or something, because after 2 hours and 20 minutes I was pretty out of it). The artist was wonderful, the space was phenomenal (if you’re in Chicago and in the market for a tattoo, totally check them out), and it was not as painful as I was afraid it would be. (Turns out pain is relative…compared to 5 weeks of constant back pain with no idea when or if it would end, a couple of hours of pain that I knew had a finish line? Not bad at all.)
  2. I actually liked what I wrote for my songwriting class this week, and my classmates all had suggestions to make it even better. It’s rare that I feel this good about something I’ve written, so that’s been fun. The next step in the writing process for this one: trying to figure out a harmonica solo.
  3. I bought some yarn at Stitches Midwest last summer with the intention of making a sweater. After I got home and took a closer look at other projects made with this particular yarn, I realized it wasn’t truly ideal for the project I’d bought it for. It’s been sitting in my stash and at the forefront of my awareness since then, and (even though I should have finished something else first) I finally settled on a pattern, made a swatch, did some math, and started knitting a different sweater with it over the weekend. I did the first sleeve in three days, and I’m still excited about it – I feel like I actually have a chance of finishing this in a reasonable amount of time. Granted, that might happen right when it warms up, but hey. I’ll have a cozy, beautiful sweater for next fall.
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