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.
 




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.