Monday, November 23, 2015

Let there be light - Moving forward

I was talking to a friend yesterday about our Thanksgiving menu and she mentioned that she saw my ex at a restaurant a few months ago. I am not sure why she picked this moment to give me the news just a few days before the anniversary of our break up.  The day before Thanksgiving.

This is a tired story and this will be the second year that I feel that I am truly over it.  This didn't keep me from spinning my wheels for a half hour of so or having a dream this morning about being back there in that house. What I can remember about the dream is that I had gone to the doctor and he ask me to look into a clear bowl and tell me what I saw.  I said it looked like a piece of coral flooding in water. Evidently that was the wrong answer and indicated that I had some kind of brain disease.

I was happy when I woke up without a diagnoses this morning. I was also grateful to have a home improvement project to work on today. Yesterday after a trip to Lowes for a light bulb for my microwave I came back with under cabinet lights for my whole kitchen.

I feel like my life has been in limbo for a long time. This includes what to do with my sad dreary kitchen. I kept thinking that at some point I would feel inspired to gut the whole thing and design a dream kitchen like the one I had before.  The person that wanted that then doesn't exist anymore.  

I think I have been waiting for that person to show up again and take charge. It has been a long wait and I am starting to accept that she isn't coming for me. I left most of the girl I was behind and I am here with mostly a blank slate. I have noticed lately that parts of her have been popping up here there.

Like today after installing the lights I couldn't believe how excited I was getting about redoing my kitchen. After adding lights to one side of the kitchen couldn't believe the transformation. I was so excited I was coming up with one idea after another for what I wanted to do next.

I do love design and have always improved the places I have lived no matter how little money I had. Truthfully when the budget is small creativity really is all you have.  Investing time in your home and making it reflect who you are can transform your life. Having a beautiful space can make coming home at night something to look forward to.

Tonight with the extra light in the kitchen I actually enjoyed making dinner for myself.  I have decided not to gut the kitchen for now and just address the things that will make it more inviting. The lights went a long way in doing that this weekend I am planning to paint.

Being inspired today gave me hope that I am on a path to the new me which includes some of the old me as well. I wanted to believe that I could be inspired again but it has been so long I was beginning to wonder.  Today I am grateful for the new light in my life.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Things Change - Stealing my joy

It is funny how quickly things can change once you take a deep breath and let go. One of the other designers resigned and I have my office back again.  There was some idea that I should have gotten the other office but I knew that would not happen.  The person hired is currently being seen as the top dog and the person that left was the previous top dog so it was only right they get the office.

I thought is was funny how everyone was defending me and telling me I should fight for it. "What is wrong with you? Stand up for yourself."  I really didn't want the office I would have taken it but only because it doesn't have a spare desk.  I have been top dog before in my past life with a corner office. I am past needing others to think I am important. 

We will see if the new person can live up to the projections currently being projected on them. The one day we spent together there was a lot of whining about lack of direction and support. I told them it was really to early for whining and that to work there you must act like you are an independent contractor because you really are. That is what I like about it. 

I wouldn't want to be the new person again. I was told by a long time employee that I hired at a time when everyone was really unhappy.  It was the worst possible time for me too with my own spiritual battles and transitioning to a new life. I made it though and feel I am finally myself again. Actually better than the self I was before life rolled over me in a big way.

I do miss the drive I had sometimes. I miss the idea I had that something grand was just around the corner. The Buddhist say that it is letting go of this idea that will lead to happiness. That acceptance of the moment is true happiness. I understand this but the moment sometimes contains unpleasant things that is harder to just let wash over me. 

I know my life is easy and I am grateful for the grace that has been bestowed upon me. I have to admit I do want more. Being alone makes me feel I should have more of a purpose in this world. This idea makes me restless. I know that being restless is part of the human condition especially here in the west and learning to not run from it is the key to happiness. 

There are a lot of people that have done great things for humanity. They get a lot of press but they are the exception and I am sure had a lot of anonymous help along the way.  Everyone makes a difference not always good but a difference. No matter where you are your life has changed someone. 

I am going to consciously let go of this idea that I should have a bigger purpose. I do want to have a richer life but the idea that the life I have isn't enough steals my joy.  I am going to think small and make small changes and see what happens.  

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Fear - Gut reaction - I could get a dog

It seems that with my own life I have had and underlying fear that I somehow the way I am is not good enough. Evidenced by the number of people that have left me or dismissed what I thought were significant contributions in my work life.  Even though intellectually I feel I have over come this fear sometimes my gut reaction to a situation shows me something different.

This week at work they hired someone new and put her in my office (our office). At first I took this very personally even though I have the only extra desk in my office in the whole company.  This wasn't a shock because the owner called me into his office last week to give me the news.  I was told weeks ago by my manager that this would not happen.

On Tuesday there was a big flurry of activity on that side of the office. My introverted senses felt overwhelmed and I wanted to flee.  I did leave for an appointment and it took me an hour to calm my nerves.  She has made it quite clear that she is loud and proud and wanted to know if she could bring a radio into the office. Also she said I should get some head phones. I was dumb struck at first but then said absolutely not to the radio.

I immediately felt that they were trying to run me. In the words of the owner "she is our new great white hope" as all new hires are.  I told him so was Stephanie the last person that shared my office. He said he didn't even remember her.  I said "you loved her and even trained her personally and now you don't even remember her".  I could see the fact that he didn't remember her was disturbing to him.

I know I probably shouldn't have said all that but I knew this was my only chance to say my peace. Sometimes I am so over being afraid.  He said he would consider some of the suggestions I made about space but I knew it was lip service. He had made up his mind without informing my manager I was lucky he even bothered to tell me.

There is a misconception about me. People think because I am an introvert content to listen instead of talk that this means I am passive. This is far from the truth and I have been know to say things when no one else will. I no longer feel the need to fight other peoples battles but I can stand up for myself when I need to and don't feel any human is superior to another.

I was near tears on Tuesday but mainly because I believed this action was take to push me out.  This is the past fears rising up to try to relive the groove in my brain that says "I am not enough".

I do prefer to go to the office to work because there is a clear separation between work hours and home hours. I have been rethinking this since Tuesday and worked at home on Friday.  I do have a lovely unused office at home and a docking station and computer screen provided by the company.

The new person is on the other team which means that she should be on opposite days from me. I am getting use to the idea of being more independent.  No one cares whether you come to the office or not as long as you are closing deals. I just like being in a building with people even if I don't actually want to interact with them. I am already alone a lot at home so more of that isn't that appealing.

(side note) I could get a dog.

I am going to not take it personally and remember everything isn't about me. Besides the last person was only there two weeks. My team members have said I am the only person that has ever stayed. I couldn't decide it that is a good or bad thing. It is a tough place to work because there is no support but with sales that just goes with the territory.

You have to be independent and fearless to survive. I try to work my job as consciously as possible and I like being able to decide how I want to run my work load.  Looking not just at the bottom line but whether spiritually the customer or project is the right fit for me.

Today things are changing and I am accepting those changes as gracefully as possible.  Tomorrow I am back in the office and we shall see how I feel about it. Wish me luck.  

Friday, November 13, 2015

Life - Making changes

This week my friend whose mother passed away called to let me know her father died last weekend. This was basically a month to the day her mother died. She of course was in shock.

He was not exactly father of the year leaving her mother for his secretary when we were kids. He and his new wife of 40 something years were mainly focused on making money. They had a big house in Hilton Head and as my friend learned this week ignored both sides of the family equally. My friend always assumed he was spending time with the other grand kids and not with her kids.

During her mother's funeral he made the comment that he wasn't mentioned during the service. Her brother told him that when his time came they would talk about him. No one could have predicted it would be so soon.

How strange life is and how you never what you will be dealing with next. My friends her mother never really got over be left by her dad. She had a full life but made a decision to never marry again. My friend said these last years she started talking more about him and how her life could have been different if her dad hadn't left.

My friend loved her dad despite his indifference to her and her own family.  She spoke to him a couple of times his last few days.  She was able to tell him she loved him. Because he lived out of town the last time she saw him was at her mother's funeral.

Even though his life seemed enviable from her mothers perspective they had their problems. They were isolated and his wife has had severe dementia for many years. Since they alienated their family they were alone and he had to drive himself to the emergency room. He died of double pneumonia aggravated by double prescribed cholesterol drugs.

You never know just how things will go or who will be there for you in the end.  My like feels pretty empty these days but I am making changes.   I feel good and ready to do something different with my personal life. I want my life to be fuller and in the end I want to feel content with the choices I have made.  

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Is there more? Koolaid and MM's

I have spent a lot of my life in some kind crisis living each day thinking that it was enough to just make through to the next day.  It seemed like most of the people around me were doing the same thing. With that being said I have always been drawn to the mystical, spiritual and the magical.

I am not sure whether that was my innate sense of survival or the something planted by my parents in the form of my pentecostal up bringing.  I was taught with God there was no limits. Believing in the supernatural or supreme being gave me hope that things would get better and they always did or at least they did for awhile anyway.

I want to believe that there is more to like than just making it. That someone somewhere has discovered a road to happiness. Is it spiritual or chemical?  Is it something we can create for ourselves or are we the product of our genes or the universes plan for us.  I just can't accept either scenario.

I have regularly reinvented my life or my life has reinvented me about every decade or so right now I want to believe something better is headed my way.  Maybe my general discontent with just doing what everyone else thinks makes for a happy life makes me think this way.  Sometimes I wish that I didn't have this never ending thought "there must be more or I must be more" I know I would be happier for awhile.

Maybe this dissatisfaction is immaturity on my part to think that somehow my life should be or could be any different than the majority. I have conflict within between thinking that I should be living in the moment and believing that that very thought limits my own ability to experience more.

Luckily with my work I only get at most two days a week to ponder the universe. The rest of the time I am drinking the Koolaid along with everyone else and at the end of the day Tedtalks and MM's are enough.

I know I will never be a perpetual Koolaid drinker.  I have tried many times but it always leads me to feeling worse about myself like I am a fraud. Then something major happens in my life to distract me long enough to feel alive and then back to the Koolaid.

I am better off living in the moment not thinking about how life, this one anyway, is slipping away.

I blame no one but myself for where I am.  I pruned my own life down to only the essentials and now I am waiting for new growth and becoming impatient. It is still winter and I must wait.

Things are changing at work and I will be working more from home. Forcing me to reevaluate my routine and how I will be spending my days.  I am going to take this opportunity get our more and try to meet new people. Wish me luck.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Real conversations - stories

I attended another memorial today.  It seems I am at the age where my friends parents are starting to make their exits.  My sister informed me last week that it has been 12 years this month since our own father passed. Sadly more like 32 years for me.

It was weird  we had our first real talk this past week.  The first time we discussed anything as equals. Usually our conversations are sermons from her to me spouting off all the answers to life's questions and telling me how she has done everything right and pointing where I went wrong and what I need to do to get back on track.

Of course this is from my little sister perspective. She sounds like she has it all together but this is just denial on her part.  She has lived with addition since she met her husband at 16 first her in-laws and then her husband taking pills to deal with the in-laws. We don't talk about this.

Our talk this week was about our childhood. How she thought it was a mistake when we left the inner city and moved to the suburbs. I was four and she was ten. She left great friends when we moved and she never fit in in our new neighborhood. I remember her spending most of her time locked in her room reading.

The discussion started after I told her about the death of my friends mother. She reminded me there were three friends my mother, my friends mother and Grace. I had forgotten about Grace she had cancer and died the year before my mother was diagnosed.  I remember Grace being pale and very thin and very put together. Her house was perfectly decorated and she had a lot of rules. Kids had to quiet and we had to eat in the kitchen. When she got sick she retired to her bedroom and she wouldn't let anyone see her not even her kids.

It was weird re-living my childhood with my sister. I told her how I felt abandoned by her and my dad right after my moms death. She said I had my grandmother who adored me and didn't like her. The adored part was true I have to admit. But my grandmother had relationships that more like possessions. You were in or out depending on what you could offer her.

My mother and grandmother fought over me a lot. She always got her way and used every weapon in her arsenal to wear down your resistance. I think we moved to get away from her but it didn't work we just had to drive further when we got those so called emergencies. My mother was the baby and was trapped. When she died my grandmother cried for three years. My dad severed his relationship with her almost immediately after my mothers death.

Seeing things from my sisters perspective reminds me once again we all have our own stories. They are just that stories but to us they are perfect in every detail. The idea that my grandmother didn't like never would have crossed my mind. Not part of my story.

I have been doing a lot of reminiscing about the past. Wondering how much was real and how much was my colorful rendition of the truth. At this point I guess it isn't important unless I want to make it important.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Coming Home - Trying a little harder

I came back on Tuesday from my trip.  I took extra clothes thinking that I might stay a few days extra and see other family but after the weekend it seemed like it was time to come home.

It was a good visit with my friend there is not too many people you have known since 1st grade and the years seem to wash away once I arrived. She is thin and nervous just like she was when we were kids managing all the details of every moment.

Because of the situation she never stopped moving.  I didn't want to impose given the situation but she seem to enjoy having me there.  I am pretty low maintenance as guest go and I bring anything I might need for my personal comfort including my pillow.

I listened a lot about all her mothers illnesses and how many times they thought she wasn't going to make it. Recently she had had a come back and the week before her death she renewed her drivers licence, got a pedicure, had her teeth cleaned and a mole removed from her face.

I guess she was preparing for a trip.  Isn't that always the way? You hear people say "I saw her just last week and she looked great."  But none of us live forever and with each passing day it seems more real to me.

Coming back to a pile of work and thinking is this what I am suppose to be doing? After hearing the kind of person my friend mother was it made wonder what would be said about me. First I don't think there will be such a crowd.  I remember after my own mothers death there were such crowds that they had to close off a few extra rooms to hold all the people and the flowers.

My life has been pretty small and because I have lived in the sickness of my own story I haven't been too giving at times. Other times I gave too but mostly to escape the thoughts and emotions that were always brewing inside just beneath the surface. Earning my right to be alive.

I still have time to put myself out there if I really want to be more give more. It is never too late to change. It is never to late to be someone different.  I recently saw an interview with Jimmy Carter in his 90's and he said he thought the secret to his own happiness and the longevity of his marriage was that he and Rosalyn regularly decide to learn something new. He gave the example that he put his first pair of skis on at 60. I thought that was encouraging.

These days with work I feel that I have no time for really much else.  Of course this is just in my own mind because I spend many hours a day watching TV and not much else. I like it and it calms me but it is just another way to medicate myself.

Sometimes I think this idea of making a big difference is just another mind trap. Something to keep us from just living and enjoying the moment and the people that are right there in front of us.

I have realized that I do want to get out and meet new people. People that are open to change and want to learn new things and have fun. I am not sure how to go about finding them but I think I am going to try a little harder.