Tag Archives: fear

What a beautiful world this can be

May is almost over…and so is (almost) all the shit that has been driving me crazy lately.  My son graduated high school last weekend.  Seriously, I still look at him and remember when he graduated preschool.  Oh my has he grown.  What was most beautiful about his graduation was his joy.  He had a smile that just lights me up…I want to see more of that.

His graduation party was a success….again, too see a young man who was happy and smiling.  I couldn’t ask for more.  However, I was grateful to have a house full of wonderful people.  Former coworkers, new coworker, old friends, new friends, family I haven’t seen in way to long.  The day was beautiful, and the house was filled with laughter and joy.  There is a long standing joke with my friends about how the weather always goes south when I plan out-door events.  Not this time.  I’m going to say that my shift in attitude may have played a huge role in that…for had I stayed in the darkness, the rain would undoubtedly come.

A few weeks ago I was reminded that I needed (desperately) to let go of doubt and worry.  So I did.  What happened was that the little twitch in my eye went away, and good things started falling into place.  Things were finally aligning in a good way….because I was able to embrace the good and let go of the bad thoughts.  What you think about, you bring about.  I was tired of waking up every morning filled with doubt and gloom.  That is a choice, just like choosing to wake up with a grateful heart.

It isn’t as though the next few months are not going to come with challenges.  In just a few short weeks we will be on the fast track to  getting my son ready to go away to college.  There is no way for me to truly express how excited I am for him…and how hard it is for me to grasp this new phase of his life, and mine.  No matter what, I will bring to this coming “adventure” (my son tells me I use that word incorrectly too much, ha!) with a positive and grateful attitude.  He has opportunities ahead of him I wish I had taken advantage of when I was 18, but then if I had, he may not have been one of my greatest blessings.  I’m not sure how I’m going to handle not being able to see his face everyday.  Knowing that he’s not just behind his bedroom door…annoyed at me for popping in.  I am blessed, elated and trying to manage the little bit of fear and loss that will surly stir once he is gone.

Even though I attribute May to having been a busy and highly emotional month for me….there is still a lot of work to be done over these next few months.  Time to buckle down and get my ass back in alignment with my plans.   I gave myself a break in order to deal with the self inflicted emotional rollercoaster I was on, and now it’s time to get back to the real work.  Cleaning up and clearing out.  That includes fear, doubt, worry as well as physical clutter.  It also means focusing more on moving to a better place for work and relationships.

The challenges are not over…and it is a blessing that they never will be.  What is over is allowing negative emotions and thoughts to overshadow those challenges.  I’m moving forward with a renewed sense of purpose and gratitude….and that is how I will face each new challenge.  Even if that challenge is simply to NOT give in to the pesky dark voices that whisper in my ear “You’re not going to make it.”

Yes I am, asshole.  Yes I am.

Ooops I did it again.

Recently I decided to get a lawyer to work out some financial stuff with my ex husband.  The letter was drafted to advise him that he has not been holding up his legal obligations to me.  It was also to address how he was going to assist in helping pay for our son’s upcoming college expenses.  The letter laid out how much he owed, how much I was willing to waive, and what I was requesting in regards to college.   It went on to say that we could easily keep things out of court and come to a mutual conclusion.

He responded by getting a lawyer.

That’s where I should have just left it, let the lawyers hash it out.  I didn’t. Since I know him very well,  I knew what he read and how he interpreted it.  I reached out and tired to explain myself and why I did what I did and how it would, in the end, be mutually beneficial and fair for all of us. My efforts were to ease his pain and see things clearly.  He did not respond.

I was telling my step dad about it.  “What are you doing?  You are taking on the anguish for both of you.”

That will be the last time I reach out to my ex on the matter, I said.  When I thought about what he had said, I realized how right he was.  I was doing what I’ve always done when it comes to him.  I try to come in and explain, make him see the whole picture, try to justify myself, do what I can to make HIM feel better.  That has rarely ever worked out in my favor.

I was justified in doing what I did.  There is no doubt. Has he done things for the kids…certainly.  There’s no argument there.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean he can just do what he thinks is fair, and not what is right.

The real question is why did I feel the need to explain myself?  Why do I care how he feels?  What does it matter to me if he wants to pay a lawyer to do what the lawyer I paid would have done for him?  Why, after all this time, do I still feel like I have to explain myself to someone who has never bothered to try to understand me?  Obviously it’s cause I still have self deprecating habits that need to be broken.

During my therapy appointment I talked about what I had done.  He asked “If I had met you in the parking lot after seeing the lawyer, and asked you how you thought he would respond to the letter, what would you have said?”  The answer, he would have cried victim.  So…why are you surprised by his response?  That’s a good question…and one I’ve been asking myself for years.  Simply put, I always hold on to the hope these people in my life will suddenly become different.  I am reminded time and time again…they are not, and will not be different.

About 1/2 way through our appointment he stopped me.  “Do you have some kind of belief, that if you behave like the strong confident woman you know yourself to be, that no one will love you?”  As much as this question felt like it came out of left field, it was as direct and to the point as one could get.  The answer, yes.

I’m in a vulnerable place right now.  Completely by my own doing.  It’s time to get back to focusing on how good things are, how far I’ve come and how well I really am doing.  That’s not been the case lately….I’ve been focusing way to much on what I don’t have and I feel like I’m being reminded over and over that there is less good than not.  When I take a moment to clear the garbage out of my head, I can see so much good in my life.

Too much time has been spent lately in an attitude of lack.  Time to turn that shit around.

 

Validation

One of the main reasons I go to counseling is because I’ve spent so much of my life being told I was wrong, being told I was the problem, that as an adult I often second guess myself.  I’ve learned that not everything is about me, and that when someone wants you to believe you are wrong, it has much more to do with them than you.  However…old patterns are hard to break.  So, like seeing Dr when you are sick, or an physical therapist when your body needs to get stronger, or a person trainer when you can’t get your sorry ass moving on your own, a counselor helps you sort out and rework the mental bullshit.

I spoke recently of a confrontation I had at work.  A confrontation that stirred up some very intense emotions. Standing there in that room with this person telling me not to speak, that he was the boss and how I was to remember that and do as I am told made me feel very uncomfortable, to say the least.  In the moment, I had an idea of what was happening, but I unfortunately got caught up in my own emotions. It was only well after that I could see it for what it really was.

He was bullying me.  By standing up and confronting me the way he did, he was trying to intimidate me.  It’s a horrible space to be in no matter who you are or what the circumstances.  The problem for me is that this has been such a common encounter for me that even now, I still wonder if I deserved it, if I was blowing it out of proportion…or if I was just being a big baby about the whole thing.  According to my counselor, no to all of it.  His actions towards me were disrespectful, unprofessional and he had no right to try to intimidate me.  I also have no reason to stay where anyone would make me feel this way.

I needed that validation.  Too often I beat myself up about the choices that I make. Believing that this is what I chose, so now I have to suck it up and take it.  Truth is, I don’t.  I need a job…most definitely.  I don’t need THIS job.  I don’t need to be anywhere I don’t feel comfortable.  As I wrap my head around that I begin to realize that I have options…I am by no means stuck where I am. Yes indeed it would be nice to have a better job offer in my hand, but I’m fortunate to have some money in the bank so I can pay my bills if need be…not indefinitely but until I that better job comes my way.

Don’t think this means I’m going to go in and give my notice tomorrow.  As much as I would like to. For the time being, I can bide my time, keep putting in those applications and collect a paycheck…all with the knowledge that I will no longer put up with the bullying.  For that matter, thank you Mr Bully boss for giving me an opportunity to grow just a little bit more. Thank you for showing me the kind of person you really are, and that you cannot beat me down.  You may think you have the upper hand here…but I know better.  Thank you also, to all the other paths I’ve taken that have allowed me to be in a position of, dare I say it, power…when there were times I felt completely powerless.

I needed validation.  Now that I’ve got that, I can pick myself up and push myself forward.  Stronger and with more confidence…one more step out of the box people have long since tried to keep me in.  Perhaps one day, I won’t have to step out of the box because I’ve learned not to be put in there in the first place.  Hmm….that a future this girl can really wrap her arms around.

Hands to heaven…I think I finally got it.

Have you ever had one of those conversations with a friend…where you are telling them that you are fine, everything is good, but deep down inside, you know that just isn’t true?  Inside of you, you are turning and restless and unsure of anything…but what you want most is to get where you say you already are, so you pretend that you are there, when you know you still have far to go.

I’ve been there.  I’ve done that too many times.  Pretending that I’ve got my shit together…knowing that I should have my shit together. Having the right answers….but unable to put any of them into place. Hoping if I can convince that other person…maybe just maybe, I can convince myself as well.

This time was different.  This time when I told my friend where my focus was…how I was doing, I was really honestly there.  Truth is…until that moment, I wasn’t really sure myself.  When I went on to explain how I was doing…the things I was doing to move forward…how I wasn’t focused on the end, but actually taking steps that no matter what happened, it would only make each and every possibility better.  This time…as the words came out I felt a wave of conviction and truth wash over me.  I am really doing this.  I am really moving forward with no regret and no fear…I am just doing what I need to do to make sure whatever happens, I will be in a better place.

It was a strange feeling.  At no point did I wonder if she could “see through me”. I was being completely honest.  Maybe at some point there will be someone in my life to fill the empty space.  Maybe I will find myself in a position that I can no longer financially afford to stay in this home.  Maybe, I will be able to make a choice and move on to something else.  No matter what….clearing out the clutter will make any one of those just a little easier.

I walked away feeling really good about myself.  Something that I haven’t felt in quite a while.  I had a deep sense that I was on the right path…making the right choices for all the right reasons.  There was no forcing myself into one particular box in order to fulfill a particular unknown scenario…there was just peace and acceptance.  FINALLY.

This, my friends…is what we are truly searching for.  Truth, acceptance and peace.  I have no idea what the actual turning point was.  Maybe something my therapist said.  Maybe something I read or heard.  Maybe divine intervention.  Whatever it is I am completely grateful for it.  There is no longer a need to put on a front for the people around me.  No more fake it till I make it moments for me.  This time…it’s real and it’s enveloped me like a warm fuzzy quilt on a cold winter night.

At some point you have probably heard that you should have no expectations.  You may have read somewhere that you need to live in the now, without any worry or fear of what might come.  I have.  Many many…many times.  It has always made sense to me intellectually, perhaps spiritually…but I’ve never really been able to grasp the HOW.  My life has been all about trying to be one step ahead of the problem.  Be ready for the accusation, the assault, the proverbial rug to be pulled out from under me.  It’s what I’ve known for as long as I can remember.  Being present in the moment, making decisions that will be positive for my life no matter what direction it goes, has something that has never really been an option for me.  At least, it never appeared that way from wherever I was standing.

When I left my lunch date I was feeling light and joyous.  I was able to look strangers in the eye and smile.  The feelings I had on the inside could be see on the outside so much so that people would say “hi”…and as strange as that sounds, it’s been a long time since that has happened.  For much too long I’ve kept my head down, fearing to look up and catch someone’s eye…fearing they may possibly see the darkness I felt inside.  That’s hard to admit…and it’s very out of character for me.

I’m returning back to the me that’s been hiding.  I’m finally lifting my head up and looking for the joy…I can’t tell you how wonderful that is.

The Tipping Point

We all have it.  That point in any given situation where you throw your hands up and say “enough”.  Of course we like to tell ourselves that we have a line, cross it and that’s it buster.  Unfortunately most of us don’t really have a line we vehemently stick too.  It should be drawn in permanent marker somewhere that is impossible to move.  Usually it’s drawn in chalk and when we or someone else crosses that line, we wipe it down with our fuzzy sock covered foot and drawn a new one.

We do, I believe, all have a tipping point.  It’s a mystery like any other…it most often has no rhyme or reason to it.  It could be 5 mins from now or twenty years.  You might reach that point listening to a song on the radio, or a look someone gives you, or the worst possible heartbreak imaginable.  No matter what you think or tell yourself, you really don’t know when where or how you’re going to get there…but you will get there.

With my mother it was 44 years.  Ouch.  Well maybe that’s because mothers really do deserve more time to get things right.  It was almost that time when I was 32 and she grabbed me and pushed me up against the counter…while I was holding my baby. Again almost when she went to my soon to be ex, bought him a new hot water heater and told him how she was not going to help me out cause I “needed to suffer”. Nope. It could have been when I said that all I wanted was her to respect me as a mother, and she told me I didn’t deserve any respect. Nu uh, it was when I finally sucked it up and asked for some help, and instead of just telling me to go fuck myself or saying yes….she made it all about her, in front of my child….again.  Enough.

With my ex husband it was 17 years of marriage and 6 months of counseling.  Of course my relationship with him was not nearly as toxic as the one with my mother, but still they had a lot of similarities. So, it wasn’t the time in the first few years we were married when he said we should get a divorce because I didn’t do the dishes enough or put all my shoes away or want to have sex.  Perhaps it should have been that time I said I loved him and I just wanted us to be happy, and he said he couldn’t give me that. To be honest I don’t even remember the specific incident that finally lead me to my tipping point, but I remember staring at a pile of dog poop as I was about to scoop it up and it hit me…Enough.

I’ve watched friends play out relationships that fail over and over and over…As an outsider it’s very easy to say “oh yeah, I totally would have bailed at that point.”  It’s not hard to point out that you told them so and you saw this coming…and they should have known waaaaay back when.  We’ve all been on both sides of that scenario even if we don’t want to admit it.

I’m hear to say…be gentle with yourself.  Stop beating yourself up over giving that person, or that job or that project one more chance even when everything in your gut is telling you it is never going to work out the way you want.  Be patient.  It’s all a process we need to go through so that in the end (the real end, not the pretend end like last time) we are finally able to walk away knowing we did all we could.

If I haven’t actually reached the final tipping point yet…I am as close as you can get just before.  I let the words and the actions really really sink in this time.  The fog lifted, the rose colored glasses fell off…what ever, but this time I allowed myself to see and feel the truth and what I was trying to avoid.  For a moment I sat there in fear of my feelings…afraid to open my mouth and admit any of it was real.  I gave myself some time…to make sure this time it wasn’t about emotional reaction, or drama or avoidance. I did what the educators all tell you to do, I slept on it.  When I woke up I talked it over with myself.  If I was going to do anything at all I wanted to be sure it was going to be something I would stick to.  It didn’t take long to realize I had had…Enough.

Knowing vs KNOWING

I am a firm believer in following your gut.  Firm.  There have been many times trusting my gut over everything else has proven to be for the best.  I have made what some might think are extremely risky choices based on what my gut has told me.  It knows more than my heart and my brain will ever be able to understand.  It’s proven that many times over. I trust it. We’re buds…

Right now, I can’t hear it.

I’m trying to listen….trying to figure out what the hell it’s trying to tell me but my fucking brain is too damn loud these days. Blah blah blah my fucking brain goes all the time.  Fear? Probably. Doubt?  Most assuredly. I just can’t seem to quiet the voices in my head long enough to hear what my gut is telling me.  It’s driving me crazy.  I’m irritable and emotional.  I want to give up, throw in the towel, hide. This has got to stop.

I know what I need to do.  It’s no secret that I need to let go.  Let go of this “need” I have.  Things are pointing me in that direction…let go of control. Let go of the need to make things a certain way. Let go of trying to understand. Let go of trying to be understood.  Just let the fuck go…of all of it.  Relax. Release.

I know this. How to actually get it done is the problem I’m having. Maybe it’s more like I’m just not wanting to be honest with myself.  Or maybe I’m afraid of the answer. For fuck’s sake.

The truth is, I don’t want to be here.  I don’t want to be in the job I’m in, the house I’m in, the town I’m in or the state I’m in.  I want to just pack up and move…get out, start over. Walk away from everything.  It’s causing me a lot of anguish.  Unfortunately, the biggest problem with just picking up and getting the fuck out is…I’m taking myself with me.  Me and all my shit.  Internal mental shit that is. I don’t actually own any shit.  It’s all stuff…you have shit, I have stuff.  Ask George Carlin…he knows. Anyway, there is a sense of understanding that if I pick up and move away, without dealing with what’s really wrong, then I’m just going to take that shit with me and end up right where I am now.  I don’t want that. Please please for the love of all that is holy in this world, I don’t want that.

It’s not the location, the job, the house…it’s me.  Me and all my bullshit.  I know this.  Still, I can’t seem to quite myself long enough to deal with any of it.  I’m sad, kind of.  I’m stuck.  That’s more like it.  Stuck and the only way to get out of it is to unlace my boots, pull my tired feet out and step the fuck away.  I know this…see, I’m not oblivious to this shit.  I know.

Maybe now, that I’m actually admitting to myself what needs to happen, I can start doing something about it.  Take some time off from thinking about it, get out of my crazy head.  Time to focus on release.  This is the perfect time to do that.

I know what needs to be done…now is the time to just start doing it.

 

What if?

You could say that I am a person who is not afraid of change.  It would be more appropriate to say that I am more afraid of things never changing, always the same.  This was the main reason I finally decided to get divorced.  Fear that things would never change.

What if?

My daughter uses that phrase all the time.  What if I’m late? What if it doesn’t work?  What if it’s a complete disaster?  What if the world explodes?  My usual answer to this question is by asking the exact opposite.  What if you’re on time?  What if it does work?  What if it’s a complete success? What if the world keeps on going just like it is?

Why all the doom and gloom?  I can’t leave a relationship I’m miserable in because what if I never find someone new?  I can’t quit my shitty job because what if I can’t find something that pays the same?  I can’t enter into a new relationship because what if it turns out to be more of the same crap I’ve had before?  What if?  Well, what if you do find someone better? What if you do find something that pays more even or that you enjoy?  What if this new relationship is something more wonderful than you ever thought possible.

Of course, you could argue that if you left a miserable relationship, you may end up alone for longer than you like.  Quitting a job you hate and taking a new one may not pay more or may not be as enjoyable as you hoped.  Starting a new relationship, well, yes it could be more of the same crap.  But let me ask you this…so what?

You’re alone for a while…will it kill you?  Nope.  The first job isn’t that much better…keep looking.  This relationship looks a lot like the last…move on.  Just because we take a step outside of what’s familiar doesn’t mean we step into concrete platforms where we must remain forever.  You always have the choice to take another step…or three or four if need be.  Fear of what may or may not happen is a lazy excuse for staying somewhere stuck, unhappy or just plain bored.

I’m not afraid of change.  I love the adventure of life and the endless possibilities that come with it.  I’ve taken tiny chances that have paid off and huge chances that have headed little to be impressed about.  The wonderful part of all of it is that until I’m dead there is always a chance for something better.  I do my very best to try to be open to those possibilities no matter what…even if they scare the hell out of me.

A few weeks ago I had a very nice conversation with the hunky stallion.  We talked about why he doesn’t want a “relationship” at this time.  His points are understandable…and I get where he’s coming from.  The only real issue I have with it is that he has put a nice comfortable box around what he thinks a relationship is instead of considering the possibility that (with me) it could be something completely different, maybe even wonderful.  He said “what if I do this and this…what happens three months from now?”  My reply…”I don’t know”.  I don’t.  Maybe nothing happens.  Maybe what he fears most is exactly what happens.  Maybe, something beautiful and magical happens.  Unfortunately, I don’t know what will happen…but it seems for now, I’m the only one who is open to the possibilities.

I decided to let him lead things for awhile.  Give it a couple of months and see where things go.  Maybe they go nowhere.  He may still feel exactly the same way he does now.  It’s possible things start to grow, and he starts to see that I’m not trying to do to him the things other woman have.  Maybe I come to the realization that this just isn’t where I belong.  Who knows…but I’m willing to give it a try.  Of course within the first two weeks I was in a near panic and on the verge of being an emotional shit-bag like I’ve done so many times before.  Fortunately, I was able to remind myself that this is a process…I must trust the process.  So, I took a deep breath and let go of my needs.  Ahhh, that does feel a lot lighter.

Big changes.  After my divorce I would have liked nothing more than to have been able to pick up and move as far away from this place as possible.  I’ve dreamed of moving away from here for as long as I can remember.  Things never seemed to work out that way for me. Now, here I am, 44 years old and still living in a place that has never felt like home to me.  I’ve always thought that this was a pit stop…I just never imagined it would take so long to refuel.  Then I had a conversation with my daughter that opened up the possibility that maybe…the time to get out may be closer than I thought.

I recently visited with my sister in Colorado.  It’s beautiful there.  So very different from where I am.  She said I should move there.  Haha…yeah, that would be nice…but.  So I brought it up to my daughter and she said she would move there, even leave her friends. Maybe after the boy graduated HS next year…I was shocked.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I think I’m really going to be moving to a new state next year….but what I have a renewed sense of the possibilities.  No more is it “I got at least xxx more years before I can go.”  Now it’s…hmm….let’s be open to it.

What if…there are about to be some big changes coming my way?  Bring it on!  I am (again) open to the possibilities.