Bound

November 30th: Bound

First of all, I missed another day…I didn’t forget, I was just busy with my family. Sometimes we must prioritize.

Today, I am coping with the silence of this house after everyone has gone on their way. For someone like me, who generally enjoys being alone, I find myself a little bit out of sorts. There is nothing quite like knocking around in an empty house after everyone you love has left.

To remedy my loneliness, I called some people I love in hopes of cheering myself up. Instead, I found myself leaving each phone call more worried and sadder than I already was. These are people who are close, very close, to my heart. Both of them are making decisions that I don’t understand, and I know, I just KNOW, that if the situations were reversed, they would be equally as concerned and worried about me.

I hung up the phone and sat in my dark, empty house…unsure what more I could do. There is no one I can call to share these things with, there is no way to help. So, what do I do?

Here’s the thing: Life is hard sometimes. No matter how old we are or what we think we know, there are yet more lessons to be learned. I have often thought that it is more painful to witness someone we love going through a tough time than it is to be going through it ourselves. At least when you are in it, you can do something. When you are a bystander, all you can do is sit helplessly by and watch and wish you could think of the right words to get through to the people you love.

We are, all of us, bound by love to others in this world. It is what gives life to our lives- even someone like me, closed off as I can be, knows that. Sometimes that means sharing in the good things, and sometimes that means…just standing by, ready to be there when you are needed. It means checking in, reminding people of how much they are loved, and how much they matter. Sometimes it means telling hard truths, saying the words “You don’t sound like you’re okay, and I think I know what’s going on.” Sometimes it means rocking the boat a little bit. Sometimes love asks us to be a little more brave and speak up a little louder…even if it makes people defensive or angry. When you love someone, you need to recognize what is needed, and show up.

Today, if there is someone you love who is struggling, I hope you can see it for what it is. Rather than wonder, pick up the phone and let them know you are here. That you see them. That you love them. That even if they can’t talk right now, you’re gonna call again tomorrow, and the day after that, until they can. Life is hard, sometimes. Don’t let your loved ones think they are alone. And if you are hurting…open up when someone reaches out. Even if you’re ashamed or scared. Let someone in. We need each other so much more than we think.

Thanks-Giving — After The Party

Hi, guys! I started to make this a post for my other blog, but quickly realized this one belongs here, where my story has played out over so many years. I have a different voice, and a different story, and a different history here, and this one should live here. So here goes: I woke […]

Thanks-Giving — After The Party

This is a little different than the things I post here, but you can check it out if you want to. Happy Thanksgiving! Find something to be grateful for!

I Almost Forgot (AGAIN!)

As you can imagine, and I’m sure plenty of you can relate, I have been very, very busy today!

I had a regular work day, had lots of housework to finish up, then my mom came and we visited here at my house for a while before going out for dinner- I seem to have forgotten to buy food that didn’t directly involve Thanksgiving, so…And I am not one to be going to the grocery store repeatedly.

I am hitting the sack, gonna finish up this book I’m reading, snuggle with my kiddo, and get some rest. Tomorrow will be hectic.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, make sure you get some rest tonight. Prepare yourself for family interactions, if you’re having them tomorrow, and remember that your loved ones are only human- just like you. If they are hard to be with, try to remember that someday you might not have them around and you’re gonna miss this stuff. Be grateful for whatever you do have, and know someone, somewhere, would probably love to be in your shoes.

And for the LOVE OF GOD, leave the politics off the table, unless you are all on the same page. Life is just too short for that stuff. Wait until Friday to alienate everyone you love. LOL.

Talk to you tomorrow, kids.

Two Sides

November 26th: Two Sides

There is a me that I love, and a me that I struggle with. The side of myself that I love is quick to laugh, lighthearted, funny, and warm. The side of myself that I do not enjoy is cynical, angry, quick to take offense, difficult and sharp. She is always ready to fight.

I understand that the circumstances of my life, over time, have made both sides of me necessary for one reason or another. When times were hard, the darker side of me was my protector. Anger was easier than fear and kept people from getting too close. But the danger of living this way for too long is that it becomes a habit, and habits are hard to break. Times are not hard for me anymore, and I don’t need protection. I am not afraid, and I want those I love close to me. I don’t need to hide behind anger.

This morning, I have made a decision. It is time to remove the walls I have built around my heart. I will do it brick by brick if I must, but I am ready. I have done all this work on myself, and I sense that it is time to open up and start the work of repairing and strengthening the relationships in my life. Time is precious, and I’ve taken long enough.

I know that this is very specific to me, but I wanted to share it anyway…because I’m sure that there’s a part of you that you love, and a part of you that you wish you could change. Well, you can. And so can I. But it is going to take time, resolve, patience, forgiveness and love.

That’s what it boils down to, I think. Love. I want to be the part of me that I love, because that’s the part of me that understands how to love. And, even though love is at the core of every single thing I write here, it is still not always the easiest place in myself to access. I let too many things get in the way. Today, I am going to start dealing with that.

If you are reading this, I want you to think about the side of yourself that you love, and the side of yourself that causes you trouble. Which side has been in the driver’s seat? If you don’t like the answer you come up with, don’t despair- we become who we are for a reason. Be kind to yourself and see if you can get closer to the part of you that you want to be. Be patient with yourself, but firm. Let go of what no longer serves you. It’s time.

Extra Help

November 25th: Extra Help

Late post today- as is so often true around the holidays, I am busy doing all of the things I normally do, PLUS getting ready for Thanksgiving this week. Which I foolishly insisted upon doing at my house. Yikes.

Anyway, I had a scheduled appointment with my therapist today, and I almost didn’t go, but…the truth is, it was too late to cancel on her, so I just went ahead and got down there. I felt kind of blah and didn’t think I had much to talk about…I had my mind on the million other things I needed to do.

HA! Turns out, I had quite a bit brewing in this little head of mine, hiding beneath and behind all of my busy-ness.

We talked a lot about things I could control (my attitude, my responses) and things I could not control (how my mother feels about my housekeeping, how my daughter chooses to show up, or not show up, in the world) and a little bit about stepping back and getting perspective. All things I already know, things I talk about here all the time, but…you know, I’m human. I find it easier to look out than look in sometimes. Aside from these little moments of inspiration and clarity I try to grab onto as they slide by, I’m just a bumbling little soul in a skin suit, freaking out because I have no idea what the hell is going on.

I love my therapist. I have been with her for a long, long time now, and I will tell you this- there is no substitute for a therapist that you click with and have built a rapport with over years. It can be hard to find that, but I think it is truly worth the search. I see her more often when I am struggling, and sometimes as seldom as once a month when I am doing well. She has been with me since before I finally got clean, and through the darkest of dark times. She reminds me often, when I am nitpicking myself, of how far I have come and how much I have grown. She knows alllll of it.

Today, I want to remind you that the holidays can be stressful even under the best of circumstances. The minute you hit adulthood, the holidays aren’t just about seeing your cousins and staying up all night trying to catch Santa coming down the chimney. There are awkward questions, hurt feelings, dry turkeys and drunk uncles. Or, you know, some rough equivalent of that. Don’t hesitate to carve out time for yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask for extra help. I know not everyone has access to therapy, but I hope there is someone you can turn to when you need to vent. The better you feel, the more likely you’ll be to create magical memories instead of awful ones that you’ll need…well, therapy, just to get over.

Choices

November 24th: Choices

You know, the older I get, the more complicated my perception of myself has gotten. I sometimes feel like I am all of the things I ever was, at every point in my life, all at once. This is not the case. Though my past experiences shaped me, and the memories continue to influence my decisions today, I am not the same person I used to be. I am this person, sitting here, now.

Look, we all have experienced trauma. We all carry painful memories, things that were our fault, and things that most definitely were not. We have all been hurt, and we have all hurt others.

At a certain point, you have some choices to make. Do I want to be so married to my pain that I let it become my identity, or do I want to take the reins and forge a new way forward for myself? For me, at least, the answer was easy. I couldn’t stand the pain anymore of being who I was. Sure, there was a lot of pain involved in changing, too, but at least it was different pain. Pain with a purpose. Growing pains are no joke.

The other day, I was laying in my bed reading, and something popped up…some memory that made me uncomfortable, I don’t know what it was. And I just thought to myself “I forgive you for everything, for all of it…every single thing you did, every minute. I forgive you.” It was the most random thing, but I felt so peaceful afterward. In that moment, I made the choice to do something different. Instead of dwelling, I addressed my feelings of shame with forgiveness. Now I remind myself of that choice each time one of those memories tries to ambush me.

I could use a lot more words here to explain to you why, though you are entitled to your pain, it might not be serving you. How it’s your job to address your issues no matter who caused them, even if that isn’t fair. That the energy you pour into beating yourself up or reliving the past could be used on forgiving yourself, letting go, and starting again. Instead, I’ll just say this:

Today, if you are reading this, I hope you know that the choices you make today matter a thousand times more than any you made in the past. So make good ones.

Slow & Steady

November 23rd: Slow & Steady

Before I go any further, I want to acknowledge that I missed a day- already! And though I could formulate a million reasons why, the truth is…I just plain forgot. Lately, I’ve been writing in a willy-nilly fashion, sometimes in the morning, sometimes at night. I guess I thought I wrote something yesterday, but I did not. My friend Peter checked in on me to make sure I was okay (he thought I must be dead, I guess, since I didn’t write.) When he found out I was okay, he suggested that I write a piece about time travel, and I guess try to convince you all that I was writing from yesterday? I figured just admitting I forgot would suffice. But thanks, Peter! 😊

Okay, now, back to the other stuff.

So, today, I was given the rare gift of calm- a quality I know almost nothing about in any quantity at all. Sure, I have moments of it here and there, but today, almost all day, I have been utterly…calm.

I did not feel the pervasive drive to go, go, go that I normally do, but I wasn’t just sitting around procrastinating and feeling miserable, either. I actually got a LOT done, but all of the crazy pressure I normally put on myself was absent. It was great. I don’t have a clue why I felt this way or where it came from, but boy am I grateful.

And now that I know what that feels like, it will be easier for me to recreate it, you know? Looking around at my spotless (well, almost) living room, listening to the dishwasher do its thing off in the kitchen, and knowing that I did all the things I did today with not a bit of my frantic attitude ruining it. What a breakthrough!

Reminds me of that old story about the fox and the hare…well, not really. I can’t exactly remember that story fully. But I do remember the saying “Slow and steady wins the race.”

There might be something to that after all.

My hope for you, if you are reading this, is that you are given the gift of discovering something new about yourself. If you are, like me, a relentlessly driven mad-person, then I hope you wake up tomorrow and suddenly find yourself calm. If you are grouchy, may you wake up happy and joyful. If you are lazy and unmotivated, may you wake up energetic and ready to go. All of those things really are inside of each of us. Sometimes they just need to be discovered.