Archive | August 2015

My Mouth Wrote A Check And My Ass is Desperately Trying to Cash It!

I have an old friend of more than 25 years who was fond of saying, ” Now don’t let yo mouth write a check yo ASS can’t cash!” stock-photo-a-male-hand-filling-out-the-amount-on-a-cheque-151167116

Thus, I sit here late night blogging at my computer desk after just putting freshly washed sheets on my bed. After mopping my dining room/living room and finally putting down my new cranberry area rug to “pull the dining room decor together”. My hands and the room smells like Fabuloso with a faint whiff of Gain detergent. I’m so friggin exhausted right now that I hope this blog has a point when I post it tomorrow morning because this is all I got.

Let’s back it up a few weeks so some of this will make sense. My Avon lady, Linda, works at my job and I was on my way to go pay her for an order she’d delivered earlier. I was also going on break so my girlfriend, Karina asked me to grab a Pampered Chef catalog from Linda to bring back to her. It seems my Avon lady was having a Pampered Chef party. I got to her desk, paid her and remembered the catalog. I sat down in the break room and started thumbing through it, all the while thinking to myself, Pampered Chef is way too expensive for me to buy. Especially after I’d just moved into my new place last month. As I went through that damn catalog, I was surprised to realize I already had A LOT of their smaller, economical and extremely useful products. Karina came up to the break room with another friend, Lydia,  so I relinquished the catalog to her. We started discussing all the great items in the catalog, which I said were just too rich for my blood currently. Lydia said she wanted to order a lot of stuff. Then Karina suggested that I book a Pampered Chef party so I could get steep discounts and some free products. Lydia chimed in right away to say, she would hold off ordering from Linda if I was going to book a party. I hemmed, I hawed, I hedged, totally noncommittal with no intentions of booking a PC party! Karina kept saying I could pass a catalog around at work AND have a home party for my friends where I lived… or maybe that was me musing out loud, I can’t remember. All I know is the idea had taken root and was slowing blooming in my mind. We trooped back down to our department where we all sit near each other. Karina’s cubicle mates were curious about the Pampered Chef catalog. They asked who was having the party and she told them Linda was, but Tammi was thinking of booking a party so they may want to order from me. REALLY??? I swear I’d been noncommittal, I swear! So then there was office “discussion” with everyone encouraging me. My cubicle mate, Kristen, used to sell it and she said she needed to replace her old ice cream scooper and could place an order from my party because they were the best. I caved and sent Linda an email asking her to put me in touch with her consultant. Later that afternoon I was texting with the Pampered Chef consultant. Yes, she was willing to come to my town (which is quite a ways away) to do an in-home party and cooking demonstration. A date was locked in, she emailed me a link with instructions and I got two extra catalogs from Linda to pass around the office…. In case you haven’t figured it out, THIS IS THE CHECK my mouth wrote. I passed the catalog to my co-workers at work and I sent out a message in a closed women’s Facebook page for the town where I live. The response was positive and favorable at work and on Facebook!

I must interject to say this was two weeks ago. My new apartment still was not completely decorated or put together, but I blithely assumed, cavalierly planned to get all that done the weekend before the party. No problem, right? HA! You guys read my blog a couple of weeks ago “The Best Laid Plans”… It’s now 1:30 am and my bedroom is a moderate disaster although the public rooms are finished. Baby Bub’s room requires heavy equipment and therefore, will be barricaded for the party. No joke.

My consultant will arrive at 4:30 this afternoon to set up a few “workstations” because she will be having my party guests cooking the main dish, Lemon Pepper Artichoke Pasta, and the dessert, Angel Food Strawberry Trifle. My job was to buy all the ingredients and I did after work yesterday. I still often wonder, who the hell hijacked my life. IMG_0916Who is this popular, beloved social butterfly that is willing to keep extending herself, stretching her boundaries, obliterating her comfort zones? For fucks sake man, I’m BLOGGING about my LIFE, and I don’t remember when I’ve ever felt more alive or completely present! As exhausted as I am, though recently fortified with some leftover spaghetti sauce with spaghetti squash, I’m not really panicking over the fact that I will have 8-10 friends in my house for a party. That’s a conservative estimate, the number of actual guests may be higher. The catalog order total from work is so high that I think I might be my Pampered Chef consultant’s new best friend. She makes a point, repeatedly, when we text or email each other to tell me how amazed she is by me. Hopefully combined with my home party orders I will be looking at some serious free product and steep discounts!

Maybe my ass isn’t so desperate about cashing this particular “check”. I mean, it won’t go off exactly as I planned, but what the fuck ever does. I’m starting to think the real price of cashing this check is opening my home and my life to so many, who have loved and supported me all along. I never, ever used to want anyone to see where I lived or how I lived. I was so insecure and terrified, certain I would be found lacking or wanting in everyone’s eyes. The truth is I judged myself so very harshly. What I love about this blogging process is when I start writing on a topic or subject, what it ends up being is usually something deeper and different from what it started as. Perhaps it wasn’t my mouth writing that check after all, but my Higher Self. The Divine within knowing that I no longer judge myself the way I used to and understanding that my friends never did or would.

This entry was posted on August 29, 2015. 4 Comments

A Little Something On Strength or Something Along That Path…

Strength: the state or quality of being physically or mentally strong. 2. the ability to withstand or exert great force, stress, or pressure. 3. something that is regarded as being beneficial or a source of power: their chief strength is technology.      chinese-717352__180

I needed to look up the word strength and felt compelled to copy & paste the definition for the purposes of this “requested” blog topic because when I started thinking about strength, my mind went in a couple of different directions. In the 12 step rooms, when asked to share in a meeting or one on one, it’s sometimes called sharing our experience, strength and hope. The phrase “strength of character” rolled through my brain as well. There is also a song very special to my heart called ‘Strength, Courage, and Wisdom’ by India Arie with a phenomenal message.

I’ve been considered strong by many friends and family. I don’t always feel like it, but I know it to be true at this point in my life.  What I know for sure is my strength was borne of crawling, kicking and screaming, out of a victim mentality. It was also borne of being the adult single parent in a family of four. The one who had to learn to be responsible whether I wanted to or not. The one who had to stand up for my children, teach them to stand up for themselves and model how to do it. I almost have to squint to try and recall the grown up girl-child looking for someone to take care of me, who became a  young woman-child who was looking for someone to save me and finally developed into a woman who learned I could take care of and save myself through the grace of a Higher Power (God)  and with the help of trusted friends, family and mentors to show me the way.

I was really very good at my victim role as a girl-child. My weapons of manipulation were artful self-pity, tearful breakdowns and at times subtly guilting others for having it better than me… you know the kind, where I talked about how broke I was, how rough I had it, or pointed out how great it must be that they are doing so well until a friend or family member stepped in to give me money or helped me with my solutions more than I did. I attracted and collected caretakers, codependents and enablers of the well-meaning, dysfunctional and/or controlling variety. I slowly, oh so slowly, grew tired of having to get others to rescue me and I realized I could save myself. I grew stronger for it, but not entirely certain I was capable of taking care of myself and my children as a young woman-child. The young woman-child fantasized about a man, a winning lotto ticket, and in one misguided instance, a woman swooping in to take care of me and mine. None of those fantasies became actual viable solutions.

This was the time in my mid-to-late 20’s, when I was separated from my then husband, going out to clubs, living out my “hoochie” days but still   “messing” around with him. Hanging on to an idea of marriage and family that never really was which I couldn’t let go of. Until I became pregnant with our third and final child. Yes, my estranged husband was the father. We already had two young boys aged 7 and 5. I instinctively knew I was carrying a girl. I just knew it and I was right. When I gave birth to my daughter at the age of 28, I understood a few things that I was either in denial about or just flat out ignored. Children learn more from example than what you tell or even teach them. I’d done a piss poor job of it until then. I needed to get my act together for this female soul that had chosen me as her mother and for my young princes as well. It was my children who were the catalysts for my personal growth, my spiritual expansion and mental strengthening. My progress at times over the years felt non-existent. Yet as new challenges and different issues arose, I began to see it in myself. I also began to understand that each new strength and accomplishment was a bridge for the next level in life, come what may.

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There were, and still are, many guides, guardian angels and gifts wrapped in shit to show me, carry me and teach me the state or quality of being physically and mentally strong. The graces and mercies of my Higher Power, whom I choose to call God taught or forced me to develop the ability to withstand or exert great force, stress or pressure when life called for it. Lastly, I’m learning to NOT hide my light, my strength, “under a bushel” because it’s something that is regarded as being beneficial or a source of power.

 

 

This entry was posted on August 27, 2015. 1 Comment

Showing Up

“Showing up is 80% of life,” – Woody Allen

shame-799095__180I came across this quote for the first time several years ago and it struck a chord deep inside me. It resonated because I’ve struggled greatly with showing up for my life. As a consequence, I struggled with showing up for the lives of others when they counted on me for them or they wanted me to be with them. My unwillingness to leave the house came from a deep fear of life and an even deeper insecurity about myself. I can’t even pinpoint or remember exactly when or where I became so cripplingly afraid of life. But I was.

I’d do all kinds of preparation for something but not show up for the actual event. Once, back when I was attempting to go to college, I went through a very involved application and interview process with a law firm in the Bankers Hill section of San Diego. I got the job and they even gave me split shifts to work around my school schedule. It was for a pretty decent hourly wage at that time too. But I never showed up for the first day of work. Just didn’t go. I was too afraid I wouldn’t be able to live up to the opportunity. Another time I missed a whole semester of school (San Diego City College) because I was too paralyzed by fear, insecurity and lack of confidence to walk out the door on the first day of school. I remember holding my son, Charles, who was 2 or 3 years old I think and sobbing in my front hallway because I couldn’t get out the door. I slid down the wall just sobbing and holding him. I just couldn’t face school, class, expectations. I had to call the babysitter I had lined up and paid for by social services to tell her I wasn’t coming to drop off my son and I wasn’t going to school this semester after all. I’d registered for classes and everything. Both of these instances occurred when I was in my early 20’s and still married. Don’t even get me started on the ways that I mentally “checked out” of my marriage, while simultaneously emotionally and socially clinging to a young husband who was silently wondering what the hell happened to the outgoing, smart social butterfly he fell for.

sad-516702__180This was a running theme throughout my developing adulthood. I missed a dear friend’s wedding after saying I’d attend, and we were close friends. These were just the physical “no shows”. The years of not showing up emotionally or mentally, because there was no true spirituality in my life then. It was painful, this debilitating insecurity and crippling fear that I hid behind, pretending to be a “homebody” that didn’t like socializing. To survive I’d find a small group of friends or one single friend that I could glom onto, taking on their mannerisms, likes and dislikes for an identity. The truth is I lacked so much confidence in myself that I didn’t know how to show up for myself, let alone others. I wasn’t capable of believing deep down that people wanted me around because I didn’t really want to be around myself. Even when I did show up, I got really good at hiding in plain sight.

So what happened? I stopped running from myself and turned to God. I learned that God truly does work through other people if you let Him. It turns out I wasn’t as good at hiding in plain sight as I thought. Wonderfully patient friends that I think of as spiritual kin gently pointed out this delusional social camouflage of mine and lovingly placed me in situations where I had to be “seen”. Places where I had to be front and center. They encouraged me as I continued to show up in so many ways. They told me over and over how beautiful I was, how much my presence was appreciated and how I was an important part of the group. I began to feel how amazing it was to be present for God, myself, and others in the smallest of ways. This gave me courage and confidence to show up in bigger ways like volunteering to be of service to my community, stepping up to be with a friend when he was ready to honor his mother’s last wishes by spreading her ashes in the ocean and just simply reaching out to others in distress. As I continued to emerge, I began to attract people in my life, my inner circle that I’ve truly valued and respected. People who trusted me with their emerging true selves.

stock-photo-friends-friendship-group-hug-relationship-concept-290171423This past weekend gave me many, many opportunities to show up and by doing so for God, myself and others I am blessed with nearly indescribable gifts. Gifts of trust, honesty, creativity, empathy, joyful tears, gratitude, connection and the greatest of all things, love. Sometimes I forget that today, I do show up. Writing this blog reminds me that while I am human, I also am expanding the Divine in me.

This entry was posted on August 25, 2015. 3 Comments

Four Rooms

“There is an Indian proverb that says that everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time but unless we go  into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person.” — Rumer Goddenmedicine-wheel-570101__180

In which room do you spend most of your time?

awakening-675330__180It’s silly, but I’m kind of afraid of my answer to this question. I’m sitting here thinking and thinking about it, which tells me it’s the mental for me. Why am I afraid of that? I’m in my head quite a bit these days, but I don’t live there like I used to. Or maybe I should say (write?) that my head is a safer room for me these days than it used to be. It’s often said in the (12 step) rooms that an addict or alcoholic alone is in bad company, or  the inside of an addict or alcoholic’s head is a bad neighborhood to wander alone. Although that speaks more to isolating when you are in a bad space. As I wrote in my blog post this past Tuesday “The Best Laid Plans”, I’ve gotten pretty good at self-soothing or taking care to reach out when I’m in a bad space.

When I wake up every morning I thank my Higher Power, whom I choose to call God, for another day clean and sober. Then I spend time praying, meditating or reading daily recovery readings. This is my spiritual room. To be honest there are days when I barely air it out, but I go into it nonetheless.

I view my emotional nature as a blessing now. That was not always the case as I was trained and taught from an early age not to be. But today I honor my emotions when they come up by first allowing them their space inside me, then I acknowledge my emotions and allow them to pass. I rarely hang onto or wallow in them. This has been a valuable learned tool in my emotional sobriety.

My physical room has been looking and feeling pretty good as of late. I am making healthier choices with my food and drink lots of water throughout the day and night. My Yoga and walking are improving with hiking just on the horizon. So my physical room is barely aired maybe 1 or 2 days a week but I hit it up on the regular.

I believe I am a balanced person progressing towards completion… Yeah, I like the sound and feel of that.stock-photo-balancing-stones-on-white-background-222348769

How about you and your rooms?

This entry was posted on August 22, 2015. 4 Comments

Gifts Wrapped In Shit… Finding My Blessing or Lesson

gift for you I’m an alcoholic and drug addict. I’ve been single, meaning no relationships, no dating or (gulp) sex for over 15 years. I am a diabetic. I have Lupus. Let’s take them one at a time, shall we?

I am an alcoholic and drug addict, sober and in recovery for 18 years. Before I found recovery I spent many, many years as an extremely dysfunctional, insecure, irresponsible lush and pothead. I was verbally and physically abusive to my kids when I wasn’t ignoring and neglecting them. I remember fondly my “hoochie” days when I was on welfare, going out to clubs every night of the week, getting fucked UP as in drunk and high before the club, continued drinking while at the club and a lot of other crazy shit I won’t get into. I shudder when I think of the days after that spent in isolation, still drinking and using, being miserable and suicidal many times. Afraid of everyone and everything, wondering what the hell happened to my life. What the hell happened to me? What was wrong? I was withering inside spiritually, terrified at what I’d turn into as a woman and a mother if I died inside. I should tell you that over the years I did seek help by going to church, seeing various therapists and even some parenting classes so I could be a better mother. But those measures only gave me temporary relief. I didn’t hit my kids anymore and yelled a lot less. But eventually the church would ask something of me that I didn’t like or conflicted with my drinking and using. The therapy would make me feel better so I’d stop going. Then I’d spiral down into depression, feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness. Always I found myself in that pit of despair until it felt like I’d never escape, so why bother. The first gift that came out of all that shit was desperation. I found this out later when I read it in an NA daily reading. The GIFT OF DESPERATION drove me to one more therapist’s office. Only this time my desperation lead me to answer all the intake questions completely and honestly. At the end of the intake the therapist said, “I’m referring you to our Drug & Alcohol program. I think your alcohol and drug use are contributing to your depression”. This lead to my next gifts: identification for what the fuck was wrong with me and a solution! I can’t tell you the profound relief I felt having a name for what was going on with me. All of the other blessings, lessons, and spiritual growth I gained from being an alcoholic/addict in recovery/sobriety can not be quantified. Seriously, it can’t. But the proof of that is in my voice, my writing and my message with this blog site. The best part is I and this blog site will only get better keeping God within me and AA beside me.

I’ve been single, meaning no relationships, no dating or physical intimacy for over 15 years. Now this might seem like a tough one but let me just say, don’t get it twisted- I may not have had sex in over 15 years, but I haven’t gone without orgasms either! Come on, we’re all adults here. Anyhow, this, meaning single, no relationships or dating, stemmed from sobriety. Part of the recovery process is A LOT of intense personal writing that gets to the heart of who and what you are. One of those intense processes is a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. My sexual inventory at the time was a horrific revelation of my motives for all of my relationships and men I’d slept with. I mean, my “number” wasn’t even that high for being 30 years old when I wrote out my first inventory. Long story short, I used sex to find love. I used sex to try and make him love me. Didn’t matter which him, the motive was the same. Out of that revelation, I understood I should not be in a relationship or even start one until I worked on myself. be-511555__180Unfortunately, my horror and absolute terror caused me to just shut down that part of my life. Shit, my kids were one, six and eight when I got sober. I had my hands full keeping my head above water with parenting and working full time. My development as a mother, friend, daughter, employee and sister skyrocketed over the years. My development as a woman, not so much… or so I thought.  However, the gift in shutting down that part of my life is that it opened up my heart and mind to develop the woman I am today. I know who I am and what I bring to the table, so I’m no longer afraid of losing myself if or when I start dating or even get into a relationship. I accept, love and appreciate myself. So much so, that I’m just not able to tolerate anyone in my life who can’t. What a gift!

Let’s take my chronic medical conditions together, because I discovered them that way. Let me explain. I am a diabetic and I have Lupus. In January of 2010, five years ago, I started having weird issues with my hands and wrists. They’d go numb and one Saturday I woke up from a nap on my couch and the palms of my hands and fingers had a noticeable bluish tinge. The numbness became tingling. I showed my middle child Lyndon because he’d just walked in the door. He insisted on driving me to Urgent Care. They couldn’t figure out what was going on. They ran some tests and told me to follow up with my primary physician. I went to her and my symptoms were growing into an extreme stiffness in my fingers when I woke up and achy stiff knees if I sat for any length of time. I lost strength in my wrists as well. My job as a claims adjuster entails lifting and handling heavy paper file folders, reaching up and down for them. Work was agony. I literally could only work at 70% physical capacity on good days. I was so scared that for once in my life I only told 2 people what was going on. My sponsor and my boss at work. They were both phenomenally supportive. So back to the doctors. My primary doctor ordered more tests because initial results indicated I had developed type 2 Diabetes and a severe vitamin D efficiency. However, they didn’t explain the growing symptoms. I was sent to a neurologist for a nerve conduction study (ouch) and back to him again to go over the results. It wasn’t neuromuscular, but he saw an elevated ANA number on one of my lab results and referred me to a rheumatologist. The Rheumatologist diagnosed the Lupus, which is an autoimmune disease. Still don’t know what that means? My own immune system attacks, at will, ANY AND ALL healthy tissues, organs or systems in the body. My particular form attacks my joints and ligaments, thereby giving the arthritic symptoms of a 90-year-old woman. Lupus is chronic but treatable. As is type 2 Diabetes. My Lupus symptoms are treated with medication and has been classified as a mild form. I need to stay well rested, avoid extreme stress as that can trigger more severe symptoms, stay out of prolonged sunlight during the hottest part of the day and eat well. The Diabetes is under control without medication because I was stubborn at the time. I had just started a Weight Watchers At Work program and was having some success. The Diabetes caused me to get serious and kick my  healthy eating and exercise into high gear. I lost 55 pounds, became very active with hiking, doing 5k walks, exercise boot camps, and regular gym activity. I’m convinced Weight Watchers worked so well for me because it’s set up very much like a 12 step program. Regular meeting attendance, peer support, accountability, and advice. I was primed by AA! So my chronic medical conditions make me responsible and accountable for my health in a way I wouldn’t otherwise bother with. It’s second nature now. Having to see my rheumy twice a year for Lupus and my primary twice for Diabetes helps keep me in check. Some might not see this as a gift or blessing, but I am lazy when it comes to my physical health. This forces me to do better, especially when I slide like I have the last couple of years, gaining weight and being sedentary. It’s incredible when I understand that all of these gifts, blessings and ability to find the lesson began with sobriety. I am blessed. hiker-846094__180

This entry was posted on August 20, 2015. 1 Comment