November Recap

Today is the last day of NaBloPoMo—at least, for November. (Apparently, unlike NaNoWriMo, it’s more of an ongoing thing.) It has been quite a month.

When the month began, I was struggling to figure out where the anxiety I’d recently started feeling again for the first time in over a decade was coming from. The anxiety (and its accompanying symptoms) was worrying enough that I went to the doctor three times, started craniosacral massage therapy, and visited a hypnotherapist.

As luck would have it, it seems I inadvertently stumbled upon the cause when I decided to wait a few days after finishing my last crock pot roast beef before making the next big dish. During those few days, the anxiety gradually subsided—almost to the point where I felt normal again. I suppose it makes sense. I normally don’t eat very much red meat, so that was probably my body’s way of telling me that I was overdoing it.

Both the craniosacral massage and hypnotherapy became part of my greater effort to try new things. In the past, I might have simply holed up and suffered through it (even as I went about my daily life otherwise), not wanting to bother anybody else with my problems. But I didn’t want to resort to that old pattern any more than I already have. Fortunately, one of the newer people in my life is a craniosacral massage therapist, giving me an obvious place to start—and also the advantage of already having built a certain level of trust before we’d even started. The hypnotherapist was indirectly referred by another new friend; when I heard her own story, I instinctively knew that this was someone who could help me.

While neither craniosacral massage nor hypnotherapy have resulted in the emotional catharsis that I have heard other people speak of, I have found both to be very relaxing. I could use a good catharsis or two; in the meantime, I’ll take relaxation. (You know, because it’s so…relaxing.)

The other big part of November has been connecting with other people. Since October, I’ve been going to a series of free workshops based on materials produced by Seth Godin. I’m actually thoroughly tired of Seth Godin and his ilk (there’s a certain level of attitude and privilege that creeps into their “advice” that I simply cannot abide), but interacting with regular folks (though I have yet to see any people of color at these things) provides me with valuable perspective that I wouldn’t get if I were to just download the material (it’s free) and read at home. It’s good to know that there are other folks out there going through some of the same things as I am.

Earlier this week (as described in my Nov. 27 post, Hidden No More (or Kevin’s Brush with Technology)), I used Skype for the first time to talk for the first time with someone I’ve known for seven years, but have never met in person. I was a little nervous at first. After all, one of the things about communicating via social media (in this case, Flickr, the now-defunct Multiply, and Facebook) is that it is easy to get a distorted view of people; there’s only so much that can be conveyed through binary code, HTML, and pixels on a screen. Plus, I tend to be shy at first, and some people are put off by people who don’t talk much.

But, it seems I needn’t have worried. With one brief interruption, our Skype call lasted several hours. The conversation ranged from the deep to the mundane, and all parts in between. I know, I did more listening than talking. More than anything, I couldn’t help but marvel at the realization that I was actually talking with this person I had known for so long, even though we’re thousands of miles and five time zones apart. By the time we finally said good night (though it was now early morning for my friend), I had a horrible headache from having sat still at the computer for so long. But it was totally worth it. I’m already looking forward to the next time we get to talk.

Of course, this last Thursday was the Thanksgiving holiday. Usually, I would either have Thanksgiving dinner with family or sit out the day altogether (as I did last year), but this time I went to dinner at a friend’s house. It was a nice change. I spent the day with people out of choice rather than obligation, I didn’t have to hold my tongue during any of the conversation (I like my family, but they’re both more conservative and more religious than I am—not Tea Party conservative and/or religious, but I’m still neither of those things), I had just enough to eat, and I didn’t have to spend two or three hours driving there and back. The food was good, the conversation was often silly (of course, we were playing games part of the time), and we watched a movie after dinner.

The hard part about attending gatherings is coming home afterwards. Sometimes, it’s a relief. Parties tend to sap my energy—especially when they’re crowded and/or loud—so it can be nice to get back to a quiet space. Other times, though, my quiet apartment is a reminder that I’m alone. I don’t mind solitude, but sometimes it feels more like isolation, and that can be difficult. That’s what the last couple of days have felt like, especially since I’ve purposely avoided going anywhere that Black Friday-like shopping is taking place.

On the bright side, things have been quiet these last couple of days. That part has been nice. I’ve been taking advantage of the accompanying lack of obligations to continue the House marathon I started a few days ago. (I’m currently in the middle of season 8.) I will have to go to the grocery store soon, though. I had red chard and green beans for dinner last night, and I’m thinking about having it again tonight. Another nice change of pace.

(30 November 2013)

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