Gratitude List (January 15, 2022) #TToT

Hi everyone. I’m feeling a bit tired today, so to give myself a boost, I thought I’d do a gratitude post. As usual, I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful. Here goes.

1. I’m grateful it is not as cold as it used to be. Like I said yesterday, daytime temps rose to about 7°C for most of the week. I am also grateful it’s not been raining.

2. I am grateful I was able to clear the air again with a staff after an incident on Sunday. On Sunday evening, I got angry because there were no bananas, even though the groceries should’ve gotten in the day before. The staff got really cross with me for yelling at her, which triggered an alter who carries a lot of memories from the psych hospital. At one point, the staff even tried to physically move me to my room, which triggered her even more. Rationally, I do understand I shouldn’t have yelled at her, but emotionally, I really couldn’t handle the whole situation. I am grateful I was able to explain this, with the help of my assigned staff.

3. I am grateful my husband’s cold seems to be over. He was supposed to visit last Sunday, like I mentioned, but canceled because he had a cold. All going to plan, he should be here tomorrow.

4. I am grateful for fried potatoes. I had those for dinner on Tuesday. I am grateful that, even though the staff had originally forgotten to remove the plastic foil from the area where the potatoes are in my meal, the potatoes hadn’t become soggy. I almost had a meltdown over that too, but remembered to ask the staff to remove the plastic and put the meal in the oven a little longer.

5. I am grateful the dietitian gave me some good tips for variations on things I can have for breakfast or lunch rather than bread with jam on it. I am also grateful I had an overall good appt with her.

6. I am grateful there’s only 82 calories in a cinnamon star, my favorite Christmas cookie, of which I still have two full packages left. I am also grateful I am allowed mini stroopwafels during the week. The dietitian had originally said a small cookie such as a biscuit, but there’s only 36 calories in a mini stroopwafel. For on weekends, she allows me a large cookie. She mentioned as an example a cookie that has like 200 calories in it, which I consider rather outrageous. Maybe I misunderstood and she meant that I should eat those only sporadically, as we were also discussing the fact that no foods are forbidden altogether. Anyway, with that being the case, I’m so grateful there’s only 82 calories in my favorite cookie, so I allowed myself one on Friday even though I’d originally only said to myself Saturday and Sunday.

7. I am grateful I feel less stressed out about my diet already as well as able to experiment more with varied foods. On Thursday, there was no meal delivery service meal for me, so I decided to get a salad from the supermarket for dinner. It was absolutely delicious!

8. I am grateful my husband got some opportunities for a new job. He works as a truck driver right now. That is, he currently works in the truck wash, but that doesn’t earn him that much money. Come February 1, he’s going back to driving, but he also talked to the recruiter about other options. I’m not sure I’m allowed to disclose too much, so I’m not going to share which jobs he’s going to look into, but he’s hoping to find himself a job with regular working hours and decent pay at some point.

9. I am grateful I was able to do some crafting again over the past week. I created a red and silver present charm on a keychain for my father, who has his 73rd birthday today. I am also grateful my husband was able to order a real present for him. My father wanted a cd that’s really hard to come by in the Netherlands, but my husband ordered it off Amazon.co.uk. It won’t be here till mid-February, but that’s okay.

Polymer Clay Present Keychain

10. I am grateful the chickens are back. Remember a young man from the care home next to mine had chickens near the day center? Well, shortly before New Year’s, his grandpa took them home with him because they were broody. This week, they returned. Apparently the grandpa had found a way to deal with the broodiness.

I am even more grateful the man whose chickens these are allowed me to pick the eggs today. No eggs though, unfortunately, so either the client who feeds the chickens on weekends had already picked the eggs or they hadn’t laid eggs today.

This was quite doable. Sorry for all the food-related gratefuls though.

What are you grateful for?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (January 14, 2022)

Hi everyone on this Friday afternoon. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare. I just had a glass of water and am going to have another one in half an hour or so. Maybe I’m going to ask for a Senseo or treat myself to a Dubbelfrisss, my favorite soft drink. I’m afraid we don’t have the diet variety though. Can I pour you a drink? Let’s have a cup of something and let’s chat.

If we were having coffee, first I’d share that it’s not as cold as it was last week, but it’s still too cold for my liking. Daytime temps rose to about 7°C most of this week. I did go on one longer walk yesterday, to the supermarket to buy a card for my father. He’ll celebrate his 73rd birthday tomorrow. We also bought some veggies. Oh, and a croissant, because I felt like treating myself. I had just one for lunch instead of bread though. I just looked up how many calories are in one croissant and that’s about as much as in two slices of bread without toppings. Of course, bread contains less fat and sugar and more fiber, but so what?

If we were having coffee, I would go on to share about my dietitian’s appt this morning. It went pretty well. She didn’t admonish me for not wanting to lose the 13kg I need to lose to be at a healthy BMI. I do want to lose the 1.5kg I need to lose to no longer be obese though. More importantly, I want to eat relatively healthily and hopefully quiet the inner conflict about food.

The dietitian gave me some recommendations for healthy meal choices for breakfast and lunch. For example, she said I can have salad for lunch with croutons and a little chicken, tuna or salmon (that last one I don’t really like) occasionally rather than bread. I do need to make sure the staff take care of portion sizes, of course, because I’m pretty sure they’d otherwise throw the entire can of tuna into my salad. For breakfast, I am still allowed yoghurt with muesli, just not the crunchy kind. And thankfully, the muesli doesn’t need to be plain, it can include nuts or raisins or the like.

I did share my disappointment with her at only having lost 0.5kg over the past week when I stepped on the scale yesterday. The dietitian said that this is a pretty great result though.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would tell you I got my benefits payment slip last Monday and am grateful to report I will still get enough money that I can still spend some on fun things like polymer clay supplies or the like. I don’t know whether I shared this in my coffee share posts before, but my long-term care copay will automatically be withheld from my benefits. The copay is income-dependent and, because I’m married, my husband’s income is counted too. Then again, because I’m married, I do get to pay the so-called “low” copay because the government does take into account the responsibility I have for contributing to his household expenses too.

The copay is calculated based on our combined income from two years back, so 2020 for this year. Because my husband earned more money in 2020 than in 2019 and had a lot of tax deductibles in 2019, I was expecting a higher copay by at least €100 a month, but fearing it might be as much as €200 a month. Then again, I was hoping my benefits would also be raised a little. Long story short, my net income was cut by €82 a month. That’s a lot. I realize some people won’t be able to handle this, particularly people on benefits. I am so intensely grateful that I am relatively well off.

How have you been?

Am I Good Enough for Jesus?

It’s the day after Christmas. Boxing day in the UK. Second Christmas in the Netherlands. I spent Christmas with my in-laws having a good time, then went to my and my husband’s house in Lobith. On our way from my in-laws to our house, my husband and I talked about faith. I noticed while talking with him that I’m still struggling with my faith. It isn’t so much that I don’t believe in God or that I, personally, don’t believe Jesus is my savior, but how can I be sure I’m saved if we’re saved by grace alone? How can anyone be sure?

Today, I decided to look up some Christian journaling prompts to get me started on my reflections on faith. The first one I came across asked us to write about our relationship with God. Is He a friend, a coach, a father or perhaps merely an acquaintance? I’d say, He’s a Father, but I’m not sure he’s the loving, caring father most children hopefully have.

It doesn’t help that I didn’t really grow up in a nurturing earthly family. I have hardly known love. Of course, I know rationally that my husband loves me, but when it comes to faith, I still sometimes believe that if he truly knew me, he’d believe I’d go to hell.

And God truly knows me. He knows I bought The Artist’s Way, which turns out to be pretty New Age’ish. He knows I used a censored swear word this afternoon, which no-one else knows because no-one was around. He knows I worried last Friday about the holiday money I usually get from my parents each year. God knows my heart, mind and soul. And I’m pretty sure that, like my earthly father, He’s going to judge me pretty harshly for it. And, whereas my earthly father could give me a beating and send me to my room for an hour or two, God could send me to hell for all of eternity.

And of course I do believe in Jesus. I admit I need him more than I need anything. But if faith doesn’t change me – and I’ve believed in Jesus for a year now -, isn’t it completely invalid? I do see a change in myself over the past year, but it’s so small I’m not sure it’s enough. Am I good enough for Jesus yet? I pray that I will be.

God, please show me Your will and help me be obedient to it. Help me let go of those things which are undesirable in Your view and to embrace those things that are desirable. Please help me move closer to You. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.

When I Was Fifteen

One of Mama Kat’s writer’s workshop prompts for this week is to explain how a parent or sibling would’ve described you at the age of fifteen. What an interesting thing that Mama Kat should mention age fifteen!

I turned fifteen in June of 2001. By August, looking back, I was close to insane mentally. This was the summer when I first realized I had alters inside of me, although I didn’t know what they were at the time. I just heard some type of voices that were and at the same time weren’t mine.

Neither my parents nor my younger sister knew this at the time. Still, they did realize something was up, if for no other reason, then because I didn’t care about school. I had always been a pretty studious kind of child, but this changed by November or December of 2001.

In addition, I was a rather angry, moody child. I had suffered from depression on and off since age seven or so, but it was particularly bad at age fifteen. I even made suicide plans several times during that year. My parents, being the type to dismiss mental health issues, felt I was just attention-seeking, of course.

My life turned around in a sort of positive way a few weeks before my sixteenth birthday, although no-one saw either the change or how positive it was at that point. On June 16, 2002, my father called me autistic as an insult. This led me to search the Internet for autism and to discover I may be on the spectrum myself. Although it’d take nearly five more years before I was diagnosed, in part because my parents and teachers didn’t believe me, I see this as a pivotal point in my life.

The day after this, June 17, I finally disclosed to my teacher what had been bothering me over the past year. I sugarcoated it a little, not mentioning the voices or suicidality or autism for that matter. I did tell him I was struggling with being blind in a mainstream school and that I realized I had been less than good of a student lately.

My father, at the time, worked at my school. My teacher told him that I had disclosed something to him, but he refused to tell my father what it was. This led to a really traumatic experience, because my parents demanded to know too and they weren’t kind about it at all. I am pretty sure they just tried to gain fuel for their idea that I was one giant attention-seeker.

Many years later, my parents used many of my struggles at age fifteen to “prove” this very point. I can see their perspective, sort of. Thankfully though, my current professionals don’t go along with it.

Mama’s Losin’ It

#WeekendCoffeeShare (January 16, 2021)

Hi all on this grey Saturday. Today I’m joining in with #WeekendCoffeeShare. I just had my afternoon coffee about half an hour ago. If you want a Senseo though, I can make one for you. Let’s have coffee and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, first I’d ask you how your weather is. Ours is pretty cold, but the newspaper said it isn’t even really freezing. I guess I don’t really like winter if I consider this cold. Snow is forecasted for tonight, but I doubt it’ll even create a dusting of white. That’s fine by me as I don’t like snow.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I guess I shouldn’t have said on Thursday that I am glad to live in a stable democracy. After all, the Dutch government collapsed on Friday. It’s totally justified though and no, it’s not about COVID. It’s about parents pretty much randomly being labeled as fraudulent childcare payment recipients and made to repay sometimes tens of thousands of euros that they didn’t have.

If we were having coffee, I would share that my father had his birthday yesterday. He considered the government collapse to be a welcome present, as he doesn’t support the rather conservative parties making up the government.

I phoned my father yesterday and he told me he’d also gotten some type of signal converter, so that he can read the status of his heating on his computer. I sent him a Kate Rusby CD, but it isn’t due to arrive until like the 25th.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I have been quite creative lately. I made a bath bomb on Thursday. I might take it with me into the bathtub later this evening.

My one-on-one staff also helped me bake cookies yesterday. Well, she did most of the prep, as the dough was too sticky for me to handle. That was a bit frustrating. The cookies were delicious though.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I had a long phone call with my husband yesterday. I am not going to go to our house this week-end, but I loved to hear his voice instead.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d tell you that I’m hoping to get an AFO (ankle foot orthosis) for my left foot soon. The physical therapist already E-mailed the orthopedic equipment maker, but we haven’t heard back from him. Walking is still doable without the AFO, but when I go for long’ish (like twenty minute) walks, my foot drags. This is a little painful. It also causes my shoe to get damaged quite easily. In fact, even though the orthopedic shoemaker had already put some type of buffer thing on it, the shoe was almost beyond repair after three weeks. Anyway, I’m hoping the AFO gets here soon and will be helpful.

If not, my father mentioned that, back when I was little, the doctors had mentioned surgery to lengthen my calf muscle. That probably comes with its own risks though. Besides, as long as the pain and discomfort are manageable, I don’t think any doctor would want to operate on me just to save me buying a new pair of shoes every month.

What’s been going on in your life lately?

Mother As Place of Attachment

It’s already been eighteen months since I last wrote about what I read in The Emotionally Absent Mother. Still, the book hasn’t just sat there. I struggled to move on from Mother As Source. The next section is titled Mother As Place of Attachment. Somehow, this is a really hard section. I don’t really know why. I mean, yes, part of the reason I struggle to move on in writing about this book, is that I do it publicly and what if my parents read this? Then again, I don’t really care. I’m in groups on Facebook for childhood emotional neglect and emotional abuse survivors too. Though the member list of private groups isn’t available to non-members, I’m pretty sure they know somehow. Honestly, regarding this, I care more about my husband’s opinion than my parents’.

But there’s something specifically about this section that is hard. I’m not even sure what. Maybe it’s just that I don’t have a lot of early memories of my mother. I attribute this to my father being the homemaker and primary caretaker in our household. But fathers can “mother” too.

The first question asked in the section on your mother as place of attachment, is to rate your sense of connectedness to your mother on a scale of 1 to 10. The next question is how your sense of connectedness evolved over the years.

Well, with my mother, I am generally at a 5. I don’t feel she “gets” me, but we do get along okay. Like I said when discussing mother as source, I don’t feel that I’m made of her, but she isn’t from another planet either. Or maybe she’s from Venus. I mean, we’re not constantly disconnected.

Over the years, my sense of connectedness to my mother has stayed the same. I never quite felt like we had a strong bond, but I didn’t feel totally alienated either.

My father is a different story. We had a strong connection, maybe around 8, when I was a child. Now we’re at a 3 at best. Like I said in my mother as source post, as a child, I saw my father as the embodiment of intelligence, success and well what other positive characteristics are there really? When I got to question his having sole ownership of the truth at around age 15, things started to change. Or did things change earlier on? I’m not sure.

Another question is about bodily contact. This is where I get to question whether the schism occurred earlier than age 15. When I was a young child, my father definitely did give both my sister and me lots of opportunities for bodily contact. I remember when my sister and I were little, my father would wrap us in a towel and drag us to our bedroom. He called this “swordfish” and my sister always asked for “sordsish”.

My mother says that, around age 7 or 8, I stopped wanting to sit in my parents’ lap. From then on, bodily contact like hugging or good-night kisses was very ritualistic. I remember around age 11, being forced to read a certain number of pages in Braille if I wanted a good-night kiss. This at the time felt very distressing. I haven’t studied emotional development except in the context of intellectual disability, so I have really no idea whether it’s normal to still want good-night kisses at that age. I guess not.

As a side note, I did initiate physical contact such as hand-holding with practically every adult until I was at least 12. In my psych eval report from age 11, the ed psych notes that I claim not to need a cane but grab her hand immediately anyway. That first bit was no doubt related to my difficult accepting my blindness, but I don’t think the second bit is fully. Even as an adult, I truly crave physical contact and am a bit indiscriminate in who can give it to me. I mean, I am pretty clear that no male staff can provide me with physical comfort (or help me with personal care). With regards to female staff though (and the entire current staff of my home is female), I do accept physical comfort. I honestly don’t know how my husband feels about this.

PoCoLo
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