Monday, May 23, 2016

Day (Three) Is Done...

...Night has come/from the hills/from the trees/from the sky...haven't sung that in about four decades but you get the idea.

Day 3 turned out well due to several things. One of them is that Spouse, Eldest and Beagle 1 left for an extended stay at our other house* this morning. A 33% reduction in humans and 50% reduction in canines will automatically decrease overwhelm.

Another is that I really made an effort to practice self care. One of the things which brought me down last time (and thus contributed to the "okay to drink again" state of mind) is that I kept thinking The Rest Of The Family should be noticing all the things I do and automatically, without being asked or signaled in any way, just -know- to say kind words of appreciation and do nice things for me.

On reflection that's pretty dumb. Heinlein once said one can't -expect- gratitude and he was right.  Also my own (and his own and her own and your own) self-worth and feelings of accomplishment should come from within, not by any external benchmarks. Which is real easy to type but not at all easy to live. So "not at all" that I think I'll be working on it like the Egyptians worked on the pyramids.

Anyhow, the "what" of the thing went like this. My first big meeting of the day was from 12 to 1:30 and my second was from 2 to 3:30.  The two meeting sites were fairly close together but far away from my office.  The Usual Me would have walked back to my office, sat there thinking "I ought to be doing something productive but this isn't really very much time what can I do how about..." and worked myself up into the Coulda-Shoulda-Worthless Blues.  New Me got tea from the cafeteria, found a shady spot outside, relaxed for twenty minutes (okay I was also reading Belle's new book) and then walked leisurely to the other meeting. It seems tiny in the telling but it was huge at the time.

New Me also planned to give myself a treat after both meetings--so much so that after chatting with a colleague before the first meeting about how my afternoon was all tied up I said "And I'm definitely giving myself a treat for that; don't know what yet, but something." Saying those words out loud had power in two ways: not only did it make the idea more real for me but she wholeheartedly endorsed it (suggested ice cream) which meant that the entire "be nice to yourself" concept was a perfectly reasonable thing.  Believe me, that part is hard too--my mother** was entirely about duty-duty-duty and self-loathing more than self-loving.  The treat turned out to be two small pieces of Dove dark chocolate but again, it was the mindset change which mattered.

I carried the stop-overload-start-self-care idea into the evening as well. Usual Me would start dinner prep then get the lunches made and the dishes dealt with all in the same multitasking frenzy which I would then use as an excuse to 1) put pebbles in my bag of resentment when nobody gave praise for how hard I was working and thus 2) drink. New Me broke it up into steps and took a planned reward break in between.  I made and served the dinner then spent a good couple hours at my computer watching the next episode of a new-to-me series*** and playing games. Only after I felt relaxed and NOT thinking "gotta get my Gottas done" did I deal with lunches and kitchen clean-up. 

The last thing was that I gave myself permission to snack even if I knew damned well it was emotional or "nervous" eating. Sure I've got food issues galore but in the "shoving shit in my mouth to plug up the hole where feelings might escape" hierarchy, quitting drinking comes way before eating a half-dozen iced animal crackers while making the lunches or taking a handful of chocolate chips with me to the computer.

All those things collectively made for a much better Day 3 than many Days 100+ of last time. My hope is that by both doing the self-love and writing about it I can keep up the clearly good work.

Now to bed.

*I have a Very Good Job in a rather wretched place to live so when the opportunity presented itself we got a second house in a place where we love to live but which has zippo job opportunities...which we call Chaos South to distinguish it from House of Chaos.

**Trust me, she'll come up again.

***Transparent and I just started Season 2 so imagine how pleasantly surprised I was this afternoon to find it mentioned in Belle's book!


  1. Perfect self care! You've got this and you've made a beautiful bubble for yourself!

  2. Hello New You! Great job focusing on yourself. On to Day 4!

  3. "put pebbles in my bag of resentment" oh I think this is my new favourite phrase. That is me down to a tee, too scary how often I do this.