Thursday, December 25, 2014

Insecure - Getting over myself

I found myself alone tonight. I thought I was going to church with a friend but he said he would prefer that we just have dinner at my house. He then left me a message saying he was at the church.

This stuff happens with us a lot but it felt particularly hurtful on Christmas eve. My mind went right to this is where you are in your life. You are depending on someone that isn't capable of considering your feelings. It isn't his fault we who have been hurt a lot don't really understand how what we do or don't do can hurt other people.

I believe today that you should do what you want no matter what it keeps you from having resentments later. I do think you should consider how your decisions affect other people but in the end if you say yes to get along that ultimately there will be resentments.

What is a good balance? I have been at both extremes thinking so much about what someone else needs that I have lost track of my own needs. I did this because I wanted to see myself as a good person. I also thought that if one day I need the same support I would get it. That didn't happen. Today I realize that when I say yes it has to be without strings.

When I say no I try to communicate my decision in a thoughtful way. What I wish my friend had done is say "hey I changed my mind and decided I needed to get out tonight and decided to go by myself". It would have been honest and I wouldn't have felt rejected.

I am not without fault I have hurt a lot of people in my life. It wasn't intentional it was while I was consumed with my own pain. I only felt my own pain and didn't understand that other people have pain too or that I was inflicting the same kind of pain I was struggling to get over myself.

I can't say that I am all emotionally open now. I don't think I will ever be an emotional spicket it is too late for that now but because I am no longer consumed by my own pain I can be kinder to others.

I got over feeling left out tonight because I know I was feeling vulnerable because I am alone and it is a holiday where normal people have something to do or someone to be with. This of course is a story I tell myself it supports my old life story that I am not lovable.

I got over it because it is just one night and I don't have to do what I have always done and mentally feed this idea of not being lovable.

Tomorrow I will be with my friends having Christmas dinner and tonights insecurities with be long forgotten unless I want to revisit those thoughts tomorrow. It is my choice.

Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Snowman Pens and getting on with life

Here we are with the holiday right upon us it never feels quite real to me. I think because the weather doesn't change too much here and because I lost my sentiment for all of it when I found away to be happy most of the time instead of picking just a few days out the year and squeezing all the happiness out of them that I could.

My co-worker bought us all snowman pens and then went around chastising those of us not using them. I use to be like that. Today she described reindeer cupcakes for next week. The rest of the time she is very unhappy and sees life as out to get her and life fulfills her request daily.

I have settled into my new job quite nicely and business is booming. The fear I had of never getting my mojo back has disappeared. With my confidence back I am selling at top speed. I really love what I do and I actually love my customers most of time.

I will admit as an introverted salesperson I do have to space out my appointments or take a nap between them. I learned that I feel the energy of the people around me that's what makes me good at what I do but it also makes me want to make them happy no matter what the cost.

This is a habit from living in a home of dysfunction. When I am at my best I step back and stay out of their drama and there is a lot of drama in design. The choices the money the mess it brings out the worst and best qualities. Everyone is happy to start with and then the thrill wears off and in the end  they feel like they are the only ones experiencing problems with their project.

When it is over usually a few weeks after completion they couldn't be happier. The have the kitchen of their dreams and we have moved on. New customers new dream kitchens.

Where I work now there is a steady flow of new customers which I like. Repeat customers are good but sometimes you know too much about them and what you are up against. I guess I deal better with the unknown than the known these days.

It is good to be out of survival mode. I am have been surprised by the energy I have without the fear dragging me down. Happy to be free and just getting things done.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

My story - The end of a journey

I wanted to write tonight and let you know that I have changed.  I can't really explain what has happened to me but it feels like I have reached the end of a long road of searching for something.

Did I find what I was looking for?  I think I found myself it is true that I was here all along but I didn't know it. I thought there was something wrong with me because I have been rejected a lot.

I thought I was rejected because at the core of me I was somehow wrong. I wasn't like anyone else no matter what I did I felt different.  I was always on the outside. Even in my family I just couldn't go along with the program.

I tried hard to find and love what other people seem to think was important but it didn't stick. I could hang in there for a while until something inside of me started to turn sour. I only acknowledged the way I felt by telling myself that something was wrong with me.

Since I didn't know what it was or how to fix it my answer was to stay busy. I found projects, people and problems to solve. This kept the self loathing at bay for awhile but eventually it seeped to the surface and repelled everyone in my path. I drove away the people I loved into the arms of others.

In the end the pain of being me caught up with me and I surrendered and committed to finding out how to change myself. I found the program of Al-Anon. I found a place where everyone was working on changing to become  better people. It felt like a really good investment and l felt like we all had the same goals.

I found a family there and also learned that my beliefs were causing a lot of own pain. I realized my need to manage everything and everyone was a real problem because nothing in life can be managed. The best I can hope for is to manage my thoughts and to try to stay honest with myself.

This was all great and made my life a lot easier but I was still just treating the symptoms. I didn't know that it was the belief I had about myself that caused all the pain. It was the belief that I was unlovable.

The changes I made did make it easier for me to fit in and find someone to love me for awhile. It happened again the self loathing seeped to the surface. I hid it by being compliant going along with what was expected. Living a good life but not enjoying it. I didn't want to be there. I was set free again and it nearly killed me.

I had done everything right but it wasn't enough I wasn't enough. Now what? I had to start over with no clue. All of what I had learned before seemed like empty words to me. No magic cure this time.

I tried returning to what had worked before I even tried to reconnect with my family thinking that I needed to belong but I still didn't. I had to face the truth I was dead in water with no place to go.

I stayed there in that dark place for what seemed like a lifetime. I was alone and the pain was unbearable. With time I accepted that this was what the rest of my life would look like. I stopped resisting and just went through the motions of every day.

I stopped wanting or asking for anything. I let go and I got better everyday. I did anything that gave me comfort I didn't have any expectations of myself.

I started to see I didn't need anything and the darkness lifted. I was all I needed just as I was empty but full of grace. I had taken this journey alone and learned that I was enough and worth saving and I was loved.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Denial - New Eyes

I watch a lot of shows about transformation and today was no exception.  When a prominent chef is ask to come help a failing restaurant and the owner is in total denial about how bad the food is or that the menu is so complicated the servers can't explain it. I thought how can he not see what is so obvious to everyone else. That my friend is the way denial works.

For me I have huge pockets of denial about my own life.  First living with alcoholic and believing every lie that came out of his mouth even when my mind was screaming something is terrible wrong to being part of a business that was doomed to fail. Again my mind screaming this is not going to ever work I couldn't give it up.

Today while watching the show I thought, why is he doing this? Why to we refuse to see the truth until it is so painful that we can't breath or we have panic attacks?

I believe the cause of my own denial has been the future I have predicted for my self is over. I have to face my own fear of the unknown. If don't admit there is a problem then I don't have to start down that road of the many bad outcomes my mind can imagine.

Because of my unpredictable childhood I wanted to find a "normal life" and settled in where every day would be be nothing but happiness. Seriously I thought I could do this I could control the universe every detail all the time. I was immature with those beliefs. It wasn't my fault I grasp those ideas at a time in my life when the best I could do was survive. A child in survival mode sizing up the world from that perspective.

Of course life kept dealing out one crisis after another I made the assumption that I needed to work harder to prevent the next one. This worked and things got better and then I found myself there again surprised at the cards life had dealt me.

What has changed for me is that the last time when I had totally done my best and things still fell apart. The truth is I thought I was bad. Something was wrong with me and despite all the spiritual work I had done I could never be fixed. I would never be a finished product worthy of the good life that other people have. This idea made me want to die. I was not good enough and I had proof.

How crazy is that? My whole life's thought process was a child's survival mode. If I do things right and I am good then everyone is happy and life is good. If you aren't good and you disobey then your mother gets sick and dies and the rest of your family goes there separate ways and you are left alone.

I didn't want to left again so I started working on myself to become someone others could love and would never leave. Everybody left and this was proof enough for my eight year old self.

My life has been tiring living this way thinking this way. Waiting for the next mistake and I have made plenty and interpreting the fact that I have been left as proof that I am bad just like I was at eight.

No one told me in all those books I read that you can't be good enough for people to love you. Either they do or they don't. It isn't conditional on your performance all the time. Sure if you are a monster then you might spend more time with less people but some people really like monsters.

Today I try to not let the little girl in me take the blame for everything that goes wrong in my life. I try to accept that life is just life and everyday can bring good times or bad. Most days I accept that this is the case for everyone and no one has a magic formula for being happy all the time.

I really felt for the guy today that couldn't believe every belief he had about his life and his situation wasn't going to work. With the proof laid before him the success of the changes made against the failures of his own ideas was just too much. Change and maybe succeed or not change and definitely fail. I vote for change.

With the evidence so overwhelming he did have a breakthrough and accepted that to succeed he had to let go of old ideas and beliefs and try to look at his life with new eyes.

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.

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.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Changes - Death and Love

My roommate is moving out at the end of the month.  I am not sure whether I wrote about this or not.  Her mother sold her house and they are renting a house together.  It is funny when she moved in they could hardly stand each other but she says they have both changed.

It is true she isn't the same person she is was eight months ago. She been working her program and seems more comfortable in her own skin and less angry. I am sure it won't be easy living with her mom day in and day out at least they will have a chance to iron out any final issues.

I haven't been overly friendly with her I have had my own issues to deal with.  With the new job I haven't been home much and when I was I needed to cocoon to recover. I have provided a nice home and tried to be a good roommate.

The timing seems right for me to have my house to myself again. My life is flowing and I am making plans and it feels really good. I will be open to another roommate when the right person comes along.

My best friend bought a house in my neighborhood and is moving in tomorrow. He did live across the street from another one of our friends that has Parkinson's. Her daughter who lives in California was pretty upset about him moving I guess she was depending on him to watch after her mother. She has decided she needs to move back here to look after her mom herself.

We are a little worried for our friend her daughter is a pretty big personality. When she visits our friend seems to disappear. Her daughter and her husband are both in recovery and have been four years clean and sober.  Since my friends house is vacant we are hoping to convince her to rent his house.  This way maybe our friend can keep some of her independence. Maybe this was all a part of a greater plan.

For me I am working way too many hours despite my resolution to take my life back. I haven't seen the light of day since I wrote that post. I am enjoying myself and as long as I get to my art class once a week I can keep up this pace for a while longer.  I do love what I do most of the time and for that I feel grateful.

This weekend a lot of world will be acknowledging Easter. I happy time for the kids and a time for reflection for us adults. Even if you aren't a believer I feel we can all relate in some way to the experience of death and resurrection.

In my own life I have experienced many losses that felt like deaths. Where the loss was so great I thought I would never feel alive again but in time I did heal. A resurrection of my own spirit each time.

I didn't willing experience the deaths in my own life like in the Easter story. To give ones life so selflessly is to rise above human limitations and show the world what real love looks like which I think is the point.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Admitting there is a problem - Finding balance

I haven't had much spare time lately with work taking over my life which makes me happy but then wears me out. I have been pushing myself a little too hard which has resulted in me being a little under the weather.

I decided mid week that I have to take my life back from my new job. I think it is time to sets some limits even if the result is a financial penalty.  The problem with being on full commission besides the obvious is you are afraid to let anything or anyone go. Your mind tells you "what if you run out of of customers?"

This hasn't ever happened even during the recession there was a trickle but the mind loves to live in fear.  I think for me the worse part is that I really want to help ever customer I speak with but the reality is I can't. There isn't enough time and I am over committed and unfortunately the small jobs can sometimes  fall through the cracks. Then I feel really bad.

I am not alone in this my fellow sales people are dealing with the same thing. Some are better at juggling than others and some just work millions of hours. My juggling skills are rusty and I not sure I even want to juggle again and I am already living at work so what do I do?

My body is already alerting me that something is wrong. My weight rising which is resulting in the return of a few health issues from my distant past.

I will take care of myself right after I close the three deals I have on the table. How many times have I said this in my past? The difference is now I can see what I am doing and I can make a choice before too much time goes by. I can choose to be present and take care of myself.

Can I practice what I preach and let go? Can I choose a life of balance not knowing what the result will be and trust that I will be taken care even if I don't know how?

I am starting here first and admitting there is a problem and then I am letting go and we will see what happens.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Heading in the right direction

Tonights Model in Pastels
I had an easy day today I didn't have to be at work too early and left on time for my drawing class.  I was pretty tired today after my weekend Sunday and Monday.

After a weekend of laying flooring I felt pretty sore I am out of shape. With the new job I have been too busy and stressed to think about eating right or exercising.This crazy time reminds me of when I was working and going to school to get my design degree.

I have put on a few pounds but have decided to give myself a little time adjust to the changes I am going through before forcing myself into some unnatural regimen. The weight is the result of my life being unbalanced and treating the symptom won't help. In time I will find the balance.

Work is already getting easier for me. A friend said to me recently that if you let go your mind will come up with a natural rhythm for getting things done efficiently. I know that is true but I am impatient with my own progress.

On my best days, like today, I believe that most of the time life is flowing in the right direction am when I have the courage to take my paddle out of the water I can trust that I will arrive at my desired destination just in time. The ride won't always be smooth and sometimes it might be lonely but I can always trust that I am always headed in the right direction.

Monday, March 24, 2014

A New Table Saw - Rejecting the past

So I bought a new table saw today.  I used to have one in my old life but had to leave it behind along with the relationship.  I use to be quite handy and worked part time as a handy person while getting my design degree.

I left a lot of things behind with that relationship including my self confidence. Today I was driving down the road thinking about how I am making my way back to the person I was more than six years ago. The gratitude of this brought tears to my eyes.

I read once that it should take one month for every year you were in the relationship to get over it. It was a 13 year relationship so unless we are using dog years in reverse I am not normal. I am so grateful to just be interested in life again it doesn't really matter to me now.  

I could blame it on my family maybe a bad grieving gene passed down certainly it would be from my mother's side of the family.  I remember my Grandmother crying for literally years after my mother died. Grief over the death of her youngest child is normal but I think it was more than that it was the death of the dream of how her own life would be that was so devastating. My mothers death changed all our lives.

This last break up for me felt like one day I was basking in the comfort of knowing how my life was going to turn out and boom  it ends and my mind, body and soul was forced into the unknown. The stability I dreamed I had started spiraling out of control and the idea that nothing would ever feel the same again was more than I could take.  I resisted reality with every part of myself and when that didn't work I had a breakdown.

We love the people that leave us in death or through the front door but we do stop missing the real person. We paint a rosy picture of them and forget that they left dirty socks on the floor or said hurtful things.  We keep the idea of them alive with a dream of how our lives would be perfect if they were here now.

This is just our way of staying right where we are until we can accept that they are not coming back and we have to create a new dream for ourselves. We have to get past blaming them for leaving us or for not loving us and we have to get past blaming ourselves for not being enough. It takes as long as it takes.

It isn't true that I am returning to the person I was before that person doesn't exist anymore. I am returning to a secure emotional life based on love and respect for myself instead of leaving that in someone else is hands.

I bought a table saw today so I can help my friend install his laminate floor. This shows me that I am no longer rejecting the part of me that I associate with the past. I can see that I have healed the deepest part of me and I am ready to create a new dream for my life.  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Grace - Something greater than myself

I spent the day working in the yard.  It was really beautiful here and a nice day to get out and get moving.  I cleaned the leaves off the roof and cleaned the gutters. Even though I have have been in the this house six years now it feels like it is new to me.

Sometimes I feel really guilty about the time I was lost in depression. What I have ahead of me is pretty daunting where my house is concerned. It reminds me of when I lived with alcoholism.

When my husband left the house was full of stuff. Years of two really sick people living together. Every room was packed and we even had two broken down cars in the garage.  He walked away and I retreated to my bed. It was too much for me losing him what would I do I couldn't take a breath without him. He was my saviour.

When I crawled out from under that rock and attended my first meeting I began to change. I began to start to take care of myself.  My life stopped revolving around someone else and there wants and needs. I started making decision that were what I needed and from my heart.

It was really scary to be on my own again.  I wasn't making enough money to pay the mortgage let alone the rest of the expenses that went with owning a house.  The program gave me the courage to move forward. It taught me how to believe in the grace of God in my life and there was a lot of grace.

I got two promotions and in one year that doubled my salary. Totally against company policy to get two promotions in one year but somehow it happened to me.

Before the promotions I needed to sell those cars and didn't even have the money for an ad in the paper. One had four flat tires.  I used my bicycle tire pump and pumped those tires up, popped the clutch into neutral and rolled it out into the drive way.  I put a for sale sign on it and the next day someone knocked on the door and offered me 2,000 in cash. The other I sold back to my ex after he totaled his car.

I believed and it worked.  I believed that God was taking care of me. It was just me and him until I met someone and then I shifted some of that faith on to my new love. Little by little I made a life that depended on the people and things around me instead of the grace I had found.

It is good to love and be loved but there must be more a deeper since of trust in yourself and trust in something greater than yourself spiritually. To know yourself to the core to face the secrets you have kept even from yourself. To lay it all out there and accept and love yourself regardless of what you see.

My journey has led me to some pretty awful places but I have no regrets because it has brought me full circle back to myself.  The person I was before I learned life the wrong way. I have found true grace.

Friday, March 14, 2014

I really do like the Blues

I worked from home today for the first time since I started my new job.  If feels weird to me I haven't worked at home since I moved to this house; When I lived with my ex I regularly worked at home and enjoyed getting a break from the office.

For some reason this house doesn't feel a part of me yet. Even though I have been here 6 years now. I think maybe because I was missing five out of the six years. I rejected my new home and my circumstances it all felt wrong like I didn't belong here or anywhere for that matter. So I left emotionally.

This is a great house and now that I am back maybe I can make in mine in my heart. The life I thought I was going to have ended abruptly and it was too much. But at some point you have to move on like it or not.

Tonight I was thinking about how complicated relationships can be after I watched an episode of Parenthood.  A once stable couple on the show is separated. He decided to move out and it seems like divorce is inevitable. She ask him why he isn't fighting for them she says "the person I knew would fight for us."

I said to my husband when he decided to leave. I guess sometimes it is too late to fight or your just too tired. Sometimes there is the dream of something different or someone different that makes people give up.

Today while I was working I was listening to the blues classics and it reminded me of when we were together. We use to go to the Blues festivals and concerts together. I wasn't sure if he really liked the Blues or whether the festivals were an excuse to drink for days. Sitting in the sun with a bunch of drinkers ruined these times for me.

I divorced the Blues when I divorced him but today I realized that I really do like the Blues. Back then my life revolved around him and it was hard for me to know where he ended and I began. I am glad to find the Blues again after 20 years.

It is back to the office tomorrow where I will have no time for thinking or for the Blues.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sleepless night and barking dogs

I had a night of interrupted sleep at about 4 am I just woke up for no apparent reason.  I turned on my favorite TV preacher which usually puts me back to sleep. The words are so familiar from many sleepless nights that I can usually go back to sleep quickly.

My roommate wakes up at 5 and her dogs likes to bark through breakfast.  When I am normal sleeping I don't hear the dog. After the second waking I began to dream about boats and beaches.  It is sketchy now that the day has passed.

Oddly enough when I woke up I had some sort of bite on the left side of my face. I felt like I had gotten a shot of Novocaine. What a way to start the 8:30 shift. No one noticed but it didn't help my mood.

When I got to work I faced a pile of work and felt like it was too much. Maybe I was tired but my mind was against me telling me I am too old to work this hard and that I would never be able to catch up with my co-workers. By the afternoon I had cleared my desk and it was business as usual.

On my way to an appointment this afternoon I gave myself a pep talk.  This is all temporary the day, the job and even life it is my view of the moments passing that make the difference. Then I addressed the practical stuff. "You have only been there less than 6 months they have been there years and even decades. How can you expect to feel as confident as they do?"

I ended the day with a an impromptu dinner with friends and I am sure I will get some sleep tonight.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Escaping the Mind.

I watched a movie about 11 hikers that died after climbing to the peak of a mountain in the Himalayas. While they were at the top ice sheared their ropes off and they had to climb down not attached to the mountain.

I have often wondered what kind of person does this kind of thing. What makes someone spend a full year planning an expedition and literally months on the actual mountain acclimating at each base camp. This is why they took the risk they didn't want to wait any longer even when they knew it was really too late. It would be after dark when the started to descend and they all knew that it the risk would be greater.

Is this what it takes to make us feel really alive a big goal that involves a lot of danger. I couldn't do it. First I am not into physical suffering of any kind. I guess I prefer emotional suffering instead. Some of the climbers tried to explain that when climbing they felt a sense of purpose all their energy going towards each moment.

It sounded a lot like living in the moment even if it was a very cold moment. Engaged in what they were doing staying focused or risking death.

Life isn't that interesting most of the time. Some of us create elaborate inner worlds that need our constant attention and some of us hike to the top of mountains and face death. No matter what it is entertainment it is what the mind looking for something to do.

I know that my own mind is never satisfied. Even yesterday while I was sitting on the porch enjoying the perfect day immediately my mind started searching for trouble. First it started telling me I couldn't afford to take off and then it started pointing out all the work that needs to be done to the house.

I didn't take the bait but I could see how easy it would be to let my mind have it's way with me. I decide to get out of the house and do some ordinary stuff.

First I got my oil changed then I went to my favorite Middle Eastern lunch spot and had some falafel.  I bought a big bag of basmati rice and replenished my dwindling supply of curry powder. I headed for the the grocery store but not before stopping at Wendy's for a frosty. I am learning to like ordinary.

I enjoyed my ordinary day and didn't let my mind spoil it for me.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Is this a cartoon or is this real?

Something happen today at work two men that work there got into a screaming match on the sales floor and one chased the other into the warehouse and allegedly a fight took place and punches were thrown.

The sales people retreated to my office. I said "I feel like we are working in a cartoon".  The emotions there are so exaggerated they seem unreal to me. I feel like I am watching from a distance.

Luckily there were no customers there during this time. Is this weird or is it just me. I think if I had been in the front of the building when this started I would have said something to them.

The sales people are pretty autonomous and stay under the radar for the most part. I can't help but wonder how I ended up there and for how long. All I know is that I am where I am and I am enjoying the ride cartoon characters and all.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Warriors and Heros

Today I had a chance to see some real emotional suffering going on at work. I feel really grateful tonight for my own spiritual journey and the things I have learned about myself.  It showed me where I have been and helped me to see how far I have come.

I credit the 12 steps for getting me started on this journey to freedom and I credit myself for having the willingness to question who I believed I was and whether the person I was should or even could change.

The thought never crossed my mind that I had a problem.  I did have problems but these were things that randomly happened to me that were totally out of my control.  I just mostly felt unlucky and learned to live with a life full of crisis.

I became a warrior in this life.  Every day I got up and put my armor on and was ready to do battle. I would slay you before you could get me. The rare times I didn't have my own battle I would take on other people's injustices. I became your hero whether you wanted my help or not.

It was a tough life but I lived for the challenge. It was all I knew until Al-Anon. First the steps made me see that life was more than just war. The real war was inside of me I was my own worst enemy or at least my thoughts were.

Life isn't about what is being done to you it is how you feel about yourself when things are happening to you. I thought I was just unlucky or worse I thought that I was causing these things to happen to me. Every time something happened to me it was just more proof. I was the common denominator. I expected the worst and I got it.

Even when things were good I couldn't trust that they would last and they never did. This idea that things happened because of who I am is pretty self absorbed and not in a good way. I was too emotionally immature to see that life just happens and nothing stays the same forever. People leave because they are taking care of their own needs.  Sometimes it might seem selfish but maybe it is just having self worth.

My self worth depended on how many people needed me. In my personal life having people stay with me proved that I had worth so when they left it proved that I didn't. I didn't understand that this was a no win situation.

The recent years that I spent depressed I believe it was because I was left again and my mind told me that if I could be left after 13 years that surely this was the final proof that I was not lovable. I knew I couldn't go back to being the warrior so I gave in to those thoughts and retreated for as long as it took.

I had to give up all the ideas I had about myself and accept that there is no such thing as truth. The truth is what you believe in each moment and every one's truth is different.  I had to change my truth to something that didn't make my happiness conditional on what other people thought about me.

It isn't easy to live this way. Playing the part of someones hero can be very seductive it is a lot easier than just being your ordinary self.  No applause for that. But I don't want  to go back to where I was and besides maybe it is important to let people be the hero of their own lives. All I can say is that it is working for me.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Rantings - Memories - Bat Crazy

I got the hee bee jee bees tonight.  I am restless and need some quiet and my roommate it moving about the house talking on the phone. She is always ranting about some injustice in her life.  This has only happened a dozen times or so but it makes me want to leave the house.

She is new to the program and I met her through my own sponsor and for the most part we are ships passing in the night but not tonight.

I remember when I lived own my soap box about how unfair life had been towards me. How nothing but bad things happened to me and everyone else had it good.  It only takes a few meetings to realize the second part isn't at all true. Even hearing the worst stories didn't phase me in the beginning I was too caught up in the drama of my own story to even acknowledge that other people had problems too.

I get where she is coming from and have to remember baby steps.  I had to finally stop talking about how nothing in my life worked before my life started working. Ask and you shall receive I think that works for good things as well as bad. If you say "nothing good ever happens to me" then some how life tries to make that come true so you will be right.

In the program we say fake it until you make it. This use to totally piss me off. Are you telling me I am suppose to just put on a happy face and pretend that everything is just fine.  I realized that really this just means to not let your emotions control you ever minute. It is okay to just let go and just do something other than dwell on the problems in your life.

I use to be so analytical. I thought I could think myself out of every situation but my best thinking kept me lost in the problem.  I have to admit I have lost big chunks of my life to analyses.  I was drawn to the alcoholic situation because I was a problem solver. It took me down because I couldn't solve it but I kept trying. A little tweak here a little there until I was bat crazy.

I was bat crazy later all by myself not an alcoholic in sight. Life can't be solved by thinking. People can't be solved by poking or tweaking and that includes myself. You have to just sit there and see the moment  for just what it is a moment a moment that will pass. It isn't permanent unless you want to hold on to it in your mind and relive it over and over.

Why do we get stuck on the bad stuff?  I have lived my whole life around the story of my childhood and how I was damaged. This story made me insecure and a slave to my emotions and sometimes to other people. I thought the best I could hope for was to just keep working on myself. This made my life still about the past.

I realized I had to just let go and see that my mind was the real problem.  I had to see that my story had become me and without it I would have felt like nothing. But that wasn't true because without it I could make a new story.

I can't explain how free I feel now without my story. Even in my last post about my parents it was written without the pain of something I didn't get from them or something I lost. It was just a story I put together from my memories I don't need it to be anything more.

These are my rantings for the evening. Thank God she has finally gone to bed it's almost midnight. Sweet dreams.  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

It isn't murder just a tribute to my parents

It looks like a murder took place in my kitchen tonight. I bought a juicer at the Goodwill for ten bucks and juiced up some beets along with some other tasty vegetables.  At the end the machine had some issues with the raw beets and things got a little out of hand.

I have a love hate relationship with the whole health food movement. I was raised by a couple of health nuts and since they aren't here any more I am not too sure I want to waste my time.  My mother's been gone 40 years this past Sunday.  I was going to write about her that night but it seemed like a tired story. The story of me an my mother or really what I remember about her.

Tonight I thought about both of my parents while I was juicing. They are probably both up there laughing and saying " look at our girl down there juicing."  I don't know whether they were that interested in health before my mother got sick or if it was her sickness started the trend in our house.

What I do know is that my dad was passionate about my mother.  He loved her so much that he would have done anything to save her and when he lost her he lost everything. We all did.

My mother made things happen. I am not sure how because she wasn't a particularly big personality. She lived by her convictions and people just got on board. Our house was the hub of the neighborhood and the hub of our church.

We hosted missionaries at our house regularly. We held giant Easter egg hunts every year along with a haunted house for Halloween. One year she even let me be the host for a muscular dystrophy carnival in our back yard.  My picture was in the paper.

I don't really remember her laughing that much but I do remember us being happy. We weren't rich with money but we were rich with friends and experiences.  She pushed us all to be great and to be passionate about our beliefs.

She taught me that it was important to entertain myself because I had to be my own best friend. She taught me that not everyone would like me and that was okay. She taught me that God loved me and that was what really mattered.  These three things are the core of who I am today.

I think she knew she was sick long before the doctor said so and I think she wanted to give us good memories. I do have good memories even if they have been over shadowed by her death.

I have some guilt over being so demanding. I was hyper and was interested in everything. I never stopped until I got my way. I had to have everything explained to me. Just as I do now I have to understand the why behind everything that happens.  We fought and I lost until she got sick.  I was just a kid I didn't know.

So I juiced some vegetable tonight in honor of my heritage.  I am not counting on the juice or my heritage to give me a long life given my parents early departures.  I am counting on the peace I have found with my past to make years I have more full.  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Just being ordinary

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.  I didn't want to get out of bed and face the day.  I couldn't really put my finger on it. I am usually pretty neutral about my day but not today. I started searching for a reason for my lack of enthusiasm.

For the most part things have been going really well in my life. I am starting to get settled in at work and I am starting to close more jobs. I did have one job that I lost last week after spending a lot of time on it and yesterday I spent the morning with a dueling couple over bathroom selections. She was in tears when they left.

This morning I was thinking that maybe I am not any good at this maybe I should be doing something else. Is it this hard for other sales people or is it just me? This is what my mind was going over this morning as I pulled the covers over my head and hit the snooze button one more time.

Of course I did get up and out the door with two appointments this morning and by the time I reached the first one I was in sales mode and enjoying being out of the office.  I do enjoy the people I meet even when I have to watch them play out a lifetime of relationship issues in front of me.

By the end of the day I had gotten over myself.  I did have a chocolate moment around three o'clock and begged my co-worked who was going out for food to bring me back anything chocolate. She granted my wish and brought me a chocolate filled turnover from Arbys with chocolate icing. It did the trick even if I was covered in flakes and chocolate in a matter of minutes.

Luckily I ended the day on a healthier note having seared fresh tuna over salad with basmati rice on the side for dinner.  The tuna was a impulse buy at the farmers market on Sunday a very good impulse indeed.

I think I am still learning to be normal again and accepting that sometimes you just have bad days or days when you just don't feel like being a grown up.  It doesn't mean it is the end of the world and it doesn't mean I am slipping back into depression.  I have to learn accept just being ordinary.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Memories and Music

It has been a busy week.  I have mentally been visiting the past with my wedding anniversary this week.  It seems silly that I still think about this date every year.  I use to push it back but when I did I would end up with a sense of melancholy that I just couldn't put my finger on.

I didn't want to acknowledge this date.  To me the marriage represented a failure on my part. I couldn't keep it together. All my plans for the future went out the window when our life together ended.

This week I went to a jazz concert with a friend from the program. The musician was one my husband use to listen to and taught me to love when we first got married.  Because it was a last minute invite I didn't even know who was playing until I got there.

I half expected to run into him there but of course I didn't he probably doesn't even live here anymore. I don't have hurts over the past anymore. I can accept that life is just life and things happen and it is no body's fault.

He was a generous and kind man that taught me a lot about two important things in life food and music. Our relationship was an intimate one and we were rarely apart outside of work.  We lived in an exclusive world just the the two of us and we loved it while it lasted.

When the affects of alcoholism started creeping into our time together I didn't really notice.  I didn't know anything about alcoholism and I blamed myself for the distance between us.  It wasn't just his drinking but the emotional problems he had from being raised in an alcoholic home.

With my own emotional baggage we didn't have much of a chance of surviving. Two emotionally stunted people with no communication skills trying to overcome the impossible without help.  We were emotionally two children without a clue and blamed each other.

We did love each other but sometimes that isn't enough. I can accept that now and I can accept that he was just a part of my journey which led me to where I am today.

When our relationship ended my own recovery began and the journey has led me to understand that I can choose to be free.  I can be free if I can stop blaming myself or someone else for how I feel today. If I can let go of the idea that my life needs to be fixed then I can enjoy this moment.

Tonight I am feeling gratitude for my life in general and for this week of hard work, memories and music.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

30 years - Living without applause

I found the new person crying in her office today.  She was hired after me to assist the designers and eventually become a sales person.  The person that is responsible for training her has been acting like her buddy and now he is telling everyone she is incompetent. He keeps telling her to do one thing one day and then saying he didn't the next. He told her today that she will probably be fired soon.

This kind of treatment makes me so crazy.  I think it is because it reminds me of when my step mother played head games with me. Changing the rules constantly and pretending to be my friend one minute and punishing me the next.  Her behavior made me think I was going crazy.

I learned early in life that there are people that just don't play nice. They get a lot of pleasure out of playing with peoples emotions and creating drama where there doesn't need to be any.  Your best defense is to not react then they get bored and move on to someone else. You can show no weakness or the game continues.

With my stepmother I thought if I was only good enough I could please her. I would do everything perfectly and then she would see how wonderful I was and love me. My perfection worked sometimes and sometimes it didn't which made it even more confusing for me and made me try even harder.

What I learned from my experience with my stepmother  made me a perfect match for my favorite alcoholic. It set up a pattern of me trying to do everything right while living with someone that was my biggest fan one day and my worse critic the next. It produced the same results as before I thought I was crazy.

I married that man 30 years ago today. It lasted nine years and reinforce the idea planted by my step mother that I wasn't good enough but I should keep trying that with a little work I could win back their love.

What I know now is what I told my co-worker today. Nobody can make you feel bad about yourself. You feel bad because you think what they are saying is true. Believing what someone says about you good or bad is a mistake because it is their opinion and opinions change.

We give the people in our lives the power to define use with their opinions. If they love us all the time then all is well if they don't then we feel lost and unsure of ourselves. We spend our lives looking for some one's approval and we depending on whether we get it or not determines our happiness.

The answer for me today is to just do my best and live with the consequences. A life without applause just me doing the right thing for me and leaving it at that.  If I accept the applause then I have to accept the criticism and I am just not that interested in either any more.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A little story to tell - Life without emotions

I told my story this week the one about depression.  It came up during an appointment with a customer.  I am sure most people would say to keep it professional.  This isn't where I am in my life anymore. I kept it light and I have been so happy lately it is clear to anyone that interacts with me that I have recovered.

I don't tell my life story for sympathy like I use to and I don't tell it to get it out of my system like I use to either. In those days I was lost in my story and telling it was part of my own healing. Today I think I tell it more as a witness in a matter of fact way.  It puts my humanness on the table.  I think we all have secrets and and it helps other people to see that we are all in this together.

We fear that if the truth comes out it will be extreme and we will end up on some TV talk show or like that commercial where this ordinary guy with a normal life makes one wrong decision about his cable TV provider and ends up ruining his life.  That is our fear that we will end up locked up or living on the streets if we don't do everything right and keep our emotions in check.

The subject of depression came up when my customer said that they were fostering dogs for military personnel suffering from PTSD.  They were telling me how the dogs bring them back emotionally from being shut down with depression and without the will to live. The dogs keep other people at bay while the person is out in public and eases some of them back into a more normal life.

I shared about losing my own emotions and my own will to live. I told then that it wasn't that you want to die it is that you just don't want to live without feelings. There is a difference in being sad and hurting and when you can't bear the loss you have experienced and having absolutely no feelings at all. I didn't know this place existed I will take sadness over nothing any day.

I thought I would never feel anything again and I didn't think I could spend the rest of my life in that condition.  I probably should have taken something but coming from a family that scoffed at drugs I just did nothing and waited. I don't suggest this route for anyone else it was hard on me and hard on anyone that crossed my path for those years.

I have summed up my experience in this way too many things were happening at the same time and my mind and emotions could not adjust quickly enough and decided to take a break. I couldn't handle my reality and checked out for as long as it took.

I can't imagine what terrible things our troops have had to endured.  Obviously to the point of having their mind go into its own protection mode. It is good that that some are getting this pet therapy.

Sharing my story can only help people to know that depression can happen to anyone and that there is life after depression. I believe I came back from it because I was forced to see the fear at the core of it. The fear that without what I had lost I was nothing.

When I faced this story I was telling myself and got comfortable with the idea that I was nothing I was able to move forward.  I could see where my worth was based on my own idea of who I was and this was just another story I was telling myself. The things I lost were not me they were my idea of me.

I am happy today and that is enough.  Today I am a  blank slate without all the stories I use to have weighing me down. I feel my life is about just being and interacting with whoever might cross my path today. It is about not taking myself too seriously and getting on with my life.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Voyeur - Who is making the decisions?

My job gives me the opportunity to look into the lives of people when they are making decision about money.  The dynamics of couples can be so different either they share the decisions equally or sometimes one person pretends to let the other person have their way until the last minute and sometimes it is clear from the beginning who is in control.

I have to admit that often it is during these moments that I am happy to not be in a relationship. In my own marriage before the program I was secretly the dictator (maybe not so secretly). I thought I made better decision and it was my responsibility whip my husband into shape or as I would like to say have him meet his potential.

To me he was always a work in progress.  I can see the arrogance in that now.  In my defense I thought that was what a good wife would do for her husband.  I could see so clearly where he was going wrong and I was more than willing to point him in the right direction. This kept me from looking at myself.

I learned early in my life how to manage people and then I made a career of it quite literally. I was really good at it and it never occurred to me that it was manipulation and not everyone wanted to be managed. It was just a survival technique that I thought was an asset even after I didn't need it anymore.

What I didn't know about manipulating or managing people was that it takes a lot out of you.  When things go right you are on top of the world and when they go wrong you feel somehow responsible. It is a false sense of power that increases with every success but when you fail you can end up in the pits.

I lost and gained everything when my marriage ended. I had to start to see my part in this sad story. My controlling ways didn't cause the marriage to end but it didn't help either.

I did love again and it gave me the chance to be a different person. To treat my partner as an equal it was good for more than a decade and I learned a lot.  It did end but only after it had run its course. We both wanted more I just wasn't the one who made the break.

I don't think at this point that being in a relationship is better or worse than being alone. It has been for me about the same.  I was depressed for a long time but that didn't have anything to do with the breakup. It had to do with coming to terms with the fact no one was going to rescue me from my fears. In my case it was the fear of not being enough and being rejected brought that to the surface. I had to see that even with nobody I was enough.

I am sure I will love again if the right person comes along.  I think for the first time in my life I wouldn't be bringing much baggage along and I am not interested managing anyone.  I also not interested in being managed. I hope that that kind of relationship exist.  For now I will just be a voyeur in the lives of others.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Tears of Joy - Leaving my mind behind

When I was driving to my counselors appointment on Tuesday I was suddenly overwhelmed and tears began to roll down my cheeks.  They were tears of joy feeling like my life was back to normal.

This isn't any where close to being true. When was the last time I felt normal?  Before bits and pieces of my life were scattered to the wind.  About six or maybe seven years ago. That was last time I was only worried about work and normal things like chores and paperwork.

You take these mundane things for granted until you don't have them anymore.  When your days become only about making it until the next day. You watch other people and you know you aren't like them anymore. You remember being like them but you know you aren't anymore and the fear is that you will never be again.

My mind wants to dwell on why this happen to me.  Why after a lifetime of comebacks that this time I almost didn't make it back.  But I feel so good that I just want to live.  I just want to do ordinary things like empty the dishwasher and wash clothes.

I want to tell people that I see stressing over nothing. I want to say "Hey all this stuff you think is life and death is a joke"  I want to tell them that to stop and enjoy what is instead of wanting something they think they need in the future.

I have lived in my mind most of my life. I created a complicated place that I almost didn't escape from. I imagined that I was permanently damaged by my past and would forever be lost in pain and suffering.

A seed was planted a long time ago telling me that I was damaged. I built an interior life around this idea and used everything that happened to me as means to reinforce this idea. I had help too I got a lot of sympathy for what I had been through this helped me stay where I was even longer.

I believed this story I told myself. I have spent my life trying to fix my brokenness and after investigating every possible solution I found the one final truth "I am not broken the idea that I think I am broken is the real problem."  Nothing that happen to me is happening now it is my mind that is holding on to the pain. In truth I am addicted to the pain of my story.

I don't regret the path I have taken to heal myself.  I have met the people I call my family now.  I obviously couldn't do it any other way or I would have.  I hope my experience can save someone else a lot of time.

My way out did start with the 12 steps showing me how to control my thinking.  They also taught me that I wasn't perfect and neither was anyone else.  I learned to let go of my control and let life work itself out.

Today for the first time I am truly free from myself.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Professional Help - Exercise in mindfulness

A day last spring
I worked 13 hours yesterday. Now I am starting to sound like my co-workers starting my conversation with how much I have been working but  I made up for it today by getting in at 9 and leaving at 3 for a counselors appointment.

It has been a year since I saw her and with my old life finally wrapping up I thought a visit would be good for me.  She is nice and has a eastern take on life.  

Today we did an exercise in mindfulness.  An exercise on how to deal with our problems.  She said that when we have serious problems we sometimes let them take us over. To represent this she held her hands over her face. She said we can't see anything but our problems and we are lost.

She then talked about the other option and she said that we run.  We push our problems away by staying busy and pretending everything is just fine.  She took  her hands and put them up facing out.

She went on to say that both options drain the life right out of us. She said there was a third option she demonstrated by cupping both hands in her lap. She said we can take a moment to set our problems aside and while still acknowledging that we have them we can use our 5 senses to see there is something in life besides our problems. We have this moment.

What in the room could I see, hear, touch, taste and smell. Seems simple but I got it just for a moment I can learn to be here instead of in my head even if it is only for a moment. I am no longer lost in my thinking.

I understand what she was trying to teach me about being in the moment.  These days I live most of my life in the moment it has only taken me 20 years to get here.  When I was depressed I know sometimes I was lost in my problems and other times I was running.  It was only when I stopped doing either I did get past the worst of it.

I did enjoy our visit today but I don't think I will be going back anytime soon. My problems don't involve the past anymore they are just your everyday boring stuff. How nice is that?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Losing Control - Finding Freedom

Work is in full swing for me my old place of business was liquidated at auction.  Probably not the most cost effective way to take care of things but I am not there to do that.  I have moved on.  I didn't even feel the need to make a phone call or even to do a drive by to look at the damage. It is over for me now.

I am free.  I didn't realize what an emotional drain it was putting on me waiting for the next shoe to drop.

In the past I would want to blame somebody for the way things turned out but today I can accept that everything has an ending. Whether it is a job or a relationship everything must change and I have to learn to go with it and not try to stop life from happening.

Saturday at the end of the day someone got fired after being there for many years. Who gets fired on Saturday? We helped her put her things in her car she looked completely shocked. I have been there many times.

We are so afraid when we don't know what is ahead for us.  We ask ourselves "will I ever be happy again?" "will I ever feel safe again?'  When something in life surprises us it shakes us from the dream.  The dream that we have made up for ourselves that nothing will ever change. It feels so bad we never want to be there again.

For me I thought these things happened because I wasn't smart enough to see it coming. I knew if I would have to work harder and be better prepared the next time.  In my relationships this meant I kept people at arms length.  At work I tried to be perfect I would anticipate the needs of my customers before they even knew it themselves. This is exhausting.

To the people that I have loved and that have loved me back....

If I can keep you happy you will love
me.  If you are unhappy you might hurt me or at least not love me. If you aren't happy with me it must be something I have done.

I have suffered a lot mostly at my own hands because I thought I caused you to hurt me or reject me. I spent so many years trying to discover what was wrong with me and why you left me. Taking my own inventory over and over only to discover decades later that I don't have any control over how you feel about me.

The truth finally discovered  I have been absent for most of my own life. When I was worried about you and your happiness I was preoccupied and missed my own life and my own happiness. Your happiness always came first. I knew when you were happy I was doing things right and when you weren't I was doing things wrong.  I needed to know you needed me.

I see it clearly now and I have to let you go. I have let you be over there feeling what ever you have to feel. I have to be okay over here feeling helpless watching you even if that means you walk away.  I will be kind if I can.  I will be respectful of your feelings but they are not mine. I will love you even if it is from afar.  I will miss you if you leave but you won't take a part of me with you this time. I am here and you are over there and that is how it has to be.

 It it not my fault and it is not yours. It is just how it has to be me over here and you over there.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Moving On - Last Man Standing

I have had to push myself through some final issues with my previous business this week.  My former business partner and I could not come to an agreement on transferring the business to her and we have opted to close.  A third party vendor is liquidating the business this weekend.

I had some pretty strong feelings about it when one of my friends drove by the shop and saw the auction sign. I was notified this week giving me less than 3 days to respond.  I felt sad at first and then I felt like I should do something but inside my spirit said "let it go".

So after Saturday there will be nothing left.  The legacy of the former owner basically abandoned by the both of us.  We didn't choose to be partners and things worked as long as I didn't expect it to be a partnership.

I have grown up this past year so much I can't even tell you.  I can see how my need to please made me a doormat over and over.  I was always the last man standing.  I wanted to be known as the rock the dependable one the last one bailing water on a sinking ship. In the end the hero or martyr depending on the outcome.

I have been wrong all my life.  I thought being the last man standing was the right thing to do even if it was a lost cause. In the end I was shocked to be there alone a victim one more time.  When I would tell my story people would feel bad for me and sympathize with me. This made me come back for more.

In the program I learned to stop acting like a victim but I never learned how to stop being a victim.  I learned to stop whining and complaining about the latest bully in my life. But my cycle continued I just called it something else.   I was self proclaimed hard working un-appreciated person and that had a beacon on my head for users.

I had to see that my thinking that sacrifice was a virtue was wrong. I had to look out for myself first.  What a concept to accept that healthy people put themselves first.  It isn't selfish it is actually what is best for everyone. You can still help people out when they need it but you don't have to do it all or at the expense of your own happiness.

I have rarely felt appreciated for the sacrifices I made over the years to keep things going.  I wanted someone to acknowledge me and see that I was the glue that held things together. I can see that this need for validation set me up for the same situation over and over again.

I have learned that I have to search my heart ever time I start to volunteer for something. Am I doing it for the right reasons? Can I do it without resentment? Can I do it without expecting brownie points? Do I tell myself  "a nice person would do this."

I finally understand my need to please kept me coming back for more.  With this situation I let everyone involved share the responsibility.  I am not too popular but I can live with that.  

I am loving my new job and my life is filling up quickly.  I am very grateful.