Thursday, March 05, 2015

Just how far I've come

I saw one of my former bullies recently. He was visiting with one of the senior people on my floor. I wasn't expecting him, I've asked to be warned if he'll be around, but yet, there he was.

There was a high stress moment on when I saw him and at that second I knew I'd won. That I didn't fear him. That he can't do fucking shit to me.

Later , due to somewhat unusual circumstances, I even held a door open for him as he and a group went through. He didn't look with intent at me, nor I at him. Just two masses of meat passing by in that moment. 

It felt good to take charge of the high stress incident, to step up to help my colleagues even though I when I walk I always walk in pain, and to simply ignore the presence of a man who'd done his best to damage me.

I am slowly but surely freeing myself from the past and ready to onrush the future. I am far more healed than hurt and far stronger than I've ever been.

I am a honed, fucking awesome public service machine that leaves treads of fire like a fuckin' DeLorean.

WFTW (1).

(1) Wellness for the win (1a)
(1a) My younger brother did student exchange to Germany after high school. When mum sent him letters she'd end them with DMTW which stood for "Don't mention the war", a favourite Fawlty Towers moment from when Germans stayed at the hotel. My brother told that story at the memorial service. I laughed richly and loud. That was so Mum.

Specks of red

I'm a pale man, a man who does not like the sun. A pale, hairy man.

On my pale hairy skin I have these occasional flecks of red, like a melted comma, that are sometimes lightly puckered up above the skin. You can scratch them away though they still have a reddish mark left as an indent if you do.

I once asked a doctor if it was anything to worry about and that doctor said no. That it's a common thing. After a quick light Google they're probably something called red moles.

As I sat with my dying mother I saw that her skin of her upper arms, pale like mine from her days spent indoors, had the selfsame red specks—her arms like mine save for the hair on me and the mark of age on hers. 

I never knew she had them until that moment. It was something we shared, that I'd gotten from her, but we'd never talked of. I don't even know if she knew I had them.

It made me feel closer to her as she itched to leave the planet, that I was a true part of her and that traits she had I shared with her. 

She lives on in me, in blood and in mind, and in her children and grand children.

Cue a monkey hefting a lion cub.

Farewell to theMum

A few weeks ago my mother died. She'd been in full time care for dementia and MS since 2011 and her greatest fear was going gaga like her mother and her mother before her. "Kill me if that ever happens," she'd hiss at us boys and our current ladies.

Her bladder had become infected—one of the common conditions that occur when you have a catheter—and the infection couldn't be staved off with antibiotics. She was sent back to her home to die, unable to swallow in her last three days of life as the infection claimed her. 

Her death was ghastly, her final hour one of the most hideous events I've witnessed. And with micro strokes having robbed her of speech and unable to babble in her demented way she no longer became the mum I lost to dementia; she became my mum again. And every spasm of pain and angst that crossed her face was happening to my mum. 

My mum's death pulled the lid off some hefty built-up anger and my staying with my somewhat frustrating-yet-grieving dad whilst waiting for my brothers to get back from overseas eventually culminated by my chucking a fit, screaming insults down the driveway—a family tradition from childhood—then packing my bags to fuck off to a hotel. I didn't end up speaking to my Dad for two days but thanks to brokering from my now arrived brothers we managed to heal our differences in time for mum's cremation then memorial service. 

Mum's passing was a surreal, nasty, hilarious, utterly messed-up life milestone of the death of the first parent. It brought up a lot of anger about childhood hurts and following my escape to a hotel the stress brought on a severe anxiety episode that lasted 48 hours, involved me staggering around the fringe of the CBD of my old home town from afternoon through to night tearfully raging at an invisible father and culminated in my first ever migraine the following morning. I ended up on the tiles of my en-suite, vomiting then lying on the cool floor with my head on a towel until the nausea passed enough for me to shower then collapse into bed. 

I'd come up without theWife and theBoy, getting to my old home town to be with mum as she writhed unto death, sleeping on mum's floor in her home so she'd never be alone as she died. My family arrived the night of the cremation and in time for mum's memorial service. Thank fuck. I don't think I'd have been able to go to either parts of mum's finale without knowing they were coming to be with me.

The memorial service was the highlight. My mum was an incredible woman who had an amazing life adventure. So we got to tell the crowd at her old church stories of her throwing herself into the world and her accomplishments, and there were far more laughs than tears because it was a rich celebration and no way a commiseration. 

She was perhaps the most incredible woman I've ever known. Not only in her achieving what she achieved but in her living—proper living with an active life—with MS which robbed her of her legs in her last 15 years. Fuck, even after she lost the use of her legs she still kept working until retirement, working from the back of her scooter, winched in and out of the car at the start and end of the day.

Mum didn't deserve the agonising death she received, courtesy of fuckwits who moan on about the slippery slope of euthanasia but have never had to hold the hand of a dying conscious pain-wracked woman as they withered from thirst, hunger and madness of infection when she could have been put to sleep to then die in peace. 

But in life, fuck, what a woman.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

I want to be part of the event!

We have chickens—three, two girls and a boy—who now are a fixture of family life and who dwell in the back corner of the yard behind the washing line and under a now=pruned tree.

Tonight one of the fuckers vanished. It was like a chicken version of Keyser Söze, and the vanished one was "Rocky", the chicken theWife saved from almost certain death when she gently brushed its infected date with antiseptic when it was a chick afflicted with septic bunghole. 

The other two chickens were in the coop but "Rocky" could not be found. It was dark so both theWife and I had torches and spent a futile 40 minutes trying to find her in our yard—often standing without moving or a sound to catch any possible cluck on the wind that would reveal her locale.

This all happened after theBoy went to bed but he couldn't contain his excitement at the sounds of serious searching as he lay in his bed waiting for sleep so out he came in his onsie. 

"I want to be part of the event!" he demanded hotly when we told him to go back to bed.

I gave up first, convincing theBoy to come inside, and after a while theWife, defeated by the mysterious vanishing of her anally-healed chick—the chicken closest to her heart of all the seven we've now had (1)—gave up too, hoping Rocky's chosen roost was safely selected.

After watching TV for a bit, when we were between shows, she went out for one last look.

Then, success. The Rock was found high in the tree that covers the coop far below, theWife claiming a six sense of a sort told her to look up and she caught a sight of her silhouette. I'm not sure how, though, theWife then prompted the vertically=lodged sleeping Rocky to flutter to the ground to be then safely swooped up then en-cooped but I'm presuming it involved a stick and insistent prodding. 

theBoy was still awake to hear the good news that the conclusion of the event—tentatively named "The case of the mysterious vanishing chicken"—and he got to drift off to sleep happy and safe in the knowledge the story had a happy ending. 

Chickens—lots of fun but occasionally vexing. And I could do with less of their shit being about the place. But that's the price you pay for dancing with animalia (2).

(1) We got six chicks and all survived to maturity. Alas, five of them turned out to be boys and four of them went back to the chicken lady to live out their days until suppertime. We kept one boy for company of the Rock, or "Rocky", and the chicken lady gave us a definite girl by way of thanks for the four boys.Thus we have the three we have. The girls have yet to lay, though theWife put a hard boiled egg in their coop by way of a hint, and I presume once the laying happens it's off to the chicken lady for the surviving boy.
(2) I have great difficulty in bending and getting to my knees. Which means theWife changes the cats' litter. Tonight's clean involved piss and shit outside the box and that's never a fun job to clean up. Go theWife!


If it had not been for the threat of nuclear war that bedeviled us from about 1949 until 1993 then there would be no internet.

I wouldn't be here in Canberra typing letters that anyone in the world can see. And if it wasn't for the internet we wouldn't have come together as one planet. 

We are in this together, all of us. It's the one wet, rock drifting in space and now anyone, anywhere can tell anyone in the world anything they want about what is happening to them and in and to their environment.

So thanks, threat of imminent global (human) destruction, for the internet and making us the one village.

Those ISIS fuckholes and other ghastly remnants of dated societal dross will be dust on the wind soon enough. And our sad dependence on fossil fuels will end within a decade with the healing of the planet then to begin.

We're getting there. And how do I know? Because one of the Google dudes bought 97 per-cent of an Hawaiin island.

Google won't let us drown ... will you Google?


Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Booby trapped!

I just cleaned my teeth. I was about 20 seconds into the brushing when I realised it wasn't just toothpaste I was brushing with but also hand soap. 


Epic cry in the workplace? That's a major red flag

With thanks to Saturday Night Live.

I had an epic cry today at work. I was offsite to my normal building but it happened where I'd ended up following my graduated return to work following my escape from oldwork. I'd been in a meeting with like-minded reformers and I introduced myself to the group with the sorry tale of my exit and my burning desire to improve how people relate to each other in the workplace. 

The anxiety fired after I talked, and I ended up stealing about a sixth of the total meeting time to talk about my shit and my ideas, so I had fear of annoying others combine with the hurt of anger that should be past. By the time the meeting ended I had to hold in the tears and consciously steady the tremours in my hands.

I made it back to near my borrowed desk then wailed. But, I was surrounded by love—for some of those former desk buddies who were in the meeting commiserated with me and offered me tissues to blow.

I had a silent agonised howl at my borrowed desk after I sat down that went on for about 10 minutes until I pulled myself together and arranged to return to my proper workplace. On arrival my boss took me into a room to debrief and was able to puncture my hurt and grief with actual concrete how to help me queries so she can be better able to help me ward off returns of anxiety and despair. She reminded me that I'm doing positive work and I'm valued for my skills and that the best revenge is doing well.

So I will try. It's been nearly two years since I had to pull the the lever on the ejection seat to blast my way clear of oldwork and, for the most part, it's been a painful-then-healing voyage of rediscovery of my worth. That I am a valuable person with valuable skills. 

That's what I need to concentrate on out of all of this. Fuckwittery set me free but I imprison myself if I dwell in the house of remembered pain. 

I stayed at work for the rest the day, even though in the aftermath of my epic fit I was tired and anxiety-ridden and just wanted to flee, and managed to continue to do quality work in spite of what had happened. 

So I'm still winning. Sure, I have these horrid moments but they will come with less frequency and with less intensity. And even if they do come then I have nothing but support from people who love me and want me to heal.

That's wellness right there. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Thanks for the recommendation, SMH...

I was reading a delightful article about bright lights found on a stellar object in the online Sydney Morning Herald when I reached the end and discovered an article had been recommended for me.

Thanks, Sydney Morning Herald, for that recommendation. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Where Mikey has a wag of the chin

Late last year I decided to press the go button on seeking redress for the hurts inflicted by oldwork. Newwork, who had to step up and launch proceedings after I crossed the Rubicon, couldn't have been more supportive after I did so.

Discovering hard evidence of active monstrosity is difficult, however, and this realisation landed on me of late. This realisation, and a confirming phone call, led to dark days of aching body and IBS-afflicted torment as I feared the oldwork people would win.

But, recently, my lovely boss+ took me for a walk of the building. We settled into chairs and she offered me yet more support, an actual person assigned to help me in case my anxiety forces me to go again or onto reduced hours as I dealt with the physical and mental pain that had arced up as a result of the challenge. 

In offering that help she also gave me the chance to vent about my feelings. The hurt I felt for having to go and the pain I endured in my leaving. And that my heart ached for those I left behind and those I'd helped in my dozen years doing one of government's toughest gigs. 

I could see her wanting to end my vent, those moments of her paused in a ready-state, mouth half-open to say something when a gap in the verbal traffic appeared, but I saw those signs and forded on. I needed to say my piece. To say what I had done was amazing and what they'd done to what I did was fucked in my going. That those in management where I worked did not believe in what they do and that they should no longer be there.

And she listened. She listened. Then she offered me yet more support in the form of the support person. Later that same day I got a call from that person and I meet with her in a couple of weeks. 

It hurt to fight back but I am glad I did. My people were wronged and they need redress. 

Wellness for the win.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Late-night chicken comparing

We have chickens, from assorted breeds, who in chicken terms are nearing puberty. Soon we find out who the boys are and then they go live on a nice farm in the country, like what happened to my cat and to unwanted male offspring in a cult-like situation. We get to keep the girls.

Chicken sexing, or determining the sex of a chicken, is difficult. It's based on this toe this or comb that or feathers appearing where there were no feathers before.

We just compared them, at night by torchlight, under the star-filled sky to see if these signs of sexing were in evidence. I felt like a soothsayer.

But when I went to compare I forgot to wear sandals for when I went into their "zone", the fenced-off section of back yard where they dwell. I likely now have chicken crap on my feet (though I did check and can't see any).

If I do then it was worth it for the experience of late-night chicken comparing!

Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Twenty fourteen; pretty, pretty, pretty good

With thanks to Curb.

So, another calender year near done and another to begin. Twenty fourteen was eventful. There was shitty stuff—health-wise for each one of the family—but there was awesome stuff too. For me, I am in a new role far from my former workplace and I'm in a position of actual influence. It's pretty awesome. As I told my psych in a recent work-asked-for-visit I am the APS equivalent of Ben Kenobi—I was struck down but made only more powerful.

I know, that talk sounds a tad nuts, even fully nuts. A mentally empowered me does come with its drawbacks; the hubris and the grandiose visions dancing like fucking sugarplums in my head. But that's cool, that's just something I'll have to learn to better manage in 2015. To keep my ego in check, set rational, achievable goals and not act like Zaphod coming out of the Total Perspective Vortex machine that said he, Zaphod, was the most important person in the universe

My psych said that checking-of-ego was a worthy goal. She also said good-bye—she's off to have a baby—so my work-ordered check-up ended as a fond parting of the ways and I got to say thanks to her for being part of my pyramid of support. 

This year was indeed the "rise and rise of Mikey". As in "risen back to my feet". I'm in a new job, I'm doing useful work and the people I work with value me.

So take that, haters, that's wellness right there.

Here's to 2015; the rise and rise (and rise) of Mikey.