Friday, February 16, 2018

Chunks of time - Living now - Uncertainty

I called my nephew last night to see how he was doing.  They are about to have their first baby and we are within days of the projected due date.  I wanted to see how they were doing emotionally they both have a lot of responsibilities plus they haven't been married but a few years and are still sorting out their places.

I fear that he is like his father living in his own universe not realizing that other people are experiencing things different than he his.  He has a lot of charisma and can talk anyone into anything and smooth over any situation.  I think he works hard at being what is expected and in the long run he will have to find out who he really is and what he wants. He wife is strong willed and will definitely challenge him along the way. When we are young we make everything so complicated trying to live up to the picture we have of ourselves or what we think other people expect of us.  These are just ideas in our own mind and not actually what other people are thinking most of the time.

During my call I stressed to him the importance of this moment with his wife the last time they will be top priority in their lives. Just to enjoy each day instead of wishing for tomorrow and for the arrival of a child that will change their relationship forever. It will be a happy change but change nevertheless.

My point is to not to live in the future.  The future in our mind is always better and happier than we imagine today is going to be.  I have always worked towards a goal or at the least worked to get past today's problem.  I would say "if only this would happen then things will settle down."  I missed big chunks of my life getting over what was happening today.

When you are in a crisis mentally or spiritually you can be lost in your thinking and really miss some important stuff going on.  I have pretty much always done this all my life thinking  that I would find that place of joy and peace around the next corner. The critic in me analyzing every situation looking to improve what is into something better.  If only this was happening instead of this or if they were different then things would be nicer.

I learned to tolerate life instead of living it.  A lot of the time I did see the abundance I had so much materially that I didn't feel that I dared ask for more even if I felt lonely and isolated. Compared to living with an alcoholic my last relationship was a never ending vacation.  I felt guilty wanting more emotionally and just kept my mouth shut. This is why it lasted as long as it did.

I don't believe in mistakes or regret because what is the point?  We learn from every experience and build from that hoping to make better choices next time and I did. I had a lot to overcome in my life emotionally with the death of my mother and having to raise myself.  I didn't know what I taught myself was wrong expecting that I could find something or someone out there that would make me feel permanently safe. After her death that is all I longed for was how I felt as a child before she died. Safe.

We can't changed the uncertainty of life.  We can imagine that we are safe in our relationships or our physical situation but that can change in a moment forever.  In this life in this day it is our responsibility to look around and see what is happening now and who it there now with us. To enjoy the gift of today.

Overall I have had a good life.  I have endured some pretty scary emotional things but I did come out stronger on the other side and I know that I can't worry or predict the next unhappy situation.  I can just trust that I will do what I need to do to make it through to the other side.  What I can do is appreciate the day and what I have right here in front of me.  All is well in this moment.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Blame - Grief - Voices

I had my weekly meal last night with my friends.  This has become a little more difficult with one managing a new diet after getting out of the hospital and the other managing changing symptoms of Parkinson's.  For months I have felt like the only able body person in the group and going out at the end of a long work week was something I had to prepare for instead of look forward to but last night was different. My friend with Parkinson's decided to make Pho a Vietnamese soup at her house.

He daughter an her husband are out of town for two weeks and she is enjoying the peace and quiet.  We all sat around the table and talked about a lot of things.  She confessed that she is depressed and that living with her daughter and her husband is too much but she feels trapped. We have never seen her like this before.

It seems like having them there is the perfect solution for her but there is a back story.  Her daughter and her husband are both recovering addicts. Both with seven years which is a miracle in itself and for that she is grateful. Recently the daughter was diagnosed with cancer and is currently in remission which is also great news.  Since her diagnosis she blames her mother for the fact that she was an addict and wasted her life being high. She constantly criticizes her when she is slow or makes a mess.

We all know when you start a program it takes a long time to grow up.  To see your part in how you got where you are and accepting that this is what you have to work with.  They have forgotten that she is physically sick too and at 78 can't be the person she was and needs encouragement instead of blame. I think with them gone the weight of the situation has really showed itself.

We don't get what we want in life and the older you get the more you have to accept it and do the grief work around it. We are lucky that we are still here but that has its on burdens.  We can spend our time with the "what ifs" and even see our own part even clearer.  It takes forgiveness and acceptance to see that we did our best even if it wasn't good enough sometimes.

Yesterday I did my own dumpster driving into the past. Since tomorrow would be wedding anniversary I decided to write a little about my ex-husband in my journal. He was the person that shoved me into recovery and for that I am grateful. I was free writing to see what came up.  It was an ugly story of co-dependency, drinking, controlling and adultery. I participated in two out of three of those.  I was severely depressed before he left because I was trapped in something I didn't understand and couldn't do anything about. I did get my freedom eventually even if it was forced on me.

The point of the writing I think was to see the truth of that situation instead of the faraway fuzzy romanticized version. Where I blame myself totally for that loss.  Sometimes I think if we had stayed together I would have had children and my life would be different now.  Since I was married to an alcoholic I might have children that blamed me for their addictions. 

For the three of us sitting at that table we all have things to grieve. My other friend is having to change his relationship with food and give his body nutritious food. He mentioned last night how expensive it is to cook healthy good food.  I know I was cooking for him until the end of the year. I have felt guilty backing away but I have my own life and he has to learn to love and take care of himself at some point.

Writing things down really helps me to see where I am emotionally. Right now I am in a good place accepting that I am alone but for the most part not lonely.  My life didn't turn out like I imagined it would.  It might actually be better than another route. 

I will keep a closer eye on my friend and I did ask her if she thought of anti - depressants and she said her Parkinson doctor gave her a prescription a year ago.  She got the bottle out and agreed she would call her doctor on Monday to check with her about taking them. I use to think all emotional problems could be solve with therapy but sometimes you need boost to deal with the day to day.  When you are in a better place you can ignore the voice in or outside your head that blames you for everything.

We only have where we are now to work with and being loving, kind and patient with ourselves is the only healthy option. One day at a time. 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Design - Decisions - Change

I and in the middle of the my home transformation and the internal transformation that goes with it.  I have always believed that your space reflects your emotional interior. 

When I moved here I rejected this house because I could not accept that my life would no longer be the same.  I had to do my bathroom because there was a leak and tiles were failing off the walls and it turned out nice but my heart wasn't in it.  The person who cared about design was gone by that point and I assumed would never return.  Some days the contractor would show up and I would still be in the bed.  They worked around me. I dark moment for sure.

I lost myself.  Everything that I thought of as "me" had vanished.  I had to function so I just did what I thought people expected me to do every day. When you are sad and lost just remember most people can't see that from the outside.  We are all too wrapped up in our own inner drama to notice another  person's suffering.  A few people close to me knew I was not the same and fled the scene.  I really didn't mind it gave me the opportunity to go deeper and darker without anyone interfering.

Over the past four years I have just really coasting not really having any goals or even wants. Just working and filling each day.  I have had little spurts of ambition for my house like painting over the great room with bright white.  I had selected beige when I moved in because it was what I had in the other house and reflected my mood. It was builders beige. The white represented endless possibilities. It did make me feel better.

Now I am on the move with redoing the floors. It was a very hard decision to do tile.  The foyer, half bath, kitchen, laundry and my bedroom are all on the same level.  My bedroom had painted brown concrete floors after a flood during the bathroom remodel.  My dog was old and sick at the time so I didn't want to re-carpet.  The foyer was black fake marble tiles from the 80's and the laundry and half bath was flesh color tile with 1/4 grout lines. The kitchen a gold beehive patterned vinyl.  The rest of main floor steps down to parkett wood so choosing wood could not work.  I knew tile would be the answer even though it is cold for the bedroom granted not much colder than concrete.

I knew this was going to be a big project moving everything off the floor. Also managing the timing with the kitchen.  I was going to leave the laundry but the tile person said no big deal to move the washer and dryer.  I picked a tile the color of light concrete (funny) with some sparkles in it.  My house is loft like and has dark trim.  I know the trend is white and gray all day every day but I like color so this is my compromise.  White walls in the great room and gray floors.  I have a midnight blue accent wall in the great room and teal and taupe in my bedroom.  The new tile looks great. 

They grouted my bedroom yesterday and will finish everything tomorrow except for the kitchen.
The installer wants to wait until the cabinets are out to tile that room so I have concrete floors there.  I I still haven't ordered the cabinets.  I am waffling about removing a small pantry and stealing closet from my office to make the kitchen more functional.  Do I care that much?  It is just me and it will add cost. Am I not willing to invest in myself to make it better.

My indecision is emotional at this time it isn't about time or money even though I am an extremely frugal person. I think it is more about whether I want invest in my future and believe that I am worth it. It is always easier to keep things the same because change is growth.  It is scary and takes energy to make a move forward.  With the kitchen it means I am moving on past this stage of my life. I feel secure enough to invest in my future and in a room that where I prepare my daily bread. So to speak.

I can sometimes have conflict from within about design in general.  You definitely have to find happiness from within first.  The industry I work in can feel very superficial with everyone saying your house must look like this to be happy.  Design can't fill the hole inside that is from feeling not good enough for yourself or the people in your life but it can make you feel better or worse on your journy to self acceptance and inner peace.

I wrote this post today to sort out my indecision about the changes in the kitchen and whether my fear of the future is keeping me from moving forward.  What is it that I really need verses what I want or what will add value to each day for me. I am going to take out those closets and get those cabinets ordered this week.  It is time to acknowledge that I really have already moved on and I want my space to reflect the new me. 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Should I stay or should I go

When you live long enough you have some perspective on life that is if you are paying attention.  First you know that everything changes from jobs to friends to partners. The choices are to grow together or move on. I have a tendency to stay too long no matter what.

I use to think staying was the right thing to do.  If you make a commitment then you stay until the bitter end and boy was that end always bitter. I also thought I was good person and good people do the right thing and be compassionate and understanding until again the bitter end. All of these decision were about me and how I viewed myself and how if I left I was inconsiderate and worse a quitter. I would be lumped into the same category as the ones who gave up in search of greener pastures.

If I stay I can be the martyr and be safe.  I can let time and the other person or company dictate my future.  I can be the victim of what life lays before me instead brave and taking a chance that there is something better out there for me. Someone or some job that better suites me. What if I am wrong and I leave the comfort and suffering of my current situation to jump into another worse situation.

This is the dilemma of change for every moment of everyday. This is how the mind keep us stuck where we are until someone or something from the outside forces us to make move. For me I found out I was the only one in my monogamous relationships that was being monogamous.

I am not sure where this is coming from today or why I am compelled to share it with you but there it is. I always wanted peace and to me peace meant trying to keep things the same or worse try to make things the way they use to be. A dreamier time a memory of something that no longer exist and truthfully wasn't that good when it was happening.

I have never made the break on my own except when I left home at 16 and when I left my own business to work for someone else. Both times I picked me and my happiness over what I thought was best for everyone. I will say both of those choices were the best choices I made in my life.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Being enough - healing - just someone's opinion

I got to work yesterday and walked in with co worker we were both a little early so I went to my office and started on my mountain of responsibilities.  Hoping if things were slow I would get caught up from my two days off.  After the rest of the crew arrived someone came into my office and said the coworker was crying hysterically in the bathroom.

I went in to find out what was going on and she couldn't talk.  She wouldn't open the door to the stall but after a little prodding finally came out. Evidently she lives with her dad and she was suppose have deep cleaned the house the day before and had to work late and didn't get it done.  She had left him a note that after work she would be home to finish. He called right when we opened and started yelling at her.

The back story to this is that he found out he was sick last week. He is lashing out and made the statement "you are trying to kill me" to her.  I hugged her until the crying stopped and said this isn't about you it is about him.  He is scared and you are the closest and safest person to lash out at. I know him and he is a perfectionist and his standards for himself and everyone else is really high. He takes care of everything and has the energy of 3 people. I feel a growth opportunity ahead.

I felt sad for her and it reminded me of my riff with my dad. It seems sometimes parents don't see their kids as separate adults with feelings. At least that is my experience with my family. They thought I was a tool to make their lives a little easier.  I owed it to them because they were paying my way. This was totally my dad. He was raised on a farm where you hoped for as many boys as possible to keep things going. He was the oldest and ended raising his three younger brothers and two sisters while his mother worked at a mill.

People that we love and that are suppose to love us we just can't see each other as fully formed. They are a version of our imagination a story we have about each other from the past instead of who we are now. He said to her "you have a terrible work ethic" after she spent time off work last week taking him to the doctor. This isn't the first time I have been a part one of the incidences. She wants so bad to to please a man that cannot be pleased.

I wanted to call him and say "you know your daughter can walk out of your life and never come back." This is what I did only after I could not take the emotional abuse from my stepmother. I was never enough for her and my dad never stood up for me. It didn't matter how carefully I cleaned the house to her specifications or the errands I ran or even when I gave her flowers. I was invisible unless I wasn't meeting her standards.

I was just a young girl who had lost her mother looking for someone to let me know that I mattered. When I left they didn't even try to stop me this re-in forced what I already knew. I was not loved or cherished.  At least this is what I took with me that day.

I do know now that this wasn't personal. My dad and my stepmother were not the adults in the room that day. They were stuck and not capable of giving more and would never be. My sister and I spoke about this during my visit. She was going on about how my dad had said he was sorry about not being there for her.  The girl in me said " did he say anything about me" still longing for evidence that I meant something to him.

I recently heard Joel's message called "The blessing" it was how important dads are in their daughter's lives.  How they are the first example of how men treat women. How girls can repeat that relationship over and  over.  I really get that I have repeated the relationship of indifference over and over my whole life. At work at home and even with my friends. These relationships feel familiar to me and I know how to play my part.  Joel's final word was the God can be the father you wanted.

I have been a little weepy today gathering my thoughts. I cried yesterday hugging my co-worker and hoping she can somehow understand she is enough no matter what her dad thinks. It is just his opinion and she has the power to decide whether to let it control her life.

 My father did love me in his limited way and I could have made more of an effort to bring us together but my own pain and immaturity kept me from doing that.  When he died we were on good terms and I have made peace with both our limitations. I guess today I am still healing.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Freedom - A Road Less Traveled - Emotional Abuse

Coming back from a short trip to celebrate the soon to be birth of my grand nephew I had a chance to listen to Scott Pecks "A Road Less Traveled" It is the first and most influential spiritual book I have read. It was before 12 steps for me but really started me to thinking that I could change myself.

I haven't been close to my family because I did take the road less traveled.  My sister the one that we share both parents decided it was better for her to stay connected to the family my dad created after our mother's death. She wanted her kids to have that extended family and I would have done the same if I had had children.

I made my own way and eventually my dad and I came to an understanding that he did not have the ability to love me the way I wanted him to love me. When he remarried after my mother died my stepmother was emotionally abusive. She regularly said the most hateful things to my adolescent self that has taken me a life time to get over. I decided to leave at 16 and in my eyes no one has ever made an attempt to bring me back into the family.

After being gone for five years I tried to come back by having my wedding there but she was even more abusive to me. It solidified my belief that I was not good enough for even my family. My dad was a good man but was very passive after having his own abusive father.  He wasn't able to stand up to her or really ever understand what it meant to me.  I eventually was able to accept his limitations and healed this part of me. 

My stepmother on the other hand is still living and since my nephews marriage and now baby I have had to interact with her. Until the wedding I hadn't seen her since my dad's funeral 15 years ago. The wedding weekend I felt numb. She sat next to me at every event. She hasn't changed much still criticizing her own grown daughters with their children and grandchildren.

This weekend it was less stressful for me and she sat next to me at the shower and at dinner. It made me laugh to think the person that has done the most damage my life besides my dad is sitting next me and I feel nothing. The girl in me is gone and she has no power over me anymore. She is old and really she has no idea her affect on me. It wasn't personal and she inflicted the same abuse on her own daughters. She was not enough so therefore she wants everyone that she comes across to feel they are not enough either especially those closest to her.

While listening to Scott Peck I realized just how far I have come and how I have worked hard to heal every part of my life. My stepmother was the last person from my past that had any power over me.  I am finally free.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Moving On - Control - Starting over

It seems about every ten years I experience a life transformation. Changing careers beginning new relationships  moving away from the familiar towards the unfamiliar. I wish I could say that all those transformations were by choice but being the person I am I really never saw any of them coming.

I spent my first 30 years trying to control every inch of my life and anyone in it.  Living with alcoholism taught me a real lesson that nothing and no one could be controlled not even myself. The next ten years I did the opposite and controlled nothing and took the path of least resistance. For the most part I stopped pushing other people and let life just unfold.

I can't say it worked out any better but it was definitely a lot less work for me.  I really didn't want to be responsible for the choices of others or myself for that matter.  I didn't want to take the blame for anything like I did when I lived with alcoholism. 

With failure of either method I have been stuck for the last ten years. My bout with menopause and depression and getting left behind again made me scared to move. Everything I thought I knew about myself and my life was gone. I didn't know how to move on. I have moved forward but in slow motion and in my mind heading towards nothing. The old me gone and no one to take her place.

With my friends sickness and heading into the next ten years I have decided I want to make choices intentionally.  I want to shape my life and I am finally ready to move on deliberately. Not pushing and not dragging anything or anyone with me.

To match my emotional transformation I have started a transformation of my physical space.  I have a beautiful home and the outside has been painted and yard has be planted. Putting on a good face for the public but inside I haven't invested much time or money. I have especially rejected the kitchen the place where I nourish myself and lately my friend. It is the original 1984 kitchen with butter colored counter tops. A sad state for sure and cooking for the past month has made me see just how sad it is.

I am doing kitchen and floors downstairs. I had the black tile removed from the foyer this week and I am replacing everything with light tile including my bedroom. I have been living on concrete in there since the flood when I moved in ten years ago.  I couldn't decide what flooring and I had an old dog so carpet wasn't an option. I feel like I am seeing everything for the first time.

Since this is my business, design that is, I am not too excited.  My house is already covered with dust from tile removal. But I am ready to invest in me and the future of me.  I am past coping with life and can make decisions from a place of investment in life instead of apathy.

I know the future is always uncertain and no amount of wishing, praying or money will secure a bright and happy one for anyone.  We can just accept that this is it and tomorrow will come and it may be bright and happy who knows. We have today and this time to do what we can to love and be loved starting with ourselves.

I am the best me I have ever been and I am excited about the day and I am ready for the next ten years. Happy New Year.