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.

Appreciation, Validation, and Tolerance

All relationships come down to appreciation, validation, and tolerance.

Variables of this have different words, but really this is all we do for each other in each of our relationships. We individually value the other persons effect on our existence that we validate their feelings, show them appreciation, and tolerate their differences.

This encompasses the scope of human interaction.

Like-minded people create change because they validate each others opinions and to show their appreciation for these opinions they work together. Often having to tolerate various life choice differences in the process.

A marriage is supposed to be a union of like-minded individuals for life. A joint venture as one existence. A conscious choice to live together for an indeterminant number of years (God willing) and do what is best for each other, your children, and your future. Sure there are some viceral aspects as well, but really you have to appreciate, validate and tolerate each other even after the chemical animal attraction ceases.

That’s what it is supposed to be anyway.

Life long.

Why do marriages have such short life spans?

I feel it is because we don’t verbally acknowledge our appreciation for the little things. We don’t say thank you. We don’t do big things that say, “I love you.”

People take their spouses for granted.

Friendships are often taken for granted as well. We simply assume that the other person will always be there, will always remain the same, when really it isn’t this way. Just as I change those around me change.

This appreciation also draws souls to each other.

Our souls see their familiars in other’s actions.

They meet and validate the thoughts one with another and develope a tolerance for excentricities. Like magnets drawn together because it’s possible to have honesty, openess, validation, and complete appreciation for one another.

Personally I am on a collision course with a path to tolerance. Deciding my tolerance level. Reevaluating what I can handle. What I should be willing to handle. My course will take me on the journey required for creating proper boundaries. I am always overstepping boundaries, oversharing, and there are some places where that amount of openess are not tolerable. Then again I also put up walls, I cut people off if I haven’t known them long and they challenge my trust. I don’t give second chances often if I don’t feel like the person is adding to my life.

Where are you? How are you showing your loved ones you appreciate them? Are you meeting their needs? Are you taking them for granted? Do you know your tolerance level and your boundaries? Do you know you?

Why?

Because before you can appreciate, validate, and tolerate another you must do that for yourself.

Flirting is a Lost Art

I think the inability of recent generations to wait until the right moment is a disservice to oursleves. Flirting really doesn’t exist anymore. Say you see someone. You decide you want to meet this particular someone. You walk over and just start chatting. There’s no build up, there’s no considering them. You aren’t even trying to catch their eye to see if they are interested. I think it’s generally an antiseptic approach with base information.

Getting asked on a date by someone my own age generally goes like this…

“Hi, I’m Ted.”

“Hi Ted. I’m Meg.”

“Want to get a drink?”

“Sure”

“Why not Sky Bar tonight at 9.”

“Okay.”

“Okay, see you then.”

That is not a fun conversation! That is not playful! That’s nerves. That’s irritation. That’s like instant messaging…just spoken. It lacks anything that makes a girl even want to try.

I want to be flirted with. I think most people want to be flirted with. Make each other know you are seriously interested in them, then strike up a conversation for a minute. Women want to be wooed. Get to know something about us and let us learn something about you.

I know this is going to sound like the utmost in cheese…but I must say share.

I remember being 15 sitting at Chelsea’s Pub at Lakeline Mall in Austin, and turning bright red when my friend’s mom tried to teach us how to flirt. As we waited for our salads and fried cheese sticks my sister and my friend started giggling. My friend’s mom asked us what was going on and I told her that the other two had spotted a cute guy a few tables away.

She took that as an opportunity to critic our skills.

We had none.

She was apparently an expert in flirting…an old school expert. She sat in the middle of that restaurant smiling, winking, and waving. Capturing a guy’s attention…not a real guy mind you. She already had a man’s attention. Her husband’s and he wasn’t there!

She looked at the three of us and said…you have to learn to flirt.

My tom boy attitude was to throw my head back and laugh…like flirting would work! Bahahaha!

My sister giggled.

Our friend burst out laughing and then screamed, “Mom NOOOOO!”

She just gave us a knowing smile. She said you need to catch their glance. See if they notice. Give them a little smile and go back to whatever it is you’re doing. Look up again and see if you get eye contact…and so on and so forth until one of you waves.

Gotta give a guy an invitation in her scenario. Most these days guys don’t care if you have given them an invitation or not. You can glare at them at they think you are pretending you’re a kid punching the person you like because you want their attention. Truthfully I don’t think that punching someone is a sign of endearment outside of elementary school.

Old school flirting. Huh? Maybe she was right.

This is just not how it is done anymore…should it be done this way?

YES. Oh my goodness yes.

(Yet another window into my little life.)

I had never done the old school flirt tactics I learned on that spring day 16 years ago until yesterday. By no means did I even remember what my friends mom told us until he was walking away and I was left with the giggles.

Now, I am laughing at myself…because really…ugh!

I caught a guy staring at me through the window at Starbucks. I wondered if my hair was standing on end, anything obvious that would make someone stand there and stare, smiling like a goofy school boy.

Um…not that I could tell and I wasn’t going to scuttle off to check. A girl likes a little attention sometimes.

So, I continued to write my post on buying local. You may have noticed that it is dramatically shorter than anything else that I have written lately and that is because of this guy.

Let’s call him McSteamy. Why McSteamy? He looks like the character from Grey’s Anatomy. He is freaking hot.

I was so distracted I couldn’t concentrate on what I was trying to write…and I don’t even know his name.

As I settled in and began my post I had all kinds of wonderful things I wanted to say about freshness and cost effectiveness and taxes, and then I felt eyes boring into the side of my skull. I look up and this lovely man just smiles. Big, broad, goofy smile like I know him and he knows me and all my secrets.

I turn red, look back at my computer screen and try to not giggle.

As I sighed, I thanked God he was standing outside.

He just stands there peering through the window watching me try to type. And I do mean try…I kept writing a word here and there, but really this was impossible to do with someone I didn’t know staring at me. I gave up. I texted my friend Sim and she laughed at me. She knows I am more than a little self-conscious and while I am confident, I am still shaky on my looks.

Sim told me to give myself a little credit. So again I sigh, regroup and to type again.

Feeling eyes I look up, I smile this time…ever so subtly and go back to what I am doing.

Every time I look up from my “work” I see him just looking in watching me. This wildly handsome dude is checking me (in my gym clothes and tennis shoes) out. I had crazy hair…it was windy, but I really didn’t care (to that point.)

He came in and got another coffee. I looked the other way and continued to type. I opened Facebook and looked for a distraction…nothing. Facebook really isn’t as exciting as it was when I was working and there was nothing else to do. I think I can feel him staring at my back while he is getting his coffee and going back out to the crowd of men playing chess.

I didn’t look back. That would have been way too silly, even for me. He had a great voice though…deep and manly. I smile to myself and for the first time in nearly an hour I can get more written on my post.

In a not so subtle act of insanity…because what else could it be…he finally sits down to play chess with an old man. He sits so that when he’s not looking at his chess pieces he’s looking at me.

Ugh! What am I going to do!? I consider for a second packing up and going to my neighborhood Starbucks and trying again…but I couldn’t do that. I need a day like this every few hundred. A little confidence booster, you know?

He’s playing chess…concentrating on his move, talking the old man, drinking coffee and looking very nice and kind.

Yep, I’m the one staring now. He’s tall, over 6 foot and broad-shouldered. He looks strong and well-built. Looked so relaxed in a navy pull over, jeans, and loafers. (I’m a sucker for a guy NOT wearing athletic shoes.)
Strong jaw line with the “just enough” facial hair thing…like McSteamy, only dark…and his eyes are sort of piercing, brilliant blue.

After another few hours of the staring, smiling, googly eyes I finally got my post done. He finished his game of chess. He said bye to his friends and walked away. He looking over again just as I was looking up and waved…the silly finger wave. Gets in his truck and as slow as possible drives away staring at me.

I laughed…out loud. I got stares from everyone sitting near me.

I thought my lessons on flirting all those years ago.

Flirting is a lost art…but with men of a certain age…it’s alive and well.

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?

What do I need right now?

What do I need now? A hug. A big bear hug that says “everything is going to be alright.” You can’t get those hugs from just anyone. It must be someone close enough to not let go too quickly; especially if in fact I do crumble and start to cry. They better know to not let me go.

I wrote not-so-long-ago about coming out of a depression that I had been in…but this week I feel like I am back there. I think if I were allowed to I wouldn’t have gotten out of bed today. Honestly. Would. Not. Have. Gotten. Out. Of. Bed. Today.

Lucky for me I don’t have that option. I have to get up. I have to go to work. I have to make sure the boys eat. I have to make sure I send notes with them to school and their folder is signed. There is so much that HAS to be done that I don’t have the option of becoming one with the bed. No matter how appealing that might be at the moment.

Anyway…this evening I am thankful.

Thankful for my friends. Thankful for my children. Thankful for the possibilities for the future. I don’t know how it’s all going to turn out yet, but I do know the journey…well…the journey is the best part.

Some day I will be here again...

Family

Perhaps I am confused, but this is what I think a family should do.

Check up on each other. If you know someone is having a difficult time, show up at their house and see if they need anything. You may not be able to do anything more than wash a dish or lend an ear, but sometimes that’s all that’s needed.

Cut each other some slack. As a family you are bound to each other by blood for eternity. You will all make bad choices. Things will happen that you don’t agree with. Who cares, you’re family.

Fix each other a meal. If you live within five miles of each other and haven’t seen each other in a month, give someone an invite and feed them. Free food will always get family in the door.

Hold the guilt trips in. If for some reason you feel the need to send someone on a guilt trip by all means, reign that puppy in and bite your tongue!

We have found the mute button. As a family we don’t often consider that at some point in your siblings life they found the mute button that keeps them from listening to you blather on. When you’re speaking and someone gets the distant glazed over look in their eyes…shut up.

The only thing that matters is love. Here is something that I learned from Nanny. It doesn’t matter what happens or how much someone hurts you, you have to forgive. My ex and his cousins are the best examples I have of this and you guys don’t know them to understand. These are the guys that refer to themselves as outlaws. They are crazy. They drink too much. They know how to party. They know all about getting in trouble. They are the rowdy bunch at the honky-tonk your momma warned you about. They loved their nanny, and she loved them. It didn’t matter what insanity they got themselves wrapped up in she always had a bed for them to sleep it off, a cup of coffee to get them motivated, and a few kind words (and a switch or two.)

That being said… in some cases family is the people you choose to make commitments to out of love and respect.

This is the approach of a relative

Renewal

Despite everything I have been through I am a hopeless romantic. I think there is one boy meant for me and I think that I am meant for him. I think that our experiences and trials will make us each perfect for the other.

I am strong-willed and strong voiced. I have issues with my past, but I am willing to put them aside for my ideal. My mother-in-law who is absolutely precious to me has presented me some tips from Al-Anon on the next steps in my journey…I think I will share them with you all.

I am, honestly, not sure if I can follow them, but I will try.

For starters, after the end of an alcoholic marriage there should be a waiting period of a year. During this year you are supposed to find yourself, get reaquainted with yourself, and learn all about the new you.

This is the step with which I find most reason to give pause. This is the problem.

I have been waiting a year. It was not a great year of self-discovery, but it was a year of contemplation. A year of thinking about the past and working out the hatred. Lord how I hated my husband for the things he had done.

My time for hatred is done. This is now time for renewal. Time to forgive past injuries and work toward making life happy again. Forgiveness, at least for me is a major step in regaining control of my life. I have to forgive and let go in order to move forward. I am swallowed in darkness when I am unable to forgive.

It is in forgiving and moving on that I find the light.

She also presented to me the concept of a list, figuring out what I want. Write down a list of characteristics that I hope to find in my ideal person. (No I am not sharing that list.) 🙂 I think I have some idea to what I want, but the list is long.

Definitely want someone who, like me, can communicate.

AND someone who can over look certain character flaws, like my incessant need to mess things up even when we are good fit.

OR the words that come flying out of my fingers and land on emails that should be edited before being sent to save them from being hurt and never talking to me again.

Oh hindsight you are a devil.

It is in our darkest hours that we find the light, and when that switch is flipped it is hard to turn off. Even when you have no business accepting an invitation you do and then you get stuck. It is us that want to live in the light who constantly try to bring back the darkness.

In my meeting a week or so ago a woman said, “Sometimes you create the chaos that has to be fixed because you know how to do that. You don’t know how to live without the chaos. You can’t allow peace to reign over your life.” I wrote it down and have tried to read it and think on it every day. This is so true for me and my life and my God in heaven I hope you can allow me to let the peace in.

So I am learning. I am growing. I am trying to not rush. I am trying to stay away. It’s not that I want to, but it’s what may save me in the end. I am nothing if I am not for myself.

Today is a mixed bag

“To change your life: Start immediately, do it flamboyantly, no exceptions.”
― William Jones

That is from the magazine Real Simple, their daily thought email. It is so appropriate for this morning…in the light of a new day. Migraines and all.

—–

Boundaries…those little lines we draw around ourselves to stay whole. I wrote about them a little in the post entitled “The Onion.”

You know I have issues with boundaries, and I am trying to form them without going to the extreme. The ironclad impenetrable shield that doesn’t allow anyone in.

It is not often that I come across someone who no matter how great things are going for them they don’t allow their heart to rule their head. Sure, maybe that is the way people should be, but never in my experience on this earth have I met someone who could actually do it.

I live by the idea that you should, “Do what you say and say what you mean.”

Except lately…I can’t seem to make the two meet in the middle.

I say one thing, like word vomit, it spews from my mouth and brain. I say something so completely different from what I feel and in the end I end up feeling hurt. I am usually an open book. Willing to share and be happy. My ability to be honest with how I feel is normally not a problem!

Why couldn’t I?

I don’t know.

My pain. My wall of armor. My satirical mental illness? The trenchant words that aren’t what I am actually feeling. I push. Push to the point where I don’t know if what I said is what pushed them away or if their own iron wall just doesn’t let me in.

It does make one wonder what would have happened at another time and place.

“Be good natured and untidy in your exuberance.”

I have used this quote before. I try to live this way. I am exuberant.

The m-w.com definition of exuberant is:

1: extreme or excessive in degree, size, or extent <exuberant prosperity>
2a : joyously unrestrained and enthusiastic <exuberant praise> <an exuberant personality>
 
It’s part of how I cope with negative information. Trying to see that not only am I human and will have bumps along the path of life, but there is such joy out there as well. Joy that if you let it in will only serve to make your life better. I am wildly unrestrained. It makes those that love me a little crazy at times.
 
I can’t help it.
 
It’s just my “ju de vive” in the face of all that is messed up in the world.
 
I am excessive in the information outflow as well as the contemplation within. I tried to push the pause button on my thoughts once and got sidelined with a migraine for days. Now I share, perhaps at times over share, but I find that it is in sharing that I heal. Write it out, write it down, put the words out there and maybe the right person will read. Maybe they will help someone in a similar position. Maybe it is just to serve my own neurosis.
 
Today is a mixed bag of emotions within me and I can’t seem to concentrate them in a defined manner. My ju de vive…I must get it back.
 
“Laissez les bons temps rouler.”
 
Another saying, one of my favorites from my Cajun brothers and sisters to the East…it means “Let the good times roll!”

The Onion

I am in school. I don’t know if I have told any of the readers that or not, but Monday was the first day of classes. I am going back to school to complete my degree to become a marriage and family therapist.

That should be a fun degree for anyone that I date. Lol…anyway.

Why marriage and family therapy? (I have had people ask this question.)

Here’s the thing, I want to help people like me figure things out. Like Dana said in my post last week, unravel the ball of yarn that is our thoughts and emotions. So, while the technical degree plan is marriage and family therapy, I am going to concentrate on the CoDA set. Yep – Codependance.

If you read my post on agony you know that I have had some experience with addiction. Well, it’s as the wife of an alcoholic. Open a psych textbook and look up codependant and I was the definition. Or should I say am…I don’t know…I am learning. Perhaps like alcoholism you don’t get over it, you just learn new ways to cope and you learn HOW to form boundaries.

As hard as it is for an addict or alcoholic to admit when they have a problem; it is just as hard for the partner in that relationship to admit that they’re a more than a little messed up too. It’s a tourturous dance of abuse and neglect.

Like peeling an onion. Addicts pull back your layers until there is nothing left. Starting with that protective boundary that keeps anything bad from penetrating. Then the thin inner layers, those would be self-respect, self-reliance, and self-confidence. Then instead of continuing to peel they just grab a knife and start hacking away at the rest of you. You know what you are supposed to be, but you’re unrecognizable.

You’re no longer whole.

It’s a pretty pathetic sight to see and even harder to recognize – if you’re the onion.

I have read countless books on becoming whole again. I have read the Courage to Change book from Al-Anon every day. It sits on my coffee table so that when I feel weak I can open it up and soak it in for a while.

Slowly you start to put yourself back together. Grasping shards of who and what you once were and hope that it’s enough to form a whole person.

Clinging to this knowledge, you try to put that outer shell back on, knowing that it is the only thing that will save you. Save you from being hurt. Save you from being tortured. Save you from feeling worthless.

Only you DON’T KNOW HOW. You try repeatedly and you can’t.

Just when I think I have got this figured out. This life post-husband, I realize that I am still trying to put the pieces together. I am not even to the point of finding that outer boundary. That solid form that keeps me whole.

I allow the self-doubt and unexpected confusion to cloud new friendships and relationships by constantly questioning “Why?”

The thing about what I have been through, and anyone else who has been through this knows, is that you never feel good enough about yourself to allow yourself to think you are worth being part of something good, something worth trying. Even if it ends in utter misery you don’t allow yourself the freedom to try.

So, this weekend as I am reading through my weeks assignments and trying to find the pieces of myself. Please, for the love of all that is holy, remember (as I will try) that we may be learning to cope and learning to try, but we will come out the other side. We will some day be whole. Someday we will allow the people that make us feel special to know that we aren’t complete psychopaths for not knowing how to love.

Not yet.