F That Noise!

angry

Not going to lie… I’m frustrated.  More frustrated than I’ve been in a while.  You would think that I would get used to feeling frustrated, especially when my family is involved… and yet, here I am, feeling a bit blindsided once again.

So it’s been a busy week.  I’ve had a few phone interviews, all materializing into in person ones next week.  On the “Find Jen a new Job” front… things are moving along.  But I also got a letter from unemployment this week.  They are reviewing my application and it could take 3-5 weeks to be completed.  So until then… no money for me.  And my severance money from my previous job will not be mailed out until the end of august.  That money will be a good chunk of money to keep me going until spring should I so desire.

Thankfully, I saved some for a rainy day.  It’s enough to cover my house payment.  Which – obviously means it’s not enough – but at least I had that.  I’ve never been out of work for very long, and I am confident that I’ll land one of these jobs.  But I’m frustrated with this strange place of finding myself in a bind.

This morning, I sucked up my pride and I called my dad.  Perhaps he could loan me a little in order to float until I get my severance.  Hell – charge me interest I don’t care.  He wasn’t available to talk to and I put it out of my head.  This evening, I got an earful.  A guilt trip piled on extra thick.  He even ended it with pressuring me to sell the house.

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I’m sorry what?!

… FUCK that!

I’ve come too far… I’ve fought too long and too hard… that is absolute BULLSHIT right there.  And where the hell is the faith Dad?!  I’ve been out of work once in 12 years.  And that one time… it took me approximately 45 days to land a job that made 40K more than the one I’d lost.  If only I had my severance right now… but it’s coming!  I’m not a TOTAL loser here!!  Why does it always feel like my family thinks the absolute worst of me?  What the hell do I have to do to prove to these people that I’m not a fuck up?  I may screw up here and there, but overall… I’m more often than not on a solid positive track in the right direction.

I came home, pouted and cried a little… paced and stewed a little… and figured I’d let some of it out here.  I don’t know, maybe this is my dad’s form of tough love, but honestly, between him and my mom – I’ve had all the tough love I can possibly stand.  I’d just like some real, genuine love for a little bit.  Is that too much to ask?  Some support, a kind word of encouragement and the faith to know that I’ve got this handled… ok so yea, maybe there’s a small blip in things thanks to our government right now… but damn it… I’ve got this.  Ok?!

Goodnight Neverland.  🙂

Sunday night thoughts

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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.

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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.  🙂

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My family… and funerals.

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Today was strange.  Truthfully, I don’t have a lot of experience with funerals.  My daughter insisted on going, and although I had my misgivings, in the end, I was happy she’d come along.  I love that she and I are buddies.  I keep waiting for the terrible teen to show up, but so far (knock on wood!) it really hasn’t hit all that much.  She’s a good kid.  And it was her and I who stood with and for our side of the family today.  We were there to support Dad and my step mom and brother and sister.  But a funny thing happened…

In the end… big picture… we stood as one family together.  It’s the first time that has happened on my dad’s side of the family since I was a teenager.  I hadn’t seen my uncles or aunts or cousins since.  That side of the family has always had it’s issues.  They could never figure out how to just come together.  I was surprised so many of my younger cousins remembered me.  I really didn’t think they would.  Us “kids”, today, we all said enough was enough.  We’re going to get together and screw the old folks, if that’s what it takes.  The idea of it makes me very happy.

I am still processing all of what happened today.  So I apologize if this post comes out in spurts. When I write – I just let my thoughts just come out and then I hit post before I chicken out.  Very rarely will I edit my thoughts, so sometimes, my punctuation and flow might be a little bit raw.

I had a range of emotions when I saw my aunt and her daughters today, and truthfully, I’d done my best to prepare for it.  My aunt is/was addicted to plastic surgery.  And at least one of her daughters seems to be following suit.  I had to remind my daughter not to stare impolitely.  My aunt used to be so very beautiful.  Super model-like.  I cannot quite fathom how bad a person’s self image must be to get to where she is.  So frail and oddly proportioned in places that weren’t quite natural.  She’s not old by any means, I’d wager, she’s in her her early 50’s.  But she looked aged in a different way.  It made me feel incredibly sad for her.  I know nothing of her life, so I cannot judge or begin to understand.  But it still made me feel very sad.

She didn’t know it, but her and I have a common bond.  Grandpa wasn’t happy with either of us.  Her, for her problems with her addiction, and me, because of Ben and a few misunderstandings.

I always felt a bit strange around that side of the family.  I can remember as a kid, feeling both a part of them… and yet.. an outsider looking in.  There was a song by Mariah Carey called Looking In.  As a younger teen, I related to it in how I feel about that family.  I can remember never quite feeling like I mattered with them.  It hurt as a kid, and as an adult, for the most part, I’ve worked my way through it.  Until today, when they listed Grandpa’s grandchildren and forgot me.  Dad had to jump in and say something.  And while I’m grateful and happy that he did… it still stung an old wound I’d forgotten that I’d had.

I learned some things about Grandpa today that I never knew.  He helped build the space needle.  He and Grandma did some interesting entrepreneurial things together (owned a snack bar, a restaurant and something else but I’m not remembering it).  He was 83.  And he had MANY girlfriends.  It was quite funny.  The first girlfriend he ever had was there, along with a few others.  Many had become family to all of us.  🙂

At one point, they invited people to speak.  I don’t know what came over me, but I spoke.  I said how Grandpa was always the one who prized courage.  You might not feel it, but just take a step.  Then take another.  That doing that.. the courage would come.  You might start off in the wrong direction, but you have to start… then you can course correct.  I also said how Grandpa was always there for us.  It didn’t matter if a year had gone by, we could always just call him or come to him.  He’d listen.

Then later, everyone was reminiscing about the last things they told him.  Here, I stayed quiet.  I didn’t need to share my last words.  I felt shame.  I cried.  And it’s ok.

My daughter and I ended up wandering the cemetery a little bit.  We found my great grandmother and great grandfather on my dad’s side.  We put a rock on each one and cleared some of the moss that was growing.  I didn’t know they were there.  We promised each other that at some point, we’ll come back and leave everyone a flower.

It was strange to see my Dad cry.  I don’t think I’ve seen it before.  Maybe during Ben – but truthfully, I don’t recall.  It hurt to see him hurt.  He and I hugged often today.  I tried to give him whatever courage and strength that I could.  He commented on how today was the worst day ever… that he’s sad that he won’t be able to talk to his Dad anymore.  I reminded him that he can still talk to his Dad anytime he wants to.  As I do with Ben.

Grandpa was jewish, as were his adopted parents.  The ceremony was really quite interesting.  Of course, because I don’t speak hebrew, understanding all of it was a bit of a challenge.  We all helped to shovel dirt on top of his casket.  The sound of the first couple shovels was oddly an uncomfortable sound.

A whirlwind of a weekend

This weekend has been an interesting one.  I could use a weekend after the way this one has gone.  So many ups and downs.  Honestly, lately I’ve felt caught up in a bit of a swirl.  I’m not quite sure which way is up and which way is down.  It’s uncomfortable.  I started writing a blog post on Friday, but due to some computer issues, that post was lost.  Interesting how that post was very much about me heading into a hurricane, where as this post will end up feeling as if I’m slowly coming out of it.  Still disoriented, and unsure of which way to go, but feeling a bit more steady on my feet all the same.

I went out for coffee on Friday morning with a friend.  He called me Mrs. Positive.  “Jen you’d climb up a mountain, get hit by a few boulders on the way up and say “yea but look at this bad ass bruise – it looks like Abe Lincoln!”.”

Yea – ok.  Fine.  I try and go through life wearing rose tinted glasses.  I realize that may seem a bit off.  But I don’t see the point in dwelling in the negative.  I suppose you wouldn’t know that if you read this blog – as I often write about the negatives.  But that is actually because I need somewhere to let some of that out.  I don’t like how negativity feels.  It spews out of your mind.. and sticks around.  It’s hard to break the habit of complaining or always pointing out the negative side of life.  I know a few of my friends and loved ones who struggle with this.  To outsiders, they’d be called “complainers”.  They aren’t.  They just don’t automatically try and find the positives.  I do.  Life has far too many negative stressors – why on earth would I want to dwell on them?!  I’d rather celebrate my small wins – wherever they are.

Tonight, as I logged into Facebook, I was greeted by this:

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6 years ago, I posted these.  He hasn’t been on my mind all weekend.  Other things have been taking up space lately.  Fights with my mother, stressful deadlines at work, drama within the love life, it’s just been a lot to take.  But thanks to Facebook – I am reminded of one more reason why I’m having a tough weekend.  And yet – somehow, seeing his face, seeing mine in this photo and the tentative hope that was on my very tired looking face.  Thanks Facebook.  Oddly, I’m comforted by this today.

I said some horrible things to my mom today.  In the moment, they were earned – even deserved.  But now, I feel bad.  The thing is, I love my mom.  I always have and I always will.  But… Sometimes, she says and does things that are really hurtful.  Sometimes, when she acts that way, I feel worthless or stupid.  As a kid, I can remember the occasions when we’d fight… I hate fighting with her.  We both have very sharp tongues.  I learned it from her.  I have never liked that side of myself.  Makes me wonder if she thinks about that side of herself in a similar light?  I think somehow, that would make me feel better.  She just doesn’t hear me.  She gets so focused on pushing her way that she steam rolls anyone in front of her.  Tunes them out and doesn’t even hear what they’re saying.  Then she’ll have herself so worked up that she won’t hear you until she’s calmed all the way back down again – and that can take some time and patience.  And usually – the person who’s on the other end of that angry woman to cave and compromise or give in.

Sometimes, I don’t want to give in.  Sometimes, I want to be heard.  She doesn’t have to agree with me – hell she can tell me to go fuck off for all I care, so long as she actually HEARS me.  That’s all I wanted today.  For her to hear what I was saying – because if she’d just shut up and listened to the words I’d said – I’d said that I would help her.  That I didn’t care about anything but doing what I could to help her reduce the load and remove the stress.  But she was on such a rant that she couldn’t hear that.  Sigh.  I lost my temper.  I yelled.  I’d asked my grandfather a question, and she yelled at me for daring to go over her head.  I told her that she was not the matriarch of this family, that we were equals and that I was perfectly in my rights to ask him any question I like.  I held my tongue here.  I told her that just because she is my mother does not give her the right to be disrespectful or to treat me that way.  That I may have taken it as a child, but that I didn’t have to take it as an adult.  I told her that if she continued to act like this, she’d end up a lonely old woman who no one would want to be around.  I told her to get counseling.

While I wouldn’t take back any of what I said – I stand my ground on all of it – I still feel guilt over it all.  I hate that.  I can remember as a kid, after these types of situations, I’d feel such tremendous guilt over the situation.  I’d go make her a sandwich or scrambled eggs.  I’d take out the garbage or do some other small chore to try and make up for it.  I wish I could learn a better way to come to a good place with someone after a conflict like that.

Life is short.  I know this better than most.  I know that I’ll keep trying with my mother.  I love her.  She loves me.  She and I have come along way over the years.  I’ve cooled down a lot over the years.  My Irish doesn’t show nearly as often as it used to.  Life has thrown me curves, and I’ve learned to duck and swerve.  I refuse to get caught in the trap of my own negativity.

Tomorrow, I’ll go back to work.  It’ll be another long, stressful, yet glorious week.  I look forward to all the crazy dramatic challenges that will be thrown my way.  And my personal life… I’ll figure it out.  I always do.  Put on a good song, light a few candles, write in my blog, and suddenly, I know that I’ll find my way.

Never fear! Anxiety is here!! Wait…

Anxiety

I’m nervous.  I’ve been fighting some strange tummy troubles in the past month and a half.  I’ve been in and out of the ER twice, seen my doctor twice, and was referred to 2 specialists.  The original plan was to go, in mid November, for a couple of procedures that would “give us the answers”.  Yesterday, my specialist called me and they felt it was necessary to get me in for an emergency appointment for both of the procedures.  So suddenly, I had to clear my calendar for friday and start the prep needed to do the procedures.  (Endoscopy and Colonoscopy… EW)

On one hand, I’m relieved.  The idea of getting answers to this month long miserable journey is fantastic!  It means that perhaps … relief from these symptoms is just around the corner.

On the other hand…

My doc sat me down in her office.  Laid out some of the possibilities they’re leaning towards.  They range from mid-level-scary to freak-me-out-scary.  Obviously, I’m hoping it’ll be something simple and easy.  I’ve been good at squashing the side of me that loves to stick her head in the sand.  I’ve been doing everything I’ve been told to do by the doctors.  I’m trying so hard to stick with it and not get discouraged or distracted.

What if they do these things tomorrow and still find no answers?  What if they find something scary?  What if I somehow screw up and they can’t even do the test?

Yesterday was Ben’s birthday.  A time of year when I’m a mess anyway.  When I got this phone call – it was first with a push to go back to the ER.  I cried and begged to not be made to go back there.  Not on that day.  The last place on the planet I wanted to be yesterday was at a hospital.  So instead, they squeezed me in to see my doc.  I had the anesthesiologist pre-op appointment.  I came home and tried to just stay calm.

Today – things erupted at work.  Stress is high.  There’s too much work to do, not enough people to do it and not nearly enough time.  It’s not ideal.  I managed as best as I could.  I’m hoping they remain understanding tomorrow when I’m unavailable.

I’m trying to remember that life doesn’t give you more than you can handle.  And that the perspective of exactly what we can handle will change.  I might not think I can handle it – but in 6 months when I look back, I’ll see how strong I am.

T said that to me yesterday.  How strong I am.  How I just keep moving and barrel through.  It struck me as a bit odd.  He sees that as such a feat of accomplishment.  I see it as an automatic.  What else are you going to do when facing a problem?  There’s only one solution – you tackle it.  How you tackle it might vary and change, but ultimately – you have to move forward or step back.  I suppose you could say I don’t typically enjoy states of limbo.  Is that a strange view to have these days?  Seems perfectly normal to me, although, to be honest, my normal meter has got to be at least a little bit broken.

Well – I better get off here and go get a few things done.  Much love to you.  Goodnight Neverland!

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