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

 

Unnoticed

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When the only choice you have is to be strong, is that real strength? If the only choice you have left is to move forward, is that really following your journey? I feel like I have arrived at a point where I must choose to walk away from it all, step back from the world or continue what feels like constantly fighting against the current. Can one sit down responsibilities that cannot be discarded? Can I leave my studies when I have fought so hard to get this far? Can I leave behind the world that seems to take much more than it gives?  When I go, will my imprint remain? Will my absence go unnoticed?

 

“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion.” -Kurt Vonnegut

Project to Disprove Isolation

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This wonderful project from iknowiknow.me shows what we all go through. It is a reminder that we all are battling something that most of us never even know about. That smile can sometimes be a facade or the external trait of your internal fight to go on.

“A person who truly loves you is someone who sees the pain in your eyes while everyone else believes in the smile on your face.” – Unknown

Note to Former Self

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I am a believer of getting it out of my head either by talking it through or writing it down.  If I put it on paper it adds perspective and allows me to process through my thoughts instead of them continually bouncing around inside my head.  The other day I shared with my dear friend the process I have used to let go when you have no way of actually dealing with the person or event; writing a letter and hold nothing back, there is no need for civility only honesty about your feelings, pain, etc. then I find a quiet place and set it ablaze leaving only a trail of smoke. I have been known to scrawl my thoughts of anger and pain on napkins or compose detailed letters of forgiveness on my fine stationary; it has ran the gamut.  I have written many to myself throughout the years, focusing on forgiveness or to clarify things. Over the past week or two the same topic has surfaced in conversations with different people; what would you tell to your young naïve self.  I don’t spend too much time on regrets, this just made me think what words of wisdom would I impart. Here goes….

 

 

Dear Chicka,

At twenty-two you are so young, have so much of your life to live but you feel like you have been swept off your feet with love. Although you have been loved by your parents and siblings, you have no idea this is not real love. Before you know it you will be facing motherhood and within a few months of that you will know fear. Not that silly scary movie type or the heart racing because you are frightened in a dark parking lot type but true fear for yourself and your unborn child. I am sorry I put you in that position.

You will know a love like no other the moment you hold your first child in your arms and from that moment forward you will make all your decisions as a means to protect, nurture, and provide for them all. You work so hard, you try more than anyone I have ever known, always telling yourself if you just love a little more, try a little harder, find a bit more patience for that is what role you are supposed to play. So many nuances you will learn for yourself just know I am so proud of you for your strength, your courage, and all you have given to your children.

Please try to remember to love yourself, be kind to yourself but I know there will be times that is lost, know there will be moments where you set yourself ablaze to keep someone else warm, and where you sacrifice you dreams a beliefs for some false greater-good. You will return to yourself in time.  Try to hold fast to what you believe in your heart and soul. In your late twenties,  you will lose sight of who you are, you will lose hope, and your faith will be challenged but know it will be found again, to be stronger than you knew. When you face those moments, remember to never lose sight of your kindness, compassion, and love; just know not everyone is deserving of those gifts. Know you deserve so much better, your children do too and one day you will have it.

In your early thirties  you find the courage to finally leave, to have a plan in place and all the elements align for it to occur remember you are strong enough to make it; you are a survivor! You will regain your financial independence, some security for you and your children, and strike a career path that will carry you through another rough patch or two.  When you return later, know too that everything happens for a reason, try to retain your belief that life is unfolding as it should.  You trusted in the words, you wanted to believe more than anything. Who would think the person who professes to love you would even…?  When you begin to doubt yourself, when you lose confidence in your choice hold fast to your conviction that this is all part of a plan.  Stay strong, be courageous, and love your children with all your heart for it will work out. In your mid-thirties you will understand why you returned, why in all the prayers and moments of silence seeking the path and strength to leave that little voice would say not yet.  You are blessed with a do-over and there are not many of those in life so enjoy it!

It will eventually all fall apart one fateful morning. All the financial security you created will see you through a nasty divorce and you will be able to maintain a decent lifestyle for you and your children. You will begin to live life as you had only dreamed. There will come one morning on the beach where you will forgive, a sunrise all alone where you learned to lay down the burdens forced upon you by another for you know they are not yours to carry.  You will also learn to forgive yourself which will be the most difficult; at times I still remind myself of this.You will regain your confidence and although there are times you struggle you know all you were told was not true for you know your own truth, worth, and beauty. You will know a peace in your heart you never knew existed. You will live a life of contentment where so many of the things you endured have given you a skillset that proves useful.  One evening at the dinner table, you will laugh with your children and know the journey while difficult was worth those smiles and in that moment life will be as it should.

Know that even now there are difficult times, moments that revisit your psyche but at this mid-point in your life you are wiser than you could have even hoped. There is still so much to learn, so many experiences, so far to travel but you will be doing so with a full spirit and a peaceful heart surrounded by loving friends.

 

Be kind and love yourself on this journey,

~Your middle-aged self

 

An Unwanted Visitor

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Sitting here waiting for the sun to rise the night noises are my constant companion. An unwanted from my sadistic friend Insomnia; she has once again arrived at the most inopportune time and is outstaying her welcome. I am sitting here thinking of a moment when I was a child and had to be pulled from the water, that felling of no matter how hard you fought you could not stay on the surface, the fear because you know what failing in that moment means, and becoming too tired to fight any longer. I wonder what one’s last thoughts are, when then go below the surface for one last time.

I am so tired

…tired of fighting so hard to stay above the surface

…tired of being the strong one

…tired of smiling when I feel like I fell like I am crumbling

…tired of reassuring others when I am so unsure

…tired of my anxious mind always thinking, trying to understand

…tired of feeling like I am damaged

…tired of not being enough; pretty enough, good enough…

…tired of not having a place to take respite, if only for a moment

…tired of keeping this all inside, to myself

…tired of not knowing whether to continue or just give up

…tired of struggling so hard to keep my grasp on hope.

“Faith begins where Reason sinks exhausted.” – Albert Pike

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

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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

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions…..

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I am the type of chicka who commits to doing something, who is all in, be it work, relationships, friendships, passions, volunteer work if I begin something it is with all my heart and soul.  I struggle to walk away. When you have me, you have my whole heart, all my effort, all my compassion, empathy, and kindness.  I do not believe in half-assing anything for that means we shortchange ourselves; you undermine the gift of opportunity. I think this is a direct result of my mother’s encouragement, knowing what I can do, encouraging me to achieve it and more. If we only meet life half-way we lose out on the experience, what was meant, we do not encounter our truth as it is intended, growth is stifled, and we can suffer.

When I was younger it 168had everything to do with being hell-bent on not losing but now it is only focused on doing what is right, what serves a greater purpose; the vanity of youth has long since left me. I know people who wander through life following the path of least resistance, who at the first struggle just up and leave. I know others that have mastered futility and will persist at a lost cause to their own demise. Do you know where you fall on that continuum? I often think that I would not battle for a lost cause, but how do I know? I would hope I would dig my heels in and work through the muck and mire of something that was important to me but can I be sure? How can I discern between mere doubt of an anxious mind and true fruitlessness. Sometimes we are faced with the choice to free ourselves or we suffer and other times our simple choice turns into a lifetime of regret.

At any given moment on out journey we are faced with the decision to try harder, to continue forward or to walk away. All those wonderful inspirational quote about walking away when it no longer serves you, about not owing anyone anything, but what if there is a purpose we do not see?  Are we making the choice to stay out of fear of the unknown?  We are creatures of habit, preferring predictability, averse to fear. Do we throw in the towel too easily? Some of us are concerned that things get difficult means it will never be easy again, others of us are fear the past will replicate itself, judging the present situation based on the measuring-stick given to us be another. I have faced all of those situations in my lifetime. The reality is life is one struggle after the next, one long string of choices, one set of opportunities to say, “Should I stay or should I go.”

So I now find myself at this intersection. I have two paths before me, both foggy so the outcome is unclear. So the trick is to still the mind, to turn off all the rational arguments on which choice is best, to not fall into the comfort of predictability, to turn away from guilt and toward love,  to not let the noise of the outside world influence my thought,  to let that little voice speak with veracity and conviction because those words are typically my truth.  So in my moments of peace, in prayer, I still hear wait, I feel the need to be patient which contradicts those logical arguments and all the noise the world.  So shall I stay, try harder or shall  I go……

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” -Elizabeth Appell