Posted in adventure, faith, family, happiness, Learning, Life, Musings, People, random, women

Grace Period

A funny thing that recurs repeatedly for me is the realization of how well I think I know myself, how much I think I know about the way I show up and operate within my life…only to be smacked upside the head with reminders of just how forgetful I am. Now, here’s the thing- I can predict pretty accurately how I am going to feel and react and show up in a familiar situation. But put me in a new situation, one where I feel completely out of sorts and out of my element…and all bets are off.

Last night was the fifth night I spent in this incredibly odd condo I rented in Maine (more on that later) and, had you asked me even yesterday morning- even last night, for that matter- how I felt about all of this, I don’t know what I would have said. Probably depends on who was asking. I might have lied and said (in a rather flat and unenthusiastic voice, as I am a terrible liar) “Oh, it’s good- just getting settled, you know.” More likely still, I would have talked about how gorgeous the neighborhood is, which is absolutely the truth, and mentioned that I was kind of lonely, the condo was not exactly what I’d expected, and I was FINE.

A few of my trusted friends and family got to hear the story of my toddler-style tantrum in the bathtub the night before last when I realized the tubs plug didn’t work, after I’d dumped in my expensive bubble bath and jumped in, excited after not showering for two days. I was REALLY looking forward to that bath. My mom is the only one who got to hear the story of how, while loading the new dishwasher that is set up completely differently than my old dishwasher, I forgot that the silverware was in the front and stabbed myself in the webbing of my hand with a dirty fork. Hard enough to draw blood. These are little things, I know, but when everything is so different- and I mean everything- these little things feel so big. Insult to injury, you know?

What I have said to no one at all are the things that bother me the most. Like, why am I not happier than this? Why don’t I feel the way I expected to feel? I got what I wanted most in the world, shouldn’t I be jumping for joy? What if I made a huge mistake? Why am I so homesick already? What is wrong with me?

I have felt this unnecessary pressure to plop right into this entirely new life, three thousand miles away from everything familiar, and be ecstatic about all of it. Overjoyed that I got lost three times in one car ride to the local CVS. Thrilled to shit about the dead spot in town where my GPS glitches out, telling me “turn right in one mile” “turn right” and “proceed to route” all in ten seconds. I feel embarrassed that I’m homesick when I couldn’t wait to leave, embarrassed that I haven’t slipped into life here like an old pair of jeans. I know how lucky I am to get to do all of this- keep my job and follow my dreams and get the adventure of a lifetime- so I’m a little ashamed of how ungrateful I’ve been feeling. Not ungrateful, even. Just…freaked out. Lost. Adrift. Frustrated.

Well Jesus Christ, Courtney. I am not a Muppet on Sesame Street. This is real life, it’s my real life, and it’s pretty turned upside down and inside out right now. I spent the last month packing and cleaning, sorting and selling. I spent five days driving from California to Maine in a car with two cats, a kid, and half of my belongings. I spent four nights in different states. I arrived here on Monday and was back to work by Wednesday morning. I am trying to set my life up in the midst of a pandemic while half-heartedly quarantining, which is easier than it sounds when you take into account that I know exactly four people here and they are all one family. I am exhausted, disoriented, and on my own in a way that I am unfamiliar with. In Monterey, I was on my own, but I didn’t have to be…and I knew where everything was, you know?

So yesterday I started thinking about what I could do to restore some sense of normalcy to my life. Thursday night, I’d unpacked my candles and incense, my crystals, tarot cards, and books and arranged them on a shelf as a sort of mini-altar. Later that evening, we picked up dinner from a restaurant in town and sat down together, Cam and I, at the dining room table and had dinner. I liked that a lot. Yesterday, I meditated for the first time in a long time. Last night, I cooked dinner here for the first time, and again, we sat down together to eat. After dinner, we sat in the living room- she watched TV while I read, and it was nice to spend time together.

We don’t have a yard here and I was worried that would be a problem with a dog, but…actually, it’s been kind of a bonus. There is a beautiful beach half a block from my door, so Lucy gets walked about four times every day, which means I get to walk four times every day! I like that a lot, too. The sunrises here are the most incredible things I’ve ever seen, and a brisk walk at sunrise is a pretty great way to start a day.

And yes, the condo is quirky- it’s filled with too much furniture and SO much junk. The floors slope up and down, the blinds are broken, most of the furniture is rickety and falling apart. It’s also not very clean. BUT: the beds are clean and new, the carpets and couches are nice, the washer and dryer are very new. Most importantly, though, it feels warm, and not spooky at all- which is important in a place that’s over a hundred years old! It’s so quiet here, and very dark at night- no sirens, no neighbors outside yelling, no loud music or fireworks.

There is much to like and be appreciative of, but I forgot that it takes time. I forgot that I might need a moment to catch my breath, to figure out where the steak knives are, to feel at home. I forgot that the way I felt the first day I arrived wouldn’t be the way I always felt, or even how I felt the next day. I forgot that I needed a grace period. And today, I am feeling a lot better.

Oh, and I also found a hardware store and bought an old fashioned bathtub plug. So, I think I’m going to be okay pretty soon.

Posted in Addiction, adventure, faith, friendship, happiness, Learning, Life, Musings, People, random, recovery

Leaving Here a Different Person

I moved into this house in February of 2015, at the end of a short but incredibly destructive relapse. I believe it lasted about four or five months, that last little run. It felt like a million years. I didn’t know it was the end, of course. How I was able to sweet talk my way into this place, I still don’t know- I had horrible credit and was in the midst of bankruptcy, strung out and about to be homeless. I pulled up in front of this place in my little beat up Santa Fe, and I knew this was the house I wanted. When the landlady was hesitant, I wrote her a letter assuring her that I would always make my rent my top priority, that I would take care of the place. Whatever I said worked, and though at the time I was just saying whatever I could to get my foot in the door, it turns out I kept my word.

In mid-March of that same year, I finally reached my breaking point. Of course, it was awful. I had a terrible screaming match with my sister and my daughter one night, followed by a sleepless night and then a breakdown at work…and that was it for me. That was all she wrote. March 16th, 2015 was my first day clean.

From that moment forward, I began to change in ways both visible and not. To be honest with you, I feel like I have almost nothing in common with the girl who walked through that front door for the first time almost six years ago. And yes, I was a 39 year old “woman”, but let me assure you, I was really just a girl. Lost and scared, angry and sick. I had really begun to lose all hope that I would ever, ever break free of my addiction.

And when I did, it was so…uneventful. I mean, after all that fighting and panic, the despair and the fear, it was just easy. That life had become so fucking exhausting, it was a relief to let it go.

Listen, I don’t want to constantly harp on that part of my life at all. As far as I’m concerned, it’s in the past and I’d like to leave it there. But there is no way to celebrate where I am now without mentioning where I was then. Five years and eight months ago, I was as far from okay as I could possibly be. Today…well, today things are light years away.

Tomorrow, I will walk out this front door for the very last time. My landlord is sad to see me go. My neighbors have stopped by to tell me they’ll miss me, that I’ve been a good neighbor. I was a good tenant, a good neighbor.

I’m going to tell you something about myself that I probably imply sometimes, but I don’t think I’ve ever really said it outright- I harbor a stubborn belief that I am actually a terrible person. That if people really knew me, the REAL me, they would be horrified. This is such a deeply rooted belief that it is hard for me to even accept evidence that proves otherwise. I’m sure there are many reasons why, but most of them are because I really did behave terribly for many, many years. I was mean, and loud, and I hurt a lot of people. I wasn’t a good friend, a good mother, or a good girlfriend. I certainly wasn’t a good neighbor or tenant.

But you know what? You know what never occurred to me until like a week ago and I am not even kidding? That person was not me. That person was a version of me with a chemically altered brain. Druggy me is NOT WHO I AM. Those behaviors I exhibited do not represent the person I have always been on a core level. Can you imagine that I never understood that until almost six years after getting clean? That I have still been walking around thinking I am just a giant piece of shit because of the life I lived in my addiction? I am far enough from it all now to feel…just so, so sad for that girl who existed in such misery for so long. I am far enough now to wish I could help her. Which, of course, I did. I saved her life, actually.

So, here’s the thing- I am going to leave this place a different person than I was when I left. When my landlord says I have been a good tenant, it’s not because I fooled her- it’s because I paid my rent on time and never gave her any trouble. When my neighbors say they’ll miss me, it’s not because I fooled them, it’s because they like me. When my friends come by to help me wash blinds and scrub walls, it’s not because they think I’m someone I’m not- most of them have known me for twenty or thirty years! They KNOW me. And they love me, even so.

I am moving all the way across the country, leaving behind a lot of things- my safe haven, my comfortable routine, friends that are family to me, the town where I grew up in more ways than one. But the best thing I am leaving behind is the idea that I am not a good person. I will never be perfect, but I am good. I am good enough. I am strong and smart and loving. I am driven and funny and unique. The good things that happen in my life are not a mistake, I am not pulling off some kind of cosmic, karmic heist. It’s all a result of my choices and effort and maybe a little luck. And I am pretty proud of myself today.

Anyway, I’m off on this adventure. I’ll catch up with you when I get where I’m going. Wish me luck!

Posted in adventure, family, fun, kids, Life, motherhood, Musings, People, random, women

So Many Breakdowns, So Little Time

The range of emotions I have been grappling with over the past several days has been pretty astonishing. On Saturday, I had a yard sale- maybe the third one I’ve ever had? I remembered that morning, as I was making my ten billionth trip from the back yard to the front, exactly why I had only had two others before. Because they SUCK. I don’t like sitting around, waiting for people to show up. I don’t like haggling single dollar amounts over my belongings. I don’t like feeling judged when people slow down in their cars, look at my stuff, and then drive off. And it’s boring. And it was HOT. And my back hurt. Yep, on Saturday, I was a full-on whiner.

On Sunday, I let people come over and pick through the remains for free. I put up a post on Facebook marketplace, in several groups I’m in, and said “It’s all free, don’t message me about specific items, don’t make a mess, and just let me know you are on your way over please.” Guess how many messages I got about specific items? Like thirty. And people are so RUDE. Messages that just said “Address?”- no hello, no good morning, nothing. Honestly, I would rather drive my crap to a donation station than give it to a rude person. So, I ignored those ones and only replied to the polite people. On Sunday, I was petty.

Yesterday though…yesterday was special. In the morning, I had a panicked fit because my ex, who has been my literal savior throughout this whole moving process, had the audacity to choose employment over helping me for free. I know, what a jerk, right?! Hahaha! I kept stopping mid-breakdown, as I shrieked the list of all the things I needed to do but wasn’t going to be able to accomplish without help, to announce that I wasn’t actually mad at him, I was just freaking the fuck out. But I could tell he felt guilty anyway, because, you know…I’m his assigned human in distress. Poor Devon. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know we’ve had a rocky, hard relationship. When we fight, which is not unusual, they are big fights. We put up with a lot from each other, but we help each other a lot, too. So, Monday morning, I was ridiculous.

Later Monday morning, I realized that when I’d rented the AWD car to drive cross country, I’d forgotten to specify the cross-country part. Which is why it was such a reasonable price. I had to fix that, obviously, and found myself about fifteen hundred dollars lighter as a result. Five minutes later, the guy at Uhaul told me my trailer hitch hadn’t arrived and they had no ETA on it, either. So that’s bad. Later Monday morning, I was a lunatic.

Monday afternoon, I flooded the laundry room. It has happened two other times since I’ve lived here, but never to me- a point I’d taken great pride in. I was smart enough to never leave anything in the sink the washer drains into. Well, until yesterday, that is. On the plus side, the floors underneath the washer and dryer are super clean now. On the down side, the litter box was basically poop soup. I still haven’t dealt with that. On Monday afternoon, I was defeated.

Monday evening, I realized that both of my children were ungrateful sociopaths, and that it was probably my fault because I am a terrible mother. On Monday evening, I was resentful. And hurt.

And those are just the highlights, my friends. I didn’t even mention the guilt I felt while looking at my cats who are clueless about what next week holds for them. Or the part where I was laying in bed, wondering if it would be weird to change my mind…or if I even could at this point! I mean, I signed a lease. I forked over the cash. It’s too late…right? Or even the part where I imagined my future self lonely and full of regret, comforting my sobbing child as she begs to go home to California. There’s more, I’m sure, but I’ll spare you. I think you have a pretty clear idea of my mental state by now.

You know what’s missing, though? Gratitude. Excitement. Joy, elation, the awesome sense of adventure that fueled this fire in me to begin with. I will give myself a pass at the moment, simply because…a move of this magnitude is hard. And doing it in this short of a time is really hard. But I will get it done, just like I get everything done- maybe not perfectly, but well enough.

In a little more than a week, I will set off for Maine, yowling cats and all, and this chapter will be done as another begins. I’m going to do the best I can to enjoy the journey through the country while keeping my expectations low. As long as we get there alive and in one piece, I’ll be happy. In the meantime, I’m hoping today won’t hold too many surprises…or if it does, let them be happy ones.

Posted in adventure, fun, Goals, humor, Life, Musings, People, random

Crazy Busy Ostrich

It is 6:45 on a Friday morning. I have 12 days left before I leave this house- 11 before I need to be completely packed, stored, cleaned out and polished. Yesterday, I mailed off the check for my new place. I drove it to the post office and put it in the big blue box myself, just to be on the safe side. Not that I don’t trust my mailman, I do. I’ll miss that guy. But…I just wanted to see it off myself, I guess.

I start work in 15 minutes- thirteen now, so I guess this will be quick. I am…well, I’m just gonna be honest here, I guess; I am WAY behind. Aside from three absent bookshelves, my living room looks the same as it always does, only messier. I haven’t packed dishes or cleaned out the fridge. I haven’t packed clothes or…much of anything really. We took one small load of stuff to storage so far, and that’s it.

I know I have so much to do. What I don’t know is why the hell I haven’t been doing it! Like seriously, what the hell is wrong with me?!

I mean, for sure, I like my comforts at all times. I refuse to be without my TV or my coffeemaker, all that good stuff. I won’t do it for more than a night. But for the love of God, I could at least sort through the piles of paperwork, do some filing, make some phone calls.

I’m having a yard sale tomorrow- already a horrible idea in the middle of a pandemic, but kind of necessary considering the mountains of shit I own that is too nice to give away but not nice enough to sell online- and do I have those things organized, or even have a vague idea of what I want to do to set it up? Of course not. I suppose I’ll just wing it? That sounds awesome, right?

Thankfully, my little daughter is going out of town with her dad this weekend, so I can be free and clear to work on things. And I won’t have to work my normal job on the weekend, either, so that helps. But I swear to all that is holy, if I catch myself resting on my laurels, pretending that I’ve earned yet another break, I’m gonna kick my own ass. I don’t know how that is physically possible, but I will find a way.

You know, I talk a lot about the good stuff here, and all of the things I am pretty decent at. But I have talents I never mention, too. Bad talents. Things I am amazing at, except they are terrible things. No one talks about their dark side skillset. One of mine is avoidance. Writing this blog while I have mountains of crap to deal with is a pretty good example, actually. Waiting until the last second and then freaking out because I chose to pretend like I had things totally under control all along.

Laziness is way up there, too. I’ve found work-arounds for that one along the way, as one does in life. But in this case, there is no shortcut, really. I’m not rich, and moving across the country is expensive! If there is stuff I can do, I have to do it. Otherwise, I would have just hired a moving company and been done with it. But that wasn’t in the cards this time, and that’s okay.

Or, it will be. As long as this crazy busy ostrich pulls her head out of the sand pretty quick and gets some stuff done.

I swear, I’m gonna whip this place into shape this weekend. I mean it.

Oh God. Help.

Posted in adventure, faith, Goals, Life, manifestation, Musings, People, random

Rollercoaster

My life is an awful lot like a trip to an amusement park right now. And no, I don’t mean crowded, expensive, chaotic and filled with terrible, overpriced food.

Well, actually…never mind. That is also accurate. But the angle I was going for was more the rollercoaster thing. You wait in line for eons, inching forward a few steps at a time. Bored, but trying to make the best of it. You get closer and closer, but you aren’t sure how close you are to your turn because the way the line is set up, you can only see so far ahead. Next thing you know, you’re being waved through, rushed into your seat, the bar slams down across your chest, and…suddenly you aren’t so sure you want to do this anymore. But before you can say a word, off you go, shooting forward, then up, up, up! Way too fast, and way scarier than you expected, but there’s nothing you can do except hold on and hope for the best.

Yep, that’s how my life has felt the past two weeks. Except it’s a daily event and I am on this ride alone, and no one is manning the controls. The me that hoped and planned and prayed so desperately for all of the things I was handed seems to have wandered off into the ether somewhere, leaving in her place the version of me who keeps asking questions like “What the fuck?” and “Why are you doing this to me?” (and yes, that is me asking myself, in the most accusatory voice possible, why I am doing this to me. I’m not making this up, this actually took place inside my head.)

It’s like I lost the thread. The one that connected me to my reason for wanting this, and wanting this badly. Suddenly it seems like this is too much, it’s too far, and there are too many unknowns. I am worried about being lonely, getting sick, dying alone, and not knowing how to get to the grocery store in the snow. In my current mindset, these things all seem equally likely and equally horrible.

Lucky for me, I know that this is nothing more than my fear taking control of the wheel. Although I didn’t anticipate it, I should have. After all, my anxiety loves nothing more than taking an adventure and trying to turn it into a horror show.

To be fair, this is more of an undertaking than I had expected. The logistics alone of moving two cats, a dog, and two people 2700 miles away are…kind of nightmarish. If I had unlimited time and money, it would be a totally different story, but I don’t. I have a cap on both, and a lot of stuff to deal with in a short time frame even before we start the actual move. I could also really use a truck right about now. Of my own, so I don’t have to ask for help constantly. Right now, I have 21 days to button things up here. I also have a LOT of anguish.

You know what else I have? Faith that it’s all going to work out. And that’s the truth. I’m not just blowing happy smoke up your backside. At the center of it all, I still believe that this will be an incredible thing, an adventure that enriches our lives. I believe it is absolutely meant to be. Something wonderful will come of this, mark my words. I don’t know what it is, but I know what I feel.

I can know that, and still be afraid. Still have moments of doubt and hesitation, still cry my eyes out for the safe little life I am leaving behind. I have room for all of those things.

I just cannot allow them to hold me back or keep me stuck. They can be here, but they can’t get in my way.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go clean out the cupboards. I only have 21 days left!

Posted in Life

Jump Anyway

It’s almost five in the morning, and I’ve been up for around two hours already. Despite the fact that I didn’t go to bed until later than usual last night, I still woke up extra early. My bottom right eyelid has been twitching for about two weeks now- not constantly, thank God, but often enough that it’s starting to make me feel like a cartoon character that is on the verge of a breakdown. Oh, and I’ve been straight-up spamming you all with my endless parade of blog posts. I mean, you don’t have to read them if you don’t want to…although I’m glad you are. Sincerely. But mostly, I just need a place to unload and sort through my current tangle of feelings. Because…I’m scared. I’m not ashamed to admit it.

I’m a person who is always reaching a little higher, and this has served me quite well over the years. If it wasn’t for that determined spirit, I doubt I would be where I am right now. Perhaps I would’ve stopped trying to get clean after the first dozen failures. Maybe I wouldn’t have enrolled myself in technical school while I was still drowning in addiction, promising myself that I’d be clean by the time my classes started- a promise I kept, by the way, for quite a while at least.

In early 2008, I was living in Sparks, Nevada, in a small apartment with Aisley, who was nine- coincidentally, the same age Camryn is now- and life was a struggle. I was clean, and had a decent job, a bank account, a shitty little Nissan Altima, and not much else. My boyfriend at the time was awesome, but had no interest in moving things to the next stage, I was broke all the time, and I was homesick. I wanted to be back near the ocean, I craved the green trees and damp air after so long in the high desert. My job at the time had some design on promoting me once I had passed my coding exam, and had offered to pay the two hundred dollar fee for the test.

But my longing was too much. One day, I walked into my boss Rosa’s office, my stomach in knots, and I said “I can’t let you guys pay for my test. I think I want to move home.” She took it much less personally than I expected, and eventually, she told me they would like to pay for my exam anyway, even knowing I was leaving. Just because. I could go way off course here with stories of things like this happening for me- examples of over the top kindnesses shown to me beyond anything I would ever have dreamed of or expected, but I won’t. I’ll just tell you that there have been many. This was a big one.

And so, I took the damn test. One year of full time night classes did not adequately prepare me for that damn test. It was HARD. I didn’t know a lot of the answers. But I did my best, and guessed a lot (thank God for multiple choice) and at the end, I exited the exam room feeling defeated. “How’d it go?” the proctor asked me. “It sucked.” I replied, very professionally. “Huh…well, at least you passed.” She said. “What? I did? Are you sure?!” I demanded- I was so certain I had failed, that I made her double check her work. “Yep. You passed.” She assured me.

Holy hell! I left that place so excited and elated that I felt as though my blood were carbonated. I polished up my resume, adding my new credentials to the rather meager little thing, and I faxed it (this was 2008, remember? Faxes were still king.) to every hospital in Monterey County. I even sent one to my dream employer, sure that it was a long shot, but hey! A girl can dream, right?

So imagine my surprise when my dream employer was the first to call me back. Almost immediately. We had a phone interview, the HR person asked me to update my resume again to include something I hadn’t thought important enough to list, and then she called me back for an in-person interview in two weeks.

And this is where I really got risky. I gave up my job, my apartment, and my relationship, and I moved into my friends living room on an air mattress…for an interview. I didn’t have a backup plan. There was no plan B. But something was pulling me so hard in that direction that it almost felt like it wasn’t a choice anymore. Everything was pointing me this way. My interview went off without a hitch, the job paid me double my highest ever wage from day one, and within three months I was living in a cute little place on a forested hill where I could see peeks of the ocean from the deck. For the first time in my whole life, I could buy groceries without keeping a running tally in my head of what I could spend. I had followed the signs, and they did not lead me astray. Even though it looked like a huge gamble, I really don’t know if it was. I think I was supposed to do exactly what I did.

Now, almost thirteen years later, I am finding myself being swept into that current once again. When I started this post, I was going to say that the main difference is that I have so much more to lose this time…but that isn’t true. I’m not in danger of losing anything. I am actually in much better shape this time around. I have the blessing of my job of twelve plus years, a massive safety net that I didn’t have before. I have really good credit. And I have accrued some wisdom in the past decade or so. When I put it like that, it seems pretty simple. This morning, I was thinking to myself “What if this is a huge mistake? Like, what if I get there and I’m miserable and I have to come back here in six months and admit it was a bad choice to uproot my life and move almost three thousand miles away?”

And you know what that little voice in my head said?: “So what? So what if it is, so what if you do? You aren’t allowed to mess up? You have to do everything perfectly, all the time?”

Well. I didn’t think of that.

“And besides,” the little voice said, “You’re focused on the few things that could go wrong. But there are a million things that could go right, too. You have no idea. The possibilities are endless.”

Listen, I don’t know who that little voice belongs to- if it’s part of me, or if it comes from some other, smarter, more evolved being…but it has a point. And I think the point is, in order to live life to the fullest, sometimes you have to take risks. Sometimes you have to be okay with knowing there is no guarantee that things will work out. You have to make your peace with other people not understanding your choices. You have to be afraid and ask anyway, try anyway, jump anyway.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a rental agreement to sign.

Posted in Dreams, family, Goals, happiness, kids, Life, love, motherhood, Musings, parenting, People, relationships, women

Telling On Myself

I wrote a post yesterday. Ever since I posted it, I’ve been annoyed about it. You want to know why? Good, ’cause I’m gonna tell you- I’m annoyed because, though there were a few grains of truth in there, it was really a fictional account of how I want to feel; it had nothing to do with how I actually felt right then.

Do you want to know how I actually feel? Good, ’cause I’m gonna tell you that, too. I am scared. Scared half to death. And also, in case you were uncertain, I want you to know that I have absolutely no idea what I am doing. Like, I mean, I guess I kind of know, but what I mean is…I’m not really sure I should be the one in charge of making big decisions around here. I’m not nearly as confident as I probably seem. I often feel like a very young woman in a middle-aged woman’s body, baffled by life. I frequently wonder if I deserve the good things that happen in my life, and then I feel guilty, which is weird.

I want very much to be positive, but there’s a fine line between positivity and being disingenuous. Yesterday, I was having a really hard day and in an attempt to bolster myself, I wrote a post that was utter bullshit. I’m telling you this because honesty is so important- now more than ever, in my opinion. When I tell the truth here, when I am really open about my feelings and struggles, I know that someone will read my words and feel less alone. I know, because it’s happened time after time. I put my real feelings into words, and someone says “Oh my God, I thought it was just me, thank you for saying that.”

We don’t tell the truth about human stuff, and then we suffocate on shame. As they say in recovery, we compare our insides to other peoples outsides. And that’s not a fair comparison. Social media makes it so much easier to do that, because we post the best pictures, and the funny moments, and we leave out the personal stuff that makes us real people. Well, guess what? I’m a real person. Flawed as can be.

Yesterday, I had a terrible realization. I realized that I have made the last ten years about my kids (that isn’t the terrible part, stay with me), and the past five I doubled-maybe tripled- down as a parent. But I did it wrong, I think. I gave these girls the impression that I lived only for them, to serve them and save them and give to them, even if that meant overlooking myself. And now, when I have this amazing thing happening for me, I am being met with open resentment. I am selfish, I have ALWAYS been selfish, I don’t deserve help, I don’t deserve appreciation…UNLESS I am doing what they want me to do. It occurred to me yesterday that I kinda have no one who is really in my corner. And man, that makes me sad. Like, really, really sad.

Do they love me? Oh, without a doubt. That’s not it at all. It’s the lack of boundaries with them, the path I laid out that is the problem. I gave as much as I could in some areas to make up for what I perceived as shortfalls in other areas. And now I find myself in a lonely place because I devoted myself to people who are ultimately supposed to grow up and go off to their own lives. Obviously, my nine year old is still dependent on me, but she’s spoiled, too. And that is my fault. But my eldest is PISSED, and cannot see beyond her own needs right now. Needs that are, I might add, not mine to meet. At all. She’s 23.

Yesterday, it hit me that I need to take care of myself and show up for myself, especially if I’m the only one doing it. So all this family resistance I am hitting is actually only driving home the point that I have got to do what makes me happy. Because making other people happy is great, but it isn’t getting MY needs met. My kids will be fine. I will always be there for them, but I will also be there for me. As I should have been all along.

So yesterday, I painted a pretty picture that didn’t tell the real story. Today, I am telling the truth. Because you deserve to hear it, and I need to lay it out, too. Life is hard, being a grown up is hard, parenting is hard. For everyone. Most of the time. You are not alone, and I know I’m not either. One thing I wrote yesterday is true, though. Things really do have a way of working out. I’m counting on it.

Posted in faith, happiness, inner peace, Life, manifestation, mindfulness, Musings, People, random

No Complaints Here

When I first moved into this house over five and a half years ago, one of the first things I noticed was the birds. Because I get up so much earlier than most people, I am privy to the quietest parts of the day, when all of the birds are in charge of the world. I am not a bird watcher in the technical sense. I don’t know much about them at all, really, though I can tell the difference between a crow, a gull, and a hummingbird- those are the ones that hang out with me the most. I was just sitting outside, listening to the crows cawing and watching my hummingbirds at the feeder, thinking…I will miss this part. My porch and the birds, and the view from right here.

But it’s time. If everything continues to go smoothly (as smoothly as a move of this magnitude can go, anyway) and I do, indeed, find myself sitting on another porch, overlooking another view, a month from today…then I am at peace with that. And you know what? If everything falls through (though I truly hope it doesn’t) and for some reason I am sitting on the same porch, looking at the same view, a month from today…well, I will be at peace with that, too. Okay, that feels like a lie a little bit, but the point is- my life is really blessed, any way you crack it.

I’ve wasted my time on two long posts that were nothing but stories about stress and worry and complaints, and…you’ll never see them. You know why? None of that shit even matters. All the things I am worried about will fall into place. All of my stress will be for nothing. Complaining doesn’t help at all.

Everything is going to be okay. And when I get caught up in worries, stress, and complaining, I cut myself off from my intuition. Self-doubt garbles the message and makes me second guess myself. I’m not going to do that. I’m going to keep going, step by step, and have faith in myself and faith in the universe.

Things have a way of working out, this much I do know.

I really will miss my hummingbirds, though. Maybe I’ll send the new tenants a feeder and ask them to please look after them. I think I will do that.

Posted in Life

Where Do I Even Begin…? Part 2

Okay, if I can finish part two today (I finished the first part yesterday but forgot to publish it) then maybe I can get the whole story to you in one day. Or, at least, the part of the story that exists so far. If you haven’t read part one yet, you should do that or you might be confused. I’d link to it here, but it’s been so long since I’ve used WordPress that I can’t figure out how to do anything anymore, and I’m running out of time. 🙂

So, you all know me by now. You know I’m big on prayer and meditation. Over the past several years, since I’ve gotten clean and pulled my life together, my inner voice, my intuition, has grown loud and clear. What mucks it up for me most of all is my own self-doubt and fear, which is understandable considering the shit show my life had been up until 2015. Trust is a hard thing to rebuild, even when it’s your relationship with yourself. Perhaps even more so when it’s with yourself; looking back, I’ve had a much easier time forgiving and forgetting with others than I ever have with me, but…makes sense. After all, I wrecked my life thoroughly for many years. But I have to live with me, so I had to learn, slowly, to trust myself. I’m not the person I was before.

But as usual, I digress. I knew there was more to this trip for me than just a breather from my grim reality. This was my third trip back east in as many years, and I knew in my heart this was my deciding trip. If I was still in love with it this time, I needed to make up my mind about moving. Guess what? Not only was I still in love, I was even more in love this time. So, on a sunny September morning in the little cottage that looked out over the Atlantic ocean, I sat down in front of a big window and I prayed for a sign that being there was what I was supposed to do. “And not a hint, either, please.” I said, “I need it to be clear, otherwise I’ll talk myself out of it.”

Well, a few hours later, I got a message from a friend I’d known in Reno years ago. He said “Courtney, I see you’re in Maine. I have a friend there who is looking for someone to rent his condo on the beach.”

I mean…it doesn’t really get much clearer than that, does it?

From there, things really took off. I enjoyed the rest of my trip, of course. But in the back of my mind, after speaking with the owner of the condo and understanding that the place was mine if I wanted it, I knew the universe was telling me it was time. Time to take action. Time to take one of those leaps of faith that had always worked out so well for me in the past. Time to stop wavering and make a decision.

Coming home to California was hard. I missed my house and my pets and my normal life, but also…all the traffic and graffiti, all the garbage piled up on the sides of the road through San Francisco and San Jose was jarring after so much beauty. The air was clearer, thank God, but you could still smell the smoke. And being in my house after living in such a minimalist environment for a week made me feel suffocated. I wanted to throw away almost everything I owned.

I got home on a Saturday. On Sunday evening, I went up to my bosses house- she also happens to be one of my dearest friends- and I told her about the condo. I told her that I wanted to go, at least for a year. She told me she didn’t think it was going to happen. She didn’t think they would agree to letting me go. I felt disheartened and a little nervous, but I said I wanted to ask anyway. What’s the harm in asking, right?

So, on Tuesday morning (because I chickened out on Monday) I wrote what might have been the most unprofessional email of my life. Because, see, I wasn’t trying to be Courtney the employee, I was trying to be Courtney, the human being you have known for thirteen years now. I explained a lot of things that were highly personal, including financial stuff. I made it clear that I knew what I was saying was neither polished nor appropriate, but I wanted my reasoning to be understood. I asked my boss to look it over. She said it was terrible and too much. I sent it anyway.

A few minutes later, I got an abrupt response from my director. Maybe three sentences to my three paragraphs. She wasn’t sure, we didn’t really do that, but she’d make some inquiries. My heart sank a little bit. I’d already decided I would graciously accept whatever answer I was given, but…I also knew that whatever answer I got, it was time for me to start getting my ducks in a row. I updated my LinkedIn and began searching jobs. Maybe I couldn’t take this opportunity, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t start looking for the next one.

Then, last week, I woke up one morning with a funny feeling. I felt light and effervescent, kind of, as if my body knew something I didn’t. The thought “Good news is coming!” and “You’re gonna get good news today!” kept running through my head. I had no reason at all to think this, no indication of any sort that things were moving along. Nevertheless, the thoughts kept coming, non-stop. It was weird, for sure, but I swear on my life I am telling the truth.

And then I got the email. “Courtney, I have good news! We do allow this type of employment now.” There was more, but…what?! Are you kidding me?! After sending effusive thank-you’s to both my boss and director, I sat down and tried to finish the workday productively.

In the space of a few short days, I had been given every single thing I had dreamed of over the past few years. All of it. I could move to Maine, I could keep my job, I could save money for a house. I had finally asked, and the answer was somehow yes. It was impossible, I’d thought, yet…here I was, holding it in my hands.

So…why was I completely terrified?

Posted in adventure, faith, family, Goals, happiness, inner peace, Life, magic, manifestation, Mental Health, Musings, People, random, travel

Where Do I Even Begin…?

You can’t see me, I know, but after I wrote the title, I sat here wide-eyed with my hands out, palms up, in the classic “WTF?” pose. For two days, I have been ignoring my desperate need to get this all out, commit it to the screen and perhaps untangle even a small corner of the mess that is spreading into every corner of my brain. Even my sleep isn’t safe anymore, my dreams just one more running commentary (albeit, a very abstract commentary) of the chaos within and around me.

But where do I start? Should I dive right in? The last time I posted was like July, I’m pretty sure, on a day where I felt peaceful and was yammering on about acceptance. Then I went quiet for a while. Stuck in the weird global pandemic time-warp where every day blends into the next and you’re just treading water, waiting for something to change. The only thing that changed was things looked like they were going to get better for a minute, so I went into the office for the first time since March a total of two times, and then…the shit hit the fan in a big way here in California, and they told us to stay home again. Thank God. Then the entire west coast caught on fire for months- pretty sure there’s a bunch of it still on fire, though I’ve honestly stopped keeping track- and the pervasive feeling of doom just crept closer.

In August, during the two minutes when things appeared to be returning to a more normal routine, I had booked a flight and Airbnb in Maine. By the time my trip rolled around, I wasn’t sure if I should go or not. And maybe it was selfish and stupid of me to follow through with it, but my mental state demanded that I feed it some type of happiness before it fell into a pit of despair, so…off I went for a Covid swab and a plane ride across the country.

There were 72 people on our flight, including the crew. Rows of empty seats following the fastest TSA check in line I’ve ever experienced- and that includes me having to go back through the detector thingy three times AND get patted down (Still no idea what the hell was setting the thing off). Everyone wore masks and gave each other as much space as they could. Mostly, I tried not to think about it.

Maine, once again, exceeded my expectations. I was in Mid-coast Maine this time, in Bristol, near Pemaquid Point. Trust me when I tell you, if you are looking for a socially distant vacation, this is the place to be. The cottage looked directly out onto the water- I could throw a rock and hit the inlet if I’d wanted to. But mostly, I just wanted to look at it, the old Atlantic ocean…it really does feel older to me than the Pacific, for some reason. Older, more serious, more magical. At night, you can see the milky way with your eyes, and more stars than you even believe can exist. There is no light pollution, no sound to interrupt the wind in the trees and the rhythmic pulse of the water on the shore. For the first time in months, I could breathe again. The worries of the world- the pandemic, politics, distance learning, tragedy and mayhem…they faded into the background, where they belong.

And while I was there, something pretty incredible happened…but I’m out of time, so dammit! You’ll have to wait until tomorrow to hear the rest of the story. My apologies, I really want to tell this the right way!