I didn't do a check-in post last Saturday because I was exhausted. Tomorrow my youngest brother leaves to go spend three years in Guam with the Navy, so last weekend we had a quick family-togetherness weekend. It even worked out that my second-youngest brother was passing through town on tour with his band so we all got to be together for a short while. Last Friday night I drove up to Salt Lake to watch them perform in a somewhat sketchy location (the music was great despite the surroundings). Then I got a very small amount of sleep and turned around to drive back up to Salt Lake in order for us to have a family breakfast together before he left to drive with his band to Boise. Then I spent the rest of the day preparing for the party we had last night to say goodbye to my little brother. The weekend was quite nice and everything went well, but there were a lot of things crammed into just a few days.
I have also spent most of this week feeling exhausted and stressed out. I didn't sleep enough last weekend and then I compounded it by staying up late most nights this entire week. I also didn't make it to the grocery store last weekend like I usually do, there were issues at work, and my bedroom was invaded by hornets that decided they'd rather nest in my house than die outside in the cold. Thankfully everything has been resolved; I got paid on Thursday and stocked up on groceries, had a pest control company come spray the hornets, and spent today mostly relaxing and recuperating.
I realized today that my physical and emotional health are intertwined and that I haven't been doing a good job taking care of either one. I do things like stay up too late or eat poorly because I feel depressed, but then I feel depressed because I am staying up too late and eating poorly. I also have a tendency to avoid doing things because I feel bad, and then I feel bad because stuff is piling up and my house is a mess. This afternoon I didn't have anything scheduled so after running a few errands I came home and just spent the day here instead of trying to find stuff to fill it up. I have been cleaning the house, doing laundry, going through piles of papers, reading a book instead of surfing the internet, and generally taking care of all the things I've been neglecting for a while. It feels good. This week I also signed up for the 'holiday health challenge' at work and I am determined to do it.
I spent my morning today at a conference sponsored by AMCAP, the Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychotherapists. I mostly decided to go because it was happening close to my home and because a few people I know were speaking at it, and even if they were busy I hoped that I could connect with them for a few minutes. The theme of the conference was 'reconciling faith and feelings' in relation to homosexuality and the Church. I admit that I was a bit reluctant about going because I was tired this morning and I wasn't sure what messages would be shared. However, I am so grateful that I went because it ended up being the sort of spiritual boost I needed. As I listened to the speakers I had a lot of personal insights and promptings about things that were not necessarily what they were speaking about. The format was a panel discussion with a number of different people who had slightly different views and agendas. I initially thought that it might end up feeling antagonistic but it really wasn't at all. Everyone responded to the questions posed in their own way and they respectfully wrestled with topics like labels, what 'change' means, identity, family support, and what it means to be gay and Mormon.
As I mentioned, several things people said really stood out to me and made me spend the rest of the day thinking about them. Outside of that context they even seem a bit trivial and obvious to me now but at the time they really hit me. Several speakers talked about the importance of becoming comfortable with ourselves and becoming authentic before we can have healthy relationships. Another speaker, in talking about something else, mentioned being really comfortable with being single. For some reason that somewhat throwaway remark hit me hard, because I am not comfortable with being single. I realized that I have been spending a lot of my time trying hard to get back in a relationship because I think it will make me happy and validate me. I realized today that the sadness in my life doesn't come from being alone, it comes from being abandoned by someone I cared about deeply. That distinction is important, because on some level I had been thinking that if I just weren't alone anymore, that would heal my problem. But I don't think it will. I need to work on being happy with myself and taking care of myself and rebuilding my spiritual and emotional health before I can be truly happy, whether or not I am still alone. There were some other things said that I'm still working on processing. Right now my goal for the next week is to get more sleep, spend less time on Facebook (it's become my chosen method of checking out of reality), make some pies, and enjoy my break from work on Thursday and Friday. We'll see how it goes.