The Blessing of Disappointment and Pain

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I have spent the past fifteen days floundering, reacting to life out of fear. Grasping to any reason to run from the existence I made for myself toward a painful self-imposed isolation similar to how I used to live at the same time fighting to remain present all the while being overwhelmed with dismay and anxiety. The sudden change in financial stability triggered old memories from a time where I had nothing and had started the long hard fight to a sense of security, all of which I now know is an illusion. That coupled with the fear of the unknown led me to spiral into this anxiety ridden way of thought that used to rule my days.  Of course some of those are valid fears which can easily become amplified in the anxious mind. I assessed my financial security; I am fine for quite some time so how shall I proceed.

I was running around without intention or purpose. A week ago a friend saw it, reminding me that under fire, a calm mind will Captureachieve what I never thought it could with the adage slow is smooth and smooth is fast; they observed my distress and behavior well before I could identify what I was doing. In the week since I have managed to upset them for which I feel guilty; I hope to formulate an apology which may offer them solace.

Now I begin the search for my intention. I have stepped back from life, from friendships, and am focusing solely on me; something I have never done. I took today to say my goodbye for now to those who are still around; I have one left to do which may be the hardest but I need to do that out of respect irrelevant of how painful it will be to me. I am trying to identify my purpose from which I have wandered so far. I am striving to identify a way to do what I am passionate about and still be financially viable. One thing I am sure of is as I navigate this portion of my life alone, I will ensure I do no other harm even if it was unintentional. This part of my journey must be navigated alone and I believe I will be all the stronger for it. This part of my journey allows me to find myself, to make my new life just as it should be. Although all of this was originally delivered as a painful blow it may become quite the blessing.

“The cure for pain is in the pain”-Rumi

 

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The Next Act

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I noticed it beginning a few weeks ago and it is proceeding with a fury. I even wrote a spot about it and thought I should begin my retreat to protect myself, my heart and spirit. But I made the decision to fight my survival instinct and stay open, to be present in the world.  Having spent decades being reminded of my shortcomings, having my faults slung at me as if they were ammunition in some war, even being held accountable for things that were not mine to bear, I was adept at shutting off, at accepting the barrage of painful assault and continual condemnation. The decision to stay present went against all I have known for so long.

So now I am unsure how to proceed. Last night a close friend was enraged with her husband and began ranting, as she proceeded through this I grew increasingly uncomfortable; she clearly was struggling and in pain and I felt for her but once the name calling and belittling began, I could not remain silent. I know how detrimental that can be, the pain words can inflict can result in scars that remain forever. In her anger she said she was finished, ended the friendship in haste, deleting my from all social media and blocking my number so I cannot even check to see if she is doing alright.  A few days before another friend, someone who taught me the importance of being open, someone with whom we had each shared so very much  told me they were uncomfortable with me sharing what was upsetting and painful for me; having spent a lifetime filtering my needs and minimizing myself I am still unsure how to respond from me heart.  So that leaves two in my circle, one of which is moving for love very soon and the other which I have not heard from in days.

Was it all some false existence, some charade? Although I struggle to hold to my empathy and compassion, have I lost all worth to these people I held close?  Years spent living isolated, alone while life proceeded alongside of me, unconnected people wandering through their days with only shallow interactions I grew to believe life was meant to be lived alone until someone convinced me otherwise, taught me that we are not intended to navigate life in isolation. Was I believing in something that is not to be, something founded in hope that cannot come to fruition? How does one continue to bear the blow of disappointment that not everyone, cares as I do, is empathetic or compassionate as I try to be, nor do they value loyalty as I do. Maybe living without something makes you hold it in higher regard.  I have never asked for anything from anyone other than an occasional ear, honesty, and for people to be true and authentic; self-reliance was at my foundation because I never learned to trust in the stability and consistency of others so why ask for more.  I have reached out of the darkness a few times recently, trying to find something, to get my bearings, to hear a kind word, some sense of normalcy, someone to invalidate my lack of hope but have only felt the cold emptiness of nothing. Maybe it is time to draw the curtain to prepare for the next act. Let’s hope I have the courage to face the possibility of some sad monologue.

“Sometimes you have to move on without certain people. If they’re meant to be in your life, they’ll catch up.”  -Mandy Hale

Hope Served

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It has been an incredibly difficult several months filled with some ups and many downs. Yesterday I was in a dark place, feeling quite hopeless, as if I were in the middle of this murky lake just trying to keep my head above water, and my swimming skills are atrocious at best add to that life going on ashore with no regard for my struggle.  The weight of some understandings are difficult to bear; life does knock you around pretty hard sometimes.

While I am very insecure with my instability right now, I have some realities that are quite clear.  The most painful of those is that I have lost one of my best friends, someone who understood so very much, who added a unique perspective, and always shared my skewed sense of humor. I am afraid they are gone from my life forever and that adds a sadness that is beyond words. I am most afraid of being without my job, it is the same career I have had for over two decades and has become somewhat part of my identity, add to that the trigger of financial instability and I have been a bit of an emotional disaster. I think my disappointment in humanity, dealing with my own challenges, and the random acts of discord has pushed my faith beyond its limits; I have felt pretty isolated, somewhat cast aside.

Sometimes those reassurances arrive at the most opportune times, just when you need a smidgen of hope to restore your strength it comes served up on the best china. Last night I had an event at the studio which was very important to me, it was to highlight an organization that supports survivors of domestic abuse and I was saddened by the fact that no one was going to be there for support. It is funny the people who surprise you in those moments, I have a gratitude for them which I am unsure how to express. This morning a friend of many years texted she was running by to drop off something; to which she arrived with hugs, a wonderful dessert, and gift card all bundled beautifully with wonderful note including words of encouragement which although made me cry but gave me a bit more hope and strength to continue. Now as I am sitting here in the afternoon sun writing, my cross-eyed stray cat came wandering out of the woods. He has filtered around in my life for the past few years, at first quite skittish but has grown accustomed to the sound of my voice. Although he still lacks the trust to allow me close enough to pet him, maybe one day. The cat has grown to remind me of many things over the time he has loitered and the lesson was not lost today.  I am grateful for the hope that has been given to me the past day, so I shall focus my gratitude and enjoy the sun in my life today.

“Sometimes the strongest women are the ones who love beyond all faults, cry behind closed doors, and fights battles that nobody knows about!”- D.C. quote in my card today

Broken Bootstraps  

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Do you remember that first time you realized life doesn’t measure up to your expectations? Do you remember that crushing disappointment? What happens when that become a standard? A regular occurrence as if your life is the grand conspirator in the process? How many times are you supposed to pick yourself up and dust yourself off? What does life expect?

Her heart was a secret garden and the walls were very high.” ― William Goldman

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Dirty Laundry Stained with Blame

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So here I sit in that major conglomo coffee shop trying to do some research. This is the second time this week I have visited and it is becoming quite the adventure. Today I was lucky to position myself against the wall but am between two different groups of people, one a younger coed pair of friends where she clearly is interested in him but he is working through an “awful” end of a relationship and on the other side a pair of friends a bit older than me but also discussing relationship woes. One is clearly playing the blame game while the other seems to be the victim in that same game.

Clearly the lady is experiencing some difficulties in her long term relationship. She is trying to sift through her confusion and pain to find understanding. There are some petty frustrations intermingled with some pretty large problems. A few tears; my heart goes out to her pain, but she is facing her discomfort with dignity and as much rationality as possible.

The young man is attempting to explain why it would never work, creating irrational reason to displace his pain and any accountability to the ruins of his relationship. It is so difficult to stand in your pain, be accountable for your part while remaining respectful with the coconspirator. Don’t get me wrong there are times it is always appropriate to set your boundaries and maintain your self-respect but that is not the situation I am eavesdropping on. He has disengaged from the pain and like a petulant child is slinging accusations at a person who cannot defend herself. Having been on the receiving end of the blame game, I understand the pain belittling and devaluing can inflict.

I may never understand. I think when things go wrong, objective facts are the only appropriate items to share; I believe in discretion. There is a reason you let that person into your life, you cared with all of your heart at one point so why the disparagement now?  Why do people not have enough respect for themselves to maintain privacy of their intimate relationships? Why do they feel the need to air their dirty laundry? Why do we seek validation for their misdirected pain?

“You’ve got to learn although it’s very hard. The way of pocketing your pride, sometimes face humiliation while you were burning up inside. Facing reality is often hard to do when it seems happiness is gone”  – Nina Simone

 

Misguided Faith

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I just don’t know. I have lost my direction. I feel like it is all I can do to just breathe; as a child hiding in the closet under a blanket and it became stifling, difficult to take more than a shallow breath, almost smothering. I usually crave solitude but the silence is painful to my ears, the darkness is too rough against my skin. I spent the majority of my adult life without; I persevered only to arrive here. Knowing the pain of being alone, being without emotional support, lacking a caring person, I always gave what I never had. For the longest time I had faith that if I put out into the world what I was denied and it would be returned; unconditional acceptance, love, kindness, compassion. My faith was misguided and I am beginning to doubt what I have always hoped for in people. I feel I am crushing under the need for a hug but am riddled with fear that I would crumble under touch. My ears crave a kind word but fear it will never arrive.

 

“Love is a circular emotion that surrounds you, like a hug. Or a noose.”  ― Jarod Kintz

Kept in Confidence

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I am a thinker, those very few people close to me know I try to understand everything I come in contact with.  My therapist actually told me that not everyone thinks about life at the depth I do, so try not to expect people to understand it at that depth. So this weekend afforded my time to analyze my life, where I came from, what I went through, the people that are in my life, those who may weather the storm and those who are deciding to leave me at this point of my journey. I think it was a time for me to consider the gifts I have had and regrets I carry since the point my life began again.

Throughout the night my thoughts kept drifting back to what I have shared; having spent my entire life trying to hide the pain through the past few years I opened up and parceled out my past. Although I am a deeply private person having only mentioned a tiny portion to a few people, that shallow acknowledgement, I kept my stories buried deeply until a few came into my life, people who had some shared experiences, who understood the pain, who listened without judgement, and never pried for my details. Unconditional acceptance and lack of criticism did allow me to assess my past and its impact on my present; how it limits my trust, how it restricts my ability to be vulnerable, and my fear of certain closeness.I opened up and apportioned my past with the trust that it would be kept in confidence. Now I am working to collect those pieces, place those stories back into their makeshift tomb.

So as I retreat, how do I secure my stories I cannot collect? How do I approach the topic of privacy? I do not want my secrets shared in a fashion that can undermine my struggle or be used as a means to minimize me for I have spent a lifetime negated. Is this just a concern based in my struggle to trust; the time I did will it be validated or dismissed? I know when one shares their story, their struggle, their past,  I treat it with the utmost respect for I was trusted enough for one to disclose. I would never share the story, never violate the trust by besmirching their truth, in a light that be disparaging, as a means to justify my behavior or choices?  This is quite possibly a fear based in my experiences with people for I have seen this done to others, been a victim, stories used to displace accountability, vilified for no reason.  How does one even broach the topic?

“Confidentiality is a virtue of the loyal, as loyalty is the virtue of faithfulness” -Edwin Louis Cole