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.