The Blessing of Disappointment and Pain

Standard

 

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

 

Advertisements

Hope Served

Standard

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

Imminent Retreat

Standard

Being strong is feeling like a burden; you have moments where you realize others depend on you but they often do not check in to see if you are on firm footing; or at least that is how it feels. I am sure that if I were to let the façade of strength slip for a moment those in my circle would rush to my aid but I am not sure how to send out an S.O.S.  I feel myself slipping away, into the safety behind the walls I spent years to construct for all the courage I had to wander out into life has dissipated.  Maybe someday I will have the strength to stay out in the world.

 

 

“Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself.”  -C.G. Jung

Tears and Salsa

Standard

Had to run an errand and decided to stop and treat myself to Mexican food for lunch. It has been a difficult few days, too many responsibilities and too little time with a few plot twists added into the mix. While waiting on my food, I was perusing blog posts and came across on that I typically enjoy and I found myself fighting back tears. I have been incredibly nostalgic over the past week, thinking of my upbringing, people I have lost, those in my life now, what I am grateful for, what I want to ensure I leave behind. I have also thought about how my life has made me who I am and wonder what I have imparted to my children, overtly as well as indirectly. I have spent a lot of time considering the parts of myself that I have lose on my journey, the parts I have let be damaged by others, the scars that I will always carry, the strength I have gained by surviving, and the courage to keep moving forward. Sitting there in that moment reading her words I fell so full of my own, reminded of all the things I have wanted to share but have not been courageous enough to say, thought of the words and deeds left undone, the things I have wanted to do and may never get to experience, my overwhelming need to be held tight, and all the gratitude in my heart and I was overcome…. I suppose lunch with tears and salsa was what needed to be served.

“…I gave you painted air – tears I couldn’t weep – truths I couldn’t speak – all the words that caught in my throat…”

― John Geddes

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

Standard

So there have been some interesting conversations over the past few weeks and the question keeps arising whether directed at me or I am asking someone else. It is interesting that friends, acquaintances and even my brother have been skirting this topic be it about life, work or relationships.  That is a questions we ask of others from the time they are old enough to carry on a quasi-conversation. “Wat do you want to be when you grow-up?”  We go through phases, teacher, astronaut, policeman, fairy-princess…. At some point we choose a career path and pursue it, along the way we may stumble into a relationship or lose sight of our dreams.  We find ourselves all grown up and what do we want now? Do we get too old to dream? Is it appropriate to say what you want when life offers you the opportunity for a do-over?

So this was asked of me the other day, directly. Like the grown-up version of what do you want to be when you grow up. Do we often think of those things as you  age? At 12 do we say I want to be in a healthy loving relationship, I want to be like Ward and June with the white picket fence? I gave up on my picket fence dreams over a dozen years ago and am enough of a realist to know that isn’t a possible reality, irrelevant of the effort but I believe one can have their version of happily ever after.  I am not comfortable being that open with others and the conversation shifted but I left thinking. I want to be comfortable, knowing I can continue to provide emotionally and physically for my children until they are all grown, I want to be content with as many happy and joyous moments as there are ones filled with sadness and strife, I want to have the courage to always greet each day with openness and not fear, I want always be empathetic, kind, respectful even when life is difficult, I want to have a good circle of friends who laugh often and deeply, I want to see the sunrise and the stars shine in the sky, I want to have open wandering conversations with the people that matter to me and on occasion I want to sit in the woods and listen to the sounds or rest at the shore and feel the ocean lap against my feet.  But I think she was meaning on more of a personal level, my ideal relationship if I were to infer from the rest of the discussion.  I have a “never again will I tolerate” list and of course I have a list of things I would like, which include the classic items required for a healthy relationship but I pondered how I would even respond if this circled back through the conversation.

I want someone who knows how I take my coffee, whose presence makes me smile even when I am frustrated with life or even them, I want someone whose hugs make the world right and keep me grounded for just that moment, I want someone who sees it’s a not-quite-right day and stands with me through it, I want someone who can call shenanigans on me when needed, who will walk with my on my journey when it is sunny and on those gloomy difficult days, someone who doesn’t need to solve my problems for me but can hold out a hand when I need to get up after I have stumbled, someone who will always be on my side…. There are details and nuances that need to be shared with that person; much more than words can explain. When one considers how to answer that, it really isn’t for others but the two who come together to make it what they need, for it is theirs to create.    I suppose it is the easy stuff to say too I want to be accepted, respected and loved wholly by who would be my best friend. Seems like a steep order in some ways but in other ways it is what I am willing to give and so much more.  I just think of a friend’s Dad, the first time I met him he was sharing stories of his children growing up, of his wife and tears came to his eyes. In that moment I could see he loved her that day as much as ever and even almost fifteen years after he lost her and that love lived. I think of my grandfather, after he was widowed he looked for the characteristics of my grandmother he loved the most; often commenting on how I was like her in this way and that offered him such comfort. That is the type of love I want.  How do you explain that to someone?

 

“I no longer believed in the idea of soul mates, or love at first sight. But I was beginning to believe that a very few times in your life, if you were lucky, you might meet someone who was exactly right for you. Not because he was perfect, or because you were, but because your combined flaws were arranged in a way that allowed two separate beings to hinge together.” ―Lisa Kleypas

Open Letter on the Absurdity of Nosiness and Grief

Standard

To all the people who have commented in an interesting way on the journey I have taken please take no offense to my replies for I am a private person and it really is none of your business. I tend to be pretty level headed, always choosing to respond instead of reacting. While this is a byproduct of years living in a volatile situation, it is something I am typically a character trait for which I am grateful. To those of you who may not have received the answer you were looking for, I am sorry if you are disappointed.

 

To my supervisor who continues to try and share albeit years after the fact, how disastrous her marriage was as a means to compare it to mine.  I am sorry if I did not divulge all the dirty details.  It feels like you think we are in some divorced wives club, but I did not seem to receive my membership card so please leave me out of this discussion. To be honest I am not sure one failed marriage is more painful then another so if you are looking to compare notes, please do so elsewhere.

 

To my current coworker that told me it was wrong to do this to my children. I think you are well aware of my thoughts on your opinions but just to reiterate. I am unsure how one person can stand in such judgement of another without even knowing the story. I  cannot believe a mother would think it is more important to keep their children in a home with an abusive philander but we all have our opinions, you know what they say about those.

 

To the mother of an acquaintance of my daughters who I have not seen in four years, no it is not awful being alone. I was alone through my entire marriage, never having someone to share my joys or fears with, to have a conversation, to plan, to dream; I now have friends that surround me and a world to explore.

 

To the parents of a boy that went to school with my middle child , the one who I usually saw once a year at some function and have never had a personal conversations with I am not sharing the dirty details of my home life now. Why would I tell you the horrid details of the late night explosions or the fact he moved out to live the free life with his girlfriend of then seven years when you just gossiped about three other parents I vaguely know? Why would I tell you every painful memory I have worked so hard to overcome when you would continue to keep those horrors alive by sharing them in my community? Why would I tell you I pray every day that my children do not act like or end up with someone like their father?

 

To the old coworker, the one who doesn’t even remember my first name and tries to fake her way through a conversation at the grocery, why would you even ask how one grieves that, how one could ever recover? How can I face life alone? I started grieving within the first two years of my marriage, the first time I realized I had to replace joy with fear. I continued to grieve for the next several years, the time my head was split open and I grieved for the loss of my safety in my own home as I sat in the floor beside my newborns crib in hopes I could keep him from crying and waking his father from the drunken sleep; the time I came home from work to discover all my funds for my new life had been discovered I grieved my freedom;  had grieved the loss of small piece of myself every time I was berated or belittled for never being pretty enough, or thin enough, or any of the other statements that left scars as deep as the physical. So there were painful truths I faced, grief was not one of my burdens.

 

To the question of recovery and facing life alone; I had never had emotional, financial, or physical support it is difficult to describe what it is like to be set free from being imprisoned with despair behind walls of hatred and contempt, although they were probably for himself it was directed at me.  I fought to complete my last degree because he refused to assist with the parenting ultimately depending on a friend to help with my children. I have to leave two other programs because of things done to sabotage me which is why I am so driven today. I grieved the loss of three of my grandparents on different occasions without support. Last fall a dear friend while looking for another picture came across a shot of their cat and began to tear up. This was a cat that had seen them through a failed marriage and a disastrous end to a relationship and I understood that pain for I had a cat and a dog that had offered me more comfort than the person I married, that knew things that I had told no one else, except the person missing their cat. I had been shamed over the grief I felt when I lost my pets, yet they offered me more solace and peace than the person who belittled me.  So no, I had been alone for the majority of my marriage, usually working against opposition. So I am fine. I can make it, I have been strong, self-sufficient, going in on my own for so long I have no worries about surviving for I have endured worse.

 

The above was not directed at my close circle for you ask out of concern. For the few of you who know some of the depth of truth and never asked “why did you stay”, I am forever grateful!!! This is for those who on  emotional highway of life feel it is appropriate to rubberneck, to pause and gawk at others pain, to point out fault in others disaster, to armchair quarterback someone else’s life. Why is it so crucial to pry and carry tales.   I understand that it is some peoples worst fear and seeing you persevere offers them comfort. There are other that find the severity of disaster makes their life more bearable, yet we should never count our blessings based on others sufferings. There are those that want to know they are not alone in their struggle, which is one I can tolerate, I can share my journey.  For all other, if you find offense in my response, please consider your motives for inquiry.

 

“I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel all alone.” – Robin Williams

 

A Letter to Myself

Standard

I want to forgive you….

…for being so fragile that you have lost parts of youself along the journey

…for being so strong that you have never learned to ask for help,  you struggle to trust in others, to lean into the kindness offered

…for not always being brave enough to embrace your vulnerability

…for rushing in to fix everything for those you love as opposed to holding space and supporting them in finding their own resolution

…for striving to anticipate everything and working to counterbalance it

…for shutting yourself off from the world, not in the times of healing but out of fear

Remember my dear chicka you are only human. You have made mistakes and I can guarantee you will make more before your time on this precious planet is over for you are just a mere mortal. These mistakes are important, essential to your growth so learn from them. Strive to overcome those forgiven shortcomings; keep your heart filled with gratitude, kindness, and compassion; focus on the love not the fear; and maintain pure intentions for all will be alright when the sun sets. Remember to love yourself, always be as kind to yourself as you would to others.

If you were to write a letter to yourself, what would you forgive?

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”

–Mark Twain