Tag Archives: learning

Allowing myself to exhale…

I love going back and reading things I’ve written in the past.  Even more so when you realize that your life is so much better than it was.  I am still making mistakes, but different ones. I still have doubts and insecurities and dreams that aren’t very different from those of the last few years, but I’ve also been committed, optimistic, frequently more in control and well…that shit has paid off.

The other day I was sitting on the couch and looking around my new place…still thinking about what I could do with this or that, imagining how much nicer it will be once the walls are finished and the new fan goes up…admiring the little touches I’ve added.  It hit me that I still can’t believe I finally got out of the old place.  Nearly the entire 10 years I was there were spent in turmoil. I debated back and forth constantly over trying to make it my own and dumping and running away from it as fast as I could.  There was fear of course.  Where would I go? Would I even be able to afford to move? What if I moved and hated the new place even more? Is it fair to my kids to stay somewhere I don’t want to be or take them from a place they call home? Am I going to make a grown-up decision all on my own and have it turn out to be ok??  What if it’s not ok??

With all the work I do and all the proof that I’ve enjoyed in my life, I still get scared.  Still, although it sometimes takes me a while, I do take that faithful leap into the unknown…and most often land on my feet.  Right now, I’m on my feet yet still immersed in a little disbelief that I finally did it. I have my first home, bought on my own, decorated exactly the way I like it.  The quote on the wall about finding time for the things that make you feel happy, to the pictures and books on the shelves, the sparkly wall and the cow picture…it’s all mine.  I do not have the exact life I would have hoped for in the beginning of my new single life journey, however I am able to recognize that not only am I in a good place, it still has room to grow.  I am not stymied by my situation, and I am incredibly thankful for that.

There are times I find myself avoiding any down time for fear of falling back into old pattern of bullshit mental talk.  I can vividly remember too many days in the laundry room thinking about how I should have done this or that, or reliving conversations trying desperately to understand what the fuck happened or how I could have made a different ending, or preparing myself for future encounters so that I could be more in control and ready.  There was too much quiet time spent beating myself up, or crying over stupid shit, or just plain being afraid of never having a life worth a shit and wondering if I had made a serious mistake. Grrrr, I hated that laundry room.  I also hated the sleepless nights unable to turn my brain off wondering what the hell was wrong with me.

That doesn’t happen anymore. I have found some peace that I embrace with every molecule in my body.  I am grateful for it every single day. I know too, there is nothing wrong with me…there never really was, there were just wrong choices I needed to come to terms with.  Of course, there are still things to work on. I’m still growing…and that’s a good thing.  There are also still challenges…I’m ok with those too.  Who wants a boring old life where nothing ever happens to shake things up and get you out of our comfort zone.  From the looks of it, there are a lot of people like that, it’s a shame.  Challenges and setbacks are beautiful gifts we should all welcome and embrace. They are the catalysts to greater lives and there is just no way to get there without them.

The Stallion and I are growing together too.  Our relationship has blossomed into something quite beautiful.  Reading post after post about how it was time to let him go and how it was never going to be anything more than a casual encounter gives me a little twinge of pain in my chest. I know that if I had been more mature, more self-confident I would have walked away…but honestly I’m glad I stuck it out.  He is just another reason for me to be grateful every day.

My boy has started his first job, and come to terms with the fact that his choice of college major isn’t working out for him.  He’s going to take classes at a local college for a year and re-asses what he wants to do moving forward.  It’s a mixed emotional rollercoaster for the both of us, but we’re both playing it pretty cool.

The girl is making a list of colleges she wants to visit and we have our first official road trip scheduled in a few weeks.  We are going to take a couple of days to visit Memphis because she’s a bit of a music geek, I’m a super cool mom…and I’m going to miss the hell out of her when she goes away.

Life just doesn’t stop moving…and we along with it.  So be thankful for the good and bad times, acknowledge the lessons in both and give yourself some credit.  We’re all doing the best we can and it’s never wrong to give ourselves credit where credit is due.  Life is beautiful….it’s OK to exhale.

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Never let them win.

There has been a theme lately with one particular friend about paybacks.  This has been a lesson hard learned for me, but one I have a complete grasp.

Yes, I would love to punch that bitch in the face.  What I wouldn’t give to tell that asshole to go fuck himself. Oooohhhh, yes there are people and moments that take me to a place of total hate.

What I have learned, the most hard and unpleasant of ways, is that when dealing with people that think you are crazy, for lack of a better word, then there is nothing in this world that pleases them more than for you to go crazy. If you don’t already know, I am fluent in the ways of the narcissist.  Yes, it’s a gift that has been bestowed upon me more often that I care to admit.  The two most prevalent examples of this are my mother and my ex-husband.  Let me give you an example with each that demonstrates exactly the type of behavior they love to elicit from me.

This story was laid out in detail on the blog many many (OMG like YEARS ago) years ago.  For those who may have missed it here is the cliff notes version of the incident.

I was freshly divorced, maybe a year.  It was Christmas, and she had made it abundantly clear that if I didn’t want to join her for Christmas, she wasn’t interested in joining me.  I had decided to make a care package of gifts to give her, one of which was a picture of me and her when I was little playing around with a toy Santa sleigh.  I wanted to remind her of our bond, in hopes to help mend things. This setting boundaries thing was still pretty new to me (us) and I was just getting the hang of standing by them, while she tried to butcher them to pieces.  So, I was still trying to “bring her around” without actually setting foot in the lions’ den.  Plus, I think it merits mentioning that the first Christmas after my divorce (or actually during) her gift to me was a donation to a local charity…in her name…but presented to me. (???)

Before I had a chance to mail it she showed up on my doorstep, uninvited…unannounced.  As I said, I was still learning how to hold my own and keep my boundaries firmly in place at this time, and it didn’t take long for this visit to turn ugly.  She started out pretty cool, offering me a check (sizeable I might add) and telling me she missed me.  I can’t remember everything verbatim, but it was quickly followed by her saying I was a jerk (that is NOT the word she used, but it encompasses the feeling of her intent), to which I replied “but look, I have a box all ready for you filled with gifts!!”  Awww, I was so naive at that time. That gesture catapulted the conversation up a few dozen notches, she got in my face, I told her to back up, she wouldn’t, I told her to leave, more ugly words… As she was leaving I remember asking her “What do you want???”  Her reply “For you to apologize.”  Ok…so I said “I’m sorry if my actions hurt you.”  To which she slapped back with…”It doesn’t count if I have to ask for it.”

There were a few other choice words, I was trying to get her to see that the block between us was her…but she wasn’t having it (see what I mean about my being naïve) and then I snapped.  I grabbed the box, ripped it open, pulled out the framed picture and said “SEE!!! SEE WHAT I HAVE HER FOR YOU!! THIS IS HOW MUCH I CARE!!”  I do not remember what she said after that but I took that frame, smashed in on the sidewalk told her to fuck off and never come back.

The look on her face was all I needed to see to know…she won.  Yep, I gave her exactly what she wanted.  Me, losing my shit.  I just gave her the confirmation (in her own head) that I am so full of hate and anger that I cannot let go and I am the reason we cannot have a relationship.  Let me tell you, in the  moment of seeing the look on her face I knew that I had fucked up.  I went in the house and instead of being mad at her, I was completely and totally pissed at myself.  I know this scenario.  This is what I have been working on, preparing for, and I fucked it up.  Dammit, dammit dammit.

That was the last time I was ever going to lose my shit in front of her, no matter how dirty she got.  She pokes, she tries, but no matter what, all I have to do is look at her face and I can see her trying to get me and I won’t let her.  She will NEVER win that battle again.

Yes…that was the long cliff notes version.  On to the next scenario….

Just after the divorce, the ex and I were getting along fairly well.  I was doing what most new divorcee’s do, going out with friends and having a good time (on the weekends the kids were with him anyway). One day I was at his place and he mentioned a picture someone told him about me on Facebook (he doesn’t have FB he thinks it’s the devil).  It was a pretty innocent picture, some guy pretending to grab my boob and me looking all surprised.  There was not touching, my boob was not hanging out…and I was not dressed like a $2 whore.  Picture was just that… HE did not see the picture.  HE was only told about the picture and apparently it gave the impression that I was nothing but a 2 bit whore and I should keep that shit to myself.

I started off pretty calm about it…I mean, I knew the picture and I would not have been embarrassed to show anyone, my kids included who would have more than likely just rolled their eyes.  As I laughed it off, he got more agitated…that’s when the whore (that is not exactly how he put it) and watching my self comment came up.  Guess who snapped??? Well, I started to go off and as he stood in front of me I could see this calm look of satisfaction come over his face.  That mutherfucker….

I didn’t even finish my sentence…at that moment I turned and walked out.  You almost won that one asshole…but I’m getting quicker.  I knew then, he would never win that fight with me again.  That is, as a matter of fact, one of the reasons I asked for the divorce.  He has given me a few chances to lose my shit since then, but, thankfully I’ve learned to stay firm and remember what his end game is…and I will not fall for it.

So when this friend tells me stories of people treating him poorly, attacking his credibility or just disrespecting him in general (and trust me these are minor infractions) he adds how much he wants to take them down.  My response to him…never let them win.  They want to paint you as the asshole, then they poke you and piss on you until you get all huffy and become and asshole…they win.  If you throw the first punch, they win.  If you tell them they are and always have been a liar…they win.

Anytime some jackass pokes you to the point that you lose your shit…they win.  That is their end game.  That is their drug of choice….to poke you till you explode, then sit back and say “See…I told you he was an asshole.”

Is it hard to sit back while they call you names, make up lies, threaten you…yes it is.  Do they deserve to get put in their place either physically or verbally…hell the fuck yes.  If you do that, will they finally stop making up lies about you?  Threatening you?  Nope…they will probably never stop.  It may lessen, but they will never stop trying to make you into something ugly because that’s just who they are.  Ugly, sad people, lacking in confidence or even human decency.  That’s them, and it has not a god damn thing to do with you…unless you fall for the shit.  If you can take a moment and remember who you are dealing with, remember that they have nothing better to do than to see how far they can go before you lose your shit, then maybe you can step back and let them try, without a single fucking response from you.

Here’s the picture I want you to see.  This crazy fucker is trying desperately to get the world to believe that you are the biggest asshole that has ever walked the earth.  They will bring up ugly parts of your past, they will pull shit out of their ass, they will do anything and everything they can till you snap and lose your shit.  Then, they will sit back with the most calm look on their face and point….See, I told you so.  You might as well just throw those fuckers a parade because if you give them that…they win, and that’s all they want.

BUT…same scene, with you just standing there laughing lightly, maybe chuckle, look them in the face with not one negative thought word or expression. You just let them go until they are blue in the face…suddenly they look like the crazy one.  You win that one hot stuff. You win.

So please…please when dealing with nut-jobs, remember who you’re dealing with and

Never Let Them Win

First comes the epiphany…then comes the negotiations.

Here I am all proud of cracking the code to my deep seeded need to self-sabotage.  How do you celebrate such and epiphany??  Do you throw out all the junk food and start doing laps around the neighborhood? Do you throw out all your “fat” clothes?  Do you high five yourself while you do 1000 crunches and tell yourself that those fuckers who thought you were a failure are going to have to eat shit?

If you are me, you have two (homemade mind you) bacon, avocado cheese burgers.  Yep…now we start the negotiations.

Excuse one: I am fucking tired and besides I ate good all day and I am hangry for a cheeseburger.

Excuse two: I don’t have to start today.  I can just be happy knowing I got a grip and will soon be putting myself to work.

Excuse three-infinity: You have time and you need to finish up some stuff…and there’s this and that and how can you expect to have the time right now. Geez.

Yeah. That’s me.  I feel like what I need is to put a life size cut out of my mother and my ex-husband giving me that stupid fucking “See, we knew you couldn’t do it” face right in the middle of my living room.  Maybe that would be motivating.  Since cutting those two out of my life (for the most part) it’s nice not having to look at their face, or listen to the negativity.  Nope, now all I have to listen to is me…and me ain’t saying too much to get my shit going.

I won’t be beating myself up for too long. Right now I’m still absorbing the message and kind of laughing at myself.  At least it’s with a kind heart, not like when the other shit-heads used to. I also have to acknowledge that I am not sitting around on my ass not doing anything but stuffing my face and complaining about my jiggly parts.  There is work to be done…and so it must be done.  I am not leaving myself behind, I’m taking care of shit, before I take care of MY shit.

Planning is important, but doing is the key.  So, while I am not doing the “eat healthy and exercise” shit right now, I’m trying not to negotiate with my inner dumbass about why I don’t really need to be doing this today. Or tomorrow.  Or why it would be ok if I just started next week.

No, I’m keeping my mind on the prize. I’m acknowledging the slip and reminding myself that I am important…and how I feel is important.  I’m not giving up the good fight. I’m not throwing in the towel.

I’m going to end this post and head into the kitchen and start putting together some delightful meals to grab and go for the next few days.  I’m also reminding myself that I have tools at my disposal that are not in the least bit overwhelming…

Negotiations can be tough, especially if those negotiations are with a voice in your head that has been some what in charge for a hugly (hahaha)  part of your life.  She has won enough times…now it’s time for a new champion. A champion who can’t wait to stop bitching about not finding anything comfortable to wear.

 

 

Please hold while I put on my broken record.

The other day I had to yell at myself.  This yelling consisted of several poorly written pages in my journal.  The topic, self-sabotage.

Losing weight and getting in shape has been on my “To Do” list for as long as I can remember.  My track record hasn’t been too good…a few good days here and there, but always back to square one.  Recently I had been rather busy doing shit around the house, which has been moving along pretty well.  That week, with no work and lots of chores/projects I managed to lose 6 lbs.  What I learned, and probably already know but sometimes refuse to accept, is that food is my biggest problem with weight.  I eat too much.  I eat too much bad, and I eat too much good.  I just eat too damn much.  After seeing that 6 lbs weight loss and feeling fucking elated, I spent the next four days putting it all back on…plus two more.

I got on the scale at then I lost it. The journal was filled page after page with…

What the hell is your problem?

Why do you keep sabotaging yourself?

You eat like you’re a starving child who has no idea when or where her next meal is coming from?

What the fuck??

It continued for 6 pages.  There was a lot of self-bashing and a lot of “pull your head out of your ass.”  I didn’t give myself too much of a break because I know this is all bullshit. I am more than capable of doing this. It’s not like I have 50 lbs to lose, I have 20 at most.  After completing my written beat down, I went back through my journal…and would you believe, I have had this same damn conversation on more than a few occasions. Surprise! OMG why the hell would anyone want to listen to a broken record year after year? What I can’t wrap my head around is the WHY.  Why the fuck do I do this? Why do I get going strong only to throw myself back down the damn hill and lay there is a pathetic heap of “I just can’t”.

I hate complaining.  I hate complaining about myself because in my experience nobody really gives a shit.  Ok, not nobody, but for a large part of my life, the people who were supposed to be my greatest support system didn’t give a shit about my problems.  They always had worse problems…mine were just pathetic.  I hate when other people complain because most often they just complain, there is rarely little action.  So, when I start to complain about not fitting into any of my clothes comfortably, or I feel fat and uncomfortable, I keep it to myself, and I don’t usually complain for long. It is a cycle that repeats itself over and over and over…. all the damn fucking time.  One week I bitch, I get focused and start to see results, pat myself on the back and then in the blink of an eye all my hard work is washed down the drain and there I am whining about how I can’t wear this or that cause it’s too uncomfortable.  Oh my fucking lord, please make it stop.

When you look up the meaning behind self-sabotage, it usually centers on self-worth. You fail because in the end you don’t think you are worthy of the reward.  Is this my reason?  After all the work I have done, the years of therapy, the books, tapes, videos that I have engulfed, in the end do I still feel unworthy? Something harming is hiding inside of me and I can’t find it.  It’s deep…real deep.

I have subscribed to several Instagram feeds about health, fitness and nutrition.  This is my passion.  This is where my heart goes every single time.  Yet, for me, my own personal journey, looking at all of this is just a reminder that I am a failure.  You are never going to make it. You are never going to be good enough. Funny, as I type that I can hear my mother’s voice.  She has said those exact same words to me on several occasions.  At 16 when I was trying to find my own identity, I believed her.  At 24, when I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be married or not, I believed her.  At 32, when I was a stay at home mother of two and feeling overwhelmed by life, I believed her.  I can remember several instances over my life where I was in a place of accomplishments, feeling like I was coming into my own, and she would “put me in my place” and point out what a failure I really was.  Every time I agreed, and went back to settling for meritocracy.

Alright alright alright…did I just get this shit figured out? I did!!!  It’s all my mother’s fault.  Whew!!! Now I don’t have to take responsibility, I can just sit back and blame her.  Except….no, I can’t.  Now I understand where the core of this self-destruction comes from, and, I also understand, by no fault of my mothers, that this is what she knew, so I have to be responsible for myself.  It is time to take the little girl inside of me, who has always believed that she would never be anything more than a failure, wrap my arms around her and allow her to forgive that life.  I need to tell her that those are the stories that her mother feels she was told, and she repeated them, nothing more. It doesn’t now, nor has it ever had anything to do with ME.  Now I can hug that little girl tight and let her know that she isn’t a failure, she never was a failure, and the woman she has become is strong, capable and empowered.

Honestly people, I just floored myself.  I have tried for sooooo fucking long to figure out why I do this to myself repeatedly, always coming up short on the answer.  It is because of you, because I share my stories, that I finally found the answer.  Thank you.

Now the work begins.  How do you break down a lifetime of stories that were never true?  Where do you start repairing the damage that is buried deep in your bones and start to heal them?  You start with on small step. One step towards the goal, and when you hear that voice, or when you see yourself slipping, you give yourself a little reminder that….

This is no longer my story.

It’s A Learning Opportunity…Dammit

I violated the number one unspoken rule at work this week.  Don’t do anything to bruise the boss’s ego.

I broke it.

It was totally unintentional, however when I was summoned to his office, opened the door and he immediately stood up to confront me…I knew exactly what I had done.

If you are a psychology major, this encounter would have been quite a treat to observe.  For me, it was an all to familiar scene.  There are many similarities between my mother and my boss…and I am quite often reminded.  This one was unfortunately, a pretty brutal and emotional reminder.

As he stood there in front of me, I kept reminding myself that this was not about me, this was about him.  However, it wasn’t long before I felt like I was 9 years old being reprimanded by my mother. He was furious with me.  Shit. I took my verbal beating, apologized for my mistake, tried to defend myself (to a degree) and tried to exit quickly to “fix” it.  As I left the room, I pulled the door behind me and it slammed.  Uh oh…maybe, just maybe.  Nope, he immediately opened the door and called me back.

Again, the “slam” was not intentional, and again I knew what it represented.  All of the sudden I felt myself shrinking.  No longer was I able to hold my demeanor.  It would not have taken too much more to have had me broken down into tears.  I was humiliated, degraded and intimidated.  Everything I was supposed to be in that moment for the sake of his ego…and everything I’ve worked a lot of fucking years to not allow myself to feel.

It took a good 5 mins to compose myself enough to not cry.  It took another 15 mins to calm down and see the entire encounter for what it really was.  After 30 mins…I was ok.  I was able to, for the most part, let it go.  The situation in my mind was clear.  I knew what I triggered in him, and I knew full well what he triggered in me.  For the rest of the day, I was able to conduct myself in a professional manner, as if nothing had happened.  He, however, held on to it all day, and I’m pretty damn sure he’s still stewing over it.  There will be a meeting about my conduct…and I know, another opportunity.

My counselor rubbed his hands together “I just love an opportunity like this.”  Haha…yeah, great.  This opportunity wasn’t a complete failure on my part.  It did bring to light an ever present tender spot for me.  The goal is to be in a situation such as this and NOT allow it to trigger that scared little girl.  As much as I was totally aware of what was going on when I entered that room, and as much as I told myself it wasn’t about me…I still allowed myself to be affected. I took it personally. Fuck.

The opportunity will keep showing up until you have learned what you need to learn.  Any way we can skip this particular lesson and move on to something a little more pleasant??? No?  Damn…  So if I want to stop leaving an open door for assholes who want to humiliate me for their own selfish narcissistic needs to enter, then I’m going to have to learn how to stand there in front of them and not react. Not take it personally.  Not be engaged.  Until I do, this will not be the last time it happens….and he will most certainly not be the last asshole.

This is not about me.

I will not participate.

I will disengage myself.

He does not represent who I am as a women, a professional or a human.

He is nothing to me.

I’ll be able to put this into action soon…I’m ready.

Bring. It. On.