Feel like a phony?

02Last week I had dinner with a friend and he felt the need to point out that I belong. I constantly second guess myself and any abilities that I do or don’t have which may be why I start a lot of things and don’t finish them all or I do some things really well, but the little bits that would make the completed project perfect are crap.

Maybe I do this to prove to myself that I am a phony.

Some times

Really I just feel like a phony a lot and never quite feel worthy of the things that I have worked for and the accomplishments that I have earned. I’m a mish mash of ideas and thoughts and theories that make an interesting person who doesn’t want to talk about them so when they come out on paper they make me sound mad.

I can talk shop with anyone…to a point. I don’t share my best ideas and I often hold back from the conversation all together. If I talk to you with any depth it’s because I’ve decided your trustworthy. But I still don’t share. Not vocally.

I share here, but even there I haven’t shared much in the last year and a half. I have plenty going on I just don’t want to sound showy or “Hey, hey, look at me now!” So many of the bloggers that I connected with at the inception of this blogging journey are still struggling with their finances and lifestyles. I’m not. Sure I have problems, but they are nothing when compared to the stories that I read and the struggles that I have faced and I feel like a phony finding a complaint. Clearly this isn’t a humor blog. I don’t do obvious humor.

I feel it is now my mission to not dawdle in the past strife, but to build up others as much as possible. How can I share a piece of the good word, a good idea, a good thought that may make a day brighter. Likewise I share stories of others that need to be shared because it’s news that you won’t see unless you’re looking. That takes a lot less space, so it’s all on Twitter or Facebook (Friend me I will accept).

Often I feel like a phony, an imposter, a person who does not deserve all this goodness. I feel the past follows me like a cloak waiting to wrap itself around me in a swift wind. Not that it warms me, but it makes me cold. The emotions of the craziness that didn’t feel crazy until I stepped away and looked back. I feel like someone somewhere is just waiting to throw the cloak on me even though I’ve grown up, I’ve changed, and there is so little of that person remaining. That sad girl who wanted so much to feel the warmth of love and being needed that she clung to the first person who passed her way. I still haven’t figured that out. Why did the thing that damages have to be the thing that stuck for so long?

That may be a question I can never answer.

I feel like a phony to have bigger dreams. To want to be and do more in this world. All the dreams I write about on this blog…I want to see them realized, but that cloak of doubt keeps the fear inside me. I don’t deserve my dreams to become reality because I didn’t do this or that, or I don’t look a certain way.

Why is that? How many of you feel this way? How many of you hold yourselves back because you don’t feel worthy?

Damn it – FEEL WORTHY!

I say this to myself as much as I say it to you.

We belong. We have earned it. We fight for it daily.

The things we have accomplished are worth talking about. Every day little wins are worth sharing. Letting people know that this day is an awesome day because you woke up and set out to conquer the day is worth being said!

Don’t be afraid. You are not a phony.

Surround yourself with positive reinforcement and bring light to the world.

When you see that light in someone else – that kinship – reach out to them!

It’s only by building ourselves and others up that we finally begin to feel worthy.

For a bit of inspiration tonight watch:

Some thoughts on tragedy and grief

Tragedy strikes us all. As an individual or as a family…even as a nation.

1997

There was a drought in the Texas Hill Country, the lake was low, and winter was ending. Every day people would walk past our pier and look out across the cove and pray for water to fill it up.
Pray for rain, our respite from the drought, our savior from the brutal heat of the summer to come.
Water to irrigate gardens and fill wells, water to quench the thirst of our neighborhoods that depended on the health of the lake.
Eventually the water came. It rained for days, storms to usher in the bloom of spring. There is nothing like the Texas Hill Country in the spring. Should you ever get the opportunity you should visit in mid-April. It is just gorgeous.
The lake was regaining its vigor and the drought was ending.
Eventually the clouds parted. The water appealed to two fishermen that I loved more than anything.
They trolled out in a fishing boat on a bright, sunny afternoon, off to catch a few fish for dinner or maybe to add to the freezer. They kept our fridges stocked with fresh fish, and were just going to play.
Before the end of my day at school a storm blew through and made everything glisten as the sun came back out. I stayed for choir practice and went home a little later than usual with a friend.
I knew something was wrong when there was a police car outside our house when we got home, but no one knew anything. They just knew the storm had blown through and the men hadn’t returned home.
Surely they were just on the wrong side of the lake waiting it out on a beach.
One hour past, then four, then it was morning, and then it was 10 am.
We heard nothing except the boats going back and forth on the lake and the occasional shutter of helicopters overhead.
They never came home.

2009
My sister had finally agreed to go to a rock in roll bar with me that I sort of adored to see a band that I had loved since I was a kid. We had friends who were going to meet us and plans for dinner and drinks.
A night of fun.
As the hour drew nearer to our fun evening people cancelled.
I hate when people cancel last minute, but they did, so it was just going to be my sister and me.
We were determined to have a good time. We went to the restaurant upstairs and ordered some food. We watch people tottering in 5 inch stilettos. We laughed at how we were the only two out of I don’t even remember how many that made it to the show.
I don’t even remember who was playing.
We had never had a sisters night out, so we hung out and talked for a while.
Our drinks arrived and so did our food. We talked about our kids and jobs and life.
Then the phones started ringing.
Her husband had been trying to get ahold of her, but she didn’t answer, so he called my phone and I picked up right away.
“Where are you?”
“Scout. Why?”
“Dennis was in an accident. You need to go to Austin.”
“Okay, we will be there as fast as we can.”
We left our food uneaten and rushed from the building. We didn’t know what we were going to see when we got to the hospital, but we knew we had to go.
My sister’s neighbor kept the kids while we were gone.
We drove. A drive that normally took 4 to 5 hours took 3.
Again we waited for a man we loved; only this time his body was with us. It was his soul that was missing.
The life force that made him our father even though we were grown when our parents met.
We waited the night and a day. We waited until the tests were run that said he was coming back to us. We prayed for his soul to find its way home. We held hands and rested our heads on the cold tile of a hospital waiting room floor.
My mother waited in his room. Talked to him. Tried to coax him back. Tried to feel the warmth of his hand in hers for as long as she could.
He never found his way back.

2013
The last two days have brought great grief to the cities of Boston and West. Gut wrenching losses for families who had been having nice normal days. They were out for a run. Home watching TV. Sitting watching the world. They were participating in life.
Some of them were accomplishing dreams. Others were at work.
I was at work Tuesday. I followed the story all afternoon and late into the night. Pausing only while at home and holding my kids just a little tighter. I let them fall asleep in the living room snuggled up that night. There was nothing I wanted more than to hold them and make them safe.
Last night after I put the boys in bed I logged into Facebook and immediately I saw photos of a fire at a plant in Waco. Then I turned on the news and it had exploded.
Not just exploded but ripped a town apart. It will take years for them to come back from that.

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I only have a few words of wisdom when it comes to loss of those you love and rebuilding the life that you know. I don’t know if anyone who has lost in these tragedies will read it, but maybe the people who are reading need to hear it as well.
It takes time to cry. It takes time to feel the loss. It takes time to really understand that they’re gone and never coming back. It takes years, sometimes decades, to move on.
I don’t think we move on really.
I know that in my life the losses just became dull aches that resonate with how I try to appreciate each breath I take.
The losses have taught me to see the effects of my life on others. How one decision can cause a ripple effect that goes on and on and on.
It is easy to get mad and take your grief out on the world, but don’t. I got mad when I was so young and my grandfather got taken from me. I got so mad that I eventually rebelled to the point where nothing mattered but how I felt. I took my grief out on everyone, but no one ever understood that or forced me to deal with it. Don’t do that.
Don’t bottle it up and bury it thinking that everything is okay. You’re here, you’re safe, you’re moving along. You will crumble from the inside and become immobile.
Grieve. Heal. Cry. Get angry, but don’t get mad.
Most importantly love. Love is the most healing of emotions. It creates strength were there may have been none and warmth that lasts through the cold.
I pray that love surround you and that God bless your life with many years of happiness that far overshadow this dark time.

Brief Observations

I guess I don’t ask enough questions of other people.

I don’t want to know too much about their situations, well because I remember what is was like to want no one to know what was going on with me and my life.

When someone seems – off – I just accept it as their eccentricity and work around their temperament. I make sure they have essentials, but don’t pry because I just don’t want the conflict in my life. I don’t care what you do with you as long as you don’t bring me into your mess.

After a decade of being neck-deep in a mess I put my big girl panties on and jumped ran out of this mess. Although at times I still feel like resolving it consumes all my energies.

I got burned – bad – but I’m recovering, so I’m cool.

Only I’m not.

Just when I think things are normal they revert to “Megan normal.” My problem is that I don’t know how to say no. Not the reason’s in the song “Can’t say no”

I simply have a soft spot for people in the mire.

I think everyone deserves a chance no matter where they come from. I think I have automatic faith in others, but once that is broken I kick myself.

“Why couldn’t I have seen this coming?”

“Why couldn’t I see the signs?”

This isn’t just with my ex-husband. This is with anyone.

To me this is how we should be. We should have faith in the rest of our species to do what they are supposed to do.

Only they don’t. Then we get mad. We shut ourselves down, and we build iron barriers between us and the rest of the world.

As a person who is codependant I have to work extraordinarily hard to maintain boundaries. I regularly forget they exist and I know that I need to consciously reconstruct them all the time. It’s like this constant thing I have to logically think through. I can do this. I can’t say that. I can see this needs to be done. I shouldn’t do this or that.

For most of the human population this is normal behavior, but for me it’s not.

It’s attachment issues. Totally acceptable if the attachment is to solid, stable individuals, but normally it’s to twisted, addicted, drama driven idiots. This includes friends.

I am a born listener and fixer. Try as I might I can’t fix everyone. When I was 17 years old I was driving in a car with my great uncle’s new wife and she just started pouring her heart out to me. I just stared straight ahead and listened. I didn’t know my uncle really well, in fact I hardly knew him at all. I had just met the woman going all stream of conscious on me that day.

When she was done it’s like she woke up. She apologized for telling me all the gory details, but she felt I could help her.

I couldn’t.

Honestly – I had never even been on a real date at age 17. I didn’t know the first thing to say. So I whispered a prayer and gave her a hug. I don’t know where she is now. Her marriage only lasted a short while after that, so maybe that was her answer to her problems.

That was the first time someone had ever done that, but it’s been repeated thousands of times, besides the friends that I grew up with – which in itself had gotten me into trouble. I was a bit of a gossip, until this one time a parent confronted me and I don’t think I have really gossiped again.

It’s one thing to hear a story – it’s entirely different to repeat it. I am still reminded of this when I hear something juicy and want to share, but then I remember how that felt so I don’t.

Can you tell I am trying to figure this whole codependant thing out still? I’m told it’s like alcohol or drug addiction. There is not a defined recovery pattern. There is only the day-to-day.

Each choice I make to spiral or to soar. Each relationship, real or imagined, a step to recovery.

I long for a relationship, a lasting, healthy relationship, but almost two years I still wonder if I will ever be able to let someone in. Well, maybe not let someone in, but let them in and not become everything.

This is a delicate balance that is foreign to me.

My delicate balance – Solid ground vs. a Free Fall

Reblog of Courageous from Oct 2011

I am reblogging this today because somethings need to be heard or read again. I love the meaning of this song. I hope you’re having a great day!

Small Wonders & Other Thoughts

On the way to work this morning I was hearing this song for perhaps the 100th time, I was singing along and I feel compelled to share it with you. It was written for the men in the world. Telling you about who you were made to be.

Who you should strive to be.

The influences on life and culture don’t speak to who a man should be anymore. They speak to how he should look and what he should be able to buy.

Who do you think you should be? What do you think you should be doing?

A few years ago, after I left my husband for the first time I discovered that EVERY woman in my office – there were about 35 of us – had been divorced at least once. Everyone. They had started lives with men and then found that although they looked old enough, they were…

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Be Positive

This may be easy to some people and for others it may be the hardest thing to do…ever.

Just try to be positive.

Don’t let the little things get you down. Don’t fall for every negative emotion.

Just don’t.

I think I have written before about the amount of joy you let in being up to you. And guess what – IT IS!

Right now what I would really like to do is tell the woman sitting near me at work all these things and I will (after I write this post), but to consume yourself in negative feelings will only lead to you feeling down about everything.

Focus on what you can do. Focus on little things that you are in control of and fix them.

In each small decision you make to bring joy into your life your bringing joy into the world.

I admit to being a bit of a cynic occasionally, but eventually I have to look at the situation and find the joy. Find my joy.

Even laborious tasks should come from a place of joy.

How can pain be positive? Feel it. Embrace it. Allow it to consume you for a moment and then let it go.

Let go of anything that doesn’t make your heart light.

God does not mean for us to be negative. He does not mean for us to dwell in anger, hatred, depression, or un-joyfulness.

Be positive.

Find your joy.

Lift it high in the clouds and breath.

 

 

Single Parenthood is Trying

Holy Tuesday Batman!

It is Easter week and I am sitting at my new desk, typing on my new computer at my new job. I love it here. I can wear jeans and tennis shoes every day and if my hair is a little bit wind-blown no one cares. Alas I love riding with the windows down and the radio loud. This is the kind of place that likes people to stay 30+ years and retire.

This I could get used to.

So, what is going on with me? Besides the shiny new digs? Plenty…

My ex-husband was readmitted to rehab. Yes. It was less than a month before he gloriously (not really) fell off the wagon again. This time though I was not a witness and didn’t try to attempt to save him. I think this should get me life lesson points or something. I didn’t run to his side when he was released from his last rehab facility. That I know gets me points. As that seems to be all I have done for the last 6 years.

In the three weeks I was working at the restaurant where we met I told few people the depths to which we sank in our personal life since disappearing from there so many years ago. The one person I did speak to (because he was our roommate before we had children) got completely irate and my ex should be glad he has disappeared again. That sort of made me sad. Not that he didn’t understand the events of the last 6 years until they were explained by me, but because I never realized how bad things were.

Love Survival really is blinding…

Well…most of the people at the restaurant I avoided like they were the plague for the last six years, but it is in seeing them again that I realize the ex husband was the problem…yes…again.

But guess what – I got the two best parts of him in our boys. Elijah and Michael are amazing.

I have been having problems with Elijah’s anger and behavior, but it is not the end of the world. Although…apparently I think I am yelling too much. Yesterday he told me that I would have been happier if I had never had kids. WHERE DID THIS IDEA COME FROM!? I grabbed him. Hugged him. Talked to him. Held him for a minute while I fought tears. I explained that I would be miserable without them. They are what wakes me up every day and brighten my thoughts every moment. They make me.

I told him to NEVER think that. EVER!

Michael on the other hand…he is nearly two. Any parent knows what that means.

This is the age that we do occasionally wish we weren’t parents because everything is a struggle.

He is trying to exert his independence while I trying to shelter and control. He wants to walk by himself and not hold my hand. He doesn’t realize that I want to hold his hand because the cars will run him over or dogs might eat him. (Not my dogs…I don’t have any…but someone’s.) I do not remember this happening with Elijah, but every night is a battle at bed time. He doesn’t want to sleep in his bed, he doesn’t want to sleep at the appointed hour, he doesn’t want to bathe, he doesn’t want to drink milk anymore. He doesn’t want to listen anymore. He gets frustrated by his inability to communicate and he is willful.

Needless to say evenings have been FUN lately. (Grumble grumble)

This reminds me of another conversation I had recently with Elijah, and what I found in his bag yesterday morning as I was getting him ready for school.

He wants a dad.

Have I told you guys this yet?

He asked me to find a new dad for him because while he loves his dad…the distance and sobriety rules for seeing his kids…he doesn’t see him. Heart crushing agony there (at least on my part.) I feel HORRIBLE for him! It brings up new anger issues within myself. All the things that I hate my ex for rise to the surface when these talks happen. Then there are the papers that I found in his bag. They must have had a “What do you want to be when you grow up?” day.

He wants to be a dad. That’s it. Not a policeman. Not a doctor. Not a pilot. A Dad. I admit to crying a little.

I reached out to my girls group and one of my good friends explained that he doesn’t want to be HIS dad. He wants to be a good parent. He wants to do stuff. He wants to show his kids how to play in the sand and enjoy mundane things.

He wants to be like the person who is raising him.

I hope she is right. I hope that this isn’t another attempt at telling me he wants a dad.

I haven’t talked to him about it yet. I think I will tonight though because he doesn’t get to watch TV or play with toys because he has been lying about his behavior marks lately.

This is the most wonderful, challenging, heartwarming, heartbreaking experience I know of…and it’s only going to go on and on.

So…anyone know any single dads that want a chubby Italian wife with two gorgeous boys? 😉

EDIT: I think (as it is Holy Week) I should say one last thing. I am surviving because I believe that God will never give you more than you are able to handle. He is truly the one that keeps me in His hands and provides for me every step of the way. Without Him I am nothing. Every step of my struggles this last year has only proved that He is making my path. Not me. After looking over my life experiences I can see why the points fit together as they do. Why I had to go through every thing I have been through since childhood. These are the things that God knew I would have to go through to get me where I need to be to be the best I can be.

One of the Oldest Professions

I started this post weeks ago with a different intent, but now, I have a more wholesome approach to one of the Oldest Professions.

How many of you have ever been a waiter or a waitress? Anyone? Most of us at some point have done this particular job. Do you remember how hard it was?

I have been a waitress at two different restaurants in my life. At the moment, I am waiting tables…but I don’t remember it being this hard! OH MY GOODNESS!

So, this is a piece on remembering to tip your waiters and bartenders and why…although I had planned on something more along the lines of a courtesan or concubine or mistress. That too is an old profession…just as old as marriage. So…like I said…much more wholesome.

On March 7, I started waiting tables again. I am working at the big, little restaurant on the bay and wow…am I in pain!

Once upon a time when I was 20 years old and working at this same restaurant. We would hire someone over 30 and I would laugh when they couldn’t keep up and smile on command.

<insert expletive> this is HARD!

Now I know why these women were huffing and puffing and their ankles were caving in!

Ouch!

Needless to say I am eating my words from my 20 year old self and I would like to smack the B—-. Only she is me and self abuse I teach against…although I think I am losing that argument as well every time I arrive at work. My schedule generally goes like this…

Clock in

Clean

Take a table

Finish what ever I was cleaning

Take another table

Run, table, run, table, table, run, etc…

For 6 to 9 hours a day…at least the 9 hours is expected (eventually) and after 9 shifts of 7 hours I ache! Places I didn’t remember I had ache! (If my physical therapist knew she would be beating me with her stretching belts!) My legs got a little shaky by Saturday afternoon and I nearly toppled a tray full of drinks on a table full of senior citizens! I saved it though…and felt better about myself about that. Yay me!!

One week in and I had renewed vigor in my job search. (Just so you know.) I have been on four interviews this week! Finally the economy really does look like it is picking up and it’s evidenced in the job banks! Thank you God! Just in time!

Anywho…I also forgot the pettiness of some people. I have been playing (working) with grown ups for far too long so petty people infuriate me. For those who have never waited tables before…allow me to enlighten you.

We have side work.

By that I mean we do menial tasks at $3.35 an hour until they are complete AFTER our shifts.

What do I mean by pettiness?

“She didn’t roll enough silverware.” “She tried to help the new guy when she is new herself.” “Don’t touch that!” “Blah, blah, blah…”

Pettiness people. If you are old enough to serve a drink you are old enough to not fight over bull shit. I am certain there is a more G rated term for that…but it is in fact bull shit…because it smells of such a substance.

I think I have posted before that my body is damaged and apparently no one I know reads my posts…so I am left to reexplain the trials of myself since having children. I feel a bit like a lazy chubby girl, but there are in fact medical reasons for everything, thus I have been angry with myself as much as others with higher expectations…because my 20 year old self would definitely be making fun of me.

Please – for the love of God – remember to tip your bartenders and waitstaff. Here is why…

1) They might have families they are supporting.

2) Someone around the corner from your table may be poking at their ego and stamina and it is reflecting in how they are dealing with you. I know you are thinking the wait person should be able to rise above this, but some times they really just want to go to the back and cry.

3) If you have been there for an hour remember what you expect to get paid for and then remember that you have been serviced for an hour. Not had to lift a finger (okay mostly not had to lift a finger.) every thing is delivered to you…at least meet the waiter half way…give them a five spot. I think they at least deserve that.

4) If you don’t want to leave a tip, don’t go to a full service restaurant allowing the waiter/waitress to respond to your beck and call, and then leave them with nothing. Just don’t do that. It’s bad karma. Bad ju ju…just skip the full service restaurant. Head out to a place where you can order your own food and pick it up at the window.

All that being said, I have made pretty good money even if most of it has gone to the care of children while I am working. If I didn’t have that expense we would be peachy keen. But I do…because I had kids…because I was married to an a–hole. (That’s another post.)

I feel the need to insert a song here…Everlast…Getting By.

Today (or maybe tomorrow) I am making a guest appearance at CommuniCATE CLICK HERE  to link and read about blogging and depression. It’s interesting stuff. Perhaps you to will want to blog and share and learn how to be a better you.

My Child and Anger

There comes a time as a parent when we begin to recognize that the choices we make have a lasting effect on our children. For some it is not until they are adults, others are teenagers, but mine…my oldest…he is an old soul and the evidence is there.

The boy I call Kid

By old soul I mean he has always had this look of age about him. Even though he was 8 weeks premature we called him our old man the day he was born. He is a born thinker. He knows things. He notices changes in attitudes and relationships.

He is just like me.

But he is also just like his dad.

He is moody. He lashes out instead of exhibiting a bit of self-control. He loves music. He is a born musician. He loves karate.

He is angry.

This hit me at 10:30 this morning after a call from his teacher.

He was in reading circle this morning and supposedly without provocation just hauled off and hit a girl this morning. He not only knows he is going to get in trouble at school. He knows that he is going to get in trouble at home. So, when I get the call from his teacher I am – for a moment – floored by his behavior.

I ask the basics.

“Was he provoked?” “No”

“Was he having any other sort of outburst?” “No.”

I speak…or should I say try to speak to Elijah. He offers nothing but a whimper.

He knows that what he did was wrong and he knows that it is not a good day. He will not be meeting his goal of getting a green for his behavior today. He’s in kindergarten and they grade behavior is a color based system. His goal everyday is to be green.

Since changing sitters to an old friend of the family, his behavior has been amazing. He has gotten green almost every day. The last week though…it’s like a different child is there.

I am wracking my brain after I hang up with the teacher…what is changed? What is different?

Then it hits me like a ton of bricks.

He is angry with life.

For starters the safety of the home we had built in New York. He was three when we moved there and was five when we left. He loved it there. He loved his school, his friends, and his life in the snow.

We move here and his dad leaves us. Or do we leave his dad?

We move, then have to move again, then we settle in and that’s when the losses begin. Last year we lost Troy and Nanny. My other losses he doesn’t know, so they don’t hit him the same way. But for a while Troy was like a father to him and Nanny…Nanny was the grandmother he had seen almost every day since birth. Except for the months we spent in NY.

The thing about his dad’s leaving is that I don’t want him to have this man he knows to be his father somewhere, but whom he never sees. I know the pain of that. My parents split when I was young and the knowledge always in the back of your head that he is somewhere…it hurts. Every time you think about it is like a knife to the heart. You can’t help but blame yourself for them leaving. You always wonder if you were perfect if they would come back.

He is his mother’s child. So much.

He acts out now the same way I acted out as a child. It is hard for the friends that grew up with me in Burnet to understand, but most of elementary school I spent in detention. I repeated fifth grade. I had behavioral issues because of the life that existed around me. At that point I decided to be absolutely perfect. Always doing what I was told. Always behaving.

I knew I was smarter than the behavior. I had to prove it to myself. I was 10 years old.

Elijah is only 5. I don’t want him to have to wait that long to know that nothing is his fault.

His behavior is completely removed from what is happening in life. He has a right to his feelings. He has a right to be upset. He needs to talk to me or to a counselor.

He is so perfect. So amazing. So wonderful. I don’t want him to think anything other than about the wonders of life.

I want him to be happy.

I know that I realistically have no control over his emotions, but I can help him understand them. I can help him recognize them.

I spoke to his counselor. I spoke to his teacher. I will be picking him up in a little while and we are going to spend a little time talking. I think a trip to the beach is in order as long as the rain holds. We love the beach. We feel happy and safe there. Listening to the constant roar of the waves on the sand. Steady, dependable, you can count on them to be there every time you see them.

Parents are human. They are less dependable. They are your parents forever, but they are flawed. They don’t have all the answers. They don’t recognize what they’re doing until the children are lashing out.

I’m kicking myself for the things that could have been different…but I can’t change them. I can simply teach my son that I’m flawed. His dad is flawed. But it doesn’t matter because we love him.

Whatever else is going on we both love him. Will always love him.

I will always be there for him.

I will not let anything keep him from finding his happiness.

Home is not a Location

Yesterday I asked…What is home to you? Is it a person, a place, a thing?

I have always thought like Pumba…”Home is where your rump rests!” I was 15 when The Lion King came out and since we moved so much as children I found truth in it. Home really is wherever you make it.

Or so I thought at 15.

Now at 31, I am reconsidering. I think, like a commenter yesterday, that home is the feeling of comfort that you have in your soul. A wholeness not brought on by location or surroundings, but grown to fruition within ourselves…or at least I’m starting to think anyway.

I’m not there yet. I learning. I’m growing, but I’m not there yet.

I have been researching my own past to try to determine when life changed so dramatically for me that it creates tension where there should be none. Since it is February 21st is doesn’t take long for me to understand when that break happened.

When I became a shell and less of myself.

By this I mean that I have spent the last 15 years trying to fill a void that can’t be filled by anyone but myself or God. I believe I have a strong faith in the Lord, but it is today and this day for the last 15 years that makes me know I am weak of faith.

Maybe it’s just this day in particular that makes my faith weak.

February 21, 1997 is the day we confirmed and found my grandfather’s body in Lake Buchanan. He and our pastor had been fishing and got caught in a storm on February 19th. They suffered hypothermia and drowned.

I cried for days, weeks, years even.

At first I had the rest of high school, my activities and my job to fill the time. To fill the void.

I thought little but of the schedule and what had to be completed for the next goal to be reached. For the next accomplishment to be met. As good a show as I could put on I found no happiness in any of this. I finished high school in 1999, without a plan. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. Go to school. Don’t go. Get a certificate in a profession. Just go to work. I had no freaking idea.

June following graduation I watched my 2 year-old niece. Just me and her for the whole month. I stayed busy, we went places, we did stuff. July I went on a trip to Europe. The first week planning, two weeks there and the last week of the month I had a decision to make.

Go to the recruiter and become a military private or go to school until I figured out what I wanted.

I chose school. Then I got bored. Some people just aren’t built to sit and learn in a class room. I’m one of those…but may still go back. I’m deciding that now.

When people ask if I would repeat high school again…go back in time…knowing what I know now I respond immediately with a yes. I would go back because I would have knowledge of the accident that was to come and I would spend more time with my grandfather. I would listen to his words and take notes on how to do things. I would want to be near to him. I miss him. Even now as I write this out the tears flow…and yes I’m at Starbucks. Receiving stares from people who know nothing of what I write.

Each of us have an adult that we are close to in our youngest days. For me it was him. I know he wasn’t perfect, but I worshiped him.

I lived with my grandparents from age 12 until I was through high school. The first years we were there I could be found, when I wasn’t at school, helping my grandfather. We had a garden, we built a shop, we made a bigger garden, we fixed up the house, plumed a sprinkler system, and I learned more than I can ever remember. I was his shadow.

The gravity and immediacy of this loss have haunted me. My dreams. My fears. My life.

I feel myself getting close to people and then immediately recoil knowing that some how I will lose them and I don’t want to feel that kind of pain. The pain that rips your soul from you…even if just for a while.

I can honestly count the number of people I have allowed to get close to me since high school on one hand. The people I still depend on for emotional support don’t need me to dig into those feelings. They have always been here and they don’t need me to mention it.

I am trying to open up to people. Trying to not push as much as I want to, I know sometimes I am an utter failure in this, but I’m trying.

I have tried to fill the void of his loss with rebellion. Yes…I rebelled, but I’m not much of a rebel.

I have tried to fill the void with a marriage. Terrible idea.

In my need to be whole I try to patch up the broken. I try to fix the other people I see in need. I can recognize the pain in their eyes because I feel it in me. I recognized that pain in my ex husband’s eyes and made thousands of failed attempts to help him. Ending with the realization that you can’t fix what doesn’t know is broken.

Behaviors learned from parents are the hardest to break. For me it’s chocolate, coffee, and delicious food, for my husband it was vodka,  prescription drugs, and ignorance. If there is a problem take something…it will disappear.

Only it doesn’t.

The problem is there for the partner – the true partner – in a marriage. They are forced to handle the situation and eventually because they are broken themselves they just learn to tolerate the experience. The life that would drive a normal person from the relationship becomes their link to wholeness.

I was happy because I was making him happy. Innocence and inexperience are tragic flaws in the hands of an addict.

Relationships with everyone I was close to became secondary to the relationship I had with him. He became my home because together we were one.

It is a tolerable existence when it is just two people living life together. You know there will be ups. You know there will be downs. You learn what will fill the downs to make them come back up. You live life as they teach in AA, “one day at a time” but nothing is ever normal to the world on the outside looking in, even if it seems normal to you.

Then the two create a third person. A child, helpless and innocent. A person that needs protection. A person that needs your constant attention.

Eventually you recognize all that is broken in your life. I had the realization that I was still broken.

Broken of spirit.

Broken in soul.

Broken to the point of not remembering who I had been. I tried to leave…but the hole would tear back open.

The hole that had been left by the death of my grandfather had been filled by this man, although I didn’t understand this fact. So, I would go back. I allowed myself to go back because he made me feel whole. He made me feel like I was home. I found comfort in the pain because it gave me a reason to be where I was…I was home.

It’s funny how so few letters it takes to change hole to whole to home.

Where is home for me?

I now understand that it is not in location. It is not in the people that surround me.

I have to find it with in me. I thought I had found it within me, but days like today…or maybe just today…I recognize my void is still here. Still waiting for me to fill it. Still waiting for me to understand what I have missed all these years.

If you seem to be in a holding pattern, as I explained yesterday, what do you think you are missing?

I think if we figure out the source we can find the resolution that will create wholeness.

Where are you? Your roots?

Recovery Part II

Today is Valentine’s day. My friends keep telling me it’s Singles Awareness Day. I keep telling them, no it’s Liberation Day. The newly single have a bit of a different perspective even if we’ve been working on it a while.

Part of recovery is the acceptance of yourself. Being comfortable in your own skin. Being happy alone with a movie and an empty room. This is a slow road. It’s one of those roads that is different for everyone, in length and in topography.

Imagine you are on a road trip. You gas up, you load up, you’re ready to go and excited (or at least built up the edge to go.) Let’s say your setting out for the three thousand mile trek from Houston to Seattle. Every now and then you have to stop for gas. You have to stop for food. You have to stop for drinks and for breaks to stretch your legs. You leave the jungle of this massive city and hit a few bumps about four hours out. You hit the hill country, you survive and now you’re out in the plains. Smooth sailing for a long time. The road is pretty straight. you have a few bends, but on the whole you’re feeling good. You’re making great time. Then you have to stop for gas. Then you have to stop for the night. The next day you arrive in New Mexico, passing through the mountains which can sometimes be treacherous. Eventually you’re back in a plain, or at least a valley. You’re tired of sitting in the car but you know that it will be worth the pain. This pattern repeats for a few more days. You get excited, you get bored, you get disgruntled, but you power through and eventually you reach your destination. It’s there sparkling in the sun (you happen to arrive on a sunny, warm day.)

This is recovery.

Starting the journey (even if half forced) you get excited. You gather your resolve. You know what you are looking for and you go after it. Sometimes though you get lost or you reach a point that is bumpy. Sometimes you have giant mountains in your path, but you must conquer them. You must go forward. You must put this one choice in front of you. You have to make a conscious effort to reform your world. You must change your way of thinking, of coping, of loving, of living. You and no one else can take this road. It is a lonely road.

It’s the goal that you’re after though and you have to keep that in your mind. Somewhere in your subconscience you have to remember what you are seeking even if it would be easier to numb out or ignore the world. When you get that way you turn on some music. Begin to clean the house, because while you cleanse your home you cleanse your mind. Buddhist monks (I think) teach you that your surroundings are a reflection of what is going on internally.

If you are surrounded by disaster that is the reflection of self.

Even if you have to start small, you have to start somewhere.

Take it.

Own it.

Part of recovery is finding good support. Whether that support is from family, friends, a community group, church or Al-Anon, get support. If the people you turn to do not support you drop them like a hot plate.

They don’t deserve the best of you if they can’t accept the worst of you. (I believe Marilyn Monroe said something to this effect.)

I know some that may be reading this may believe recovery is only for addicts. But it is not. It is for anyone who is surviving something in their past. Anyone who has been to their own hell. Anyone who is the victim of abuse, violence, a crime. Anyone who is hurting from the choices they have made on their own. Labeling the process seems trivial and many times it is not given this name, but really that is what we are doing. We are recovering.

Below are some resources from the web for any number of possibilities you would need to be recovering from.

Depression Alcoholism Abuse – Mental/Physical Eating Disorders

There are so many more. A base website for anything that you may have encountered is HelpGuide.org.

If you are simply at a point in your life where you need to change something reach out to friends. Call your EAP and set up to see a counselor. Work through it, life is so much better once you work through everything that is going on inside.

One of my favorite things to do is listen to music. Over the last year my favorites have been (and not in any particular order)

Foo Fighters – Wasting Light

Eminem – Recovery (He speaks to exactly what we are all going through…if bad words bother you don’t get the explicit version.)

Ray LaMontangne – Gossip in the Grain

The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow

Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More

Blue October, Christina Perri, Adele, Cee Lo Green (When I am in a mood I love F— You…it sets all right with the world), Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan, Florence + The Machine (Bury that Horse), Kings of Leon, Journey, Chevelle…I could go on and on.

I simply find music that speaks to me. Find yours but make sure it sends you a positive message. Reinforce what you are trying to do, don’t hinder progress because you’re not really listening to it. The brain hears everything even if we are being passive.

Surround yourself with positive energy, positive people, try to be a light in the dark for others. It is a fact that if you help others in your darkest hour it will help light your own way out of the darkness.

Above all remember that we are all struggling with something. It may not be right there on the surface, but it is there. It is very real to them.

Live in peace, love, and kindness to all.