My type of freedom

I am a nerd.  Between episodes of Doctor Who, Orphan Black, the Grand Tour, and viewing all things Harry Potter, I like to read about personality types (MBTI).  I am an INFJ and it fits me to a T.  I know people of pretty much all personality types and I like reading about how they think and feel to help me better understand them.

While reading about these types the other night, a few of the types had characteristics like “need to feel free.”  I thought we all want to feel free.  But I started to wonder if ‘freedom’ meant something different for different people.  Certainly, I have experienced a few times of “freedom,” some I do not much care for at all!

Some people may relish in having freedom to do what they want, when they want it.  This could mean heading on a spontaneous trip, heading to a store, playing video games, performing a hobby, etc., without having to check in with anyone else, ask, etc.  This sounds nice, yes, but not so much for me.  I may like being able to come and go, but I want someone to care, someone to want to be with me while I do it, or someone to make sure I get home okay.  I have found if I am in a relationship and my partner does not care where I am going, when I am going and what I am doing, I do not necessarily feel freedom.  I had a long-term relationship like this and I can honestly say that I felt trapped more than free.  I did not feel loved, but yet I loved my partner, creating this odd holding cell where I waited for any sign of affection.  To me, this “sense of freedom” was actually hurting me and not allowing me to reach my full potential.

My freedom looks very different.  I tend to be a bit more conservation in a lot of ways, even with my tattoo and sass.  🙂  I have a wild side, a streak of spontaneity, and a side of goofiness that I have to say I adore in myself.  However, I rarely let down my protective walls to be who I am deep down.  That is, unless I am in a relationship where I feel safe.  Once that foundation feels strong and steady, my walls come down and I am as free as I will ever be.  Once I feel loved, there is a security in that love that allows me to gain confidence and be who I am without worrying about other’s opinions.  That is when I am most free.

Odd how my being free is synonymous with being in a relationship while for others it is the opposite.

 

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Grace and praise as my afternoon parenting lesson

I had a moment today that as a parent leaves most of us embarrassed and apologizing longer than necessary.  I had a friend stop by my home and my son, who needed a nap but refused, was on the couch watching transformers as his way to get some rest.  After a bit of time, my mini man walks into the kitchen, crawls on my lap, puts his arms around my face, looks at me, and with all sincerity says, “Can she go home now?  I want it to just be you and me cuddling on the couch.”  While I was touched …

Cue embarrassment.

I felt awful!  Here is a good friend, who is checking up on me while I am also checking up on her.  We are both in a quicksand time in our lives where nothing seems stable.  I know what she needed because I needed it too.  My soul hurt a bit – I loved what my son had said to me and wanted to provide for his needs, while I knew how much it could hurt an already hurting soul to hear that.

However, her response was beautiful, “Thank you for telling me that and not holding it in.”  Double shock for the day.  The grace with which she handled what could have been horribly awkward and the grace with which she handled my child.  Touching.  So, very touching.

I was raised that friends come first.  I was raised to be polite and not rock the boat of being courteous.  I was raised to give and give and give to others.  If I would have said this as a child, I would have been scolded.  And I started to discuss with my son … that wasn’t nice, please don’t say that, etc.  But, I was stopped and I am so glad I was.  My friend, who came to check in on our adult lives, saw something in my mini man that, as a parent, is easy to brush off.  Children always seem to want attention the most when their parents are talking with friends, in person or on the phone.  What she saw in my son was genuine need for love and attention because he was tired and not at 100%.  She empathized and praised him because he wasn’t afraid to ask for what he needed.  What a friend!  What a mini-man!

Her reaction touched me, but also taught me.  I need to make sure I am able to see the need, whether it’s inconvenient or not.  And by her simple acknowledgement of that, I could enjoy time with my son without feeling guilty about how he asked for what he needed.

I am proud to report the rest of the afternoon and evening were spent cuddled on the couch, at the kitchen table, and in bed.  It was glorious.

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You will know it …

Tonight I have something simple, straight forward, but very important for me to get out into the universe.  I can honestly say that I have questioned whether someone loves me, numerous times, almost routinely.  Sometimes it’s my depression talking.  Sometimes, it is part of this weird phase of time that we are in where people have almost lost the ability to show that they love someone, instead of just saying it.  Now, I am a romantic at heart and there are few things sweeter than a love letter, preferably hand written.  That being said, my love language is quality time, so I actually, truly need to be shown love via big and little adventures through life.  I cherish those special times I have had with loved ones, whether routine but fun or large and exhilarating.

My message tonight …

when I love you, you will know it. 

I realize that I am as much a part of this crazy world as anyone else.  I want to make sure that people in my life know that I love them, even when I am mad, hurt, pissed off, depressed, sad, or being forgetful or selfish.  I pride myself on my genuine nature, compassion, and empathy.  I will only continue to improve those areas as I continue my journey in life.

I am touched to know that those in my life, with whom I have confided in recently, have expressed to me that they have always felt loved, my well wishes for them, and my enthusiasm for their life’s blessings.  Perhaps that is my super power.

Once I love you, I always will … and you will know it.

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Oy with the struggles already!

First of all, I love Gilmore Girls.  To the point where I almost put the poodles quote down as the title … but what’s the point when it has nothing to do with this post?  *sigh*  I want to live in Stars Hollow …

Back to the point of this post … struggles.  I am sick and tired of being upset, down, sad, you name it.  None of my hobbies hold any interest, I don’t want to talk to anyone, I just want to come home and lay on my couch or bed.  Some nights, that is exactly what I do.  Then, I can’t sleep and I sit up and think way too damn much (blog post, anyone?).  What do I think about?  I think about how I’m not good enough.

I’ve been working through a lot of things lately and I am quite proud of myself for the determination and progress I have made.  Some days, the kick ass, sassy pants me that I always knew and loved comes back.  Some days, I feel like that person died and memories of her bubble up from time to time.  I miss a part of me that withered a long time ago.  I have had glimpses of her while in the presence of a certain few and that gives me hope.

Point is … I’m working through the depression and the anxiety I have, which I know holds me back.  I realize I need to really come to terms and get through the shame I have solidified in my bones.  I thought I had worked through it, but a reminder pops up and I’m back down in the rabbit hole.  Then I get a hint of love, allow it into my life like an addict accepts a hit, and I find myself back in the rabbit hole.

I have realized how the shame I’ve held on to has created this sense of something being wrong with me.  I actually blame myself when a loved one ghosts out of my life, comes back, and ghosts again.  When I’m lucid, I wonder how on earth someone else’s behavior is my fault, but … this is my struggle.  I feel like I am a bad person, incredibly flawed and messed up, and not good enough.  People treat me that way and I let them because it’s what that little nasty voice in my head tells me.  I blame myself for everything.  Again, if he didn’t want me, I must not be good enough (that he could be one name or another … that thought comes with all of my relationship failures).

However, I’m getting sick of it!  I miss finding fulfillment in hobbies.  I miss having genuine connections with people.  I miss being the snarky, nerdie, all over the place, fun and endearing mess that I am!  I miss just being outside and not feeling the icy loneliness of not being with that one person who pervades my thoughts.  I honestly do not know how to find the connections I need right now.  I will get to that, I know.  I have a new job opportunity that should help to improve that confidence a bit.  I have a few plans for my future that I need to work toward – some new projects I’ve been doing.  What I really need … is that intellectual, thought-provoking environment where I thrive and where I feel the most myself.

What I do not need is another failed relationship … I found what I wanted.  It hurts like hell and there will need to be a lot of work for those scars to heal.  I mean … oy with these struggles already!

I need a kayak, a quiet lake, and maybe a few friends I can dissect a Doctor Who episode with by a campfire.

In other news … Jodie Whittaker!  In further news … at least season two of The Grand Tour will start soon.  Another memory, but damn I love those guys.

Thank you all for letting me vent in the safe space of this blog.  I hope that sharing my process through struggles can help give hope to all of you struggling as well.

What struggle are you finding the most difficult to work through?

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Abandonment – a story in my life

I am spending a lot of time trying to figure myself out – a never ending, always exciting ride.  Some highs, some lows, and some incredible insights that I never saw coming.  In the different compartments of my life, I have a lot of negativity – in most of them.  Even though my son is my one bright spot, the negativity from elsewhere can have me second guessing my parenting, leading to more shame than I already feel.  I will be writing more on shame in the next post.

I love it when things that strike us mesh in a way that is surprising – especially when they are not related in any way, until that moment when it all clicks.  I have been concerned about why I feel drawn to stories about orphans.  I am not an orphan – I have two parents.  They had a nasty divorce and do not speak, but both are very much present in my life.  So, why then do I feel such a connection with characters in stories that happen to be orphaned?  There are other great aspects of each story I’ve connected with, but I have always circled back to that one tidbit of information.

Enter my journey and the readings to help me along the way.  While reading one of my many books on finding your way through (enter whatever you are going through here), I came across the description of what types of betrayal affect trust.  The standards are mentioned, but the one I did not see coming – disengagement. Specifically, disengagement was described as someone not caring or not willing to devote time and effort to you or the relationship.  When someone lets go of their connection with you, especially when it is not mutual, there is a betrayal.  There is a breach of trust.  With that betrayal, shame begets fear begets feelings of being unworthy, unlovable, and abandoned.

Whoa!  Slap me in the face with a wet fish because that was hard, cold, and has a strong odor.

Unfortunately, the reason this smacked me like it did, and has stung my cheek continuously since, is that I have experienced this more times than I can count.  Add in my INFJ personality – my need for a connection while finding it rare to truly connect with someone and we have a mess ladies and gentlemen.  I have had three loves in my past – three specific people that I have allowed in and felt a true connection.  Each one had eventually stopped putting effort into ‘us’ and for me, they stopped fighting for the relationship to win.  Let’s face it folks, a relationship will not survive if both people are not fighting for it to succeed.  Further complicating the situation is that quality time is my love language; no time, no effort, no love.  It all lead to the same conclusion: my feeling unworthy, unlovable, not worth it, and utterly abandoned.

I have carried this shame around, hidden in my heart, sometimes speaking to a bit of it here and there.  I have a few friends who understand the depths of this, but those who do not know where I have been on my journey, to them it is a “simple” issue – ‘you are beautiful and smart … any guy would be lucky to have you.’  Only, that does not help.  It does not matter if I am smart or beautiful – I am unlovable at my core, otherwise, why would they all give up on me?  Honestly, I feel it has snowballed.  My husband did not think I was worth his effort, so why would anyone else?  The next person that entered my life that interested me, I opened the doors wide, allowing him to come in, look around, and leave.  More worthlessness …

I still struggle with these feelings of abandonment and of not being good enough on a daily basis.  I believe this is why the stories of orphans resonates so well with my soul.  The struggle for a lot of these characters is learning to realize they deserve love despite being made to feel unlovable, abandoned, and lonely.  The desire for love and a sense of belonging is strong, so strong.

I will keep trying …

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Love & Grief

“One cannot love, unless it is at their own expense.” ~ Mother Theresa

Unconditional love elates, hurts, but also heals.  It’s beautiful and light, dark and intense.  There are so many lessons in unconditional love about honesty, forgiveness, endurance, persistence, collaboration, consideration, etc.  What the quote suggests, however, is that loving someone is solely our responsibility – we give.  Loving is an act of giving.  You give your time, your affection, your service, things, your encouragement.

We expect that this love is returned in our relationships, but it is not guaranteed.  We do not love only and if only we receive it.  That is not how love works.  You love someone or you don’t.  You give, or you don’t.

Loving someone at our own expense opens us up for grieving that love if it is not returned or, and maybe more importantly, the ability to give that love is taken away.  Love & grief are a package.  Sometimes the grief is small, sometimes it is all encompassing, but it is there.  We love big, we hurt big.  It goes hand in hand.  That is how we know it is worth it.

Oddly enough, we have this notion in our society that we grieve and move on with life.  Yet, if you talk to someone who has gone through deep grief in life, they will tell you that it never goes away.  Ever.  It leaves a mark.  You do not get to grieve and then come out of it.

There is no other side of grief.

There is love, there is pain of loss, and then there is the new normal.  You do not get the option of going ‘back to normal.’  The baseline has changed.  You have changed.  There will be a new normal; a new you.  The you after … love, loss, death.  You feel the pain, as intense and sharp as it may come and you bear it.  The memories – songs, signs, locations, words, scents – they creep up on you and stab you.  The questions that creep into your consciousness, they stab you as well.  They all become gentle stabs over time, but only because you have become used to the sensation – like forming a callus on fingers tips after repeated abuse.  Right when you think you may be able to handle it, the callus falls away and the stabbing may become intense again.

This is the price we pay for loving someone.

When we love someone, and I mean really, genuinely love (not lust, not having general affection), we expend ourselves in our entirety.  We grieve when that love goes away.  We change and create a new version of ourselves.

I find it romantic, if not tragically so, that when you love someone, you change for them.  You change for them lovingly within a solid relationship.  You change because of the loss of them after death.  Or, you change after them when the relationship has been lost … in many cases because one of you refused to change in the first place.  Ironic how that works.

How sweet, if only bitterly, that when you truly love, you always carry that with you through life, like a tattoo in your memories.

 

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Lost Together

Someone shared this quote with me:

If I am lost, find me… but do not ask me to come back just yet.  Sit with me in this lost place and maybe you will understand why I come here too often, what draws me to my neverland.  Find me, but bring me back when I am ready.  Maybe you will get to know me a little better.  Maybe we can get lost together.
~ The Dreamer

YES!

(I literally just pumped my fists in the air – I will not admit that again)

If this is not the most perfect quote for me, I do not know what is.

Who wants to go have adventures getting lost together?  🙂

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