Healing power

via Daily Prompt: Heal

So I remember a long time ago, back when I had my other blog, I wrote about the healing process because it is something any honest person can relate to. I say honest because it really takes someone who can be true to themselves, and less importantly to others, to admit she (or he) is healing from something, that there was something broken to begin with. That’s ego. If the ego can make way for healing, then we have half a chance, don’t we.

Physical illness is a process, but a sympathetic process. People can get behind that. There are those who have the disease of addiction and healing from that. Who’s supporting them, encouraging the healing and sobering process (although it is ultimately up to the addict).  People seem  slightly little less  sympathetic. “Oh you’re clean and sober? That’s great”… Healing from  years of the disease of addiction is not easy. I am not an addict, but I know those who have died from the disease. I even heard someone say of those having difficulty of the healing process: “if they die from overdosing its just natural selection” . It was a bit shocking to hear this. I guess I am naive to think that the general public could have sympathy for  those with addiction. From my experience with people close to me, it is probably one of the hardest diseases to recover from  and heal successfully from the ravages of addiction. I was slightly more shocked at the statement about natural selection as my stepbrother died from an overdose and the person who said this may or may not have known this. It really doesn’t matter whether he knew it or not.

Everyone is trying to heal from something. You never know who is working on some path to recovery, Whether someone is healing from a physical injury, a broken heart,  or depression, it really doesn’t matter does it?

Have some compassion people and let us heal ourselves in the best way we can. We are not infallible; we are mere mortals.

 

Music pairing: Hold on by Sarah McLachlan

Symbiosis: Are the scales ever balanced?

via Daily Prompt: Symbiosis

Am I too cynical? When is symbiosis beneficial to both parties? I haven’t seen this often enough.  There is always some power play. Maybe we could be symbiotic in some equal-ish transfer of different contributions, money, emotional support, intellect, sex….the list goes on. The transfer can be fluid. I suppose if both people absolutely are equal in their need for the other’s contributions  to the relationship, then the symbiosis is copacetic. All good.

But when is it EVER a perfect balance of power? When we are so invested in the others success? Is it because our success depends too heavily on the others?  I wish I could think about all the lovely ecosystems and symbiosis in nature. That would be so cool here in the world of human behavior in relationships. It’s just now where my head goes.  My head goes to dysfunction in the so-called symbiosis of relationships I have seen (not just my own, mind you).

In human relationships (take your pick), when are the scaled perfectly balanced to create a genuine symbiosis?

 

Throwback Thursday 5: AA and the homeless guy

To preface this story, I have to disclose something. I am pretty sure I have mentioned this before in a previous post, but if you weren’t present for that rant, here it is: I used to think I had a drinking problem. For anyone who really knows me, they realize, as did I after nine years, that I simply had a lifestyle problem. I went to AA for a little over nine years till I realized I solidly  am NOT an alcoholic. That is a totally different post, or possibly memoir. This is simply one small snapshot from that time in AA. I made some pretty poor dating decisions, or just life decisions when I was in AA. While it changed my life for the better overall, the early  years were questionable!

Here we go! So I don’t know why I found this guy intriguing, but I did. I couldn’t come up with  a single reason other than he was tall, dark, and somewhat good looking. It’s quite the short story. He and I hung out a few times. I am not sure you would call them dates. He said he had a job. After one AA meeting, I eventually  agreed to let him come home with me. We stopped by ‘his’ house and he disappeared behind the back of the house, but refused to let me ‘come in’.  Odd, but as  I didn’t know him terribly well, I didn’t ask too many questions. We hung out at my place and all was fine. Since I wasn’t about to let him stay at my place, I gave him a ride back downtown when I went to work the next day and asked if he wanted to be dropped off at ‘his’ house. He simply said I could drop him off anywhere as he had some errands and had to be at work early anyway and he’d just walk around a bit. Odd, again….but who knows!  So, one of those fine days of dropping him off at my work, he just took off and it seemed in a different direction each time. Odder and odder. Each time. Where does he go? That morning, we  had decided to meet at the 5:45pm  AA meeting that night.

I met him at the meeting. After that, we went back to my place for dinner and would contemplate the later meeting. At my house, we were hanging out and his keys fell from his hoodie pocket. I picked them up for him. Only there were two keys. Very small keys. Almost like locker keys, but no house key. At all. Did I call him out on this? As I couldn’t find a house key to ‘his’ house where I let him pick up ‘a few things’ that first night? Of course I did! I can’t NOT ask him what the fuck is going on…with the locker keys, nowhere to go every morning…..

“I’m kinda homeless,” he says. WTF? I ask him about the house. He says he had hidden some clothes in the backyard and “kinda knows the guy that lives there”. Everything else explains itself pretty immediately once he tells me that he’s homeless. I tell him immediately, with no charitable blood in my body at that moment that we must go back to AA so I can promptly drop him off where I found him.  I should have been more compassionate. Maybe, just maybe, if he had been honest from the beginning I may have been more concerned, understanding, and/or helpful. No guarantees, but at this point, it was not happening. No sir.  I took him back to one of the big AA  meeting houses in Denver where we first met. We drove down pretty much in silence. What do you say?  I parked my little VW Beetle in the parking lot after unwittingly providing him a home for basically a week (at night anyway).

He says to me as I am getting out of the car, “Can I just stay in the car for a while you go to the meeting?”  Really? “No,” I said. Just no.

In the weeks, months,  and years that followed, I saw him from a distance at meetings and around the meeting house. He bleached his hair, he got a little stranger in his behavior.  I am glad I called him out on the key that night. Not that I wouldn’t  have figured it out sooner or later. Likely sooner. But at least when I dodged the bullet there, the bullet was much smaller.

Have a great day my readers!  I will catch up with you all this weekend!

Those Jeans!

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So I am wearing the blue jeans again today.  The ones from my earlier post: Blue Jeans. I needed to get inspired and I was hoping thy would do the trick. I was almost out of inspiration and felt there was nothing to write about. Then I remembered: What was I doing when I got these jeans? I was leaving a not so great situation about 6.5 years ago. And that, my dear readers, is an understatement. What does that have to do with now?

I was on my Facebook feed this week. I was reading my friends’ posts and comments and updating myself on the day’s events as I do most evenings. Now what happened next shouldn’t come as a total surprise to me. After all, I had one last remaining mutual friend on Facebook with my ex-husband. The thing is, my ex had not been on Facebook in any way visible to me via this friend since about 2010. All of a sudden, his profile showed up with a comment on said friend’s post/feed. I was definitely surprised. And feeling immediately nauseated and felt my Facebook was invaded without my permission. And yes, I am well aware its a public space. I wasn’t thinking clearly, only emotionally…. Why did I feel so shocked and surprised, after all these two were good friends?  Maybe because he looked different. Maybe he looked happy. Hard to tell.  Perhaps I resented that he is so happy after putting me through so  much financial hardship and hell back then and now. Fortunately, I have refused to let him take my happiness, at least in the last 4-5 years.  But for all my efforts to overcome that whole incident that I will call a marriage, I was hoping he wouldn’t be looking so smug or happy. SO hard to tell with him.

And that’s why I am wearing the jeans today. To celebrate strength, the strength I have had all along to get through unexpected events that throat me for a loop. I didn’t get totally unravelled, but it was definitely disconnecting.  But now I know, he’s nearby with the death of distance that social media brings us closer to. Its okay. I know there is no way he would contact me.

I am okay. And I say that every  day. Because it is so true.

Have a fantastic end of your weekend. I’m glad I kept these jeans!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A new series: Throwback Thursdays

I think that it may be nice to have a regular series to look forward to every week. Throwback Thursdays are going to be exactly what you expect, a walk down memory lane every Thursday. Some humor, some ridiculous insanity, and a little romance… sometimes.

I’ll try to dig up a photo of myself back in the day and post it. If I can find one suitable for print! I would like to start my series looking at all kinds of relationships and reflecting on how they shaped my view on friendships with men and women and dating the guys that come into my life highly irregularly.

I hope to see you all everyday, but I look forward to hearing feedback about Throwback Thursdays!

Have an awesome weekend!

Me, Myself & I: my relationship with alone time

So, I have to confess that quite some time ago, the notion of having a weekend of no plans was terrifying. A 48 hour plus period of time where I need to spend time just with myself would have forced me into a tizzy of “What do I do, where can I go? Who should I call?” and a most uncomfortable, unsettling feeling of not being comfortable in my own skin would set in a self-imposed sense of doom. Maybe it brought back memories of being unpopular, alone, and scared.  Back in the day, I went out all the time, even by myself  to clubs etc….just to be with others and NOT all by myself. Because what could I possibly do on my own that could have value?

Turns out I LOVE alone time. I love the freedom of no accountability for 48 hours. Well, that’s not completely true. I don’t totally disconnect these days. I just merely love the idea of not making plans or feeling like I have to do any specific thing. Today, I am blessed with a few friends.  I don’t feel the need to make a ton of superficial contacts just so I have someone to do something with.  Being comfortable being alone does not mean I like to isolate. It does not. It means I walk confidently into a restaurant and say “Table for one please” or go to the movies: “One for Manchester By The Sea please” (that was my most recent solo venture)…..I’ve done this for a long time and it feels  uttlery grafiying and supremely fantastic.

Being comfortable in my own skin to stay home or go out and do when I want when I want is  freedom that I did not previously allow myself until I entered my  early 30’s. My first solo vacation (not family oriented) was when I was about 30 and traveled to Mexico on my own. That liberated me. It was the turning point. “If I can travel to Mexico alone, I can do anything in Denver alone,” was my thinking. And damn. That was just the beginning. After countless restaurants and movies and trips alone to Mexico since, I can safely say I can’t imagine being restricted by having a mate to travel with or see movies with. I can be alone at home and watch what I want or go out to the movies solo and not wait for someone to want to see the exact same thing. I don’t have to go to bar just to be near people. I am fine. On my own. Any time of the day.  Whether my friend travels with me to Paris this year (which would be the best girl’s trip ever) or not, I know I am good on my own, which liberates me and my friend at the same time. Paris is possible all on my own.

Now, I’m not going to pretend I don’t need people, period. OF COURSE I DO. I think it’s more of a question of wanting people in my life. To an extent, I need people for normal socialization. I generally just feel I want certain people in my life. I don’t per se, need them to have my own value as a person. I value myself as myself, solo. People I choose to have in my life are there because I want them. Whether they are family, different female friends, work friends or relationships of a romantic nature.  I choose them and I hope they choose me. Last year, I unfriended and blocked a lot of people on Facebook because I realized they really chose to not be friends with me or I didn’t have a genuine relationship with them. It was so liberating to know that Facebook is now  full of people I want in my life. There are more to add and more to subtract, but its liberating to know I choose what I want in my life and don’t need to have someone in my life for whatever reason.

So what to do this weekend? Besides blogging, I think I would like to catch up on a movie or two. Hanging out with my puggle on the couch with popcorn rewatching “Amy” sounds  cool also. I have so many options!

 

Have a fantastic weekend, whether you are flying solo or with great friends and family!

Townie

I have these memories of different experiences that get brought up to the surface when I watch movies and listen to music. So there’s this one movie that actually makes me think of many, many different experiences and relationships in the span of less than 2 hours. Yep: Good Will Hunting. The most predominant  memory is from college. The geography isn’t identical, but I can definitely relate. There are a few people I am still friends with that may have some relationship to this story; like all of my experiences, I keep everything anonymous. I loved this movie, but when the parts that make me cry come on the screen, I realize it’s a combination of different parts of my life are simply culminating simultaneously. It is mostly the memory of the townie (as we called the Will Hunting types)?

I went to a small liberal arts college in eastern PA. In a slightly economically depressed area (at least then).  Somehow, my friends and I met up with a guy about town. He did not go to our college. I am pretty confident he didn’t go to any college or school near by. In our little college area, he was what we called a  townie. It’s not the nicest term. Or judgement free. I am well aware of that. This is my 18ish year old mind and not quite open to the people who had chosen another path. There was a lot to say about this guy C.  And nothing at all. We spent some time with him. I think I hooked up with him a few times, at least once in my vague memory. I don’t think he EVER came to my dorm, but I remember sneaking in his house. He was not allowed to be there. We snuck in late at night and had to leave by the window, I think. This seems insane, I know. And the fact I may have done this more than once. It was a most foreign idea that you wouldn’t have access to your own bedroom, being kicked out of your home. It kind of seemed foreign that you didn’t want to go to college. It didn’t occur to me that some people maybe weren’t provided the choice or it wasn’t an option. I honestly was so closed  up in a bubble and going to an independent college with ivy growing on the walls that it didn’t occur to me. That didn’t mean  I wasn’t open to learning about people and having interesting experiences.  I engaged in so many new experiences. I was too young for regrets.  This townie taught me magic tricks. This townie introduced me to an alternate universe. A universe in which parents were not generally present in their children’s lives or supportive. Possibly, looking back, this was the universe of tough love. Perhaps C. was a fuck-up. After spring break that year, he forever disappeared forever. But by then my life was forever changed by this guy C., the mysterious townie.

 

Music pairing: as inspired by the movie, listen to Baker Street. I believe it is on the Good Will Hunting soundtrack.

What my marriage taught me: about myself and relationships

I know I made some people wait quite a bit for this last installment of my three-part series of “What my marriage taught me”. I apologize for the delay. This took a bit of time for obvious reasons. It was the hardest to compose. It is the hardest because being teachable alludes a bit of humility, does it not? Yes, money and fear are big topics and there is a lot to learn. Always. But when we are talking about ourselves in our 40’s, aren’t we supposed to be experts on ourselves? On our relationships?

In my  mid 20’s and I became single after a long six-year first-love kind of thing, I thought it would be “so exciting” and how I am going to find someone better than who I had left out of impatience and drifting apart. For the record, I never did find someone better right after leaving. That’s far and away a different story. Anyway, back then it was 1995 and I was hopelessly devoted to Alanis Morissette. Jagged Little Pill was my anthem back then. Damn! I had a lot to learn.This was when I thought I knew something about something. I had a 20-something sized ego and my bumper sticker on my Honda CRX said “Whatever”. That should say someting.

Since then I had traipsed through flings, AOL chat room encounters, short relationships, being cheated on, and mostly just being single. So much, yet really not  SO much. I learned to trust less, have  too much fun and I  believed sincerely that I would sleep when I die. I was a bit of a party girl. With out the drugs. A little alcohol, but really just guys….and more of the same nightclub/bar type existence.

Advance to 2006: I had just broken up with my boyfriend (as you know, the one that would be my husband in 2009). I thought I had learned that his bit of expressed anger and rage was too much for me. I guess not. I guess his charm and his ….everything….got to me AGAIN. I just didn’t learn. Not then. Not yet.

Advance to 2010: I returned to Denver with my tail between my legs. This relationship was done. I failed. Again. This time with lessons. Oh, there were lessons. I realized what dignity was. I realized what it meant to feel I had none. I knew what rock bottom really meant. I had no idea; I was completely naive to how rock bottom would feel exactly. For me: my life reduced to boxes packed in three hours, a rented car filled with some clothes, my dog and me. I was a grown adult who only had a ring on my finger that I would need to pawn at some point, my precious puggle Max and my mom’s  American Express. I had what little cash I took out (originally $200 a week before leaving Florida) before our accounts were frozen by him.

I got home. I cried it out. Every fucking day. There were tears. Yes, tears for him. Tears when he swore me out with horrible names the night I told him I got my old job back back in Denver. Tears of loss. Tears of failure. You get the idea. I went into therapy and saw a wonderful lady who really got me through the pawning of the wedding ring (I had to eat and pay a little rent), the paperwork after being served  divorce papers at my door step by a process-server, the trauma of being such a failure. But she helped me realize that what I went through was unique, but not unique.  Not everyone gets divorced after rage, post throwing  dangerous objects, post verbal abuse and “silent treatment” episodes (to teach me lessons about talking too much). Not everyone suffers unpredictable rage that has absolutely nothing to do with what the non abuser may have actually done or not done.  But those who have been through that know what that looks like. And feels like.  Even if they didn’t know back then. The first time I had a clue that there is something beside physical abuse that counts as some type of abuse was when I called the police the second time at the encouragement of my  father. My ex hadn’t actually hurt me, but for the first and last time, he did put his hands on me in a forceful way (to extract car keys). My father said I need to report that in light of what had happened the previous nights (ex trying to kick me out of my own place). This is the first time I learned first hand of something other than physical/sexual abuse. The police officer who took my report that day gave me a list of numbers on a card that described all types of abuse. This card was given to me by a male police officer. I dont know why that’s relevant, but it was to me at that time. It was a comfort that another male would recongnize the treatment was not right. I was extremely grateful, but more grateful long after I had left Florida. I was still shell-shocked having to even make a report at the time.

So, the aftermath: 2010-2016: I survived an awful divorce and monetary losses, loss of dignity, trust, and developed a necessity for  hyper-analysis of every infraction against me that I had perceived . I think I resented what he had done  to me in the divorce and aftermath more than the crimes of the actual marital discord.  I had a few relationships in 2016 and some online adventures up to then which I posted about previously.

What I learned about everything, including 2016, the birth of my blog!

  1. Humility is being teachable and allows me to progress to better and more healthy relationships.
  2. Admitting regrets: I can regret something and recognize I made a mistake, I had a lapse of judgement. I would love to say I live with out regrets. I don’t think I can say that right now. I think that sounds a bit righteous and a little ignorant. Can’t we all admit we didn’t do something perfectly, something we would like to do a little differently?
  3. Honesty:  What do I want? What can I handle and what can’t I handle in my future relationships? What are my red flags? Can I hold up to my own side of the bargain-for the sake of my dignity, can I walk away from those red flags?
  4. Don’t write about people in current relationships with out their consent. I learned this in my last relationship after trying to get him to read my blog after every entry that mentioned him. After getting into a heated discussion, he read one and felt blindsided.  I recognize that I will preserve people’s privacy until they are comfortable with being mentioned in a most anonymous sense.
  5. I learned  that what I really have after all this is anxiety: Still. After all these years from the series of unpredictability and rage in my uber-brief marriage. I may have had it before I was even married; however, it spiraled  out of control in the years since, includng the first few  years of my recovery from the divorce. Now I can admit it is something I have to, and want to work on, something that I seek help for to make these relationships work.  So I don’t sabotage the really awesome opportunities and people who come into my life.

 

SO… some of you may be asking about #3: What are my red flags in the aftermath? What can I handle? What did I learn that I really need and got honest about it? Why don’t I write that as a part two of this third installment.

Please leave me a comment if you would like to hear more of this detail in #3 and I’d be happy to include a part two!

 

Music pairing: If I need to say it: Okay! I was inspired by Alanis, because when I am not in the old space, I need to be reminded of how it felt. Jagged Little Pill does that wonderfully.

What my marriage taught me: about fear

Fuck Everything And Run. Sure. That’s what comes to mind for many about fear. Unless in the whole flight or fight drama of it all, you can’t do either. You are stuck. You are paralyzed. The fear of the event makes you indefinitely immobile. Incapacitated. Despite your strength, you just can’t move. The idea of doing anything about it scares you to death because you have never been in this exact situation. Well, hardly ever anyway.  This one is different and you just can’t move. No.Matter.What. Until you do. Finally.  That’s what this post is about. Part of the nitty-gritty details will make its way into a longer story, but I am going to start small. Because I’m still a tiny bit in fear. How safe is it  to write about this? I am breaking through fear to just say: What the hell, I am going to take a risk.

When I was finally off on a fun impulsive  3-4 day vacation to the Bahamas, I had absolutely NO clue  the guy I was seeing at the time would propose marriage.  I am not sure he know. Was he even my “boyfriend”? Because I had told him I did want to get married (some day). Because he needed a woman to take care of him. Because he was bored? I will never know. I never got that closure. But that’s okay. That’s not what this is about. This is the second chapter of my relationship with this guy. I should have closed the book and put it on a high shelf after finishing the first chapter. Better yet, I should have donated the book to Goodwill or something for some other desperate 30-something woman to open up, ripe for seduction.  However, maybe I was that desperate woman. Waiting for marriage and someone to want me. I am pretty intelligent. I had a good job. I practically majored in psychology, so HOW DID I GET HERE?

I was pretty sure  a snowballing effect of fear started when I accepted his marriage proposal. In fact, I will go as far as to say the fear started  long before when I never thought I would get married at the late age of 39…. the fear of being unloveable. I guess as I write this, I realize my own fears set the ball rolling and his actions in the Bahamas and forward just compounded  the idea that fear would take on a different species: the fear of being alone again. So no matter what happened, the physical fear seemed real and relatable. But it was no match for the real fear that simply left me in my tracks.

It was easy enough to tell (some of my) friends the physical fear I felt because I knew would get sympathy about being stuck in a bad situation. There was plenty of fear based on my physical environment (never an assault upon me, ever) so that’s what I told my friends. The OTHER fear, that I couldn’t verbalize or put into words yet, I still felt in my core, but I was NOT ready to be honest about. Maybe  there is  that undeniable shame for me,  in the fear of being alone and unloveable. I was  surely not going to admit such things, even if I could verbalize those  feelings or identify those moments of   palpable loneliness. Better to say  he threatened me  in the Bahamas. Better to say he got into rages that ended up with broken items and refrigerators turned inside out. All true, all scary. Unfortunately, when I finally had to leave 1.5 years later, I realized my fear of physical safety was only part of the total fear I carried with me.

My lesson: I had no idea I had this internal fear that followed me everywhere, before AND after my marriage. I was justified in my fear for physical  safety and until I left him (he forced me out despite my weak attempts to seek counseling with him), I had absolutely no clue about the real fear.  My marriage was not in vain. Its been teaching me things all along. I had to hit rock bottom in an emotional abyss in 2010, crying daily, to even realize the fear had nothing to do with him at all. That really sucked. I will be completely honest. That sucked. It would have been so much easier to say his rage and unpredictable moods were enough to be fearful about. They were pretty bad and he would argue that I was never in actual danger, but I was pretty scared. Those stories will come later and the   detailed process of my story will become more evident. I had to move forward. I had to get UNstuck, UNparalyzed, UNhelpless. I moved back to Colorado in 2010 and started up a job. And I got right into therapy, which was really translation for a biweekly cry/drama/trauma session. Whatever.It.Takes. I am still working on becoming unstuck and out of the fear cycle. It’s a long process.

For now, suffice it to say, my fear is my own to deal with. That’s really what my marriage taught me: I think now it can be a matter of Face Everything And Recover. Recover from the lowest point that I have ever sunk, defended as the years of 2009-2010.

Depending on how honest you are with yourself, you may find yourself in the middle of your own long journey!
Readers: What did you learn from your marriage? Whether you are currently married, divorced or widowed, what did the actual process of living with the person you tied the knot with teach YOU?  Please leave your comments and I would love to read and respond!

 

Have a great rest of your weekend!

Music Pairing: Personally, I listened to the Fumbling Towards Ecstasy (Sarah McLachlan) and most songs spoke to me, particularly, Fear (surprise), Possession, and Hold On.

I could have probably listened to Depeche Mode or Nine Inch Nails for that matter (okay maybe NOT Nine Inch Nails this time!)… However, Yaz’s Upstairs at Eric’s could have really worked.