If the world was ending …

There’s a line in a song I’ve heard recently – ‘if the world was ending, you’d come over right?’ I did not expect the immediate tears that stung my eyes as I listened to this song. There is someone who I immediately think about, but I know the answer if I would ask him. My world has had a few downturns over the years that felt like endings, and he didn’t come over. Right now, the world outside is ending and beginning again, and he is not coming over. I shouldn’t want him to, honestly, but there it is.

I have been feeling quite sad lately. I’ve been motivated to do my part and start some necessary conversations where I live about a lot of the country’s problems. But I can’t lie and say that I still don’t feel like a piece of me is missing. I never truly had that piece though, or rather, I had the connection and love, but it was hidden away from the world and wasn’t allowed to see the light. I was tired of living two lives – forced to live two lives – where I had this internal world that felt loved and supported, but also fiercely judged and found wanting, and this external world where that internal world did not exist and I was coasting. Ultimately, though, I did not feel like I existed to someone who was a pillar of my world. Yes, I stood up for myself and said what was needed – I need this or we can’t be together. I was then left alone … and even with the world ending, he isn’t coming.

Instead, I am trying to fill the void left in various ways, focused on growing and putting love into that void – love of art, love of words, love of family, love of humanity, love to heal wounds, etc. Sometimes I think that I can fill up almost all of it, but there is always that little stubborn piece that says, you can’t fill this part because it’s only meant to be filled by him. And when that hits, the work unravels for a bit until I have the strength to rebuild again. And again.

At the end of it all, I know there is another world that he never left and loves – I was never allowed in. I was jealous; it seemed that I didn’t like it. It still hurts a bit if I think about it. But it was never that I didn’t like that world. Instead, it was that I so wanted to be a part of that world, invited in, allowed to participate and celebrate and love and be able to put down the fear of abandonment and just enjoy life and love. I never got that chance. I was never allowed in – instead I was found wanting and kept at arm’s length. I can still hear a voice – his voice – reminding me that I’m not allowed in. Like I did not even exist – there or anywhere – I did not exist.

That is the part I struggle with the most – I didn’t exist. I still do not exist and maybe I never really did. Not where I felt I belonged.

It’s easier to bury the feelings of shame, guilt, frustration, insecurity, abandonment, etc. when you pretend they don’t exist. It doesn’t always work though – I have put up barriers so it’s not in my face every day, but it’s still there. When someone is a part of your life for so long, those in your life ask about him, casually brought up in conversation, and now even brought up in my career. I’ve found I can’t heal in isolation and part of that healing is living and dealing with the almost constant reminders of him. I do not have the ability to act like he does not exist, but I wouldn’t want to anyway. He was real to me, he was real in my life, and the love for him was real and immense. He was part of my family – loved and accepted. I was angry at times, sad at times, still am, but always for love and fighting for that love to have room to grow.

I’m not sure what my future holds. I’m not sure I want to know. But I do know that I deserve to exist to someone. I deserve love and laughter. I deserve respect. I deserve to be allowed in.

So, I keep moving forward, knowing that he exists, knowing that I do not. And knowing that even with the world ending, he will not come over.

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Love is …

I reflect a lot on love – my life has given me a fair bit of experience with so many aspects of it and it still is a main musing. This post about love is to share two moments from shows I’ve watched recently that have stuck with me.  The quotes about love are real, they hit me hard, and I believe it stems from truths that few of us care to admit or face.

 

First, these words from Hot Priest in Fleabag:

 

Love is awful.  It’s awful.  It’s painful.  It’s frightening.  Makes you doubt yourself, judge yourself, distance yourself from the other people in your life.  Makes you selfish, makes you creepy, makes you obsessed with your hair.  Makes you cruel. Makes you do and say things you never thought you’d do. It’s all any of us want, and it’s hell when we get there.  So no wonder its something we don’t want to do on our own.  I was told if we are born with love, then life is about choosing the right place to put it.  People talk about that a lot, it feeling right.  When it feels right, it’s easy … but I’m not sure that’s true.  It takes strength to know what’s right.  And love isn’t something that weak people do.  Being a romantic takes a hell of a lot of hope.  I think what they mean is, when you find somebody that you love, it feels like hope.

 

This is not what we traditionally think about love, but damn if this isn’t true at its core.  To be truly open to love, honest and deep healing love, we also have to be willing to brave the vulnerability, we have to open up to allow it.  It takes incredible courage.  We all discuss how the right love adds to our capacity for happiness, allows us to reach even further than we could imagine, and sets our souls alight.  We tend to gloss over how unsettling that can be, when you’re scared to let someone else see the real you, how you doubt that they could love you, and how you judge every bit of yourself hoping to find the faults before they do so you can work out how to fix it and save face.  We don’t discuss how painful it can be to do the right thing, over the easy thing.  It’s easy to hide; it takes courage to love.  I believe this is the hell that is referenced here, not necessarily the love itself, but the sheer risk of choosing to receive love.  Sure, you can let someone repeatedly say nice things to you, do nice things for you, take advantage of their favor, but that internal fear that one day they will find you out and change their mind, or worse, call you out for not being perfect or for hiding.  Either way, there’s an anxiety to accepting the ‘good’ without accepting the whole, which is ultimately more fulfilling than you can imagine, uncomfortable and all.  But you can’t feel true love if you’re partially open and partially hidden.  That’s a half-life.  It’s crushing.  It can take every ounce of your being to say, screw it, let them love me as I truly am, I am here for it.  Jumping off a cliff, as invigorating as it may be, does not come easy for most.  And when you’ve been abandoned, ignored, repeatedly told what your problems are, or hurt otherwise, being open to love is even more difficult to tackle.  

 

I pray that many of you do not understand this from experience, but I’d guess that more of you have felt this than not.  Even the most confident among us have probably felt similar to some degree.

 

I am one of those people that wants to be open to it.  I guess that’s the exhilaration that I can handle.  Roller coasters, no.  Horror films or scary anything, nope. Vulnerability to love, sure!  What?!?!  Oy vey.

 

It takes a lot for me to feel connected and move beyond a nice date to be open to love, thank you INFJ, but I’m proud that I’ve not held back, even with the anxiety.  I’ve fought the anxiety and half-life to jump into the waters. I’ve swum back to shore lonely, but I can hold my head knowing I did my best and held on to my integrity the majority of the way. This doesn’t mean I don’t feel that anxiety, haven’t fought it.  Every. Day.  Some days I fail and struggle with the shame of it, some days I succeed and dance in the light. And dammit, I’m proud.

 

Second, these words from Aunt Josephine in Anne with an E:

 

I’ve never bought into that “You Just Know” notion.  Love is a tricky thing.  Sometimes it feels like an undeniable force that hits between the eyes and doesn’t let up.  Other times, it’s malleable, questionable.  It’s truth hidden in and amongst external obstacles and internal circumstances that’ve formed who you are, what you expect in the world, and how you can accept love … Oh, to say the least, it’s complicated.  And if a mind’s abuzz with pressure and deadlines and “What if this and that,” I imagine love’s truth would be a near-impossible thing to feel.  I wonder if, when all’s quiet in your mind, you’ll find your answer.

 

Well, shit Aunt Jo.  

 

For the record, I’ve watched this episode of the show probably four times in the last week or so.  Aunt Jo is one of my favorite characters – strong-willed woman who asserts herself and doesn’t take a step back for anyone.  I need to assume some of that energy into my own life.  But I digress … 

I do believe love is tricky.  I have been through and witnessed enough complicated relationships to know that it’s not all fairy tales and rainbows or horrible people and breakups.  Sometimes, good people do bad things.  Sometimes, great people are toxic for each other.  Sometimes, a really good person is so lost, they cannot find their way back despite themselves.  And sometimes, we are so hurt by a bad past relationship that we are responsible for hurting others.  Those external forces, those internal beliefs – how can love get through?  It’s tricky and complicated and it doesn’t make sense all the time.  I do believe love can hit you and/or grow on you, and it is absolutely true that it can fight against all of our walls with its magical powers.  I believe it can win, but I also know it can lose its footing.  I know, beyond a doubt, that true love is magical, fulfilling, and stronger than anything we can imagine in our minds.  But we all have to fight for it, sometimes, by clearing our mind and refusing to allow logic to try and make sense of it.  Magic is not always logical.

 

What hit me most from this quote – that love is truth.  It’s not external or internal, it’s love.  It fights against our limiting beliefs, it fights against what the world is telling us, it fights and fights until it wins or dies trying.  

 

Love is like home.  Love is hope.  And love will win, even if we cannot fathom how.  😊

 

 

[Fleabag is on Amazon Prime and Anne with an E on Netflix – go watch.]

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5 am musings …

I’ve had a bit of time lately to watch some television, or properly binge is more like it.  A theme in the shows I’ve been watching is figuring out who we are amidst the struggle to know and understand love.  It has been so pervasive in what I’ve consumed and it’s shown up in so many conversations lately.  I can admit that I am just as confused as I ever was.  Life is quite humbling when you think you finally have figured something out, and yet, you learn quite quickly how wrong you can be.  The most humbling part of life … love.

There are so many quotes on love – they are short and sweet as in a valentine, slow and strong like a good bourbon.  They contradict each other.  They make perfect sense until they don’t.  There are too many out there creating a maze of misunderstandings.  But in the end, love is different to everyone and with anyone new.  Love is this great mystery that can only really be unlocked when we are ready to explore our hearts, learn what is there, even if it’s scary.

Fear … this always seems to accompany love.  The fear of being thought foolish by the one you hold dear inside.  The fear of loss.  The fear of judgement and coldness and abandonment.  These fears can be just as strong as the love and our brains will latch on to that fear and we act foolish, prideful, and in direct conflict from what we desire most of the time.

The one thing with love, at least that I’ve felt, is that when it is strong, it is strong and it does not let go.  You can try to push it away, force it out, cry it out, dance or sing it out, and eventually love it away, but once someone or something penetrates the deepest corners of my heart, it is locked in until it is ready to let go of me.  I can put up a harsh and fast boundary if needed for self-preservation, re: fear, but the reality is that while a scab will form, it will not completely heal until it is done with me.

I have been told before that I am strong – strong for keeping faith and hope in things.  Strong for putting up with more than maybe I should.  Strong for always taking the next step forward, for not letting fear stop me from taking leaps.  But sometimes I do not feel strong at all.  I feel weak, helpless, hollow, and with no hope.  And there is nothing I can do, but to keep on loving.  I keep sharing the love, sending it into the universe until it transpires somewhere else for someone who deserves it.  I keep at it and that is what keeps me going.

It is still quite confusing.  To me, love is something that stirs you inside and spurs you to action.  You show that you love someone.  You communicate that.  You respect someone and honor who they are.  That is love.  It is messy and confusing and can make you do crazy things.  But the challenge of love also forces you to accept your values, what you will and will not accept, and what really matters to you and your future.  Love, ultimately, feels like home.  Love represents a safety to be yourself, unburdened and unafraid, to be intense, silly, sensual, intelligent, stupid, and moody, among other things.  It is warm and inviting.  It is not always easy and takes commitment to grow and do the work to be the best you can be for the other.  It means tackling uncomfortable conversations and situations because you care about someone else.  It means loving someone while they are growing, and receiving the same love and support so that you can grow.  It is the safety to explore yourself, your future, and your relationship.  It is saying, I love you, but you need to do the work to get where you want to be.  It’ll be hard, but I’m here loving you the entire time.

And sometimes you just have to realize that if someone felt that way about you, you would know it.  That if someone missed you, they’d communicate that.  That if someone wanted you in their life, it would be expressed and actions would match the expressions.  This is how I love – I feel it so deeply that I have no option but to show, share, communicate.  It would burn a hole in my spirit if it was left unspent when felt at such a deep level.  And when I cannot … well that is grief.

I have said this before … you will know if I love you.  What I will continue to say is that it is up to you, and you alone, to ensure that those in your life know you love them.  Communication is key and respectful and while not always easy, is always necessary.  And you will never. ever. regret. communicating love.  Be brave, be strong, be fearless.

And if you find you do not love someone, communicate that as well, for it’s unfair to not close a door you want shut.  It is an incredible pain to be ignored when easy and acknowledged when there’s no way out.  This is one of the hardest things ever, but with respect comes the responsibility to honesty.

Give love.  Receive love.  The strongest thing you can ever be is a lover.  A lover who leaps at the chance of great love despite all the risks, open to learning whatever love has to teach them.  In a world as self-focused, untrue, and misleading, be brave and be love.

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Why aren’t you married to daddy?

I had a particularly vivid dream the other night.  I was sitting in a local casual dining place with my mini man and he turned to me, as in general conversation, and asked, “Why are you and daddy divorced?  Why did you guys stop loving each other?”

 

I am pretty sure I sucked in my breath, even in my bed.  I can recall my mind racing in the dream state as well as in the dream.  I took my time, thought about it, and tried to answer as honestly and sincerely as possible, after all, in dreams we can do this.  

 

The truth is, I did not stop loving his father at all.  The love changed from a feeling of devotion and excitement at sharing life’s ups and downs with him by my side, to a care for his well being without needing, or even wanting to share ups and downs with him anymore.  I had started out marriage naïve (don’t we all?), but had expected efforts made to match my own.  This may not be the case all the time – sometimes someone carries things while the other is struggling, but that there is a partnership about the entire thing.  I help you, you help me.  And that seems simple, but for me, effort and partnership does not exist without a connection.  That does not mean it is the same for everyone.  He created a partnership wanted, and I was lost wondering why I didn’t deserve the partnership I needed.  

 

That connection started to go away.  I tried everything I could to keep it, but ultimately, I came to the realization that in order to be what I needed to be, I couldn’t be who I really was.  I started to feel like I needed to change this part of my personality or to not voice that opinion.  I started to see positive reactions to things I did where I had to force myself to pretend one thing or the other.  Minor things at first – sure, we can go there, eat that, use this paint, have this conversation, don’t discuss this, cannot talk about this subject, tiptoe around that, cannot make him uncomfortable.  It had gotten to the point where I did not know myself and did not like myself.  I had an outlet, of course, a wonderful group of female friends who were bright and caring; a group I had thrown myself into.  After a while, I could not hide my sadness even from them.  

 

I sought a lot of help from professionals.  I read books, took courses, and talked and talked about as many things that stuck in my mind as I could to try and find a pattern as to why I was so broken and defeated.  I thought it was a bad case of post-partum depression, as did he, I believe.  But, when I was asked about other aspects of my life, the truth came to light.  I did not like who I was.  I was not fulfilled.  And hard as I try, I could not be happy because I could not engineer happiness based off of something that I just wasn’t.  

 

It was hard to accept, hard to work through guilt and frustrations, especially at some of the unproductive things I had reached for.  But in the end, a few nights of hard conversations and it was out.  I was supported in some ways, but there was also misunderstanding – we shared many things in common like shows we liked and things to do, but I felt I had to experience them alone in order to experience them.  My anxiety alone had me numb during things I would have enjoyed just because I had to get through it, not experience it – not say or do the wrong thing.  

 

I was not me.  I wasn’t sure who I was anymore and when I communicated that I needed to find that out, there was some couple counseling, but I was largely told that I had to deal with things on my own.  If I wanted to try this – you can do it, but I don’t want to.  I don’t like that, but if you really want to … It wasn’t said as harsh and unforgiving as that, which made the confusion worse, but the sentiment was the same.  I did not feel supported or like I was able to be myself, but he was nice about it – this must be me, I am broken.  

 

I finally knew the problem, but I didn’t know the solution.  I had a quick course in proper solutions, as my past struggles had come up with a lot of improper ways.  But, it hit me, after a “Come To Jesus” talk with my best friend that I had to leave and be in a space where I felt safe to be myself, to explore new things and reignite the old ones I loved.  Yes, it would be hard alone, but I wouldn’t feel bad for having needs, desires, or interests anymore.  I wouldn’t feel like a loser for doing them alone.  It wouldn’t be a negative thing to fail, or to succeed.  I realized that I wasn’t broken, I was hurt – I didn’t need to be glue back together, I needed to heal.  This man was in my life regardless, we have a child together, I could not escape completely, but I did not have to keep hurting myself.  

 

At the same time as everything else, I wanted to be a wonderful mother to this beautiful, bright, and delightful mini man – that is what drives me.   When I could not deny it any longer, I realized I did not want him to grow up and learn how to hide himself and not test himself because that is what he saw growing up.  I wanted him to know that fear is just a reaction and nothing more – Is this safe?  Yes, well then, what have you got to lose but your comfort zone?  I want to teach my son how to love himself, accept himself, and allow himself to explore who he is without abandon.  Do not intentionally hurt people, but do not dull your shine because it doesn’t fit someone else’s mold.  How on earth could I teach that to my child if he saw the exact opposite in me?  Trust me, everyone could see it at this point. 

 

In the dream, I smiled at my son, hugged him, and told him that his father and I were family, connected by him.  That we would always love and respect each other as parents and people, but that in order for his father and I to love and respect ourselves, it was better to not be married.  I told him life would get in the way sometimes, but that respecting and loving yourself is incredibly important to succeeding in life.  To which, he shrugged, said okay, and quoted the score of the game played on the nearest television, casually flicking any sign of a vegetable off his plate. 

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Letting go – Part 4

At the root of all letting go, there is pain. Sometimes, that pain cuts sharp as if piercing your skin and ripping through you, though it’s only piercing your pride and ripping away your sense of hope, wonder, or even stability. Regardless, it hurts relentlessly

Sometimes, the pain is a dull ache that refuses to let you feel fully that minute, hour, or day. Stealing your concentration and creating a comatose state just so you can hang on.

Other times, it’s annoying and irritating and it makes you want to snap. Throwing a temper tantrum as an adult is frowned upon, but in the privacy of your space, it may help you feel and let go. Not that I know this from experience, of course …

Every now and then, you have a good moment, few hours, or day that you can recognize and see growth. Hold on to those thoughts and memories – they help build the fortitude to keep going and builds confidence.

But, just know it’s not a straight line, not an A to B path. Letting go can look and feel like you are spinning your wheels. Keep reminding yourself of the small wins – getting back in touch with friends, creating or embracing a lost hobby, eating somewhere that reminds you, seeing bumper stickers that basically scream at you to not let go and laughing it off, and for me, the toughest yet, realizing that if it’s meant to be, it will be.

I want to scream at the universe that I’m not done, that I want this. I. Freaking. Want. This. I can’t answer why, exactly, but I do. I deserve it too.

And then the universe answers back – yes, you do, but you’ve done the work, you’ve done all you can. You do deserve this, but it’s not ready yet. Almost there. Let go so you can save yourself from the rough bumps and rejoice that you have given all you’ve got. You did it. Let someone else do the work, take the flame, and trust in that future – either what you want or something better. You’ve tended to and cared for this for so long, now rest so you can enjoy the bloom when it blossoms.

In the meantime, it’s okay to cry a bit. Get it out. And it’s always okay to hope. Love wins out. I truly believe that. You deserve it.

Xx

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Letting go – Part 3

To say that letting go is difficult is the understatement of my life.  It hurts. A lot. Honestly, there have been times where I’ve door slammed people (INFJ through and through), some very close to me and some not so close.  I never like doing it, but when I get to that point, there is no option.  I have always been clear in the decision, the relationship was too toxic to continue, and I have felt no remorse.  

This is different.  For whatever reason, I cannot door slam, even if there are times when I think it’s the best option.  Hell, I’ve even prayed a few times to get to the point of the door slam mentality so that I could effectively block off what was hurting me.  Though, it did not happen this way, this time.  This door is still unlocked, slightly ajar, and some days I am hoping beyond hope that the door swings open to reveal someone who has done the work needed and is carrying flowers and the chance for a lifetime together.  Granted, my romantic mind cannot help itself sometimes, but you get the point. 

I believe there is a perception that letting go means to give up (see Letting Go – Part 1) and to remove someone/something from your life.  I am not 100 percent on board with this perception.  The more I have researched, the more I am feeling my way through this (not around, but through dammit), I am realizing some distinctions actually point out how I should be acting, whether or not I feel like it, to evolve the situation, not necessarily remove it.  

The three takeaways I have today revolve around judgement, managing, and protective natures.  I am a nurturer first and foremost.  That being said, I am recognizing that my desire to protect those I love has led to some people living outside of reality, not fully recognizing consequences, not fully realizing hurt, and not having to make any decisions.  My displeasure in actions, or the lack thereof, has led to some feeling judged, especially when they may already be conditioned to judgement and react with immediate defensiveness.  

When I see someone hurting, I do my best to help.  I try to soften the blows and help manage the outcomes.  I will spend time determining alternative outcomes and various solutions that could help solve the situation for that person.  Then, I get upset when they don’t make effort toward any of those solutions.  Here is what really happens: I tried to help and fix a situation, I am not the main player and cannot actually make the decision, I am disappointed that nothing happened and take it personally.  Does this sound familiar?

The effects of this cycle are numerous, but ultimately, the person we are trying to protect knows that you’re trying to protect them and will take that protection, yet they will not do what you say just because – they need to make their own decisions.  They need to face reality and they need to realize their own life, regardless of how much you love them and how much you wish to protect them from what is probably not a good situation.  The reason we have to let go is because we do not want to increase the pressure of life by judging them based on their efforts, or lack thereof, even if we do have a strong opinion about it.  This is their life and we need to let their reality unfold.  Yes, in a relationship they also have responsibility to you, but knowing where to draw that line is key (and incredibly difficult).  There are seeds that cannot begin to germinate until they are in a fire – they need high temperatures to trigger germination.  Who am I to douse the fire and stop that seed from blossoming?  

Likewise, there are effects on us as well.  When you see someone you love continually make decisions that hurt them, you hurt as well.  Sometimes, those decisions directly hurt you.  It’s easier to hurt someone you know loves you no matter what.  That certainly doesn’t make it easy on us, eh?  You can protect, you can help, you can love, but ultimately if that person does not value those qualities, if they are in a place that doesn’t allow them to fully realize any of that, it only hurts us more.  Letting go means that we back away from the mistreatment, the energy drain, the care taker roll, not because we do not care, but because we need that space to heal our hurts, to break the cycles, and to regain our sense of self-worth.  

Letting go means so many things, but sometimes letting go is an act of love.  It takes a strong love to let someone go and trust that they will come back to you when they are ready.  It also takes a strong love to back away from something desired in order to cultivate a healthy foundation for it to thrive.  

We live in a society where there are two main narratives: you are a good person only when you give to everyone/everything or you are a good person only when you focus on self-improvement and self-love.  I think both of these narratives miss the mark.  It seems to be one or the other, and we need both.  We need to love ourselves enough to not settle for things that hurt or are not meant for us, but we also need the fortitude and love for others to realize when it’s a season of change that needs support versus a lifetime of wrongness.  We can love others and ourselves.  We do not need to run ourselves ragged protecting and caring for everything and everyone.  We also do not need to focus so much on ourselves that we become self-obsessed and worthless to anyone else.  There is a healthy balance.  

Honestly, most of the time, I do feel like I exist in this balance – I have to as a parent.  I recognize that there are times where I need more of my love or when someone else needs more of it; I can also recognize when I need more love from someone else.  It’s not equally balanced day to day or month to month, but over a lifetime, there should be some balance to it.  I know when I’ve hit my limit.  And unfortunately, I haven’t always heeded that self-awareness.  Sometimes, I push the caring to where I am caring for someone or some situation instead of caring about it – I care for each detail and try to fix the outcomes, instead of taking a step back and caring about the long-term outcome and people.  That is my codependency tendency.  I am getting better at recognizing it, though I can honestly say I am not necessarily good at managing it – yet.  I am better though.  

I share this to demonstrate: letting go is not a negative thing born out of disgust, hate, or anger.  Giving up is.  Letting go is an act of love – it is stopping the need to control, to have a say, or to “feel” loved by being heard, and instead allowing life to happen, allowing growth to happen, and allowing love to come back to you as wonderfully as it did in the beginning.  

Again, I am a romantic at heart.  I choose now to believe, fully, that I have been letting go to ensure that love comes back to me in a healthy, mature, and full way to blow my socks off, reminding me that the magic that exists in this world cannot be controlled or managed.  It is there, it is everywhere, and it can only be seen when we let go enough to allow it to flourish.  

Now, I ask you to let go of your cage, whatever it may be, and allow the magic to spur action moving you forward in your light, your truth, and your love.  

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Letting go – Part Two

In this second part of the series, I want to focus around what it means in terms of the outcome.  Letting go means that you realize you cannot control another, but not in the sense that you’re a controlling narcissist, in the way that no matter what you do, right or wrong, you will not influence the outcome.  Letting go of a situation that has gotten tense and one-sided means that you realize that nothing you do will affect it.  That is sad in a lot of ways – no matter what you do, you may not seem enough for another person.  But let me stop you, this is not about your worth.  This is about their inability to see what a blessing you are; their inability to treat you like you deserve.  

This can also be a very freeing thought in that it doesn’t matter if you break your cool and yell, if you cry and seem pathetic, if you can’t fake happy, if you hold it all in to bear the weight of the pain to be happy so they won’t run from your emotions.  It doesn’t matter if you are at your best or your worse, if your actions have done nothing to move the situation further, you can be sure that it is time to let go.  You must let go as they are now holding you back.  They can use your negative reactions to prove their lack, but it has nothing to do with your actions – you have no control.

The additive to this is that while letting go frees your conscious and lessens your tensions, it allows natural consequences to take their place in life.  Negative feedback loops help keep equilibrium in nature.  The cause creates an effect that changes the flow in the system.  When you get too hot, you sweat and cool off.  When you get too cold, you shiver to warm up.  That’s a negative feedback loop.  Similarly, if you stop doing all the work and putting in all the effort, there is no safety net for the other person.  

Now, I must say, I typically don’t believe in this and it has been a major struggle in my learning to let go.  In committed relationships, you help each other.  You are partners.  You are their safety net and they are yours.  Except when they are not.  You catch them, you fall flat on your face and skin the hell out of your chin in the most embarrassing way possible.  (No, of course this has never happened to me … ha!)  In a healthy relationship, yes, you catch, you support, you help.  

However, I have a tendency to codependency.  I want to nurture and take care.  But I’m also a very strong person who may not seem to need that in return.  Well, I do.  And when I’m not getting that, I get discouraged and fall apart.  But yet, I still support, still help, and still catch.  And then one day I wake up, depleted and exhausted.  Trying to achieve my dreams, be a mother, and keep someone else afloat.  

But instead of helping, this is harmful.  I’m taking away the natural consequences.  I’m taking away the negative feedback that is supposed to be there to bring all back to homeostasis, back to center and normal.  No, I get in there and want to help and then there is no negative feedback – it’s positive feedback.  Yes, keep doing this and do it faster and faster so you get more of the love without having to provide anything in return.  This is how our environments get depleted, this is how we end up with nothing left to give.  This is how relationships die.  

Do not blame yourself.  You did not cause the situation.  If the situation were healthy, there would be little need to catch someone all the time.  However, it is also your responsibility to yourself to recognize it and to stop it.  Let the negative feedback happen, watch the karma hit if that is your thing, move on before you start wanting to soothe again.  You must let go.  You are going to change and change for the better.  You will rise up.  They will see it and level up, or they will not come close enough to matter to you anymore. 

Let the situation hit a snag and self-correct.  

xx

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Letting Go – Part 1

New year, new you, right?  We are supposed to start off strong and happy and making changes for the better.  Damn, some of those changes can be really difficult to swallow.  I made a choice to draw a boundary, a much-needed boundary, but one that would separate me from someone that I cannot imagine my life without.  So, the year has started with a look to future opportunities, through a mourning process.  Things I thought would be a wonderful, happy, goofy, and love-filled addition to my 2019 will not happen, at least not the way I had thought.  

 

I have been fluctuating between blaming myself and realizing that this is natural in the process of life; sometimes we have to let go of some things or someone(s) in order for you (and probably them) to grow.  That does not mean that you won’t sit there and blame yourself for putting pressure on someone who doesn’t like pressure; it doesn’t help when you realize they are and will continue to celebrate the wins of both of you with someone else, leaving you alone.  For me, it’s even more difficult to swallow as I do not connect with people very often, not on this type of level.  This has been a huge loss and one that has left me properly empty.  

 

I am trying to work my way through it (the only way is through).  In that process, I’ve been looking in to what it means to “let go.”  I will be writing numerous posts about letting go, starting with this one.  I want to share some of my thoughts, struggles, and how I am working through this to help encourage those who are also dealing with it.

 

First things first, something I have struggled with is the idea that letting go and giving up are the same.  I am not one to quit.  It takes a very unique and special connection to open my heart up like I have recently and I can never stop that love.  I also firmly committed to this person in my heart and soul, which is making me waiver on my newly established boundaries.  After reading a fair amount of material, I have found the difference between giving up and letting go.  Giving up is when you let fear and struggle stop you from moving forward, from giving your all, and from really trying.  Giving up, especially if it’s a habit, shrinks you and holds you in a cage of fear.  Letting go is when you release something that has been keeping you in one place or holding you back from growth.  Letting go is healthy, helps you expand your spirit and is freeing.  Giving up is defeatist; letting go is healthy.  

Does knowing this make letting go any easier? No, it damn well does not.  Knowing this has helped me with the courage to let go, the strength to put a barrier between unhealthy behavior and me.  It is not letting go of a person, by the way, it is letting go of being treated a certain way, letting go of an unhealthy habit, letting go of self-blame and destruction, letting go of missed opportunities.   

 

I also want to point out a pitfall and the importance of reflection.  I have tried to let go in this situation a few times.  It never lasted.  Know why?  I tried to let go before I was ready.  I still had hope that the situation would sort itself.  That hope lead to a lot of me going back on my own boundaries, which created even more dysfunction and seemed like ultimatums instead of healthy boundary setting.  My hope in improved moods and words would lead to a desire for immediate action; that wasn’t healthy and it wasn’t fair of me to put that on him.  In my situation, it will either change or it won’t and that has nothing to do with my action or lack thereof.  

 

I still have hope in him, by the way, just not our situation as it currently stands.  I pray for him, but I have realized that my expectation, waiting, reminders, and comparisons caused pressure and tension, which lead to him beating himself up more and giving up before he started.  I am trying not to blame myself for his actions, but I do believe it’s fair to acknowledge my role in that.  By doing this, it will help foster forgiveness, letting go, and hope in the future.  

 

I realize now that it sounds an awful lot like I’m not letting go.  😊 I can honestly say I do not want to, but I do not have hope in the situation, not as it currently stands.  Again, I have not lost hope in that person, but in the way our relationship was playing out.  

 

While the first part of this post has defined what I mean by letting go and why I have struggled with this, the rest of this post and future posts will explore different assumptions versus realities of letting go.  

 

In my case, I have chosen to write this focusing on a relationship so I will move forward with that description, but you can apply this to just about any situation involving letting go.  

 

Letting go of something or someone does not mean that you have stopped caring or loving the idea, things or person.  For me, while I’m trying to let go of this situation, I still care deeply for this person.  Letting go for me means that I have to accept that I cannot do the changes for him.  He knows what needs to change, and says that he wants that, but I cannot force it, I cannot make the final decision, and I cannot act on his behalf.  And this is the tough part, we cannot do it for them even if we “know” it’s what they need.  

 

We all go through our trials, right?  Letting go is one of them.  But I am sure we can also look back on when someone let go of us.  Someone had to draw a line and say, we need to let this go because it’s not healthy.  The reason might have been that you needed to grow.  

 

Sometimes we care too much, or we care in unproductive ways.  I am SUPER guilty of this.  I want to be everything to everyone that I love.  I want to fix all things broken, heal all wounds, and hug everyone back together.  But I cannot do this.  We have to fix ourselves sometimes.  Otherwise, we do not grow and we do not earn our next level.  In a way, it’s unfair to them if we care in a way that takes over, instead of being solid support.  I feel sad that I have allowed this and feel like I have cheated an amazing person out of growth that he could have worked through earlier.  

 

You do not stop caring, necessarily, and I have not stopped caring.  What I have done is stopped doing things to help fix the situation.  Consequences are natural and that is how we learn.  I have to learn this in parenting as well and it is equally as challenging.  We do not want to see our loved ones hurt, feel uncomfortable, freak out, stress, or feel any kind of pain.  But it is not our job to stop it, it is only our responsibility to ease what we can, but allow growth.  

 

It is also not our choice when that growth happens.  You can let go and watch someone go through life seeming perfectly unfazed and happy, even immediately.  It can seem unbearable, create anxiety, and make you question everything about the validity of your and their feelings.  This is when I struggle the most; knowing memories are being created without me.  Strength.  One moment, one breath, one day at a time.  It will get easier when you let go enough that freedom starts to wash over you; you are letting go of your sense of responsibility.  You can forgive.  You can move forward with dignity.  I don’t know when, or how, but it does ease eventually. 

 

Now, to be completely honest, I have written this all from a calm mental state.  I will probably get upset, cry, and be at peace again over and over as I move through this process, so please do not get discouraged if you find yourself doing the same.  It’s a process and it’s all part of life.  I’m sending as many good vibes as I can, and strength, for those of you struggling; either with letting go or of being the person let go.  If there is a will, a desire, and a commitment, there is a way. 😊

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Mending and Healing Growth

Growth – we always want growth, but do we really?  As a child, we want to grow taller.  As a teenager, we want to grow older.  As a young adult, we want to grow in experience.  And when we hit real adulthood or even mid-life, we want to grow in wisdom.  We always want continuous growth, but we forget that real growth is painful.

To begin, we need to figure out – how do we want to grow?  We get so caught up in being cool, being ambitious, living a certain way with certain things, belonging to this group or that.  I’ve had to question my life, numerous times now, about how I want to grow – do I want to grow for growth’s sake or do I want to start thriving?

For the record, I want to thrive.  For that, my growth will not necessarily be up right away.  I have decided this ten years ago, then again three years ago, and now again.  I have had different experiences and my thriving growth has focused on different things.  Each time, I have gotten off track and need to re-center.  Re-centering is as painful as it gets.

What kind of pain am I talking about?  The kind of pain we don’t talk about.  I don’t know about you, but I was raised to be a loyal friend, to the end, no matter what.  I was raised to cater to people’s needs.  I was raised to fulfill the voids in others lives and in doing so, was criticized every single time I failed; hint: it was a lot.  I was the peace keeper, I made people smile and happy.  I was goofy and fun, on the outside, but inside I was terrified that everything would disappear if I wasn’t enough, if I didn’t work hard enough, and if I went too far.

Why is this important to discuss now?  Because that is still my default.  I am an INFJ – I have a crazy good intuition for other people, and more than that, I am an empath.  I can literally feel the energy, worries, happiness, pain, etc. of others.  I have not developed the best way to separate my feelings from others and so somethings, I may have a legitimate issue, but I pick up on other’s energy too, creating a whirlpool of thoughts and feelings.  This means that I’m compassionate to a fault; I can understand the thought process or emotion behind what people are saying and doing.  This does drive me crazy when I am hurt, have every right to be hurt and upset, but I may also understand why I was hurt, even when its thoughtless, wrong, or otherwise disrespectful.  Enter Crazy Town – I need strong boundaries, but I was raised to be what everyone needed – clash much?

So back to growth – I’ve made certain life decisions for my path.  I feel strongly that they were the right decisions at the time.  I still believe I have always done what was needed for me at the time, and these experiences help me grow.  But damn if it’s not painful; growing pains are the worst!  The most painful part for me is that I need to pick and choose loyalty.  I cannot grow and still maintain the baseline calm for everyone.  I have had to say goodbye to a lot of people on my path and it is never easy.  If I refuse to let go, I cannot grow.  It feels like I am going against my very nature, the self I have accepted and love, to protect the self I’ve accepted and love.

Currently, it is very dark, I am very hurt, and I am very broken.  But there is also this light that has always been inside of me, guiding me.  This light is telling me that all of this darkness and pain is part of my growth.  I am leveling up.  The pain is because someone(s) I want to level up with are not ready.  Do you stall your growth, take a detour, and potentially change your path in life to something good, but not reaching your potential, for the sake of someone you love?  Some people may say yes and not even hesitate.  I have done that for well over a year.  Guess what? It turns out I am not one of those people … I need my growth.

I am no where near where I want to be.  I haven’t quite figured out what the direction actually is … which path to take, how fast, and which guides, but I do have faith that I am made for something that I haven’t achieved yet.  My breakthrough is getting quite close – the more pain I am in, the closer the breakthrough … right?  I hope.

In the meantime, my faith does help me realize, even in the sobbing pain (remember, I feel deep y’all), that broken things can be repaired, much like the Japanese art form of filling cracks with gold (Kintsugi). My cracks may not all be filled with gold, but there is something special involved.  What hurts now will be healed, through a lot of self-love, compassion, companionship, and kindness.  And while I seem to be drawn to darkness, there is always light, be in the stars and the moon, or the sun rising to shine light on all things dark.

The only thing I can say is that I live my life so that I do not have regrets.  I take opportunities that have the potential for greatness.  I never have to wonder if I put in effort or time or love enough; I know I do, I always have.  I will continue to do so, even when my skin burns red hot at realizing I was lied to, hurt, or neglected.  Again, deep feeler, empath, and I need boundaries.

Part of my growth is to create boundaries and to stick with them.  I am being tested in a way that creates a highly emotional environment daily and asks me to maintain my boundary.  Okay, people, I have failed probably 6.5 days out of every 7.  I’ll start to beat myself up for not sustaining and being loyal to someone I love, and then, I end up burned into ash at someone else’s expense.  I treat myself equally as brutal for not being as solid or cold or determined or “strong” as other people I know, but I also realize my empathy and compassion make me who I am – this is why people are drawn to me and this is my super power – this is how I help the world.  I haven’t figured out how yet … but at least I can recognize the gifts I have been given.  This makes boundaries even more essential, but even more difficult.

I will definitely let you know how it goes moving forward.  But even as I put up boundaries and stick with them, I know I will break it and have to repair it.  I know I will hurt it, but have to heal it.  And I know that no matter how in the dark I insist I stay, there will be some light.  I know that all those broken relationships will be repaired, all the hurt between us will be healed, and that light will once again shine in the dark corners created by growing apart.

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Grief³

Hello.  It has been quite a long time.  If you missed my ramblings, then I am sorry for the distance.  I can say that the last ten months have been an insane rollercoaster.  I used all the energy I had to do what I felt I had to do at the time.  I ask that you forgive my absence and allow us to move forward into the thoughts of my day.

Today’s post is a shedding of weight that I have been living with lately.  Grief.  Plain and simple.  I wrote about this back in July of 2017 (and posted a graphic about it in the last post, Loss is hard). I am quite impressed with that post – it is much better composed than I feel.

Grief is thought to be the feeling of loss when someone passes away, however, grief is the feeling of loss – no other qualifiers.  You can grieve a relationship or a job or even a move just as you would grieve the loss of someone to death.  It hurts like hell.  It can tear at your soul.  You feel broken.  This is grief.

As I’ve said before, the intensity of your grief is directly related to the amount of love or energy you have put into whatever it is that you lost.  It was real to you, it mattered to you, and it is important to acknowledge the loss and the grief.  No one can tell you how long is acceptable or how deep it hurts.  This is yours.  It is okay.  It is validated.

I say all of these things as an introduction to what my life has been like over the summer.  I lost my job in late spring/early summer.  At the time, I was upset, but also felt that something better was coming my way – maybe a career change, maybe something else.  I was upset and scared and ready to start on my new path.  As I type this, however, I have not found new employment.  I am at a loss and am not sure how to move forward.

Since losing my job, I have been on the rollercoaster of calming down and the pesky gremlins of self-doubt telling me I was never valuable, am not a good employee, and suck at my chosen field.  It is up and down and up and down.  I have been working on new techniques to keep even through this, but I will not lie and say that I am getting through it well.  I am getting through it, some days are okay, some days are better than okay, and some days I am getting through it while kicking and crying.  This is grief.  I am grieving a part of me that felt self-assured because I had gainful employment.  I am grieving a part of me that felt secure because I was earning an income to feed, shelter, and cloth my child.  I am grieving the loss of friendships held through my position as well as the reputation I had in my field.  I am grieving because I do not know what to do and the uncertainty of my future is scary.

I am also grieving a relationship.  I loved this person with every ounce of me.  When I met this man, my life lit up and I felt more myself and more accepted than I have ever felt in my life.  I grew in ways I would not have done had I not known what it was like to feel like someone could love the person I truly am.  The relationship has had its battles, yes.  Every time there was an issue, the standards for the relationship lowered.  Every time the standards were lowered, so was the amount of effort put into it.  Everything I thought I could depend upon vanished, along with respect and my self-worth.  I am hurting – angry and in pain.

This has left me completely numb.  Yes, I cry — even right now while I type.  But more, I am lost and am overwhelmed by the loss and sadness I feel.  I find I cannot do simple things that used to bring me joy, because they also bring me memories.  How do you reprogram the emotions tied to your memories?  How do you hold a wake for someone who is still living and breathing?  How do you bury a relationship?  You cannot.  For me, it’s hard to say goodbye to a life I had wanted while knowing that the other person is walking around and could be having that life with someone else.  And it is so very hard to look back and see how many times I let something that hurt me continue.  It is very strange to have some of your happiest relationship moments and some of your lowest with the same person.  I am grieving a future life, light and joy, a sense of feeling like I belonged, and someone I thought would be my forever partner.

Lastly, the world lost an amazing woman in September.  Incredibly amazing.  This woman never sat still and kept at life, sharing joy and love with every step.  She’d tell it like she saw it and always had a smile and a hug to warm you if you needed it.  She was healthy and vibrant and living her life to the fullest.  On a trip, she fell ill and passed.  Her immediate family is crushed, as many are that knew and loved her. She certainly saw my emotions and never judged.  She made an impression on my son and I and I know I will never forget how she made me feel.  I am grieving the loss of a life.

Grief.

I am disoriented at times, lost, and delayed.  The weight of all of this surrounds me and I am in an overwhelmed state.  The shock has worn off, at least, but I am still working through the majority of it.  The job grief will lessen once I find a position that will allow me to be financially independent again.  The grief of my friend will be painful, but those memories are just as sweet as they are sad.  The lost relationship is going to hurt for a long time; I know that.  But, I also know I will find myself, or that new version of myself, again.

If you are struggling with grief, with feeling lost, with being numb, it is okay.  I write this post today to highlight that bad things happen.  They overwhelm us and sometimes it takes all of your energy just to breathe.  Yes, yes, and more yes.

I have found that I get aggravated when I hear/read some people say to “just keep going,” all from their fancy new car or happy life, typically someone famous. Do they really know?  Do they truly understand it?  Maybe they do and I am just bitter – very possible.  But, what I am hoping to do here is to reach out and say I feel this too and I’m feeling this now.  I haven’t crawled out of the pit yet, but I know I will be able to sometime.  I want to encourage you from the depths and say you can do it too.  And it’s okay to give up sometimes.  I give up every day, rest, and try again tomorrow.  All we can do is keep trying to work through our grief and create our new normals.  One day at a time …

I wish you all love.  ♥

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