It’s a write twice kind of day. I’m feeling thoughtful today. Reflective. Not in a bad or negative way, but in a very quiet kind of way. It kind of feels like my emotions are hovering just below the surface today and if I’m not super careful they’ll all come rushing out. Not exactly where I like to be – but maybe it’s necessary.
I spent some of my morning thinking about the concept of “Gaslighting”. Having experienced it, I shared what I was feeling in the moment, and how it doesn’t feel good to have someone make you question your own memory or worse – sanity. I’ve had people do things like that to me since I was just a little kid- and even today- as a 37 year old woman -I still struggle to always be able to recognize it for what it is in the moment. But this morning – I did. And it’s left me pondering things.
Ugh… i’m blocked. I have things i want to say. Things i want to let come spilling out of me – but I don’t feel like this is the moment. I don’t feel like I’m in the right headspace to let it out and actually have it make sense. I’ve been struggling ALL day to make sense of my own head. Even in a one-on-one meeting with my boss this morning I was struggling. Either I would be too quiet – or suddenly an avalanche of communication would come flooding out of me all at once. My boss totally felt bombarded in that moment and I felt guilty afterwards. As a leader – I need to learn to be more succinct. It’s hard for me sometimes – as i’m the over communicator.
Well – I’ll just leave this here for now. Who knows – I may come back and add more later if I can figure out what it is I’m trying to actually lay down.
I’ve been hiding from my phone for the past couple of days. Ok, maybe not hiding, but I plug it in and walk away from it. I don’t want to be near it. Families… weddings… I swear, weddings, funerals and babies bring out the crazy in people. And typically – when the crazy comes out – someone gets hurt.
I guess this time… that person is me. I’m hurt. Reeling actually. I feel as if I’ve been singed and cut by someone I never thought I’d have to fear.
My “bro”. He’s not related to me by blood, but we call each other “brother” and “sister”. We met 13 years ago, he was my neighbor who lived with his then-girlfriend across the hall. I swear, the first time I met him, I knew he was my brother from another mother. LOL. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs over the years, but we were always there for each other. He’s always been there for me.
I knew, as his wedding day approached that our friendship was about to change in a big way. Ideally, I’d gain a cool sister out of the deal. But she has never seemed to have much interest in that, we don’t share a lot of the same ideals, so I get it. Actually – I wish she understood exactly just how much I get it. The Bro’s life is about to change in a pretty serious way. His life now must be with her. Up until recently, I’ve been excited to think about what is in store for their future… moving in together, babies, eventually buying a house, doing all the things that I know he wants to accomplish. And I knew that our friendship would move to the very back… like nosebleed seats. And I’m cool with that – hell – I’ve been pushing him in this direction. I guess I figured we’d get through his wedding day first. I was wrong. And truly, I’m not sure our friendship can recover from this. And if I’m honest, After all that was said, I’m not entirely sure I want it to.
I won’t spill all the details here… but I will say that I wish I could help some people see how much their words can damage. How their tone and the way they approach other people will directly impact how their words are received. I will also say that it takes a very brave and yet rather stupid man to judge another. My bro laid out many of the decisions I’d made over the course of my life … pointing out my mistakes, effectively rubbing my nose in the areas he felt I didn’t measure up. Not just in my past, but even now. But he did all of this, only knowing bits and pieces of the story. He judged me… and it came across with anger, disdain, disappointment and shame. His soon to be wife even joined in the “fun”. She’d verbally attacked me prior to my bro letting me have it. Screamed at me and said I was a horrible “best man”. Ironic she did that when I was putting finishing touches on some bachelor party related stuff earlier that evening. It was a hard hitting 1-2 verbal sucker punch from them as a couple.
I won’t lie, that first 24 hours after they both let me have it… I was a wreck. I broke down. I bawled and went quiet. I crawled inside my world and licked my wounds. I wasn’t even angry, I was self-reflective. I had to check myself… make sure that what he’d said wasn’t true. I guess because I’ve been actively working on self-improvement, I had to really take a good look and make sure that there weren’t areas of his feedback that I needed to consider. The next day, we spoke again and he apologized and tried to sweep it under the rug. Even tried to deny some of what he’d said the night before. I thanked him for the apology but stated that for me to feel comfortable attending the wedding and the festivities, that I would like an apology from his fiance/soon to be wife. He agreed that I deserved it, but warned that I might not get it from her right away. He laid out various reasons and excuses for why I should just let it go. About 15 minutes after he said he’d talk to her and get back to me, my phone rang. It was her, and I answered it pleasantly, as I didn’t want to start things off on the wrong foot. She immediately started yelling – even yelled an apology. Yea – cuz THAT feels totally sincere. I hung up on her, and texted her that perhaps it would be better to move to text. Honestly, I just didn’t want to be yelled at anymore. We texted a little – but I pretty quickly gave up on that too. So here I sit, no sincere apology and still feeling incredibly upset and uneasy a few days later.
Yes, I could back down… I could suck it up and be there for him on his wedding day. And likely – I will do this. More for me than him. I don’t want to feel guilty 10 years from now for not showing up. And I’ll go into it knowing there’s the potential for drama, or daggers being thrown at me, there will be the potential for awkward uncomfortable silences, and even worse, a high chance that I will end up feeling used or insulted by the end of all of this. I will suck it up, BUT… I’m done. Or at least I think I am. I’m going to just keep going down my own life’s path… because I’m dying to see what happens in the next chapters of my life. To get thru this, i’m going to keep telling myself that it’s not my circus, and not my monkeys.
I’m a grown woman who’s made a successful, full and happy life for herself. I’m a woman who has good, sweet, smart children who may stumble or struggle in their life in places, but who know without a shadow of a doubt that their momma loves them and would do anything to see that they are safe and well cared for. I don’t deserve to be talked to or treated in that manner. Especially when what is being said isn’t true. At least I had that going for me, I knew, deep down in my heart that nothing they said was true about me… that it was being said out of spite and anger and jealousy. But here’s the thing, even knowing that… it still hurt. It was a different hurt tho. This hurt came from knowing that the someone I trusted over the years is now throwing daggers… they are no longer worthy of my trust. That perhaps I’d misjudged him all along.
So … because of all of this… I’ve been avoiding my phone. I’ve been staying off social media and just kind of hiding in my world. I’ve had some shifts in a few friendships in the last few months… each of them shook me to my core for various reasons. This one is no different. What is interesting to me is that when I promised myself that I’d get healthy, even if that meant cutting toxic situations out of my life… I guess I didn’t realize how many of my relationships had toxic layers woven into them. Maybe living on my own and staying single for a while truly WAS the best thing I could have done for myself. I’m so glad I’ve done it up to this point. I’ll have to watch myself moving forward… I’m putting up my walls with everyone – unintentionally. And I don’t mean to. I am just unsure on who to trust, vs. who will judge me or hurt me. Easier to just put up the walls a bit.
I had an interview today – it went quite well. I felt confident, for the first time in months actually. A genuine confidence, not the kind where you fake it till you hopefully make it. Maybe being shaken to my core this weekend was good for me. Helped remind me who I am. Where I’ve been, and more importantly, where I am headed.
I miss you. I think about you… Every. Single. Day. I don’t think that will ever change. Some days, it’s just a quiet note in the back of my mind, and other days, it’s heavy and thick, a cloud (not necessarily a bad one) that hovers at the forefront of my thoughts.
6 years ago, you died in my arms, and it would be honest of me to admit that a part of me died that day too. I’m ok now. I don’t often come to tears about all that happened anymore. And that’s not what this post is about… it’s about something else.
You see, I made a promise to you. I promised that I would get happy and healthy and on track. And in many, many ways, I have done just that. But sometimes, I feel like it’s not enough. That I just don’t measure up to my own expectations… or anyone else’s. I know, logically, that that is not the truth. That any outsider looking into my life would call “Bollocks!” on me. I have a good life, a nice house, a car, great kids, great friends. I’m losing weight steadily. Doing all the things I promised to do.
Where I’m lacking … is really just in one place. My love life. And for the most part, I do a pretty good job of not focusing on it and instead staying involved in a bazillion other things. Hobbies are good! Heck, there are definitely times when I enjoy being single, with no strings attached to anyone. But every so often… I can’t help but think…
“What’s wrong with me?” “Why do I struggle to find the right person for me?”
I get feedback all the time from a variety of people that I’m a cool chick. Good with conversation, kind, sweet, smart, funny, pretty… so what’s the deal? I’m trying to tell myself that perhaps it’s just not the right time. That things happen when they are supposed to. Who knows… maybe I’ve had my happiness? I guess I could be ok with that, but it certainly feels off to me.
I know that you’re with me. As odd as it may sound, sometimes, I swear I feel your presence with me. It’s these moments that I wish I could talk to you. You show up in my dreams sometimes… not as a little boy – but a grown man. In my dreams, I know you’re dead, but we still have these amazing conversations. Somehow, I know you would have been an amazing man to be around. I see it in Grayson sometimes too. I know he’s going to be a good man. Someone who is both ambitious and patient and loving. I’m lucky in the kids department. My daughter is growing up to be a woman that I’d want to be friends with, someone I’d admire. Yea, she has areas she’s going to struggle with, and lessons she needs to learn that will also help change and guide her down her path, but I see it. A glimmer of who she will become.
I regret that I won’t get to see that in you. Some people say that it’s the brightest lights that get called to return home. Maybe that’s why you weren’t long for this world… but I certainly long for you.
I don’t pray to god anymore. I haven’t in 6 years. Oddly – I pray to you. My Ben. And right now – I’m putting this little prayer into writing. I’d like some help finding peace with the idea that perhaps I’m not meant to find another relationship. Perhaps my path leads me somewhere entirely different. And more than anything, I’d like to come to place where I’m content with that.
I miss you. I will always miss you. And if I haven’t said it yet today – I love you. Mommy always will.
Tonight I spent some time quietly just sitting and reflecting. Truthfully, I don’t do this enough. It has been a busy weekend. We had friends and their children stay the weekend with us. I don’t think the house has ever had that many people in it, let alone sleeping in it. It was a lovely weekend, high in energy. Today, some friends came over for a visit, we watched movies and played Uno. It was a lovely way to finish out the busy weekend, but I think what really helped to calm and center me was simply to light a few candles and sit cross-legged on my couch and just be in the moment.
It’s interesting, society spends so much time trying to distract themselves from living in the moment. Movies, video games, social media, food, alcohol, drugs…. all of these things we use to disappear into. Trying desperately to fill a hole in their lives that they may not even fully realize is there, let alone have the know-how on filling it. It would be a lie to say that I’m not one of those people. But every now and then, typically after I’ve had a loud, overstimulating few days, I have to just stop everything and just breathe.
I think I know how to fill it. I think it comes with time and age, and just learning to understand who you are at the core of your being. And accepting it for what is. But I’m also good at trying to fill a void. 🙂 And there are a few for me… more than a few. I have a rich and full life. A wonderfully large family, whom I see often, a variety of friends who are as near and dear to me as family should be, I have my children who I have very close relationships with… even loving pets whom I adore. And yet, sometimes, I’m lonely. It’s silly really – as I rarely have alone time, so how on earth can one feel lonely… but it’s the honest truth.
I spent some time thinking about that too tonight. Why do we desire to share our lives with someone else… especially when we think about the fact that the journey we each walk down is ours and ours alone. So logically, if that’s the case, then you will never truly be able to share your life with someone. OR… I suppose you could look at it the other way – you share your life with anyone and everyone who touches it… to what degree and the depth that you share will vary and depend on a variety of variables. My god I sound like an engineer. I know, I overthink everything! 🙂
I’ve been in the new house almost 3 months now. It’s amazing how time flies. Sometimes it feels like I’ve been here so much longer than that, and other times, it feels like it was just yesterday that we moved in. I think a part of that is just because of the swirl of other tests life has thrown at me since we got here. I’m so proud to be here. To own my own place. I have a solid plan in motion on getting it paid off, and in a few years, I intend to invest in something additional – either property or business-wise. It’s fun, knowing that those goals are not only in front of me, but very much attainable. 🙂
I’m looking forward to the summer. Between my little garden (next year’s will be bigger if I have anything to say about it), my art, my children, my work and my new kayaks… I think the summer days will be quite filled with a lot of fun.
I’m building a full on art studio in my house. It’s been quite a thrill so far to start putting together. When I’m finished, I think I will finally have my dream studio space. It’ll take me a couple of years to really get it where I want to, but I will get there. 🙂 I’m even making one of the rooms a photography studio – something I’ve been dreaming of having for about 5 years now.
Little pieces of my life, long-loved interests and hobbies are all finally starting to come together and find a place in my life. It’s interesting to me. I’d never have guessed that it would take me risking everything and breaking out on my own in order to find confidence in being myself. At my core, I always saw myself as being fairly confident… but it’s only the last 5 months or so that I really feel like I’ve come into my own. I see myself now. All of me. Not just the good parts and not just the bad. I care about my own well-being. Funny, I think I’d stopped. Maybe I had given up? Maybe losing Ben and my husband and my family and my friends did more to me than I gave it credit for.
In the last few weeks, I feel a bit like Andy, from the movie “The Shawshank Redemption”; when he climbs out of the sewer pipe and strips himself from the final rags from the prison and just stands in the pouring rain, drinking it all in. Living life, even with all the scary parts, with all the pain, or insecurities, the grief, … is a spectacular thing. I wouldn’t give up a single moment of it. And I refuse to be one of those people who sit by and just accept the monotonous daily grind… especially when adventures can begin anywhere with anything.
My daughter is learning about gardening this year. She has a few plants that she is growing all on her own, and even something as simple as a strawberry plant… watching it grow from seed to plant, growing and tending it, and now… the joy of the first few berries… has been an adventure for us all. Researching a new subject for a painting or cartoon is an adventure. Going on a weekend to explore a new city is an adventure. Exploring the nearby lakes with my new kayak, all the wildlife and amazing scenery – these are all the adventures I’ve got going on in my world these days. And it’s these types of adventures… that continue to fuel me and bring me so much happiness.
So to you, Neverland, go have an adventure this week. I know I will. 🙂
A few of my friends are doing the online dating thing. I’ve tried it before… and it’s just really not my thing. And, it always felt like the people on those sites are looking for something very different than anything I wanted. Don’t worry – I’m staying away from anything like that these days. Heck, my interest in trying on a bunch of different guys to see if one fits probably equals my desire to go to the dentist for some drilling… there’s so many other things I’d rather be doing. I think that with the current hookup society, the idea of dating is a bit intimidating and would be quite frustrating. I’m a bit old fashioned. For me, I cannot disconnect sex and the emotions of love. So I’ve been avoiding putting myself into those types of situations until I feel that I’m ready to love someone again. It just seems safer all around…for everyone involved. And it’s worked out fine! I’m enjoying focusing on other things. And I know that eventually, I’ll stumble upon someone who fits me and I’ll hop back on the roller coaster ride of love all over again.
That said tho, I DO enjoy living vicariously through my friends. Some of the dates they go on are real doozies. I got into a conversation yesterday with friends about the notion of catfishing with photos. It was interesting to hear other people’s perspectives on the concept. What we were referring to was the notion that someone will portray them-self as one way when really they are another. So a fluffy chick might take pics from the neck up, or in particularly flattering angles in order to get a photo that she could then use on a dating website. While the photo IS her… it’s not necessarily painting a full or accurate picture of who they really are or what they look like.
Here’s my question tho… where do you draw the line? EVERYONE prefers to post pictures that they feel are flattering. Men and woman BOTH do this. And if you think about it, in this day an age of online dating, of COURSE you want to put your best self forward.
One of my friends believed you shouldn’t put the makeup shots out there, that we as a society have to do away with the duckface selfies and anything remotely similar. To ONLY be real. And while I can understand his attitude on this… and even agree with it a little bit… it’s also completely unrealistic. Never going to happen my friend!
But then you have the people that swing the other way – they post pictures that are 50 lbs ago, or 5 years ago, or both. Back when they had a full head of hair, rather than a receding hair line. I know why they post them… trying to put your best foot forward again. It makes sense. But it’s not ok to do unless you caption the photo correctly!
So.. again I say… where’s the line? It’s not like you’re going to take a photo of yourself and then using a red paintbrush in photoshop circle or draw arrows to all your flaws. That would be going above and beyond.
J, my other girlfriend says she likes to post both..the full make up, looking hot selfies, along with at least one un-makeup’d face, plus of course at least one full body shot. I think that seems like a good compromise.
So to those of you out there who are building your online dating profiles, looking for love, consider what pictures you use in your profiles. Are you really being REAL? How much of yourself do you put out there? Do you mix it up, do you caption well?