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.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Changes - Do I make them or let life do that for me?

Through out my life I have let life make decisions for me.  My fear of change stalled me out until what I feared the most came upon me. I spent a lot of time paralysed not wanting to make a move for fear that things would change and I would lose the stability I cherished. In the end the __it hit the fan I was left behind to rebuild my life.

Every time I was shocked and bewildered and each time I had less and less energy to start again.  I think it was because I thought it was possible to keep change from happening. In the old days I thought my expert ability to control every situation would give me the upper hand and at the very least I would be prepared when change came a knocking.

I also thought I was alone in cycle (self absorption).  I can see now that this has been a real problem. I thought there was something wrong with me that caused these things to happen to me and therefore I could just make the necessary changes and that would guarantee it wouldn't happen again.

When it happen again and again I ran out of ways to improve myself and believed at the core of me that I was flawed in some big way. I had adhered to every self-help program or idea and it was still happening. I was the best person I could be and that was not enough for the people that left me.

I used these relationships to prove that I was lovable and when they ended it proved that I wasn't.

I believe now that the reason for experiencing the loss over and over was to show me that the love I have for myself is reflected by the people in this world. When your in a relationship and it isn't working the person that loves themselves more gets out first. We call them selfish and we get to play the victim.  I love that part.

How brutal is that? Wow that really hurts to even write that. I am not saying that you can't have two people equally vested in a relationship that can work out their differences long term. I think in my case looking back they were both terrible communicators  looking for a quick solutions that required little or no work or communication.  I was also a terrible communicator.

If  I could have been honest with myself and admitted just how miserable I was then I might have been the one to address the problems but instead I stayed really busy.  This kept me from admitting I felt trapped and bored but too afraid to lose the stability that being in  relationship gave me.

I think I have gotten off track here.  I really wanted to focus on accepting change not closing your eyes to what is staring you in the face and being proactive.  Deciding how things can be different and making changes that you want instead of waiting for life to force you to make the change.

Right now I am looking at my life with some objectivity.  I am seeing that in loving myself I want to make some changes. What do I really want for my future and how am I going to get there?  I don't want it to feel too forced I just want to make every decision based on that picture of the future and I know what that looks like now.  All will be revealed in future post.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Trailer - Boundaries - Happily Ever After

I drove by a trailer park where I once lived today.  It was so weird to see it there about ten trailers tucked between some pretty swanky houses on a major road.  Trailer park living isn't always like the reality TV would like you to believe.  At the time I had moved from an efficiency apartment on the beach to a 12 x 60 trailer and I loved it.

I was single and had my own washer and dryer and some seriously great conditioning. The keepers of the park lived next door and kept up with the comings and goings of guest especially overnight guest. Let us just say my roommate was a friendly girl whose real boyfriend was working on the Alaskan pipeline. He was out of site and out of mind.

I did have my own guest but little did I know he would soon be my husband.  My roommate actually tried to befriend him when I was late getting home one night.  She didn't believe in boundaries of any kind and was usually three sheets to the wind by supper time. I didn't hold her friendly ways against her because she had introduced the two of us. Luckily he wasn't three sheets to the wind or I probably wouldn't be writing this blog.

I always had a soft spot for those with additions. In my experience they seemed so real like my boundary free roommate.  It an openness that I knew I would never have. It was the boundless excitement about life that was appealing to me back in those days.

I lived in fear of the unknown and my soon to be husband and her seemed like they were living life to the fullest. If I could just stay close to them maybe some of that recklessness would rub off on me. It never rubbed off in fact after we werer married and I appointed myself the keepe of all things I was terrified all the time. Where was he? What was he doing?  Is he laying in a ditch somewhere?

The relationships brought to the surface every insecurity I had because I didn't want anything to happen to him he was my whole life.  So here I am here writing an Al-Anon blog.

What I do know now is we are all the same the addicted and the ones that love the addicted. We all are insecure about life some people drink because it makes them feel less insecure and more normal. Some people like me involve themselves in the lives of others so they don't have to face those insecurities. A life of distraction either way. One more acceptable than another one more physically destructive than another.

What the program did for me was it gave me a plan. It made me face those insecurities one by one and see that life is not as scary as my mind has made it to be. I also know now that I am not alone in my thinking and that every one feels this way sometimes they just find ways to deal with it in a healthier way.

I am different now than I was way back then. I still feel lost and insecure sometimes but I know that it is normal depending on the circumstance. I do still like a good distraction and for me this past nine months it has been learning a new job and now that I feel settled I am restless and looking for a new distraction.

It was strange taking a trip down memory lane today.  I will offer you a little update on my roommate. At the end of that summer her real boyfriend came back from Alaska and offered to buy her a new car if she would go back to his home state with him.  She said yes and they drove off into the sunset and lived happily ever after.  That is my story and I am sticking to it.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Admitting our limitations - Being Superman

This week a lot has happened.  Our manager who was managing two departments neither one too well, I have to add, was directed towards the one department he loves not ours.  I heard him tell one of the sales people today that the other job was an 18 hour a day job and he always felt guilty that he wasn't spending time with us. Strangely he didn't willingly give up one of the positions.

Why do we do this?  Why do we take on more than we can possibly handle and can't admit it. I was thinking about this today and thinking about why I do it.  I have done it all my life I prided myself on never saying no to anyone that needed something accomplished.

Sometimes in sales it it greed.  Your plate is full and you are worried that in a week it will all disappear.  I have really been practicing that a lot this past month.  Grabbing and holding on to everything that crossed my desk and then watching it all slip away because I couldn't handle it.

When I am running too fast and have left my spiritual self in the dust I live from a place of lack.  Even though I haven't been hungry since my early twenties and I have never slept in my car because I didn't have a roof over my head. but this is what I still worry about.

Even if there is a greed factor there is something more to not being able to say no. It is a need to please or, for me, a need to prove my worth to my employers.  "See you can't live without me I am your best employee"  I hate to say it but employers love this kind of employee until they just can't manage and the bottom falls out. The employee of the year starts unraveling and collapses in the middle of the office.

Most of my Al-Anon friends are all like this it would take minimum of three people to replace any of us on the job. We want to prove we are carrying our weight and this make us feel valuable. The more valuable we are the more liked and loved we will be and we can feel superior to everyone else.

I am looking at this belief that has sustained me my whole life. The work ethic that I have bragged about and expected from others. I decided to try to let go of this idea that it is my effort that brings me success and consider that if I trust my higher power that I will be provided for and live more peaceful life.

I will do my share and no more.  Last week I actually gave away a customer and today when the other sales person told me that it was a big job I hardly flinched.  Hey you have to give me credit I am new at this.

It is hard for some of us to admit when we can't do something just like my ex-boss. We all want to think we can be Superman but we are better off admitting we aren't or we might just end up a greasy spot on the sidewalk when we fall from the sky.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friendship - My canoe

The more I learn or the more I unlearn the more I realize how wrong I have been about everything.  I have spent my whole life trying to nail things down.  I wanted things to be the same all the time I wanted to know where I was going and what time I was suppose to be there and who would be there with me.

I thought this was the right way to think.  We value things that last so we work hard to make them last.  We value the numbers.  The longer the relationship or the job or where we live the more proud we are of it. Even if a lot of those years have been painful and limiting and our zest for them left long ago.

In my life this idea of longevity was the target and brought on by the sudden and immediate loss of security I felt as a child. I was left to fend for myself  emotionally and it was terrifying so as soon as I could I tried to lock things and people down in my life.  People that seemed fiercely loyal and at work I did more than anyone else to insure a permanent place there.

I was surprised when the relationships and jobs ended in every case abruptly. Because I am as stubborn as a human can be I kept trying with the same results.  I didn't want to believe that security did not really exist and that nothing was really meant to last forever.

I remember my first counselor 20 years ago told me that we each have our own canoe and we are paddling down the river together.  We sometimes paddle side by side with someone for a time and then one of us starts to speed up or move closer to shore and we lose them. Our time together was over.

At that time I only recognized this as it pertained to my broken marriage but now I see this is true for everything. Especially friendships some people I thought would be with me forever have disappeared. In some cases I have tried to rekindle what was once there but it feels wrong.

Today I got a call from someone that what an important part of my life for awhile. We ate together talked on the phone but now it feels forced almost like a courtesy out of respect for what we had.  It feels strange and sad for me but it doesn't make what we had less important.

I worry because my friend pool is shrinking but I know that is because I have changed.  The old me wants to do something to get them back but the new me says it is time to move on and make new friends. I have been feeling un-tethered lately and the old fears of ending up alone have come back.

Today I spent the afternoon with new art friends and it was delicious. They inspired me and they like the untethered me which was nice.  This is why I came home and decided to write. I can be happy here in my canoe today.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Thinking - 9 months

So I have been thinking a lot these past few weeks about my life and where I am going and what I am going to do with the rest of it.  It is a luxury I know.  I am single with no one to support but myself and I have regained the confidence to do just that over the past 9 months.  Yes I can't believe it either it has been 9 months since I started my new job.

The job is going well not spectacular in the money department but well in that I can do it well enough to support myself.  This week I have had some extreme ups and downs.  At the beginning of the week I saw two kitchens where the owners were ecstatic over the results of their kitchen makeovers. Once said it was more than they could possibly imagined.  How nice for me and them.

Today I feel restless maybe because I am starting to get my job under control and the fog of being new is lifting. Today I opted to work at home but that ended up with me avoiding working at all cost. I have worked a lot these past 9 months and think that maybe I am just worn out and need some time off.

Of course time off in a full commission based job is a risk.  It means that for however many days you take off you will have a vacancy in the money flow some where down the line.  Which is a little scary for us sales people this is why we never take off.

I feel really guilty when I have a day like today. So guilty that I don't actually enjoy doing nothing and I am afraid to even look at my phone for fear of seeing an unknown phone number that could be some customer looking for me.

Will I ever be satisfied to be human. I think my faults are exclusive to me that no one else ever just gets tired of their life as it is and checks out for a few days.  I feel guilty because I know for the most part I have enjoyed the jobs I have had and the career choices I have made. I like what I do most of the time but occasionally I would like to just get away from me for a few days or maybe a week.

Leave me behind the one striving to be more or sometimes the me striving to be less. A place I could commune with others and share mundane chores and laugh. This is what I am missing in my life a since of a safe place to let my hair down and feel free. Any one know a place like that?

At the end of 9 months there is usually a birth of some sort so I guess I will just have to wait and see.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Denial - It is there when we need it

When I first came to the program there was a lot of things I didn't really know and I found there were a lot of things I didn't want to know.  I was living in denial and as the layers of my denial fell away I felt worse about the person I had been up the that time. How could I have deceived myself how could I have not seen how terrible wrong I had been about everything?

Denial for me over the years has become the enemy and seeing things as they are and not as I wish them to be a goal I strive for everyday. Today I realized that denial is really there to protect us until we are ready to see the truth about a situation that could possibly devastate us. We are not ready until we are ready.

We went to my friends house for dinner tonight. She cooked a leg of lamb for a belated Easter feast. She has done this so many times and we have enjoyed many incredible meals there.  My friend has Parkinson's and she is getting more and more fragile every day. She has been functioning independently pretty well but things are now starting to slip.

She like all us hard core Al-Anons she is as tough as nails and would never think of given in to the disease or even asking for help. This changed recently when she had an episode with the battery that stimulates her brain and keeps her from shaking. She accidentally turned one side off and her arm shook wildly until she realized what she had done. She has mentioned this every time I have seen her since and it seems like her own denial is being tested.

As I cleaned her kitchen tonight and I saw how rundown everything was in her house my own denial started breaking down.  While I was depressed these past years I was present in her life but I didn't really see her or acknowledge what was happening to her. I feel ashamed now of my own self absorption.

I know it is just life and I also know that if I could have done better I would have. We all live life today as if everything will always be the same when nothing stays the same. This is how we survive we stop looking at what we aren't ready to see and if we are never ready then it is forced on us. Something happens that we can't deny and we have to deal with. I think we are there in this situation.

I am a strong person and now that my confidence has returned I will be able to offer my support.  My friends and I are moving past denial and into acceptance and we will face whatever comes together.