Signs of Me Reappearing

I burst out of bed today wanting to write a blog post.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had that feeling and it feels like such a relief.  A relief because writing is an integral part of who I am and so if I’m not wanting to write, then I most likely am not doing too terrific, you know?  Not that I’m likely to admit that I’m not doing well, but it seems okay to retroactively admit to it.

Wanting to write, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that I have a topic in mind.  I’m out of practice of forming topics in my head that would work in a blog post, so I’m free-styling it here.  There are so many ideas and topics to choose from.  Do I write about personal feelings I’m going through?  Politics? (I hear a collective roar of “No!” coming from the ethers.)  The weather?  Astrology? What it’s like being married to a Dutch man and living in another country?  My 2 cats and their endless antics?  The chaos and madness engulfing the planet?  Spiders and how they’re misunderstood?

Really, I’m just wanting to write something from my heart.  (Did I just hear someone rolling their eyes at me?)  Which may seem like that would mean writing something sappy and emotional, but then you don’t know my heart.  There is something of a court jester in there.  Mischievousness written all over it.

I’ve been pretty serious (and MIA) the last couple of years, and understandably if you know all that’s gone on.  But I’ve recently been seeing signs of recovery and healing taking place in me.  Like learning how to laugh again.  Being able to think of my son without pain crashing in on me.  Remembering myself when I was whole and becoming that again.

Some things take time, like healing.  Which I have no patience for.  I mean, I’ve learned to try to be patient with it, but the whole time I’m pretty much looking at my (non-existent) watch and tapping my foot.  I want to be fine now.  You know, live in the moment, the only moment is now.  So I’m like, okay, I’m healed NOW.  (Looking around to see if it worked.)

The crazy thing, is that I know that that could actually work, but it would require that I felt and believed that to be true all of the way down to my bones.  Which I don’t, because I’ve been here long enough to have accumulated enough examples from experience that have shown me otherwise in which I use that ‘evidence’ to allow doubt into the process, slowing it down.  My healing process involves slowing down enough to understand what my doubts and fears are, and then seeing them with new eyes.  Are they really true?  Like big picture, let’s be straight with ourselves, true?  I then ease my way into the new perspective until *pop*, there I am with more room to breathe inside myself.

For example, I’ve had many experiences with individuals who have aimed their own personal fears and projections onto me, so much so that over time I came to feel and believe that I was not loved or liked.  When that is your environment’s response to you day in and day out, you can start to become confused about what is true or not true about you.  Was I doing anything I was doing for the reasons that those other people in my life thought I was?  No.  Did they bother to ask me or find out?  No.  Did they continue to declare their ideas and reasons for my behavior with the fervor of a southern baptist preacher to me and all who would listen?  Yes.

In that kind of environment, I’m not getting any feedback from the outer world that I am loved or of any value.  I do not get to have a say or voice in that situation.  Me and my side of the story have been effectively silenced.  The truth of me gets lost because I’m the only one who knows it and who is trying to keep it alive in myself while others treat me as if their own story or other’s of me is true.  This is not loving or supportive behavior.

By the way, this isn’t about judging or blaming them, or me being a victim.  My only interest lies in understanding what happened so that I can free myself from it.  I’m observing and taking notes of what I’ve been able to piece together so that I can understand where my own pain stems from so that I can help myself.  It just happens to involve other people and so it’s hard to omit them from the story.

So as I was saying, over time I came to feel and believe that I was not loved or wanted in the world by others because that’s what was reflected to me.  Saying that and how that feels are actually two different things.  How it feels in day to day life is like I’m a constant disappointment.  That no matter how hard I try, no matter how much I overcome, I will still not be liked or loved or seen or valued.  It feels like I have nothing to offer the world.  It feels like I have no place here.  Like I’ve come to a party that I wasn’t invited to.  Like nothing I do matters or makes a difference.  That there is no point to me or my existence.

Which leads me back to my healing process and this example.  What’s the truth of that pain in me, big picture, let’s be honest?  “I am not loved or liked.”  Is that really true?  Well, I mean, the hurt part of me wants to say yes, yes that is true.  It’s so sad. (blubbering madly into my handful of Kleenex)  But is it actually true?  Okay, it’s true in that those people that treated me that way were not coming from a loving place.  But does that really have anything to do with me?  Or is that more to do with the state of torture they are living with inside of themselves?

It isn’t really me that they are seeing.  So if it isn’t the truth of me that they are seeing, then my belief of not being loved or liked is back on the table for negotiation.  Also, I think I may need to find some people who are not lost in the sauce in their own pain.  Which is what I did and is when I started to get validation that my hypothesis (that maybe it *is* them and not me) might have some merit.  Getting some distance between me and those blind to anyone but themselves, and then seeing the contrast of how it feels to be around people who can see past themselves, was the difference of night and day.

But it is a weakness in me.  When things become challenging in my life, I have to really watch this part of myself.  It’s something that is too easy for me to believe.  I have had to learn and relearn over and over, what it feels like to be loved.  I don’t mean in my thoughts, I mean in my whole body.  Because being loved is something that is felt from the top of your head down to your toenails.  It warms, relaxes, and calms you.  It is a full state of being, not a mental construct.  It is something experienced within your being.

I feel like there is a general consensus that if you are a good person then you are a loving person.  We lean too much on looking like a good person regardless of how we feel inside.  We don’t want to be unloving or bad people.  But I’ve personally met a lot of good people who were not loving and a lot of bad people who were in fact loving.  Understanding the difference is critical for me to make better choices about who I let into my inner circle, and doing this is important for my healing.

Along with this I’ve had to learn about all kinds of other things such as boundaries and what my rights are as a person.  That I don’t have to be walked all over.  I can use words like “no” and “I don’t want to”.  I’ve even had to learn how to feel my own feelings again versus what I had been told my feelings were.  And that just because everyone else is going along with something, doesn’t mean it’s right, and in those situations I will stick with my feeling even if it means standing alone.  Listening to myself even when no one else will.  <– And that, was the beginning of me building self trust.

I began to provide and give to myself what others had not been able to.  I started to listen and trust myself more, even if it seemed to make my life harder.  The more I did this, the more I stayed true to that voice deep inside my core, the stronger I began to feel.  The stronger I felt, the clearer my life became.  The more aware I became of what was and was not okay in my life.  Which led to me making changes.  Ultimately walking away from everything I had once known.  I became more focused on what was actually good for me instead of wondering what others might think of my actions.  They were going to think whatever they wanted to anyways, but the difference being, I stopped trying to control that by limiting my own actions.

Allowing for that, made room for me to focus more on what I personally felt about myself.  Did I think I was evil manifested?  Does it matter?  If I was, then really, what could I do about it?  And way to paint the world white and black, as if it’s really that simple.  Way to dehumanize me and invalidate me as a complex person with many different faucets of my personality.  No, I don’t feel that I am evil incarnated.  So what does that mean?  Well . . . it probably means that I can start lightening up a little, ya know?  Be a little gentler and kinder to myself then I had been treated by others.

Which lead me to finding love within myself again.  And when you’re not cowered or hunkered down in trembling fear, it opens up your world again and memories begin to return.  Things like the memory of the truth of yourself.  It begins a spiraling up in self instead of spiraling down.  Feelings like relief of being able to let go of all of the dumb dumb things about yourself that you had come to believe, watching as they break and fall away from you.  It is simply liberating.

By the way, I’m like smooshing years of processing and trial and error into one post.  It may sound like I figured it out in a matter of hours, but I assure you this has been a monumental undertaking in my life.  In the moments that I’ve hit the sweet spot of balanced and healed in myself, there comes the realization that I could have gone into that place immediately if I hadn’t got hung up or identified too much with what was wrong or out of balance in me.  That if I were to fully believe in the real me inside, that it would have brought me straight there to that place of wholeness, which suits me and my patience levels just fine.

The problem is, when I’m not in that space, I forget.  I can’t remember how or why that is true.  So I go the longer healing route and then remember again.  I get knocked out of there and then walk there again, but then I begin to see that I’ve left myself bread crumbs to show me the way back.  Again and again I’ve walked this path, hoping to wear a groove into the road to make it easier to find.  Because I know one day, I’m going to go there, and I’m not going to come back.

Anyways, I was walking that road again the last couple of years, marking it even more fiercely than the last time I was there.  Like, m*therf@cker, I am NOT going through this again, you WILL remember this and not forget again!  (She said to herself oh so compassionately.)  I hate seeing the same tree trunk that I passed years ago.

So yeah.  Yay! for the ‘wanting to write a blog post’ marker I reached this morning.  I don’t remember what comes after this, but I do know that it’s the road I’m wanting to be on.  🙂

Death And Rebirth In Mid-Swing

Nearly two weeks ago (June 10, 2015 to be exact), I received some news that has forever altered my life.

But first let me back up to the week before that.  June 2 I celebrated my 38th birthday.  It was a great birthday.  I was at work, but a coworker had scooted away around lunch time (which is nothing unusual), but returned along with half of the office, singing happy birthday with a great big cake for me.  It was all done with such warmth and sincerity that it was easily one of my best birthdays.  I had people calling and texting me that I hadn’t heard from in awhile.  It filled me with such a feeling of being loved and cared about.

This was a welcomed change of pace after an incredibly challenging year both professionally as well as personally.  My girl kitty dying, starting a new job after nearly 6 years, moving a month after starting the new job, a series of events that led to me kicking my beloved 19 year old son out of the house and he went to go live with my mom, one of my step dads dying (which hit me harder than I would’ve previously imagined), finding out my dad’s colon cancer had returned, and then having to work triply hard so as to not lose my job right around the Christmas holidays.

Which I did manage to keep, but I paid a steep price for it with my health.  After months of dragging my knuckles on the ground I finally went into the doctors and found that I had middle ear infections and was immediately put on round 1 of antibiotics and loaded up with all kinds of other things.  I was told that it was probably going to take a 2nd round and that it may take awhile to get better and to just be patient with the process.

I hadn’t taken an actual vacation in over two years, and it was around this time that I realized I was in dire need of some time off.  I started to feel very strongly that I wanted . . . needed to take off 2 weeks in June to go see Jay in The Netherlands.  It’s been over 3 years since we first met, and my god have we been through some shit together.  We weren’t even on speaking terms with each other when I first felt the desire to go see him for a couple of weeks.

I was so worn down by life at this point, that I was able to actually start seeing beyond my own bullshit to my real and true feelings.  I had let unimportant things get in the way of our relationship.  I wanted to try again.  Luckily, he felt the same.  I booked the trip and was scheduled to leave June 5th for two weeks.  After which, I would have a week at my current job assignment and then scheduled to begin a new assignment on July 1, which I’m very excited about.

This was my life as I knew it leading up to June 10th, in which I found myself sitting next to Jay on the couch when I received the fateful news.  And thank god I was, because heaven help me if I had been sitting by myself in my apartment in the Seattle area upon hearing what I did.

I was alerted to the fact that *something* had happened but wasn’t given any details surrounding it.  Due to the time difference and the fact that I hadn’t told everyone I was traveling internationally, I woke up to frantic “Are you okay?!” messages from my brother and a missed call from my mother.  Initially I remained calm and speculated on what the problem could be, with Jay.  But the more I thought about it, the more I began to panic because it was all highly unusual and made no sense.

Right as I was getting ready to wake up all of North America in order to find out what in blue blazes was going on, I received a text from my mother that simply read, “I tried to call.  Look up komo news Bjorn Anderson.”

Can I just stop here for a moment and say that these are the absolute last kind of words that a mother ever wants to see?

Something bad had happened to my baby.  My boy.  I didn’t yet know what, but I did know that it wasn’t going to be happy news such as, “19 year old wins Powerball lottery!”

I imagined a number of horrible things, including a terrible car accident.  I was already falling apart, my entire body shaking like a tree in a hurricane, crying and saying no, no, no, no, no not my boy, not my baby . . . Jay grabbing ahold of me and trying to hold me still, letting me know I didn’t have to look yet if I didn’t want to . . . but I had to.  I had to know my son’s fate.  I had to know if he still lived or if I had lost him.

In the days that followed, I was most haunted by the scene I first saw in the news clip, unable to comprehend it.  Watching people on the news I don’t even know, talking about my son.  This boy I had given birth to.  This young man that I love with all of my heart and that I had spent the last 19 years of my life dedicated to caring for and raising until last September . . . was now being paraded before me in handcuffs and a prison uniform . . . for the attempted murder of my mother.

I’ll leave it up to you to look up the details of their story if you so choose.

The rest of my vacation was spent calling everything in my life into question.  Grieving.  Processing.  Integrating.  Taking stock of my life, gaining clarity.  Decisions were made.

I’ve returned to the States, and today I return to work . . . but this will be my final year here.

I’ve lived the majority of my life on my own.  Soldiering through crisis after crisis with no one to depend on but myself.  But this absolutely crossed a line with me.  If it wasn’t for the care, love, patience, and support given to me by Jay and his family . . . I wouldn’t still be here.  Maybe in body . . . but me . . . the soul and spirit inside of me, would no longer be in this world.

It was made very clear to me that my new home is there and where I belong now.  I’ve returned only to start wrapping my life up here and to give time for us to make all of the necessary arrangements and planning.

My main reason for sharing what’s happened in this way is because I’d rather get it all out in the open for everyone to see.  I want my friends, coworkers, and family to all be aware of this huge transition that I am in because I don’t want to be isolated by it.  I don’t want to feel like I have to hide this big secret from everyone and be alone in it.

I don’t want to be isolated from any of you due to my sorrow and grief, which allows me to also openly share with you my joy and happiness of my upcoming wedding and move overseas.  These things have always gone hand in hand in my life.  A paradox of simultaneous deep grief and unbridled joy.

There’s no reason for me to hide any of it, as they are both a part of life.  I wish to share both with you, so that no part of me has to hide in the darkness anymore and feel lonely.

Although, much of that loneliness has already been alleviated by my soon to be husband, Jay.  We’ve begun to move in sync with each other, switching my worldview to one centered in *us* instead of *I*.  This is brand new for me.  I’ve never known this feeling before.  I feel that it really suits me.  I feel like it’s something that I’ve been longing for and missing all along.

In the coming days, weeks, months I wish to openly share this transition.  This bittersweet goodbye to an old life and hello to a new life.  A death and rebirth in mid-swing.

Love