fits and starts

Ugh! There is so much stuff I want/need to do and not nearly enough brainpower to do it.

Admittedly, part of the problem is that I necessarily deferred a lot of things when I was involved with multi-generational caregiving for years and now there is a huge backlog that needs attention. Some are practical things, like dealing with the rest of the belongings of Grandma, Nana, and Paco that are still stored at our house and finishing the remaining work with Paco’s estate, including the final tax filings and, oh, our tax returns, too. Some are creative things, like writing blog posts and poetry, and the administrative tasks that go along with them, like getting submissions in, which I find both tedious and nerve-wracking. Some are educational, trying to stay informed about what is happening in the world and using that knowledge to advocate for social and environmental justice. And, of course, there are the errands, appointments, and household tasks that need doing, although I appreciate that B and T continue to cover a good chunk of the housework that I abandoned in recent years.

The biggest problem for me remains, though, that it’s difficult for me to muster the energy and concentration I need to tackle tasks that need critical and/or creative thought and decision-making. I suppose this is complicated by my INFJ-ness, which means that nearly everything for me involves deep thought.

It’s exhausting.

There is also the reality that I am dealing with several years’ worth of grief and loss. The difficult period leading to Grandma’s death in 2016 followed by Nana’s struggles with heart failure leading to her death in 2019 followed by Paco’s decline and his death in September last year left me with a lot of deferred grief, which I have only recently realized and begun to process. There is also the personal loss of proximity to daughter E and granddaughters ABC and JG, who live across the Atlantic from us. Overlaying these personal losses is the pandemic and the upheaval, suffering, and death it has caused. The death toll in the US alone is 955,000, which, as staggering as that figure is, is probably an underestimate. The world is also in the midst of a major ideological rift between democracy and authoritarianism which is terrifying and destabilizing. I have lost the sense that the US is on a positive trajectory toward “a more perfect Union” as our Constitution terms it, which adds to my sense of grief.

It’s a lot.

I know it’s a lot and there are valid reasons that I find my concentration and energy so scant. I know I should be patient with myself, as I would be with a friend or loved one. I know I should be practicing self-care and not admonishing myself for not having the wherewithal to power through all of this and “accomplish my goals” and “be my best self” and whatever.

I try.

Sometimes, I manage it. Other times, not so much.

Look. Today, I managed to write this post.

How Does JC’s Mind Work? #2

For months/years, I have threatened/promised to write about how I got to be who I am today and what shaped me along the way. This sporadic series will try to unpack my personal history and influences and, I hope, set people to thinking about their own.

When I posted the first installment of this series and used the word sporadic in the intro, I didn’t think it would be almost a year before I posted the second installment, but here we are. Of course, I didn’t know last February that 2021 was destined to see my father’s final decline and death, which, along with the necessary estate work, occupied so much of my time and mind last year.

What I’ve decided to write about today is how my natural introversion impacts how my mind works.

Any personality assessment I have ever done shows the largest deviation from the centerpoint on the scale toward introversion versus extraversion. I’m not just a little bit introverted. I’m very introverted.

I find crowds overwhelming. When being in groups, the smaller the better. I much prefer an in-depth conversation with one person to small talk with ten. I am also content to be by myself for long stretches. I can function in larger groups when I have to, but it is very tiring and I’m not able to participate in discussion very well.

This is partially a function of not being very good at inserting myself into ongoing discussion and partially another introvert trait, which is that I need time to think through issues before I can formulate opinions and put them into words. If there is a discussion on a topic that I know well, I can participate almost as well as the extraverts in the group, but, if the topic is new, I usually can’t make my brain work fast enough to participate before the discussion has moved on to something else. This is especially difficult for me when workshopping poems that I haven’t studied in advance. I always feel that I am not as helpful as I might be to the other poets in the group.

Introverts often have a preference for writing over speaking. I’ve always loved to write. I find it helpful in clarifying my thoughts. I think part of the reason I’ve been able to sustain this blog is that writing posts organizes my thoughts in a calming way after I have been mulling something. That I can then share those thoughts with others is not as much the primary goal as a bonus.

And introverts are definitely “mulling” types. Decision-making is very deliberative and often involves research, time, and depth of thought. I am not a snap-judgement type and like to take time in forming opinions and action plans. I know this is frustrating for others who are quicker to come to positions and decisions. I can seldom see things in a this-or-that way; everything is a spectrum for me and it takes time to think through where on the spectrum I will land – and more time to adequately explain it to someone else.

One of the things I have learned recently is that introverts’ brains work differently than extraverts. I find this knowledge comforting. There has been pressure on introverts to become extraverts, as though introversion was a choice rather than an inherent part of one’s personality. Knowing that my brain works in the distinctive pattern of introverts strengthens my acceptance of myself as I am.

I am also part of a particular subset of introvert. In Myers-Briggs-speak, I’m an INFJ, which is considered the rarest personality type, so my brain has a few extra quirks going on, but that is a post for another day.

With luck, it won’t take me a year to get to it.
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Join us for Linda’s Just Jot It January! Find out more here: https://lindaghill.com/2022/01/18/daily-prompt-jusjojan-the-18th-2022/

Mourning

As anyone who has dealt with it will tell you, mourning is a process.

Likely, a lifelong process that has different impacts over time.

As this TED talk explains, grief is not something you move on from, but something that you move forward with.

It’s been a bit over three months since my mom’s death. Much of that time has been busy, with a lot of things that needed my attention, although I have often felt that my brain was full of holes and I wasn’t thinking clearly.

I kept hoping that I could clear out some mental space and feel that I could organize my thoughts better – and maybe even feel a bit creative, which is important as I have some poetry commitments coming up.

Instead, I’m just feeling overwhelmed and sad. I don’t feel like thinking or deciding things. I can make myself do important things, but it is difficult to feel I am doing them well.

I’ve been talking with some wise friends who have helped me to realize that where I am now is not unusual.

Or permanent.

That mourning is personal and unpredictable and meanders through the terrain of life as it will with no apparent timeframe.

I think I have cried more in the past week than any week since Mom died. I know that is okay, even though it seems sort of backwards.

I am blessed with family and friends to help me while I am in this frame of mind and am trying to muster the energy to ask for help when I need it, although even that can be difficult when organized thought feels like so much work.

But I’m okay. Really. Please don’t worry about me.

It’s just grief.

SoCS: where?

Where I’ve been was a topic I addressed in a recent post. The short answer is Slovenia. I have done a number of posts about the trip with more to come.

The long answer, aside from my physical location at home, is in the ozone. Well, not literally. Or in a fog. Not literally that, either.

I’ve been juggling a lot of things for a long time, primarily caretaking for various people. After my mom, known as Nana here at TJCM, passed away in May and after the immediate busy-ness of the funeral and the bunch of paperwork and phone calling that needed to happen, I had hoped that I could be more organized and not feeling like my mind is scattered most of the time, but no. At least, not so far.

A friend reassured me that it is still early days, that my sense of clarity will return, but that it takes a long time.

Admittedly, it doesn’t make sense to reorganize my life now anyways. We are in the final weeks of having daughter E and granddaughter ABC in residence. We expect her visa to come through sometime soon and then she will need to move to London within 30 days. I am expecting that, when they leave after 2+ years of living here, there will be another period that is like mourning, too.

So, I guess it may be a long time before I feel like I can think, plan, write, organize, as I used to.

Before I feel like I know where I am going.
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Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is “where.” Join us! Find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2019/08/09/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-august-10-19/

SoCS badge by Pamela, at https://achronicalofhope.com/

the brains of dolphins

This article about dolphins from 2003 made me smile. Enjoy!
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Join us for Linda’s Just Jot It January! Find out how here:
https://lindaghill.com/2018/01/23/jusjojan-daily-prompt-january-23rd-2018/

 

sorry numbers

I have mentioned before that I have a Fitbit to track my steps. My daily goal is only 5,000 steps. I usually make it, and often exceed it, but I have a cold and the last few days have been a lost cause. On Saturday, I didn’t even make 1,000 steps.

The more unfortunate thing is that my brain is not operating at full capacity, either. Today, we have a publication party at Sappho’s Circle. This afternoon, we are going to eat munchies and work on online submissions of our poems. I need attention to detail and a certain level of discernment to do this properly, but I’m not sure I have it. It will be a help to have Heather and the rest of the circle there to help me match poems to journals.

Wish me luck…

One-Liner Wednesday: living

“We don’t think ourselves into a new way of living; we live ourselves into a new way of thinking.” – Richard Rohr

This is part of Linda’s One-Liner Wednesdays. Join us!  http://lindaghill.com/2015/03/11/one-liner-wednesday-just-call-him-willy/

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