Tag Archives: hope

Life on Life’s Terms

life on life's terms

 

 

I am having the hardest time ever with this post right now. This is the third blog I have started, and I am determined to finish this one, no matter how much I may hate it. Here’s the thing: I am having a shit time right now, for a number of reasons. None of them are big things, but a bunch of little things strung together, causing me stress and a general feeling of unease. I don’t feel comfortable with my life or in my body right now, and it’s bumming me out.

Here’s the thing, though. I understand that this is temporary, just like everything always is. My face has erupted like Mount Vesuvius, but…it is going to go back to normal. Eventually. I had a bunch of unexpected expenses come up all at once, but…they are going to be dealt with. Financial ruin is unlikely. I haven’t had time this week to buy groceries or get to the gym, and it sucks, but I will get back on track. It’s not the end of the world.

In my addict mind (and maybe in normal minds, too, I have no experience with living in one of those) everything is extremely black and white, all or nothing. Every time I get off track, I feel like I have failed utterly, and there will be no coming back for me. Which is ridiculous- I have millions of examples in my own life where that has not ever, not once, been the case. And yet, I persist with this wrong thinking. My mind often works against me, and it can be exhausting.

The solution? I believe it must be to just acknowledge that my wrong thoughts exist, be aware of that, and then work around them. Sometimes, I can think myself right into a corner, wedged so tightly that I can’t even move. Like, moving a muscle seems impossible, seriously. That is when I need to find the strength to haul my ass up anyway, and get some shit done. If I let myself sit in my mess for too long, that is when depression comes calling. And if you’ve ever dealt with depression, you know how hard that can be to get out of, and how scary it feels when it’s breathing down your neck. Inaction is not my friend in this situation.

I keep thinking about how, four days ago, I wrote a post about laughter, and how weird it may seem to any attentive readers that I am now writing about something quite the opposite of that. Maybe you will think I am nuts…hell, maybe I am. But here’s the thing- life doesn’t care how great I felt last week. Life just shows up, and does what it does. What I have learned in recovery is that I am supposed to be living life on life’s terms, meaning I deal with what life serves up, to the best of my ability, without taking anything to change the way I feel. This is harder than it sounds sometimes. Not the part where I don’t take anything, I’ve grown used to that. It’s the part where I cope with it well that eludes me sometimes.

I get nervous. I get scared. I feel like a lot of people depend on me, and I don’t know if I am up to the task. I retreat. I close up. I shut down.

But I always, always, always (so far) pull it together in the end. I always find a way to come out the other side of my feelings intact. I have a 100% success rate so far of not destroying my life completely, as long as I stay clean. I may not be feeling my best today, but tomorrow…who knows? Hell, later today I might feel better. You just never know. My job is just to hang in there, do my best, and wait for things to change. Because they always do, for better or worse.

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Three Things

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As my daughter sits here, eating cereal more slowly than a sloth, I figure I have 15 minutes to do my weekly list. Here are 3 things on my mind this morning:

  1. I am really enjoying WordPress right now. I find new blogs to follow every day, and it is exciting…I have to remember not to get caught up in the rat-race mentality. The purpose of my blog, really, which started out as a way to keep me accountable on my quest to better myself as I grew older, morphed into a sort of journal, and finally became a way for me to talk about my addiction and recovery- that is the purpose of my blog. I do care about “likes” and “follows”, of course I do. But at the end of the day, if each blog finds its way to one person who needs to see it, if one person feels like maybe there is hope after reading my words- that’s really what this is about for me. When I remember that, I enjoy this whole experience a LOT more. I might even do a list of my favorite blogs soon, if I can get my shit together enough to do it.wordpress
  2. This past week has been rough for me. I have been trying hard to take care of myself, but I consistently bite off more than I can chew, and it hit me this morning that I need to remember that I am trying to enjoy my life. If the things I am doing are making me miserable, I am not doing it right. It’s great to have goals, but it’s important to pay attention to the way you feel while you are out pursuing them- if it feels like shit, knock it off. I’m not saying give up the minute things get hard, but if you are really unhappy, you probably aren’t on the right track. That’s where I’m at, anyway.enjoy life
  3. And finally, my favorite Podcast this week is Two Girls, one Ghost. If you like spooky stories, you are going to binge the F%#K out of this one. I am a huge fan. Those girls make my workday bearable. If you are into podcasts and like ghosts, black eyed children, etc., you will enjoy them immensely. Check them out!Two_Girls_One_Ghost-Annes-Version-Draft-6

This Christmas…

 

Christmas

I am sitting here, at 5:24 a.m. on Christmas Eve, full of excitement and nerves. In just a little while, my oldest daughter and her boyfriend, who may as well be my third child, are going to be here to spend the night and wake up on Christmas morning with our little family (EXCITED!). Tomorrow, my mom, stepdad, and uncle are coming here, to MY house, to spend the day and have Christmas dinner…HERE. With ME! (NERVOUS!)

I am going to have a house full of the most important people in my life, and I could just cry over how happy it makes me. Every single year before this, I either had to drive three hours to spend a hurried Christmas at my late Grandparent’s home, or I opted out, and stayed home, missing everyone. I know that not every year will be this way- sometimes I am going to have to go to them. But this year, I made my mind up to stay home, and I wasn’t going to budge. And I am so happy that everyone is coming here. My uncle never goes ANYWHERE, so this is a really big deal!

I want to make it as special and warm and happy as I can for everyone, and lets be real- I am not exactly the hostess of the year. I’ve been known to run and hide in the bathroom when someone unexpectedly shows up at my door. Or stay very, very still until they go away. So I keep finding myself getting bunched up with anxiety, worried about the state of my home (i’ll be cleaning like crazy for most of today) or how small my house is, or how shoddy and fur covered my couch is, or…but you know what?

None of that stuff matters. If it matters to certain other people (cough-my mom-cough) then I need to remember that that is her shit, not mine. My job is to do the best I can, but more than that, to enjoy my family. So that is what I am going to do. I have managed, for the first time in my life, to make it through this hectic season with love in my heart and a smile on my face. I have been as generous and thoughtful and kind as I know how to be- even when no one was around to witness it. I have kept my program of recovery in mind, and tried to behave accordingly because I want to be a good example- this one fell flat many times, but the point is, I am trying. REALLY trying. Because I want so much to have a happy life, not just a happy Christmas.

But really, what it comes down to is this: I have decided I WILL have a wonderful Christmas, so that is what I have set about creating. I can’t absolutely control the outcome- first of all, no one ever can do that, and secondly, control is the very thing I am working on relinquishing- but I have done all the things I can, both inside of me and out, to invite the best outcome. And I have made up my mind to enjoy whatever comes.

One thing I know for sure is that my family has given me the best gift of all just by agreeing to show up. I feel pretty freaking loved.  Which makes it SO much easier to get into the Christmas Spirit, you know? It stopped being about what was under the tree for me a LONG time ago. Sometimes, it wasn’t about anything, and I couldn’t feel much besides stress and irritation, relief when it was all over. But this year- this year is very different. I think for the first time ever, my head is clear enough, my heart healed enough, that I can access the things that matter most of all during the holidays- Love, Family, Peace, Hope.  It’s been such a long road for me, but I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s so nice to be right where I am.

I hope all of you get to have something like this feeling I have today. If not today, then very soon. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays.

Why the World Needs You to be Happy.

 

peaceconflict

Yesterday, I went a little nutty when I found out that a dude from Liberia brought Ebola over here. I went a little nuttier when I found out that he went to the ER and TOLD THEM he had just traveled here from Liberia, and they “failed to communicate” this  to the doctors, who then sent him home with antibiotics, where he exposed a shit load…okay, several, at least- other people to this deadly disease. I mean, I was a little overboard. I was upset that something this stupid happened, I was upset that someone else’s stupidity basically opened up a big can of worms for (what felt like, to me, at that moment) the entire United States. I was upset that we are even allowing travel to and from Africa right now- I mean, it’s kind of a bad idea, don’t you think?  I was so upset, I had to go home and meditate after work before I picked up my daughter, because I knew my turmoil would just color everything I did that night, whatever my intentions.

So, I did that, and I came home, and we had a pretty below average night. I spent most of it reading “Orange is the New Black” (yes, it was a book first, apparently), and being blown away by how poorly the prison system is run. Yet another thing I can do nothing about, at least immediately.

Do you kind of see where I am going with this? There is shit going DOWN in this world, all the time, everywhere, that is OUTRAGEOUS. That is unjust and unfair and horrific, and heart wrenching. Wars and plagues, suffering. Rampant abuse of power. The way that it is presented to us, you would think we live in a totally chaotic and soul-less society, that extinction could very well be where we are headed…and maybe that isn’t such a bad thing. C’mon, admit it- you have thought that, quietly, a time or two, when you watched the news too many days in a row.

I am begging you- don’t buy into that shit. Do not do it. We are all at risk, every single day, when we are bombarded by the stories we hear on the news, and on social media, and plastered all over the internet- even the less reliable stories that are repeated to us in the break room at work, or in our cubicles, or wherever we are. Try to temper it with a bit of your own reality.  Take a look around you, right here, where YOU are, right now. There is still hope. It’s not all bad, man.  Shit has been going on, and going wrong, since the dawn of time- if you let it eat you up, if you let it infect your heart, you are out of the game, and we need you. We need you pretty desperately.

How many opportunities do you have, on a daily basis, to do something that makes someone else feel good? Before you say “Not very many”, think about it. Because I think we have endless opportunities, every single day. I am not talking about huge things, like finding a cure for Ebola (although I would really appreciate that, personally, if you could) or even big stuff, like volunteering, which I am sure we would all love to do, but don’t always have the time or even know how to get started. I am talking about just going out into the world and not being an asshole. Not riding the ass of the car in front of you because you are late for work, but slowing down, instead, and chilling the fuck out. I am talking about holding the door for someone, letting the person behind you in line with one item cut in front of you, not saying “no”, automatically, to the dude with the “please help” sign in front of the store.  I am talking about smiling at someone, paying a totally random stranger a compliment, saying sorry and thank you when appropriate…and even when not really necessary.

I am talking about going home, and insisting that your children spend a little time talking to you over dinner. This requires that both you AND them put your phones and Ipads away. I am advocating creating a small pocket of the warmth and tradition and connection that we all complain are absent from our lives and from the world. It won’t fix everything, but my God! We have to start somewhere, right? And we need to be happier, we need to smile more, we need to have the peace in our hearts that comes from knowing that all is NOT lost, don’t you agree? Because when all of us have lost that…without that…we are truly in trouble, my friends.

So, you have your instructions for the day- go out in the world, smile, be happy, don’t be an asshole. Try not to get Ebola. Check back here frequently for further instructions. Thank you.

The Truth

prayer2I wanted to share with you a something I wrote weeks before I got clean, not because I think it is so great, but because it sums up perfectly the sense of desperation I experienced in my “before” life. I am so glad that I have written things like this, so that when I grow forgetful, as I tend to, there are reminders everywhere to help me see the light. I think it is remarkable that I am where I am, again, intact, thriving, happy. I am not proud of the things I admit to here, but they are the truth for me- or were. I can’t help but think my prayers were answered. I hope these words find the people who need them most, so that they know they are not alone, and that there is ALWAYS hope. Enjoy:

prayer (1)

 

Today, just a little bit ago, I was coding a chart for the cancer clinic (I am a medical coder, and I work from home 90% of the time) for this man less than ten years older than my mom. This poor guy- he has cancer everywhere. His throat, his bones, his lungs, his liver…it isn’t good. I don’t need to be a medical professional to know that. When I finished with his coding, I stopped, bowed my head, and said a little prayer for him. This is not at all out of the ordinary for me, honestly. Even when I am in the office, if something I see in a patients chart is particularly awful or scary or sad and overwhelming, I will do the work, then pray, and no one is any the wiser. I just feel like it’s what I want to do, they need it, and it certainly can’t hurt anyone, right?

Today, my prayer for this man was simple- Dear God, please take note of this man, he is very sick, and he is probably very scared, he may feel a little hopeless, I don’t know, I don’t know him. But if I were him, I may just feel like there is nothing good left for me, in my fear. Maybe he is not a nice man, and people don’t care about him. Maybe he is a great man, with great faith, and many people love him and have had their lives touched by him. Either way, lord, he is your child and you love him- please put your hand on him today and let something good come into his life, give him hope, or peace.” That is as close to exact as I can get you with my prayers, especially since, I don’t know about you ( how you pray, or even if you pray at all, let alone for random strangers) but my prayers aren’t spoken aloud, they are thought and felt as much as they are spoken telepathically, only inside of my head. So there is quite a bit going on along with the words. At the end of this prayer, though, rather than stop, my prayer pulled a fast one on me, changing direction. Here is the rest:

“Oh yeah, and while you are putting your hand on people, how about reaching out to me, God? I am not doing so well, over here. I realize I have every single thing I need to have a happy, good life, but I need help, God. I need you to pull me out of this sickness causing me to lay waste to every happiness in my control. It isn’t just me, God, I am affecting so many other people, ruining their happiness, changing their lives…my babies, my girls, God. I never want to hurt them, and I can’t stop. Time is going by so fast, and I feel like I am just stuck here. Please help me, God. Please, please do something. Get me out of this. Every single thing I am doing is wrong.”

As I was finishing this prayer, crying like a little scared girl, looking around for a paper towel to mop up my entire head with, the writing thoughts started up. I was annoyed for a second, because I can’t seem to have a meltdown of any caliber anymore without the thought of taking it down “for the book” popping into my head.

Then it hit me. Here I am, sobbing, asking God, PLEASE, for a hand, for help, for a way out…and the answer is always, Writing. Write it down. Put it on paper. Don’t let it slip away, don’t waste it, don’t think you are getting out of this without using it- what do you think you are here for, anyway? You have a problem, a really BIG problem, and you can write about it the way you can talk- so that anyone can relate to you. This is not an accident. If you don’t make this problem a light that you can shine into the lives and hearts of people just like you, or people who love people just like you and cannot understand…well, then what will have been the purpose of all these years? All this heartache? Don’t waste it.

That is, I think, what I am being told, here.

I really haven’t wanted to listen. I wanted to tell this story when I was well, rather than in the midst of the worst, sickest part. It would be an easier story to tell from there, and easier to hear. But maybe I can’t help anyone well, not yet. Maybe you need to see the whole picture, this feeble, frightened woman who still feels like a little girl most of the time, a girl who hates herself- loathes herself, pretty much, for what feels like weakness. Weakness, selfishness, greed, compulsion, darkness. All of those things are present. Callousness, cruelty, rage, impatience. Side effects. Mercurial, unpredictable, inconsistent, confusing- all accurate. Sad, broken, desperate, scared, helpless, despairing. Yes. Completely fucking out of ideas, frozen in place, terrified to ask for help? Oh yes, all of those, also. And in quiet terror, I watch the years fly by, and me, still here, missing all of the things that make up a life. Here, but not here. Present, but detached, missing all of the happiness and tenderness, forfeited to the tyranny of my mental illness or whatever it is, turning every thought into one about me- “ do you think anyone is noticing me acting weird? Am I acting weird?” “Why is she talking to ME like that, I’m fucking here, aren’t I? why are they singling me out?” “No matter what I do, it isn’t good enough.” “Oh my gosh, when can I get out of here, I need to figure out where I can do this at.” Every thought in my head, obsessing over myself. Rushing through birthday parties, ruining Thanksgiving, never letting anyone see me for long enough to talk too seriously, keeping my kids from ever relaxing or getting to know their aunts, uncles, cousins. But, you know, they have their whole lives…I mean, plenty of time, right? I’ll be better way before it even matters. Right?

But I haven’t been better. And now Aisley is sixteen. Do you know what that means? That means I waited her whole life, her entire childhood, hoping something would change, and I would get better. I stole every single chance for normal memories of her childhood, memories that even I have, in my screwed up childhood. Memories that I CHERISH. I love my daughter more than anything, but I could not refuse myself, even briefly, to give this to her. There is something so brutal and awful about that. No wonder I despise myself.

I am in a battle for my life every minute of every day. You may not know it by looking at me. I have mastered, or at least become skilled at, putting my best face forward for you. I will smile and look you in the eye, and try really hard to keep my word, show up on time, be fair and honest and decent, because that is who I want to be, and the way I want you to think of me.

I don’t want you to know that I have been a drug addict since I was nineteen years old. That I have seen and done and known about things that would horrify the average person, but don’t even surprise me anymore. I would die if you knew how unhealthy the way I live, the way I treat myself, is. I would be so embarrassed if you saw how I behaved, sometimes, towards my children, or my mother, who have done nothing but love me. I would be so ashamed if you knew how poorly I treat my job, that gives me every tool imaginable to live a prosperous life. I would be mortified if the people I work with, my friends and respected peers that have shown me such kindness, so much love and support, knew the truth. I don’t want anyone to know the real me. And it is making it so hard to ask for help, that I don’t know when all this will end. I live in constant fear of being found out, and what the repercussions of that would be. I am terrified of that, but finding the courage to get help seems almost less possible to me most of the time. The rest of the time, I am just continuing on, not improving or worsening, steady in my pursuit of…nothing. More of this. More misery and emptiness and shame.

 

I guess I need to tell this story. I don’t want you to know me this way, but you are going to have to, if I am ever going to get better. And I HAVE to get better, I HAVE to. I can’t bear thinking of what my regrets will look like if I have to look back at my whole life, and see nothing but me standing in a wasteland, refusing light years of love being handed out on a silver platter. What a fool. What a sad, terrible fool. Please, God, please let this help. Let this be the start of a tunnel out of here.

Thank you.

Rediscovering Hope

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My cat does this thing where she meows pitifully to come in, then, when I open the door, she just looks nervously in as if a pack of wolves could be standing just beyond her sight, and hesitates until I get impatient and shut the door in her face. Why, you may wonder, do I not just scoop her up and make her come in? Well, because if I do, she will just stand there looking terrified and cry until I let her back out again. Then she runs away and won’t come back until way later, even though she is probably starving to death.

This is a really good analogy for my behavior over the past…oh, Jesus, entire adulthood, I guess. Specifically, me in my addiction. There I am, at the door of everything beautiful in life, whining and crying for Gods help…for him to please let me IN. Except that He is always there for me, always opening the door, His patience is eternal. But I hesitate at the entrance, and for all of my howling, I am not really ready to come in. I perceive that the door is shut, but it is always open. I stand there, terrified when I can see that it is open, and heartbroken when I think it is closed, and I struggle to take that first step in. And God, or whatever power you choose to believe in- the Universe, lets say- knows better than to scoop me up and bring me in before I am ready, because I will bolt, and it may be a really long time before I come back to that doorstep.

I have spent months agonizing at this doorway, scared to death to let go of my misery and see what was on the other side. There are a million reasons I used to keep myself sick, most of them somehow relating to how sick I would be ( the irony here does not escape me) before I was better. Well, I am here to tell you, if you are using that excuse yourself, it’s bullshit. Sorry to ruin it for you. At the MOST, we are talking about a little discomfort, a little yuckiness…but here is the caveat- it is discomfort mixed with an amazing dollop of hope that things are about to improve, finally.

As long as you are using, there is no hope that things are going to improve, none. I am not talking about you guys who smoke weed and are okay with it. You know, I am not talking about anything at all that you are totally fine with- if you are really, truly fine with whatever you are doing, then it isn’t a problem for you. It may be a problem for everyone around you, and there’s a decent chance that you are totally lying to yourself, but I am talking specifically about those of us entrenched in our addiction who despise it, despise ourselves, and feel totally beaten, desperate and paralyzed. Scared to death at the thought that we must save ourselves FROM ourselves…I mean, how the hell does that work?

It works when you are ready for it to work, and not a minute sooner. When you are ready, you can do it. That is the truth. Here is another truth- I have memory problems. In my lifetime, I have observed that I am very similar to every other human being in most basic ways, so you may have memory problems too. I forget, over and over, who I am and what my life can be like. So there may be times of forgetfulness and backslide. I have tricked myself into believing that I was well, that I was different, that I had figured out some magic way to avoid getting caught up in the grip of my disease. I am just admitting to this in case you feel like an idiot because this has happened to you, or in case it does.

A few weeks ago, I just changed my mind. I decided I had been terrified and miserable for long enough. I missed my family and friends, I missed ME,  and I was willing to brave the yuckiness to get back to them. And you know what? It wasn’t that big of a deal. Because in the midst of it, I rediscovered hope, and hope makes everything easier to bear. A few weeks ago, I felt like life was closed off to me, and now, literally DAYS later, every door seems open, or at least approachable…and I don’t have to sit outside crying to get in.

Yesterday, I was scolding myself for something I did ( yes, I talk to myself) and I was unable to call myself “stupid”…how do you like that? I was like, “Good one, st…silly.” , and it was so funny, because it was REAL. This morning I woke up, saw myself in the bathroom mirror, and grinned. “I LIKE that girl.” I thought. These are not small things. All I can say is, it’s about time. I wish every one of you the same.

Back to Reality

RealityIt is five thirty in the morning on Thursday, and it is almost time for me to start getting ready for work. My vacation is officially over. The past few days- since Monday, I guess, I haven’t really done anything special, at least not the way most of us would view things. But to me, these hours have been the most important of my vacation. I have gotten to write every single day. I worked on my book, and this is my fourth blog in as many days. You probably have no idea how big of a deal that is to me, so let me just tell you- it is HUGE.

I feel like a real asshole when I complain about my “real” job, because it has allowed me to have the life I dreamed of just a few short years ago, when I was still living in a shitty apartment in Sparks, Nevada, trying to figure out how in the hell I would survive from one paycheck to the next. At that time, all I wanted in the world was to make enough money to stop the fear that was constantly gnawing at me, enough money to put some space between me and those freaking bill collectors so that I could stop having an anxiety attack every time the phone rang. All I wanted back then was that, and to be able to move home. I was so tired of the high desert and the lack of green, so tired of all that open space.

One by one, I crossed each of those things off my “must-have” lists. For the longest time, I was happier than I had ever been just to pay my bills and still be able to fill up my grocery cart with anything I wanted at the store and not have to keep a running tally in my head to avoid embarrassment at the register. Today, my life is good. I live in a place so beautiful that people come from all over the world to visit here. Sure, my house is pretty run down, but I have it at a bargain price (for this area, anyway) and both my daughters have their own rooms. I am a five minute stroll from the beach. I am not rich, by any means- that child I added to the mix, not to mention the dog and the three cats- have sucked up quite a bit of my money…But still. There are women who would love to have the life I have. Shoot, I love to have the life I have!

The funny thing about dreams, though, is that they change. Once you get to where you want to be, if you are anything like me, you immediately start looking for the next level. That is where I find myself today. I will get up in a few minutes, get in the shower, get myself to the job that helped me make all this possible, and I will try to do my best, and to have gratitude for all of my blessings.  I know, though, that this is not how I want my forever, the rest of MY ride, to go.

When I sit down here, at my little tile topped table that my mom loaned me a gazillion years ago, in this little breakfast nook, surrounded by windows and skylights letting in the light of the new day…this is my favorite time, place, and thing in the world. When I pass four hours writing, like I got to the other day, it feels like half an hour. Four hours at my “real” job can sometimes feel like twice as much. I feel so guilty saying this, because I owe my employer so much for giving me the means to a better life, but sometimes it feels like torture. Like eight hours of absolute torture. And that makes me feel really sad.

Still, I am one of the lucky ones. Some people feel exactly as I do, only they don’t know what else they want to do. They don’t have that one thing that makes four hours fly by in the blink of an eye. They haven’t yet uncovered what they are passionate about. They may have the same dreams of buying a big old house and restoring it from top to bottom, of long, unhurried vacations with their kids, of travelling the world, but they have no idea how they will get there. Because I have this thing inside of me, this imagination and these stories and this need to let them out…it’s almost like I have a bridge between me and everything I want. Or, at least, all of the tools and supplies to build that bridge. It is up to me whether or not I will put in the effort to do it. Hmm…I never thought of it like that before.

I am going to go to work now, back to my reality. I am going to have a great attitude, and show my gratitude by being the best employee I can be. But I am going to be back here, right here in this spot, tomorrow and everyday after that, working on that bridge. That, I can promise you.

Have a wonderful day.

Oh, You Guys…

I know it has been a really, really, really long time since I have written. It’s been about as long since I have had the desire. But yesterday was my birthday, and I’ve been doing some things to better myself, and I guess it was a good combo, ’cause here I am.

This past year has been horrendously hard. I have struggled, as quietly and privately as possible, with my issues with addiction, with my unhealthy relationships, with heart break and heartache and stuff you can’t even begin to imagine. Stuff so hurtful I couldn’t even write about it.

I woke up this morning, and the pain was still there. But I found that it is further away, and that I am wrapped in something softer and sweeter, and I think it may be the grace that comes with time and forgiveness, and a clear head. I am so grateful for the raw pain to be less than it was, for the glimmer of hope, the idea that maybe, even if my life does not end up the way I wanted it to be, maybe it will still be good. I am more grateful than I can express for that tiny little hope.

I can tell you this- I am not going to jump through hoops to make someone love me, knowing the love you get this way is never going to be one you can lean on when times are hard. I am going to be who I am, the best self I can be, and try to have faith that this is enough. Something tells me it will be.

And that is all for now. I have a birthday party to get to (at work)!

The Joy of Everything

courtesy of Tony Ludovico

It occurred to me today that there is one thing I value in myself above almost any other thing. It is the ability I have retained since childhood to feel extremely joyful over the most mundane little happenings. The excitement I have about living my life, and where things may go, and what the future holds for me.

Right now, although I am in a sad situation (the end of a long relationship, the feelings of sorrow that I couldn’t pull it off ) I find myself so excited, at the same time, about what is going to happen next. I am scared, yes, that things may be a little harder around here- I won’t have the same income, I won’t have another parent to take over when I am tapped out…but the possibilities of where my life can go are really limitless.

Look, when you are in a bad relationship, when it has gotten to the point where you feel the tension in your body when his car pulls up in front, and every word you exchange with one another is less than charitable or kind, it feels like a weight on your back. That weight has been removed, and, aside from the sadness, I feel incredible.

My dreams have roared to life again. I am making plans and seeing paths I just couldn’t see before, I was so mired in all the negativity and obsession over what was going on with us. Now, I have let go, and all of this beautiful, amazing stuff has rushed in to fill up the enormous space that relationship had taken up. I can breathe freely, now.

Even as I write this, I feel a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, because I’m so, so sad that this is the truth. I would’ve chosen us over anything, and did, for so long. I wanted it to work. It just couldn’t. I just don’t think that love should be that hard, not all the time.

What I see is that our relationship was like a  tumor (God, this is a really insulting analogy, and I’m sorry, I just can’t think of anything more appropriate right now.) blocking the blood flow to some vital organ. Now that it’s been removed, I feel alive again. I mean, you know, when I’m not sobbing uncontrollably. Jesus. I sound so bipolar right now, I hope my shrink doesn’t get a hold of this.

So, here it is. I am sad. I am so happy. I am scared. I am excited. When I am not crying, I am laughing. I am mourning one thing, while beginning something better. I feel peaceful, all of the time. I am not lonely. I am sleeping soundly. I think all of this means that I am healing.

There are moments tinged with sadness. The rest of the time, I am aware of the joy of everything.

That’s all.

Inevitable Sadness

I guess it was stupid of me to think that I could feel ONLY good about what is happening here, within the walls of this house. The fact of the matter is, a long and important relationship that I cherished and worked at and tried my very hardest to salvage is ending, and it would be weird as hell if it didn’t hurt  to let it go.

I thought Thanksgiving would be hard without him. I left on Thursday morning and drove, just me and the girls, to my late grandparents home up in Oakhurst. My family was all there- my mom and stepdad, my cousin Heidi whom I adore and look up to, and her husband Tom, who I also adore, her kids…my two uncles and various other folks. Thanksgiving was WONDERFUL. I didn’t have one moment where it felt weird or bad or lonely or anything. It was the first time I’d been home for the holiday in five years- all the time Devon and I had been together- and I can’t believe I missed it.

As a matter of fact, the entire time I was gone was like that- I spent the night with my sister in Fresno, and for the first time ever, we got to hang out, just her and I, with our kids, and do NOTHING. All of that pressure that comes with worrying that your significant other is okay, not bored, wanting to leave- it was gone, and it was wonderful. I am pretty sure that it doesn’t have to be that way, but in this relationship, it was always that way. if it wasn’t him wanting to leave my family, it was me wanting to leave his. Not that I don’t love his family, because I really, really do. I think it always had more to do with us not wanting to keep up the charade of happiness and harmony that made it hard…I don’t know.

To be honest, I sort of dreaded coming home to him and that familiar hostility more than anything. He hasn’t said much to me since the break up. I mostly have just left him alone, knowing there is nothing I can say that he wants to hear.

Yesterday, I left the baby with him and took the kids up to San Francisco for the day because I promised them (Aisley and her boyfriend) that I would. At the last second, and old friend of mine asked if I’d meet him for breakfast, and since it was on the way, I said yes. He ended up riding along with us for the day, and I had a fantastic time. I was so glad he came, since the kids didn’t want me tagging along with them, making gagging sounds every time they kissed (which is WAY more than necessary, in my opinion.) He just recently ended a ten year relationship, and is still trying to figure it all out- he’s dating a lot, or rather, he was, and now he’s sort of started seeing only one girl that he really likes, but you can tell he’s still a little wobbly- trying to get his land legs, as it were.

I spent a lot of time talking about my situation, which is how you could tell it wasn’t a date- we both talked pretty constantly about our big, significant, failed relationships. But we had a great time, and being with him, who paid for my breakfast and had an all-day conversation with me, full of actual WORDS…well, it gave me hope. And it reminded me of how much I like to laugh, and flirt (innocently), and be heard. I came home thinking I would be okay. Better than okay. Better than ever before, maybe.

Then I got a letter from Devon, via Facebook (?), late, late at night. I read it twice, and then I replied, and that’s when the tears started. Just writing about it is starting them up again. He told me that he is hurting, and I could tell that he is angry and resentful and scared. I think it is finally sinking in that I am not bluffing this time.

The idea that he is hurting and feeling afraid, and that I am the source of this, it’s pretty unbearable for me. I understand that it’s a lot more complicated than that, but in a nutshell, in it’s simplest form, I am hurting him. I HATE that. I’ve said it here before, that I still love him, so it makes sense that it hurts me terribly to cause him pain. So many times I’ve felt like I could see the little kid in him, right beneath his grown up face, and a part of me is fiercely protective of that, even now.

But the fact remains that I want out. The truth I can see, through all of the heartache, is that there is nothing left of our relationship to save. It’s gone. And I am just not going to pretend. The letter I wrote back to him is not what he was wanting from me, which is going to cause him more pain, and I am really, really sad and sorry about that. At the bottom of it all, I feel like I am really making the best decision, not only for me but for both of us- that he deserves to be happy just as much as I do, and we can’t be happy together. Hopefully, he will see this eventually, too.

I am only responsible for myself, though, really, and trying to be in charge of his happiness is part of the reason we wound up here. I think if I would have let things run their course naturally, we would have broken up the first year.

Ah, I don’t know where to go from there. I guess I will just end here by saying this- I will let the tears come when they need to, and I will be enormously loving and gentle with myself, knowing that continued joy is ahead. I will pray for him, myself, and our children, and practice turning it back over to God when I start wanting to fix it.

Have a great day.