Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Snowman Pens and getting on with life

Here we are with the holiday right upon us it never feels quite real to me. I think because the weather doesn't change too much here and because I lost my sentiment for all of it when I found away to be happy most of the time instead of picking just a few days out the year and squeezing all the happiness out of them that I could.

My co-worker bought us all snowman pens and then went around chastising those of us not using them. I use to be like that. Today she described reindeer cupcakes for next week. The rest of the time she is very unhappy and sees life as out to get her and life fulfills her request daily.

I have settled into my new job quite nicely and business is booming. The fear I had of never getting my mojo back has disappeared. With my confidence back I am selling at top speed. I really love what I do and I actually love my customers most of time.

I will admit as an introverted salesperson I do have to space out my appointments or take a nap between them. I learned that I feel the energy of the people around me that's what makes me good at what I do but it also makes me want to make them happy no matter what the cost.

This is a habit from living in a home of dysfunction. When I am at my best I step back and stay out of their drama and there is a lot of drama in design. The choices the money the mess it brings out the worst and best qualities. Everyone is happy to start with and then the thrill wears off and in the end  they feel like they are the only ones experiencing problems with their project.

When it is over usually a few weeks after completion they couldn't be happier. The have the kitchen of their dreams and we have moved on. New customers new dream kitchens.

Where I work now there is a steady flow of new customers which I like. Repeat customers are good but sometimes you know too much about them and what you are up against. I guess I deal better with the unknown than the known these days.

It is good to be out of survival mode. I am have been surprised by the energy I have without the fear dragging me down. Happy to be free and just getting things done.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

My story - The end of a journey

I wanted to write tonight and let you know that I have changed.  I can't really explain what has happened to me but it feels like I have reached the end of a long road of searching for something.

Did I find what I was looking for?  I think I found myself it is true that I was here all along but I didn't know it. I thought there was something wrong with me because I have been rejected a lot.

I thought I was rejected because at the core of me I was somehow wrong. I wasn't like anyone else no matter what I did I felt different.  I was always on the outside. Even in my family I just couldn't go along with the program.

I tried hard to find and love what other people seem to think was important but it didn't stick. I could hang in there for a while until something inside of me started to turn sour. I only acknowledged the way I felt by telling myself that something was wrong with me.

Since I didn't know what it was or how to fix it my answer was to stay busy. I found projects, people and problems to solve. This kept the self loathing at bay for awhile but eventually it seeped to the surface and repelled everyone in my path. I drove away the people I loved into the arms of others.

In the end the pain of being me caught up with me and I surrendered and committed to finding out how to change myself. I found the program of Al-Anon. I found a place where everyone was working on changing to become  better people. It felt like a really good investment and l felt like we all had the same goals.

I found a family there and also learned that my beliefs were causing a lot of own pain. I realized my need to manage everything and everyone was a real problem because nothing in life can be managed. The best I can hope for is to manage my thoughts and to try to stay honest with myself.

This was all great and made my life a lot easier but I was still just treating the symptoms. I didn't know that it was the belief I had about myself that caused all the pain. It was the belief that I was unlovable.

The changes I made did make it easier for me to fit in and find someone to love me for awhile. It happened again the self loathing seeped to the surface. I hid it by being compliant going along with what was expected. Living a good life but not enjoying it. I didn't want to be there. I was set free again and it nearly killed me.

I had done everything right but it wasn't enough I wasn't enough. Now what? I had to start over with no clue. All of what I had learned before seemed like empty words to me. No magic cure this time.

I tried returning to what had worked before I even tried to reconnect with my family thinking that I needed to belong but I still didn't. I had to face the truth I was dead in water with no place to go.

I stayed there in that dark place for what seemed like a lifetime. I was alone and the pain was unbearable. With time I accepted that this was what the rest of my life would look like. I stopped resisting and just went through the motions of every day.

I stopped wanting or asking for anything. I let go and I got better everyday. I did anything that gave me comfort I didn't have any expectations of myself.

I started to see I didn't need anything and the darkness lifted. I was all I needed just as I was empty but full of grace. I had taken this journey alone and learned that I was enough and worth saving and I was loved.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Denial - New Eyes

I watch a lot of shows about transformation and today was no exception.  When a prominent chef is ask to come help a failing restaurant and the owner is in total denial about how bad the food is or that the menu is so complicated the servers can't explain it. I thought how can he not see what is so obvious to everyone else. That my friend is the way denial works.

For me I have huge pockets of denial about my own life.  First living with alcoholic and believing every lie that came out of his mouth even when my mind was screaming something is terrible wrong to being part of a business that was doomed to fail. Again my mind screaming this is not going to ever work I couldn't give it up.

Today while watching the show I thought, why is he doing this? Why to we refuse to see the truth until it is so painful that we can't breath or we have panic attacks?

I believe the cause of my own denial has been the future I have predicted for my self is over. I have to face my own fear of the unknown. If don't admit there is a problem then I don't have to start down that road of the many bad outcomes my mind can imagine.

Because of my unpredictable childhood I wanted to find a "normal life" and settled in where every day would be be nothing but happiness. Seriously I thought I could do this I could control the universe every detail all the time. I was immature with those beliefs. It wasn't my fault I grasp those ideas at a time in my life when the best I could do was survive. A child in survival mode sizing up the world from that perspective.

Of course life kept dealing out one crisis after another I made the assumption that I needed to work harder to prevent the next one. This worked and things got better and then I found myself there again surprised at the cards life had dealt me.

What has changed for me is that the last time when I had totally done my best and things still fell apart. The truth is I thought I was bad. Something was wrong with me and despite all the spiritual work I had done I could never be fixed. I would never be a finished product worthy of the good life that other people have. This idea made me want to die. I was not good enough and I had proof.

How crazy is that? My whole life's thought process was a child's survival mode. If I do things right and I am good then everyone is happy and life is good. If you aren't good and you disobey then your mother gets sick and dies and the rest of your family goes there separate ways and you are left alone.

I didn't want to left again so I started working on myself to become someone others could love and would never leave. Everybody left and this was proof enough for my eight year old self.

My life has been tiring living this way thinking this way. Waiting for the next mistake and I have made plenty and interpreting the fact that I have been left as proof that I am bad just like I was at eight.

No one told me in all those books I read that you can't be good enough for people to love you. Either they do or they don't. It isn't conditional on your performance all the time. Sure if you are a monster then you might spend more time with less people but some people really like monsters.

Today I try to not let the little girl in me take the blame for everything that goes wrong in my life. I try to accept that life is just life and everyday can bring good times or bad. Most days I accept that this is the case for everyone and no one has a magic formula for being happy all the time.

I really felt for the guy today that couldn't believe every belief he had about his life and his situation wasn't going to work. With the proof laid before him the success of the changes made against the failures of his own ideas was just too much. Change and maybe succeed or not change and definitely fail. I vote for change.

With the evidence so overwhelming he did have a breakthrough and accepted that to succeed he had to let go of old ideas and beliefs and try to look at his life with new eyes.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Making changes - My favorite hole in the wall

I ate alone last night at one of my favorite restaurants I have been going there with the people I love or loved for over thirty years.  As I sat alone with my critical designer eye could see the place as it really is a hole in the wall and in need of a serious makeover.

It made me think of how we live in our own self created world and for the most part don't see things as they really are or how they might look from the outside. We get into habits that we stick with our head down and don't change unless we have to.

The life we have created is too close to our hearts for good or bad to even make changes that might make us happier. Maybe just small decisions like joining a new group or going to a new restaurant. It would upset the flow of our own lives and the people around us.

Change takes effort and it is uncomfortable for usually a short time. Internal change is even harder because the voice in our head has been there a long time and takes changes in attitude as a personal assault.  Playing devils advocate to the extreme to keep things just as they are and winning most of the time.

I have had a lot of change in my life but it was mostly thrust upon me.  I resisted these changes and suffered a lot and it made me hate change more than ever. I wanted my life to be calm and secure so I worked hard to keep things exactly as they were. Also known as a rut.

What I didn't realize it my effort to make everything stay the same actually suck the joy right out of everything. I actually need change to feel refreshed about life but I want it to be on my terms and not in the form of crisis like it has always been.

The Al-Anon program was where I first realized I really liked drama. The drama my spouse created made me feel alive at first and I was always needed. My official job was to manage him and I never had to entertain myself or think about the emptiness I felt inside. In the end the job wore me out and I was forced to look at who I had become and be willing to make changes.

Since then I have done a lot of looking at my own life and my own short comings and over the years have made some serious changes. Again most of the time because I was forced to make them.

I think I am finally ready to take charge of my own change. I have walked into my own hole in the wall and can seen clearly that my life needs a makeover.

Just like my favorite restaurant I need a makeover.  I don't need to change everything just a few things to start with and then maybe more.  Just like my the resturant I have a history and knowledge that came with that history and a have worked hard to become who I am today.

I am ready to move on and stop just surviving the past. I will keep the best parts of me, like my favorite resturant should keep their food and just work on changing everything else that no longer working for me.  Wish me luck.  

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Scuppernongs and Letting go

I have been standing in front of my sink for the past half hour eating Scuppernongs that I bought at the farmers market today.  If you don't know what they are they are a type of grape with a thick skin that is not edible and their inside are thick and full of seeds.  So what is to great about them well they have pretty tasty juice and they remind me of my dad.

When I was growing up we lived in the suburbs outside a large southern city. We had a nice little house on a corner lot that sloped from the front of the house to the back. My dad decided one day after eating Scuppernongs that he wanted to plant a grape orchard  on the side of the house and he did.

He dug sixteen holes for sixteen post and strung wire between them and planted Scuppernongs and Muscadime grapes.  This was before my mother got sick.  We already had a big organic garden on the corner that annoyed the neighbors because it blocked the view of on coming cars when they were leaving the subdivision.  They didn't complain too much once the vegetables started coming in.

I think about my dad every time I eat Scuppernongs I think about how after my mom died and he remarried he never planted another thing. Was all the love he put into growing just for her?

I think we give up things when we lose people we love whether they pass away or just leave. A little part of us that relates the activity to a happier time.  We want to erase the memory to forget there was ever that time that the person was part of our lives.

I loved my dad even though he left me behind with the gardening.  Because I am like him and have experienced loss myself I know that letting go of who I was make life a little easier.

Today I am at peace about my dad and about my life and can enjoy the memories of Scuppernongs and my daddy's orchard.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Happy Birthday - A new me

I have written several posts that didn't make the cut. I feel like I have been winding down my life. It started in July and bled over into August and now here were are in September.

I attribute this slump to the ending of something.  I think it is a crash of sorts from the ending of my training period on the job. I am no longer in crisis everything feels too normal and dull.  Living in crisis makes the days, weeks and months fly by with little time to live life deliberately. No time to ask yourself  "Is this what I want to be doing?"

I realize this has been my problem all my life. The tragedy early in my life started me living in a crisis mode and this felt normal to me. Braving every storm and when there was no storm I created one.  I would poke around at any ember until a fire broke out. I surrounded myself with people that carried matches in their back pockets. This has been my life and now that I have found peace I it feels unsettling.

Now my mind is unhappy with this and is bored and trying to create something anything to bring back the thrill that living in crisis gave me all those years. I have been getting over something as long as I can remember and now that I am finally over my past I feel unsure how to do it. Can I live my life without crisis?

Today is my birthday and naturally a time of reflection. I have felt the past few weeks like I don't matter to many people and that my life hasn't really made much of a difference.  I blame only myself. I have been so lost in my own mind that I have made a lot of mistakes that can't be undone. My pain has made me selfish and I have been trapped in my mind for a lifetime.

Today I was surprised by the number of birthday wishes I received mostly from my co-workers and friends outside the program.  I had the birthday song sang to me three times over the phone. This did lift my spirits.

My friends from the program are more like me and not too generous with there well wishing. I know it is a mirror for me. I was always this way I use to be more giving to the people in my life that were suppose to love me.  I know now I was hoping they would show any evidence that they loved me in return but it never happened.

I had a void that needed filling and this was one way I tried to fill it.  I wanted to be important to the people that were important to me. Their indifference just reinforced the truth I had in my heart that I wasn't important to them or anyone. I have continued this practice by indifferent to the people and family in my own life whom I claim to love.  I can change this.

Every day I have a chance to decide again who I want to be. I can begin again today and decide to give in a loving and mature way without looking for something in return. I don't have to be the hurt child waiting to feel loved by another. I can love first without hesitation.

Today I can start again and be be generous with my love without the fear of being rejected.  Happy birthday to me.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

My life knows I am making changes - Fears

I think my life knows I am about to make some changes.  First some old fears have started filtering through and I find the critic in my head getting louder.  I also have been doing some reminiscing about the past and one relationship in particular.

It all started when the receptionist at work broke up with her boyfriend. She is 19 and they have know each other for six months and this is their fourth breakup.  He told her she was too mature for him and that he had some catching up to do. He also told her that she knows him better than he does himself.

This sounds like a load of crap to me the "your too good for me I don't deserve you". Mind games this is what I thought.  I feel bad for her her mother is bipolar and she has all the signs of a full fledged Al-Anon. She does everything perfectly and she takes everything very serious.

Tonight I was thinking about her and all she will have to learn about herself. I was thinking about my own lessons in love and how many times I fell for what felt familiar instead of what was good for me. I was thinking about one person in particular.

After my 13 year relationship ended I met someone almost immediately. I didn't really notice at first we were going to the same social gatherings and then we started going to lunch once a week and then I started having feelings. I dismissed it because I was a wreck and all my feelings were all over the place. Then I found out the feelings were mutual. The problem was they were not available.

The person has been in AA for 20+ years. The whole thing felt really familiar like when I was with my husband. It felt really good and the drama of the (not available) just added more fuel to the flame. I felt so alive and I also thought somehow if it worked out I could totally avoid the grief of my other relationship ending.

I tell this story tonight because while I was thinking about this particular relationship I got a text. It has been few years since our last contact and six since our initial meeting. It was a fishing text asking about my working and saying "I was thinking about you".

They are available now but I don't think I am.  The drama and excitement of our time together even though nothing happen was like a drug for me. But it got messy because once I put my heart out on the table they started calling the shots. Making all the rules about how when we would see each other. This also felt familiar one person calling the shots.  This in not a relationship this is a dictatorship.

At that point I turned from a happy person in love to a raging lunatic. I was then shut down and offered friendship on the condition that we pretend we never had those feelings and that we never speak of it again. This made me madder than I have been since I was married to my husband when he was drinking.

My opinion didn't matter my needs were always secondary to his needs.  To experience the highs of the relationship meant you had to experience the lows and then in the end it was mostly just lows. What I do know now it that I won't be texting back because I the person I was then doesn't exist anymore.

My life knows that I am making changes and is using my past to test this new found determination. Can I move forward with all the doubts and criticisms I have about myself? Can I be distracted by the glow of another person that once had such power over me?  Can I resist the chance to maybe feel those intense feelings I felt back then?  Tonight the answer is definitely yes.