So post our session on Monday, I really decided to try putting TC’s homework for me into my daily life. Everything I thought about doing, I thought beforehand, is this going to drain my energy, or add to it? I had a busy week scheduled. I was moving back into my own apartment again, from my dad’s – I’d been living with my dad for the last year to take care of him after he had a major stroke last year. But now I’d gotten caregivers set up on a 24 hour schedule, his doctors all set up, he had formed good bonds with all the caregivers, and I felt like I could start transitioning back to my own life again. So this week I was starting to move back to my old apartment.
One of the things I wanted to do in moving back to my old apartment was shift out a lot of the old furniture. When I’d moved in last year, I’d come from Boston and from being overseas for a long time, and so I just took hand-me-down furniture from my dad and his at-the-time girlfriend. But after the girlfriend had turned out to be one of the most selfish, horrible people I’d ever met, I didn’t really want her things in my apartment anymore, not to mention if this was truly going to be my own space, that I so needed right now, I really wanted things in it that I really loved. So I started going around to vintage and antique stores. I had found an amazing French sette and matching chair from the 1800’s that were really from France, and an old antique dresser. This week I was scheduled to go pick them up and move them into my apartment.
Before going to get them, I thought about my homework from TC. I knew the physical act of moving these furniture pieces into my apartment would be draining, but the emotional boost of having them in there – totally my style and things I loved – I thought would be worth it. I got my boyfriend Jess to help, and my friend’s husband Paul, and together, it really wasn’t so bad. After we moved the sofa we went and had a really nice dinner at an upscale restaurant since everyone was hungry. Maybe since I was aware it was an activity that had the potential for being draining to me, I took care to be aware of how I was feeling and protect myself.
I did things I needed to do, but I spaced them out and went about them with more awareness, so I wasn’t wearing myself out. I went grocery shopping for my apartment, I took my friend out horseback riding, I emailed my resume and sample writing articles to some job contacts that were interested in me. I tried not to worry about shifting my old furniture out (right now it’s just sitting in the middle of the room) or about getting pictures on the wall, or getting everything set up. For me, this was hard, because I’m a very proactive person, but I kept telling myself to take one thing at a time. For now, getting the furniture I loved in the apartment was a big step, and I didn’t have to hurry to make it all look perfect just yet.
I had two things this week that were big for my physically. The first was a tattoo. This wasn’t a large tattoo, just a small lotus flower on my left wrist. It was also my seventh tattoo, so not a big deal for me, but still, getting a tattoo means taking care of it, and time to let your body heal. Again, however, I’d been on the waiting list to get this for the last month, and although it was physically draining to me, I felt the emotional booster from it was worth it.
The other physical task for me this week was that I was having laser eye surgery done on Thursday. Now this would be much more taxing than the tattoo, but again, something I’d been wanting to get ever since I could remember. I have really bad nearsightedness, and have had to wear glasses since I was about four or five years old. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t need glasses or contacts. I have worn contacts since I was eleven, but within the last year they started rubbing against my eyes and giving me frequent eye infections. As a result of the infections, and to prepare for the laser eye surgery, I have had to wear my glasses constantly for the last month – and I despise my glasses. So I was really looking forward to the surgery – and afterward, being able to see with my own eyes!
Another thing about the surgery and the tattoo, and I don’t know if this was good or not, but they gave me good excuses to take it easy for the week. I know I should be able to take it easy just on my own, but when this was something totally foreign to me, it helped to have an excuse. Both the tattoo artist and the eye doctor told me to relax and give myself some time off to just lie around and recover. Even before my eye surgery, the doctor wanted me rested and pampered. They gave me Valium for the surgery, and told me they just wanted me to go home and take some Vicodin and sleep, so that’s just what I did. My dad and his caregiver brought me take-away sushi for dinner, and then I went back to sleep. The next morning, I was just fine and could see perfectly! It was miraculous, I felt like a character in a bible story. But I continued the extra-self care especially since I knew my body was still healing. I let myself lie around and watch movies (something I never do without friends). I napped. I went shopping. My dad was extremely worried about me – he worries extra since he had the stroke – so dealing with that was a little bit stressful, but besides that I had a great time letting myself rest and recuperate.
That night I went out with friends to my boyfriend Jess’s DJ night to celebrate my new vision. Not only did I have a great time seeing my friends – it’s amazing how pleasantly glad you are to see people when you’ve given yourself the proper time you need to yourself – it was also a very eventful night, and I got a little more practice with being assertive.
It hadn’t gone long into the night when some guy trying to start trouble starting having a go at Jess, who was DJing. Jess isn’t one to take any crap, especially from a guy who’s looking to start a fight, and was intent on giving him a good punch in the face if Casey, the bar owner, didn’t throw him out. Some girl made some nasty comments about Jess’s reaction, and I turned right around and told her what she was saying was certainly not the case, and I was his girlfriend so she could answer to me. She immediately backed down and commended me on “standing up for my man.” I don’t know if that’s something I would have done before I started this work with TC or not. I’m usually pretty good about sticking up for my friends, just not myself, but with this scene going on at the bar and everyone getting all hot about it, in the past I might have been too timid of getting in the middle, and just pretended I didn’t hear what she was saying.
Later on, after lots of rowdiness, everyone was dancing, and this creepy guy who was by himself started going around groping all the girl’s asses. He lightly touched mine, which was when I was alerted to what was going on. I whirled right around and stuck my finger in his face and told him if he so much as tried that again, I would slap him. Then I heard the other girls complaining about him, so I told them, “let’s go up and tell Casey and get him thrown out,” so we did, and Casey threw him out. Then he snuck back in, so Casey threw him out again. It was an eventful night, but I was proud of myself for standing up to whatever I didn’t like and, as TC said, taking the “high road” instead of letting it slide by and taking the “low road.”
Things were better with Jess this week also. He was still stressed out, but with my self-care, I was able to just do my thing and not worry about him, and also be supportive to him when I would see him. As TC had told me, I can’t change him, but I can change myself. He had four papers to write, recording to do on the weekend, was fighting off a flu, and, I just learned that Friday was the anniversary of his mother’s death. That’s a lot to be going through. I totally understood if he was stressed and needed space. And again, it was another good excuse for me to give myself space. If Jess was available and wanted to hang out, I probably would have been hanging out with him. I needed to give myself time and space to myself and continue my good R & R.