TToT back to basics

After Ten Things of Thankful #69 at the weekend (said auspicious number duly noted by my darling Smutster BlogWife) I am taking this ‘back to basics’, because right now, I need it. I need it because I’m here again –


Being here pisses me off, but this time it hasn’t pissed me off so much that I’ve done anything much about it. I’ve done that awful thing which I despise in others, and I’ve laid down and let it happen. I’ve listened to the poison poured into my ears by my own mind. I’ve crumbled to pieces under the strain – not of anything ‘real’; just of being me, at the moment – and I’ve faltered.

[‘Faltered’ – a very forgiving word for what has been more like a full-on throw-myself-down-on-the-floor-and-have-a-tantrum kind of a thing]

And I think (amongst the plethora of things which I intensely dislike (because people get so hung up on the word ‘hate’) about myself right now) the thing which is foremost in my mind is that I once set a bar quite high and quite proud, for being a Truth Teller. Because I wanted to be Real and Honest, because it was important, and helpful, to me that others were Real and Honest when it came to awful nasty things like miscarriage and infertility and marriage to a chronically sick person.

That bar is now the petard on which I find myself hoist.

Because when it comes to shameful and upsetting and ridiculous, I have discovered I don’t want to be Real and Honest. I want to hide. I want to not say anything and have it all go away. And it just isn’t.

So this is me. Half-but-not-quite saying something (or nothing) which you can take or leave. Because it’s meant to be cathartic and I’m not sure I’m quite ready for that much catharsis yet. I’m also not sure I’m ready to own up. But I plan to. Because I am determined not to disappoint myself further by also proving to be a steaming great hypocrite (more than I already have, that is).

In the meantime, in the original spirit of the Ten Things of Thankful lists…here goes:

1. I am thankful for Husby and my family, who support me endlessly, even throughout all the BS and the negativity I seem to be piling onto them each time I see them.

2. I am thankful for tiny, safe spaces where I can say things out loud without fear of judgement.

3. I am thankful for friends who are determined to see me through this, and who will be with me every step of the way, trying to help me see the light.

4. I’m thankful that I got as far as three things before I had a clawing doubt that I might not make it all the way to ten. But the point is ten. So I guess I’m thankful for another bar set incredibly high, but also for the hindsight-knowledge, which means I know there are Ten Things *somewhere*.

5. I’m thankful for the inspiration of my sweet (and in her own way, equally wavering) SisterWife, Laurie, who has decided that creativity is the way to face these things. So here I am. Creating. Even though I kind of want to wallow, I know it’s good for me, so I’m doing it.

6. I’m thankful that I have a car with a radio in it, and that when ‘A Sky Full of Stars‘ came on earlier, I wasn’t quite at the end of my journey, and so I turned it up until I could feel it, and I revelled in it, in all its meanings. Right now I’m thankful I’m listening to it as I type the rest of this.

7. I’m thankful that when I *do* take the brave step and ‘say what I want to say’, there will be support here. And that there will be support in the meantime while I’m not ready. [sub-thankful – that I’ve been blessed with such incredibly good people as ye who frequent this place in the Blogosphere, and who have become part of my world, that I can say #7 with certainty. That’s pretty awesome, actually.]

8. I’m thankful that I am in the best physical health I have probably ever been in.

9. I’m thankful I’m just about keeping up with OctPoWriMo, over at Bards.

10. I’m thankful that having gotten to the end of these ten, I don’t feel quite so bad as I did at the beginning, because I no longer feel like I’m lying through my teeth. I know this isn’t any kind of Reveal, but I’ve alluded enough to ensure that at some point, I WILL have to come back and follow up. I think accountability will be key here, because I know that otherwise I could easily slip off another edge and not bother. Or continue to hide. Neither of those things sits comfortably with me.

Surprise bonuses, which I would never have thought possible, back at #4

11. I’m thankful that the canned mojito (yes, it’s possible to sink *that* low) is still in my fridge, untouched. Just about. Call it a benchmark for something, but I know that when I turn to it, things will have gotten properly bad.

12. I’m glad that there *is* professional intervention in the offing (so don’t worry about that – it’s underway) and that I even have those resources available to me.

13. As ever, thankful that in 14 days time, I’ll be two weeks past RightNow.

In a Sky Full of Stars

66 thoughts on “TToT back to basics

  1. Only one-tenth of an iceberg’s volume is above water. As with us, its true form and balance of content lies beneath its surface.

    Thanks for taking us (in your own stride) beneath your blue veil to your True shape.

    With heart,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh crap oh crap. I’m so sorry you’re in that awful place right now. Sending you so much love and hugs. Being in that place SUCKS, and the mean voices in our heads are just mean and you know what? Those mean voices? They are wrong. It doesn’t feel like they are when you’re down but they are. I hope you’ve got some sunshine peeking through today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A little. Today I just find it all faintly ridiculous, but it hasn’t made me behave any better. Nor will it. And I’m worried about the fix because at the moment I’m not sure I want it.

      *hugs* Thanks though, for your support.


  3. NO!!!! Oh Lizzi!!! My heart is BREAKING for you right now!!! Please message me when/if you feel up to it!! Now I will be praying for you… praying for your heart to find peace. Praying for this supernatural comfort to blanket your soul…

    I am here.

    Keep writing through this… whether you hit publish or not.

    I am here.

    Did you hear that?

    I am here.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so sorry you’re in that place…hugs and warmfuzzythoughts to you.
    You know, I was in the dollar store the other day and they had a HUGE bag of glittery confetti stuff. Made me think of you. It would make for a massive glitterbomb! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  5. To me, everything you write is so very real. I struggle with revealing my innermost because of that 50 pounds of crap. Not that I haven’t dealt with it, felt it, tried to work through it. I’m just not sure I want to share it. You shared your feelings wonderfully. About setting the bar high for yourself – can you tell yourself the same thing you would tell a friend with the same feelings? That’s hard sometimes because of high expectations and the trip we lay on ourselves. Sending you support – I have lots of faith in you coming through this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Val. And no – I would never, ever tell a friend the same things I tell myself. But I like myself less than I like my friends, which is part of the problem.

      I’ll get there. Not sure where ‘there’ is, but it will be somewhere, it will be real, it will be (probably) written out and regretted and not-regretted in equal measure.

      ROLL ON 41!

      Thanks for the support and encouragement.


  6. Why do we always do that?
    We should be honest but it’s so draining. For me, if I acknowledge it, it means that it’s real. It’s suffocating me. It’s controlling me. It’s…it’s…it’s. This place is suck. I wish that I had words to make it not hurt, but I don’t. I have pills. I’ll throw them at you and hope that they don’t turn all soggy and shit before they reach you…or that a bird doesn’t eat them. That would be one fucked up but happy bird.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wonder if that’s what’s going to happen In Real, when I go to the doctor’s tomorrow. Bit worried about that, tbh. This place is totally sucky. And inconsistent, too – today I’ve been just shy of okay. Yesterday I was fine and then AWFUL. There’s no stability in it and I can’t even count on it to be uniformly bad. I am ALL over the place.

      I know it’s real. Horribly so. I just think it’s so stupid (because apparently rules I could easily and compassionately apply to anyone else, don’t apply to me) I don’t want to say it out loud yet.


  7. I think the voices in our heads are more painful and better at cutting our hearts than a million people shouting they adore you. That you matter. That your pain matters but it doesn’t define you. You are more than pain. You are more than despair. You are more than you think. That is why you can write through whatever you are going through in the present moment. That you do not need to share “it” for your village to help you through whatever “it” is. That while it may be small compared to World War II it is huge because it is your battle.

    It is your battle to quiet the negative voice in your head and to shine a light on the heart in your body. I hope you win the battle soon and have some peace. Because you deserve it, no matter how loud that voice of negativity is.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This honesty thing is harder to do than to talk about, right? I run and hide quite often on my own blog because I know there are certain people reading it that I don’t want to be vulnerable to. (hint: they never leave comments but they don’t miss a post and I might be related to them). Anyway, I hope your week gets better and better. Great list you’ve made for gratitude. It gets easier once we start. Love this blog of yours!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fortunately the people I’m related to who are most likely to read this already know what’s going on. So there’s that. But I have a colleague (at least one) who reads it…and that’s another matter, however *shrugs* Different world in the Blogosphere, innit. So…

      Thanks for the hopes for my week. I hope you have a good one, too.

      And yeah – thankfulness snowballs, every bit as much as negativity can. Thank goodness it does!


  9. And of all a sudden, this past weekend, there was light…

    I don’t know why or how. I plunged myself into my job, my house, my child. I tried to write THREE blog posts and nothing came. So I shopped for Halloween decorations and spoke to friends and cleaned like crazy. And did chores for my business that were way overdue.

    And somehow, today, I can breathe. I have no idea why. So that’s why I like number 13. Because 2 weeks ago I was in some sort of sad trance, and 2 weeks from now I probably will be again. But in between, there’s NOW.

    And there will be a moment of lightness for you. Maybe you’re having it right now.

    I love you and will always be there to listen to you. No matter what I’m going through. Don’t ever stop reaching out to me, please.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not having it now, but I’m about to do the very self-nurturing thing of cooking and eating, and then going round to spend the evening with friends, being silly and laughing, if at all possible. There is light in that.

      I’m so, SO glad that light has found you. Hang onto it, for as long as you can. Keep breathing.

      And thank you. Huge. ❀


  10. I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time right now and if you need I will always be there. You are such a great person. Who else would dump their blog post to help a practical stranger raise money for charity and donate on top of it. You also inspired other people to donate their hard earned money.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you.

      I mind my behaviour carefully (sometimes) and it’s important to me to contribute to cancer charities in some form or another. I should get on with the rest of those posts! I have one letter to finish and three posts to write.

      I created an opportunity for people to join in, and I’m gladder than anything they did. It’s wonderful of them.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. What is in the air? I have been sick and getting sicker by the day. Hopefully yesterday was the worst of it and I will be rolling down the other side of the mountain from here out. I know the way I feel physically has a lot to do with my feeling low but I have other niggling (and ridiculous) thoughts in the back of my head causing a lot of self doubt and discomfort which, in turn makes me angry. It’s a horrible cycle and while I didn’t mean to make this all about me it was mainly to let you know that you are definitely not alone right now. That said, please call on me if you need to. I’m okay, stronger than I think I am and helping others is a perfect way to pull myself up out of the mucky pity hole.
    You are loved and thought of, even sick I noticed a lack of ‘you-ness’ in the sphere and I am glad you wrote. I’m happy you made it to ten and thrilled you made thirteen, especially since thirteen was my favorite. My sentiments exactly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I want you to be better soon. I’ve let you be because I didn’t want to add to all that you’re already dealing with. I miss you though.

      Thirteen might be my favourite too. It also works in months and years, but two weeks seems manageable.


  12. hmmm – I think what you share and don’t share is a choice for that moment. with pen in hand you have the power to write or share what you want – does that make sense? i think with everything it is a progression and whatever steps is taken should be OK and accepted on both sides – I think honesty is good- but sometimes it can be overrated and not heard or not wanted to be heard – that is what I think

    As far as being under 50 ft below crap at least you know that you want to get out of it; ory you know there’s a pony among the crap – when I’m there I want to be left alone, i remind myself of the pony, but I won’t look for it- and cannot or won’t do anything to get out of it , it takes a couple of days – the good news I haven’t been there in a long time –

    lastly i want to leave you with an image of mother in law telling us that at her Bingo games when the caller calls out O 69 every senior in the room would chant ” Good Ol’ __ Apparently its quite common among many Bingo Players

    HA!!!!! πŸ™‚
    sending you hugs !

    Liked by 1 person

    • Feisty old people! I guess they were all young once.

      You’re gonna have to come back here and explain what you mean about the pony – I am utterly lost on that point!

      I guess I hadn’t considered the angle of no-one wanting to hear it. That might shut me up for a while, whilst I think.


      • There is a fable of two bros (i wrote about it) one brother is a pessimist and the other is an optimist; short story the optimist was placed in a room of manure (horse-crap), well he got excited because he thought among all this crap there has to be a pony – (which is a fun thing) sorry if I confused you.

        Like I said you have the power and believe me your final product is always interesting- thought-provoking and good. Keep doing what your doing πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

        • No it’s okay – just not a fable I’ve heard before so I wasn’t *quite* sure what to make of it.

          We’ll see. I don’t wanna just make everyone feel bad by unleashing a load of negativity. I know I need to learn to be more self-contained, so…


  13. I’ll repeat what you said to me earlier, this felt like looking in a mirror. I’ve been where you are SO many times and I envy you for beating past it and finding ways to be thankful anyway. I know, when I get into that “50 feet below rock bottom” place, finding things to be thankful for is the last f$%&ing thing I want to do. I want to be left alone to wallow in it, and I know intellectually that is exactly what I’m NOT supposed to do, it doesn’t keep me from doing it.

    You will be just fine, and you should be commended for finding the strength to even think about making this post. You’re aware of where you are and you know how to get out of it. You might be 50 feet below rock bottom, but you’ve found the rope back up the shiny happy world, now just keep finding the strength to climb it. We’ll still be here when you get to the top.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that’s key – I needed this list; I did NOT want it, nor to do it, nor to recognise the validity of the things on it. Wallowing is dangerous and I’ve been doing a lot of it. It doesn’t help. Laurie showed me that.

      It’s getting to ‘sink or swim’ at the moment, and…I don’t think I want to sink. I mostly don’t want to sink. There ARE good things in life. There ARE. And they’re worth not sinking for.

      Thank you so much for the support and encouragement. It helped before and it helps now. Just gotta find the strength to climb,


  14. I got stuck on the word “petard” for a minute. Finally had to look it up. Not a word that rolls of the tongue, now is it?

    You aren’t a hypocrite just because you don’t share the true and real of everything that goes on in your life. Some things are OK to keep private. It’s not your job to put everything out here just in case it helps someone else. If you want to write about it, write. If you don’t, don’t. If you’re on the fence, write, and sit on it for a while. You don’t have to publish it for it to be cathartic.

    And once I was of age to learn what 69 means, I cannot look at or hear that number without thinking of the non-number meaning. How ridiculous am I?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you’re mostly the same as anyone else who learns the non-number meaning πŸ˜‰

      I know it’s not my job to put everything out here, but I don’t want to have to go around and take away that ‘truth’ part from everywhere I’ve said it, because this is pretty much roadblocking me from writing anything at the moment, and it’s also messing up my Real. I have nothing else in me to write, and I don’t want to not write anything ever, so I think I need to get this out. I’ll publish when I’m ready. The little, morbidly curious part of me also wants to see what reaction I get.

      Petard might not roll off *your* tongue…I use it relatively often in conversation πŸ˜‰


      • I was reminded of this character a while back — a conversation with a friend. Shug made a big impression on me: that you could have a past, even a present, riddled with grievous mistakes and still value yourself and, pretty much just as important, value others too. I loved that however hard life had been, for both her and Miss Celie, it hadn’t turned them mean or taken away their ability to care for and love another, or receive/feel worthy of the same in return. So I see your whole blog, rather your blog as a whole, as a testament to a similar spirit — at the end of the day, not one of defeat but of hope, at least, to put something positive out there. So back to basics, it is! (For me, too.) But I don’t think that’s the same as square one. And if it weren’t so late, I’d try to explain why. Maybe another day… Take care. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

        • I won’t be turned mean. I’ve spent entirely too long trying VERY hard to make sure I don’t follow in those particular footsteps, and thank you for reminding me of that. It could be different.

          I’ve not seen the film, but your description of the characters is compelling and thank you for taking the time to explain some of the background. I’m not going to let this stop me from loving, either. Or prevent me from caring for others. However, feeling worthy of the same in return puts me on very shaky ground, but I so appreciate your view of my blog. Thank you. I am determined to keep finding those silver linings, no matter how hard.

          Back to basics and square one are different places, I think. I’ll wait for your explanation (if it pleases you to share further) but I think ‘back to basics’ is more akin to the refreshment of an old ethos, rather than starting over.

          Thank you for coming back and talking more. It mattered.


          • No, I don’t think you will be turned mean, ever! πŸ™‚

            But I worried it could happen to me. When I saw bitterness (not the same as meanness, but it’s a slippery slope!) creeping into me about a year ago, I began a practice like yours of writing down the things I was grateful for. But my list included things I wasn’t grateful for too — this may sound super weird, but I do think it helped me stop wasting energy on resisting all the stuff I found so unacceptable about my life, myself, my past, MYSELF. And I just expressed gratitude for these things, trying to avoid explaining WHY/HOW I could possibly be … example: “I am grateful that the mojito is still unopened in the fridge and also that I want it, very badly, and have every intention of drinking it when I finish this list.” I would leave it at that, instead of going on to try to rationalize and “make right” via some convoluted line of thinking that is disingenuous at least, harmful at worst. And I would send my list to a friend I trust wholeheartedly, and she would send me hers, every day for 40 days. At first, it felt really weird, but then — very quickly — it began to feel totally right, not always “good” but right. And my mindset, hers too, really began to change, whether the list felt good or bad.

            Just as one example, for me: the bitterness went away. As another: I made several decisions I’d been procrastinating over forever. LOTS has changed since then. Another: MUCH less complaining. Another: MUCH less fear. ANOTHER: Much more hope. Another: A feeling of lightness, cleanness. Another, still: My priorities became clearer. (By the way, we got this idea from a book by Melody Beattie, a self-help guru who made a big name for herself in the 80s [I believe] with Codependent No More and later The Language of Letting Go. This particular book has a sort of corny title, something about 40-day miracle… that part is kind of embarrassing for me still.) But re: the lists, one big rule: we never commented on each others’ list unless the other invited us to, and even in that case we refrained from trying to fix it for the other. Tried just to listen.

            Anyway, my friend and I both were really shocked by how powerful this experience (experiment?) was. But it definitely brought out/up all sorts of things, not from the past so much (thankfully), but practical, day-to-day issues/struggles that were now OUT IN THE OPEN and could never be shoved back under the rug. Many of those issues/struggles are still there, unresolved, but at least they are not quietly growing stronger, darker, more threatening in the darkness of our subconscious or whatever. And there is real freedom in that and also some sense of relief, of something being lifted from your chest — and not then buried, but just put in a better place, where you can still SEE it, but it is not pressing on you constantly.

            So where am I now? Truly, I’m back to thinking I need to get going with the lists again. Back to Basics, like you. I feel like so much came out of that practice, I had to take a break just to metabolize some of it, stabilize a bit. But that square one feeling is gone. Couldn’t get back to square one if I tried… and some days, I want to. To UN-understand or UN-realize some of the stuff the lists made clear is an appealing prospect, some days, especially on WHAT TO DO with this new knowledge is never as clear, seldom as clear, as the knowledge itself. I also want to say that I was/am a person who has worked hard to know myself, strengthen weaknesses, build on strengths, etc. It wasn’t like I went into it totally blindly, but it shined a light on all sorts of things I wasn’t seeing.

            So back to Shug and Celie, I saw that movie so long ago, and I’m not sure how Shug fared. Just a note of caution. But in that moment, when she is singing to Celie, I fell in love with her for the way she loved herself, despite her mistakes, and for her love of Celie, despite her first-hand knowledge of the ugliness of life … their lives, maybe even the understanding that it could all go terribly wrong at any moment — for herself, for Celie, for them both? But they have this moment, and they give the moment to LOVE and to each other. I love this! I happen to be heterosexual, but have always been a woman’s woman. (My 6-year-old son said to me once that girls were funnier and more fun [than boys]. I wanted to say, in general, I pretty much agree. But instead I defaulted parent-ism: “What makes you say that?”)

            Hmmm. I guess now I’m kind of lost, rambling. Maybe there’s no way to neatly wrap this up but to say that committing to the — I’m assuming — endless search for truth about [whatever] makes it impossible to truly end up back at square one. With each go-round, you learn something (or at least gather more “data”), and whether it’s something that pleases or appalls you, it adds a little something to your emotional/spiritual/psychological immune system because that something will never be able to totally blindside you again. And being aware of it now, you are less afraid of what else is lurking in the dark of what you don’t yet realize/understand. SO, I guess I’m saying: it would take nothing short of a time machine to truly take you back to square one!!! No matter how much one might feel like they are there (wish they were there), they are not.

            ANYWAY: I hope you get anything at all out of any of this. (I think I did.) I am back to my lists starting tomorrow!!!

            p.s. Please forgive typos. Baby crying. Must go before rereading… (That’s right, I’m blaming it on a baby! Classy! ;))

            Liked by 1 person

  15. I appreciate this so much. I feel it. I’m wallowing right now and it’s scary. I’ve got weird health shit going on and I KNOW that getting back to healthy eating and working out regularly would help immensely…but am I doing that? Noooo…and then I get panicky that it’s all getting away from me. Anyway…you’re not alone..

    and your lists always make me smile. I can use the smiles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ack. Sorry to hear you’re wallowing. The path of least resistance is so tempting, isn’t it. I hope you figure it out soon…I won’t offer platitudes because of the nature of the…anyway. It’s not my place. But I hope you know you’re not alone either.

      And I’m glad to have made you smile. We can all use smiles.


  16. My dear friend… I didn’t feel like creating either. I just did it because I knew I needed to. And I haven’t wanted to be Real or Honest lately either, which is why the silence. So I am here, with you.
    And also, I love Sky Full of Stars. one of my favoritest songs, ever. It always makes me feel better about life, no matter what.
    I’ll be here until your follow up. πŸ™‚ Holding space for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much. And yeah – I’ve not been writing much either. Which was noticed.

      Sky Full of Stars was completely off my radar until Mandi brought it to my attention. Now it holds a very special place in my heart.

      It makes me feel….something. Not better, but something…which is SOMETHING, if that makes sense.

      I needed not to hide, which is perhaps the same as needing to create. Thank you for the object lesson, though. It counted.


  17. I go through waves of this. I am going to be accountable! I am going to tell everything I have done and hold myself up as an example in recovery! La la di da!

    Then I crash and I don’t want to admit it. So I pretend I never wrote about things I wrote about before. People think I am OK because I am not talking about “it”. Then I end up rambling incoherently while watching The Walking Dead and hit publish without thinking. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    I guess I am saying, I know how that can feel, though maybe not on the same level. And your blog, your rules. Take your time and do what you need to when sharing anything. Or choosing not to share, even. Maybe a little simplistic, but it’s you and your space.

    ((HUGS)) to you.

    Liked by 1 person

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