“Closed for Inventory. Happy New Year”

I drive by this sign twice a day at least. And every time I think… Self, you know you could use to do some inventory. I need me time, silence, no one to worry about, just even for a couple hours. I found it on Saturday by a innocent miscommunication and a fucked attitude. Lately, I have been finding complete silence and solitude to be very rewarding, even if its just the 30min drive home from work. But I needed more so that I could delve deeper inside my head, welcome my thoughts of personal successes and failures from the past year. I should start small, knowing that my attitude needed to be addressed but that would need to wait. One of the first things I realize is that this whole being inside my head, alone, in silence, isn’t nearly as scary as it used to be. There was a time years ago where I wouldn’t go inside my head alone, it wasn’t safe in there. My thoughts were destructive. Not necessarily to me physically, but most definitely emotionally. I could cut myself down harder than anyone else was capable of. I soon came to realize that the things I would say to myself and the thoughts I had we’re not really that of my own. I want to know me better than anyone else and to love myself unconditionally. Work in progress.

My attitude has been brewing for a couple days. Relationships are hard and mine is less than perfect. I left the house Sat morning for my tattoo appointment with it in full effect. My attitude that is. I don’t slam doors, yell, or make a scene anymore. I just let the steam circulate in my head, stirring my thoughts furiously. I grab one once in a while and ponder it before letting it back to join the others as they race around my mind. The silence allows me to not be distracted by lyrics to a song that may influence my mind, for good or bad. It’s just me and the road, and the pressure cooker in my head. The drive to federal way is nice and long and I am excited for my session today. I fill up at the Longhouse, grab some snacks and hit the pavement.
The main reason for my attitude is being alone on the road. My bf usually joins me for the trip cuz “we like spending time together” ha and some of our trips he has had an appointment at the same time. I’m stewing because he didn’t come this time because his shoulder hurts, he doesn’t feel like riding that far…. And whatever else. But I recall that he said earlier in the week that he likely wasn’t going to go with me, he’s gonna hang out with the guys. Now don’t get me wrong, I know how petty and selfish this sounds. But with the appropriate background, you would realize that to me, it seems he has “other plans”. It seems premeditated. For the past month, he has had all day during the week to hang out with the guys, his best good friend on vacation the whole last week. The weekends are my time. And with his history of unfaithfulness, my mind is reeling. BUT I hate these thoughts and as I am processing them I am realizing that I am letting them control my mind, my temper, giving the power of my temper to someone else. My phone is on silent, my kids old enough to not worry about, and I work on letting go. Letting go of the thoughts that are driving me insane. Letting go of the fact that history can repeat itself, but will it? Letting go.
I’ve had a problem letting my walls down when it comes to relationships and I don’t plan on starting now. This makes letting go a lot easier. I paint a nice picture for everyone to see when they look our direction. I realize this isn’t new for me, but I paint anyways. This time the reasons are so very different. I’ve been reading about dissociation and think that maybe part of my walls are from a lifetime of disconnecting myself. I haven’t done enough reading on this to bring my theory to actuality at this point, but it’s developing. As the drive goes on I decide that even though the reason for my tude is a prominent part of my life, I have other things, bigger things. Like my kids and my career. I decide maybe it’s time to do “inventory” here, relationships can come and go, but my kids and work will always be a part of me.
I took account of my role as a mother first. I am incredibly proud of what my children are accomplishing in life but am struggling a little bit with the transition from a parent of children to a parent of adults. In 11 short months, both of my boys will be considered “adults”. Scary, right? I don’t spend a lot of time on this but make a point to acknowledge how tough it is and that I need to be kind to myself and my boys at this unique part of the journey. I used to wonder what happens when the kids move out, now I fear the outcome. I miss them already.
My work. I made a big change in 2016. I left my job with hospice after 3 years for uncertainty in the form of old people and a heavy med cart. It felt like a huge step backwards in my career, but I had my reasons for leaving. I’ll discuss these at a later time. I knew I couldn’t stay in long term care and when they offered me a permanent daytime position, I turned it down and started hunting. Landing my current job provided me with a new opportunity for learning and personal and professional growth. Over the last calendar year I have worked hard and self propelled myself into the world of cancer and the associated care that comes with Medical Oncology. I am blessed in my career.
My day only gets more interesting when I show up for a noon appt and realize I’ve scheduled myself at 4 pm. 4 hours in the city…to myself… What will I do? A few drinks, some window shopping, and driving around aimlessly, that is what I fill my time with. Make it back for my appointment and am refreshed by 2 1/2 hours of my newest form of release. I am comfortable and satisfied in that chair, my skin exposed, hilarious “hardcore” -sometimes raunchy conversation between all the guys in there fills the empty spaces in my thoughts. Funny how they’ve let their guard down and become themselves after knowing I am not easily offended. I find relief in the ink being set in my skin. I spend considerable time with my eyes closed, inside my head, comfortable. The drive home uneventful, I even turn the radio up and sing obnoxiously loud, I feel brand new. I don’t know what other people do to free themselves when life fills them with stress and angst, I used to yell, scream, throw things, drive recklessly, etc. Now, I save my pennies and plan my next session of art. Tattoo. It works for me for now.
I’m sure the mental inventory will continue as the month progresses, there’s always more “me” work to be done, but for the end of 2017 and the start of 2018, I think I’ve done my share.
I know this year will bring it’s share of lessons, I look forward to them, good or bad. Welcome 2018.

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