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.
 




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.