Archive | October 2015

On Balance I’m Actually Good

stones-944149__180I’m sitting here in my writing space feeling physically tired and achy, while spiritually, emotionally and mentally I’m pretty good. But six hours ago when I had just gotten off work, I was mentally, spiritually and emotionally discouraged to the point of tears as well as physically tired. It’s draining to be in an environment that no longer values you as an employee and no matter how hard you work it doesn’t seem to make a dent in the workload. When I stopped into the bathroom, as is my habit before hitting the road with my hour long commute, I literally burst into tears. Thank God the restroom was empty. Folks clear out of there pretty quick on Fridays. And I’m going back tomorrow on Saturday to work four hours of overtime.

It’s been a long two weeks of being sick, thinking THREE times I was getting better, yet becoming sicker again and it’s taking a toll. I’ve had to miss some 12 step meetings and yoga classes, all the while resting on my couch at home, watching tv. The NBA season started this week . I’m an avid Miami Heat fan in particular and an NBA fan in general. I’m also still willing to watch a handful of shows now that the Fall season is upon us. So even though I’ve stayed home because I was sick, the watching of so much television, be it sports or tv shows, feels like I’m avoiding my life again. You know, like back when I was either always on the couch vegging in front of the television or escaping into a romance novel. Maybe I am a little, it certainly feels like it. But I know I can’t always trust my feelings, especially when I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Just what, you may ask, turned things around for me in the space of six hours? I believe I mentioned in my blogs previously that I belong to an Events committee for a community recovery club and we were putting on a Halloween Dance tonight (Friday). I had to go help with the dance after work. I didn’t feel like I could bail on the committee because there are three of  us, including me, and I had already missed out on all the shopping for games, prizes, food, etc because I was sick last weekend. Also, since I worked full-time over an hour away, the others ended up doing pretty much all the setup and decorating, with help from some of the board members. halloween-1002815__180

The answer to the question in the previous paragraph is I showed up to be of service to my fellows even though I didn’t feel like it. Even though I had not dressed up in the French Maid costume that will just have to wait for next year. I arrived about a half hour before everything started and got to help finish setting up. I also got to be with people that will let me be me in whatever way I’m capable of showing up. It was kind of rough for the first hour or so, but it was also cool seeing so many friends show up with their kids in costume. The committee did a truly phenomenal job setting up a dance room with a DJ as well. I helped at the door collecting money and stamping hands. I ate yummy food. Then the dancing started in earnest and I got out there for a lot of songs! I love dancing. I especially love dancing with friends! I also love sitting and talking with people I don’t always get to see regularly because we don’t all go to the same 12 step meetings. Honestly, by the time I finished the Electric Slide though I was D.O.N.E. So I sat for a bit, then I helped with clean up until it was time for me to go home because I still needed to write my blog.

This is why on balance I’m actually good and so is my life. My feeling drained and discouraged is temporary. Sure I have to go back to work tomorrow for overtime and start the new work week again on Monday. But I feel well enough to get back to my yoga class tomorrow morning and my Saturday night AA meeting. I have a half a vacation day next Friday because Dawny and I are going to Vegas for the weekend for her birthday! ROAD TRIP BABY!!! And while I think and feel like I’m avoiding my life, the truth is that I’m still living up to my commitment to be fully present for it. It’s because I’m fully present that I can see and feel how much it sucks at work, which is a huge chunk of my time right now. However, I’ve also committed to changing that. I won’t always be here and I know where I am headed. That’s half the battle right there. And I don’t have to win the war tomorrow.

This entry was posted on October 31, 2015. 1 Comment

Getting To Know Your Worth

identity-795864__180This topic jumped out at me because of what two different friends posted, then deleted on Facebook. The first post was a personal note written about a situation that had clearly gone south with someone or something that showed my friend that they did not properly value her. The second post was a meme about what dating was like in 2015 and it was all totally one-sided, selfish and cruel. Neither of the posts was out of line or vicious. Both of the women felt the need to delete the posts after a few friends left encouraging, supportive comments on the first one and a “FUCK THAT!” from me on the dating meme with a statement that encouraged my young friend to develop an unconditional love relationship with herself and God because she is soo worth it. Even though they deleted their posts, it was equally clear that both friends knew their worth, hence the indignant status posted by one and the cheeky meme posted by the other. But it doesn’t stop the feelings of hurt, sadness and betrayal when you encounter or discover people or organizations you thought valued you, but found out in the end that they did not.

As I sit here thinking about how to begin, I’m finding it uncomfortable to remember back when I didn’t know my worth or value myself.  Back when I sought validation outside of myself, from others. From parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins first, then from friends and boyfriends, sometimes a friend’s boyfriends, from bosses, co-workers. Eventually, a husband and children ended up being my world and how I judged my worth.

You see, because I had a single mom who was busy working, keeping a roof over our heads and trying to realize her own ambitions, she didn’t have a lot of time for me. My father was off doing his own thing, fathering children with other women, so he didn’t make quality time with me and my sister a priority growing up. I was also a dark-skinned, homely but intelligent child. Back in the 70’s and 80’s in the East, those things mattered in how you were viewed and treated. I was always the smart friend or cousin that other mothers or relatives told their kids they should be more like.  Initially, I judged myself as others did and found myself lacking.

It’s how I developed and honed my chameleon skills growing up. I wanted to be anyone but me so I became what a friend was, or what a boyfriend wanted of me. I never trusted when anyone was attracted to me, not in the long run. My insecurity and lack of self-worth went a long way to ensuring that my marriage would never work. I was too dependent upon my young husband to provide me with an identity and sense of worth. And trust me, he had no clue how to do that and he shouldn’t have needed to. I believe we are drawn to, attract or seek out who we need in our lives to teach us and show us our lessons. If some of the lessons are hurtful, well, pain demands attention doesn’t it? It makes you pay attention so perhaps you can learn or grow or repeat patterns until they become apparent to yourself.

Looking back over my life, it was at my lowest points that I sought help, through religion or psychiatry, then eventually 12-step rooms. Each time I gained a little self-worth, a little relief from being the chameleon and drew a little closer to who I really was. Ironically, or maybe paradoxically, it was the unconditional acceptance and love that was bestowed upon me in the 12-step rooms- despite my best efforts to avoid or sabotage it, that helped me develop the strong self-worth I have today. Trust me, it was a long process and remains a work in progress. That’s why the title of the blog is “getting to know your worth”. Because sometimes life will put someone or something in your life to show you just how much you’ve come to value yourself. Or maybe it’s someone who has been there for a long time and you just no longer tolerate that THEY don’t acknowledge or really know your worth. Or maybe you come across a Facebook meme so absurd in the truth about today’s dating dynamic that you post it because it is so ridiculous. Because you know you are worth so much more than what passes for today’s tired, selfish and lazy standards on relationships and dating.

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Those are the times that show you through pain, wry amusement, or a moment of clarity that your worth is phenomenal because they were foolish or stupid enough to not know it.

This entry was posted on October 29, 2015. 1 Comment

Honoring Body And Spirit

alive-927077__180I thought I was getting better from the cold I came down with last week. But it came roaring back Friday and Saturday, seriously wiping me out. As a consequence, when I woke up feeling better Sunday morning I decided to cancel ALL plans and stayed in for a day of rest. I texted a friend  to tell her I was staying home to rest rather than shop with her and another person for the upcoming Halloween Dance I am helping with next week. She told me she was glad I was resting. I replied that it felt like ages since the last time I had actually rested from everything, but that can’t be right. Can it? Then I checked back through my posts and found “The Urge to Rest, Research and Focus” from October 3, 2015. That was three weeks ago, and I still went to all of my normally scheduled activities like yoga class and my 12 step meetings, along with researching on the internet. So it wasn’t true rest like today. You see, I have a chronic medical condition that I’ve mentioned in my blog before called Lupus. It’s an autoimmune disease, which simply means my own immune system can and will attack any and all of my healthy organs or systems in my body. I have a mild form and I manage it with medication, rest and excellent stress management. However, when I get sick, it’s important that I take care of myself. I thought I’d done that, but this particular bug seems to like coming back. So it’s time I started listening to my body and take it easy for a while. This also meant another sick day from work on Monday, with a workload already on overload. But honoring my health, both body and spirit, is a priority.

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Listening to my spirit is a little harder and more complicated than listening to my body. With my body, it’s more a point of paying attention because I have a very bad habit of ignoring symptoms. In all honesty, I used to do the same thing when my spiritual life felt lacking or took a nosedive. The symptoms of an unhealthy spirit can be harder to pinpoint at first. Sometimes it starts as a vague feeling of dissatisfaction, boredom or even resentment. If it’s not nipped in the bud before you know it, you are isolating because you don’t want to be around anyone. For me, initially, I’m not sure if it’s because I don’t want to inflict or infect my “mood” on others, or it’s just too hard to be around others who aren’t feeling spiritually low. It’s so easy to lose myself in my stressful day to day living and ignore a spiritual decline. Or it used to be easy before I made deliberate changes in my life like having a new spiritual advisor that I talk to on a weekly basis, attending yoga class twice a week and writing a blog three times a week. In addition, daily morning prayer, meditation and mental gratitude lists are what help with the maintenance of my spiritual condition. There is also connecting with friends and family, being of service to others and my community, and most importantly, taking care of myself. The rub is that I don’t always feel like doing ALL those things and some others I haven’t mentioned. It can be exhausting or irritating that I need to do all of that shit just to be spiritually fit. Other times it just seems to flow with the rhythm of what I do. It’s during the down times that I need to summon the energy to do what’s necessary. And the truth is I am fortunate beyond measure that I at least KNOW what I need to keep myself spiritually nourished and fit. Many, many others never get to that point. So I do the work that’s required when it feels like an uphill battle because I know I will get to the place eventually where it starts to flow from the rhythm of what I’m doing.

I’m discovering that an essential part of the heart’s journey is honoring body and spirit.stestoskop-64276__180

This entry was posted on October 27, 2015. 4 Comments

Caution: Emotional Minefields Ahead

minefield-203740__180I had a difficult conversation with my adult, but not grown daughter last night. Mainly because we can’t continue not speaking to each other indefinitely and I’m the actual adult in this relationship. Therefore, the job of opening up the lines of communication falls to me. It doesn’t matter the specifics of the situation that blew up between us. What it boiled down to, as it nearly always does, was inadequate communication, lack of consideration, a battle of wills with some stubbornness and attitude thrown in for good measure. Since this blog is all about honesty and getting to the heart of things, I’ll admit I own my part in all of that. But HER part is worse!!!! Ok, now that I have that childish (but totally true) point out of the way, let’s get back to the heart of things.

Learning to talk to Baby Bub as an adult in a calm manner and attempting to communicate clearly with her is not a process I enjoy or feel very confident in. Even when I know my position and my point are clear, she knows how to hit back where it hurts. Especially when it doesn’t really have to do with what we are discussing and hashing out. It seems that instinct children possess, to push you to the edge or manipulate you into getting what they want, gets sharper as adults. Somehow I ended up defending myself over behaviors that I really don’t exhibit anymore, or certainly have learned to process better in order to not affect those around me anymore, a point she admitted as she threw the red herring into the situation.  However, as always, I don’t see it as it’s happening but I know I feel vaguely guilty and shitty afterward. Especially when she forgives me when I apologize for my part but somehow her part ends up minimized. It’s not a pleasant feeling to realize that you may not be emotionally safe with your own child.

She did bring up a point about the “miscommunication”. She says I should have expressed to her that it was important what I was asking of her. That part is bullshit. I told her to do something and when I needed it done. She wasn’t happy about it and my insistence that it be done. The conversation happened via text, so she thought she could get away with not doing it by saying she thought I had changed it like she asked me to. What I need to do is be direct with her, verbally by phone or face to face and not leave any room for uncertainty. This is not the first time she’s done this and as I write this I’m starting to understand why I don’t enjoy communicating with her or feel very confident when I do. Geez Louise!

It seems I need to start viewing her more as the adult she has become and not as the girl-child she used to be. Because the truth of the matter is that I’ve played a part in this dynamic. I am reluctant to identify when people close to me use my love for them as a means to manipulate, control or retaliate. I’ve got quite a few of them in my immediate vicinity, especially family. Once I do identify the person and their behavior, I usually keep my distance for a while. I talk with my therapist and spiritual advisor, possibly a close friend who can provide honest constructive feedback. I learn to assert myself when necessary or be clear and direct when a situation calls for it. Mostly I continue learning to gain strength  and strides in who I am because that’s what there is for me. So far, as I’ve done that, the person or situation comes back around and I learn to respond differently, or not take it personally since their behavior is usually about them and not me. Or at least, that is what my spiritual advisor is teaching me and I am learning it to be true so far. This is another  natural consequence from  my growth and progress, right? I address an issue or situation. Things can get uncomfortable or downright hostile and hurtful. But I’ve said my piece, admitted my part, accepted accountability and responsibility for keeping my side of the street clean. It’ll be awkward, may be tentative for a time and then this is how it is. The hope is those who want to be a part of my life will adjust.hands-718558__180

This entry was posted on October 24, 2015. 1 Comment

Permission To Be Imperfect

wisdom-92901__180This blog will be short and sweet. Mainly because I’m feeling extra achiness that has nothing to do with my usual soreness after my Tuesday Moon-Yin yoga class and something to do with what I suspect is a cold coming on! I’m really upset and pissed about this because I am supposed to visit my phenomenally adorable and fabulous grandbabies this weekend. All throughout last night there was mild throat clearing with that even milder sand papery-feeling when I swallow. You know the feeling. The one so mild you convince yourself you couldn’t possibly be coming down with anything when you have so much great stuff planned for the coming weekend. GRRRR! The reality tonight is I have a definite sore throat that makes itself known every time I swallow and I feel generally achy. Shit, shit, shit.

So here’s my two cents about the blog topic as it pertains to me and my funk I’ve been in recently. It’s absolutely alright that I don’t know exactly what the next indicated step is regarding my future right now. It’s absolutely alright that I am MONTHS overdue in putting a touch-up in my hair, making my ponytail fuzzy, frumpy and bumpy. It’s absolutely ok that my toenails are not painted or I haven’t had a pedicure in about six weeks or so. (I’m saving money for a trip to Vegas baby!) It’s PERFECTLY ok that there is a weeks worth of dishes in my kitchen sink and both the bathroom & kitchen trash bins are full. It’s perfectly alright that my daughter and I are barely on speaking terms at this moment in time, that my middle son is an insensitive, immature knucklehead and that my oldest boy guards his life/privacy as if he is a CIA spy. My world has not ended because my checking account is -$4.11 and I don’t get paid until Friday.

The truth is I’ve learned to trust the Process. What process you ask? I trust the Process of Life and the Process of Recovery/Sobriety, both of which are fueled by my Higher Power, whom I choose to call God. In trusting that I don’t have to know exactly what my next indicated step is, I get to enjoy being me. By that I mean, I can continue making “baby step” progress researching options, reaching out to others and feeling grateful when they reach back. My hair is what it is and I’ll get to it when I get to it. As for being overdrawn on my checking account, it’s been ages since that’s happened and I have a separate credit union account that I can rob “Peter” to pay “Paul” and put myself back in the black before payday. None of the things I wrote about in the above paragraph stop me from appreciating my life, my relationships and what I love about them. Usually when I’m able to do just that, trust the process and keep moving forward despite imperfect conditions or relationships at the moment, I end up in a pretty phenomenal place. Seemingly without any effort. But the effort is in seeing, feeling, striving, believing and moving ahead, no matter what. Even when it doesn’t feel like I’m making the effort.11915670_10207767703132810_552589111153925629_n

A perfect case in point, to close out the blog bringing it back to my grandbabies. From the time they’ve been born and I visit, my son and daughter-in-love will occasionally apologize for some misbehavior or grumpiness on the children’s part. But here’s the thing, I ALWAYS assure them that grandbabies don’t have to look, act or be perfect for me to thoroughly love and enjoy them! Seriously. They don’t see Mae-Mae (me) on a regular basis, so there is usually a period where they are standoffish, especially baby Charlie. Ava is almost 4 years old and she knows who Mae-Mae is, so she warms up to me pretty quick. I usually just let baby Charlie snuggle up to his momma and do his thing while I enjoy Ava. Eventually, though, he eases his way over to me to interact with me, to let me love on him. Those are the sweetest moments, when they come to me, without me having to force things. I think a lot of important Life stuff is like that. Just keep doing you, day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment. Then when you least expect it and you are just doing you, BAM, a sweet moment sneaks up on you.

This entry was posted on October 22, 2015. 3 Comments