Seeing Progress

courage

I’ve always loved this quote. Life has a way of bringing things together when I least expect it.

I’m currently having a moment. One of these days, I won’t allow my pride to get the best of me and I’ll be able to communicate that how I feel or responded isn’t as intense as it came off. Today is not that day though. But it brought me here so something good came from it. Woo hoo!

So about life. For a while, I’d found my stride. I was meditating, feeling myself on the job and in life generally. Then the move happened and my life got off balance. How off balance? Imagine watching a train approach one of those chasm kinda bridges and going off the rails RIGHT before the deep fall into the abyss. That’s how far. Meditating stopped. The confidence was replaced with some kinda weird doubt and cheese and bacon became life instead of salads and fruit. It feels like all that progress I’d made was obliterated in less than 45 days.

Life always has a way of showing you progress too. I may be in my pride, but I’m not in my feelings. And that, my friends, is hella progress. I can remember a time when I’d run from these feelings, but I understand that seeing a thing, leaning into it always, ALWAYS makes it easier to deal with the underlying feelings. And I understand that the things we try to avoid are really not that scary when you look them square in the eyes.

But it’s a Friday night and I have some Apothic so I’m going to cut this short, celebrate the beginning of the weekend and stare down some other scary things tomorrow morning. Happy weekend, people.

Coasting into 2017

6bd

Look. I’m not even going to front like a new year doesn’t shift my mind in some way. At least twice a year, I take inventory on me: January 1 and July 2.

So I’m coasting through 2016 wondering what I’m actually going to do different in three days. Working out probably ain’t one of them. Me and these pounds got history. I’m using ‘grown woman weight’ to justify them. I got a grown woman body. Done.

Changing my eating habits. Eh… maybe. I could eat less. I know it’s brainwashing from when I was little and was the only girl trying to keep up with my brother and two cousins at the buffet. I mean it worked then because I burned it off. Now, competing with The Hero led me to this great grown woman body. Into the maybe category.

Being petty. Sigh. But I tried (imagine reading that in an irritating Steve Urkel voice). It’s so hard. Why can’t Jesus or Jobu just zap me on the head and I’ll be nice? Why, lord, why?! I wish I could blame it on something, but it’s me wanting to control people. Not even situations, y’all. People. That never works well and I usually end up with RBF, imagining how many paychecks I’d have to save to buy a remote warehouse just for the occasional kidnap and torture. I’m kidding. Or am I…? I am. By the time I save that much I’d have to outsource the kidnapping and torturing. Where’s the fun in that? Right.

Even though my mind is dormant, some things are cooking. Despite being petty, I am learning to relax more and let some things roll over me like wind. The good kinda wind, not that polar vortex crap that makes you want to punch the air. I’m learning to breathe when I feel that old familiar feeling creeping down my back. Breathing works. It makes my brain tingle and tingling brain is good.

I miss crafting. My work space is basic. Like it’s so basic, that if I needed to repair an earring or necklace, I’d have to go get the supplies. Better example: it’s like wanting a peanut butter and jelly sandwich then realizing you threw all the peanut butter away because somebody convinced you adults don’t eat PB&J. Oh the regret! But, I can’t change what’s happened and I did enjoy the free space. Now it’s time to get back to creating and cooking stuff (see grown woman body above).

Know what else? Going places alone. I really enjoy my friends’ company, but sometimes the thrill of experiencing something alone, even briefly, is pretty fantastic. No pressure to interpret or be or do anything. Just enjoy the experience of being out and doing something new. More of that. And even more of old things like going to dinner or teenage fantasy movies alone.

Of course there are new things. Travel is one of them. Going to Vegas in January with a friend. That’s like two things at once. Know the last time I went on a girls’ trip? 2005. 2005! For the most part, there hasn’t been a person I wanted to go with and, well, traveling makes me nervous. The pressure of doing something when I probably want to enjoy staying in a hotel for at least a day always made me pause. And just about everyone I knew who traveled had or needed an itinerary. I mean I love a schedule, but can’t we just wing it? Anyway, thing of the past. Vegas was a big step and I figure if I’m going to start something, might as well start it with flair. And no pictures.

Slowing down is another. I’m pretty sure somewhere on this blog I talked about slowing down before. This is different. No. Really. It is. It dawned on me that I ASK people to tell me who they are and get upset when they aren’t who they say. I literally figured that out Monday, thanks to a conversation with The Hero. He’s a pure watcher. Not in a hurry to move one way or another until he SEES what’s happening. I’m about that watcher life.

I KNOW I talked about dulling my shine before. Yeah, that’s done. First of all, it’s getting a little too complex to remember who knows what about me. Blame it on getting older or managing way more information that I’m used to, but I just can’t anymore. I’m showing up with all my rough edges because I’m a human and I’m not perfect. And that means trimming the stragglers. You know the ones. You’re friends with one person, but they have a clique so you feel like you should be friends with the rest. Nope, nope, nope. I’m building my Sisterhood Hall of Fame in 2017.

Um, what else? Ohhh… being constantly connected. I need a 12-step program. I have a lot of free time and get bored because I eliminated the fun in my life, so I find myself stalking Facebook. I’m sure I’ve lost a lot of brain cells and gained some form of PTSD from all the terrible crap going on in the world that I’ve read and shared. I have to unplug and live IRL. I hope I just made that term up, but if I didn’t don’t tell me.

In a nutshell 2016 was a good year. I learned a lot about myself. This is MY life. Everything in it should exist because I allow it, not because it was given to or forced upon me. I’m teaching myself the same lessons I tried to teach The Kid about choices. Every choice has consequences and I have to own them. Know what I’m doing? Owning the choice to design a life that I will LOVE. Not love. LOVE.

Boom!

The Pitiest of Parties

* Warning: Whining and randomness *

 

 

Seriously. A lot of whining.

 

 

 

 

 

There will be lots of pity.

 

 

 

 

You’re still reading? Random thoughts didn’t make you close the tab?

 

 

 

 

 

Last chance…. Wallowing and randomness….

 

 

 

 

No? You’re curious?

 

 

 

 

 

If you made it this far, I offer no apologies at all for anything after this sentence. None. Nada. Technically after the period, but you get it.

 

 

 

 

There’s nothing like having someone tell you about yourself when you least expect it. Especially when you ask and aren’t really prepared for the honest truth. So not only did I do something sucky, I didn’t pay attention to the same details that I harped on earlier. So right now, I’m feeling kinda crappy.

I tried rationalizing it. I don’t know about you, but when I’m already in my feelings, more feelings don’t have anywhere to go. So they need to be neutralized. Immediately. This takes a lot of energy. By that I mean there’s usually ugly crying involved, possibly some pillow screaming and the occasional conversation with self. Whatever gets the job done. When all else fails, go out and walk. At night. Alone. In a poorly lit area. Head down. Thinking. Safety? Noo… no one wants to be bothered with the androgynously dressed weirdo walking in the dark. It’s quite glorious. And you get to see how active your neighborhood is at night. Who knew so many people were coming home from work. I digress.

So those feelings. They ache. They hit me in places I didn’t really know existed. Middle of a butt cheek. Top of my shin. Bottom of my foot. Pit of my stomach (that one I knew about). It physically hurts to realize I’m so wrong. And it’s draining. I’m dead tired right now, but I can’t go to sleep. There would be no way I would rest. I’d have another creepy dream like I’ve been having since last week. Boo to creepy dreams.

What brings me here is I really have nowhere else to go. I sat and thought about my options. Who would get that I’m throwing this pity party and put the cabash on it without making me feel even crappier? My mother of course, but… she’s dead. My friends, but they take my side and I kinda don’t want or need that right now. Associates? Too impersonal. Counselor? They want me to do stuff and I don’t need to do anything. I need to work through the process quickly. Like… by 8 p.m. tomorrow quickly. Decades of issues need to be cleanly packaged and stored for a later date when I’m not so emotionally charged.

I think there’s something in the water. Seriously. I drink a lot of water, close to 90 ounces a day. All of a sudden, getting a grip on my emotions is like pulling wisdom teeth without meds. I have a high tolerance for pain, but even THAT is above my pain grade. See what I did there. Pain grade… pay grade…. No? Well, I tried. Did I mention I’m tired?

Seriously though, the issue isn’t being wrong. I’ve been wrong before. The issue is that I am wrong and holding on to a double standard. I overlooked/didn’t really pay attention to the same thing that I said (read: screamed) bothered me. And while I am in no way perfect, I strive to give what I ask to get. I didn’t do that. See why I’m feeling crappy?

When I say that in the past few hours I’ve cycled through just about all of my emotions, I’ve cycled through just about all my emotions. I’m angry at myself for not recognizing the wrongness. I’m sad because I thought I was better than that. I’m happy because at least it was brought to my attention and I can deal with it. And as I type, I can start to think rationally about how to address the issue going forward. At the pinnacle of my emotional meltdown, I decided to suppress all feelings. It seemed like a good solution until I realized that doesn’t benefit anyone. It does me a disservice by minimizing my feelings – right, wrong or indifferent – and it’s not a long-term solution that I can maintain. I’m a Cancer. I’m emotional, dramatic and hyperbolic. Can you really see me suppressing my emotions for more than five minutes? Didn’t think so. And for the other person, they get caught up in a nuclear blast of white hot anger because I let things build to the breaking point. And now they’re having an unnecessary WTF? moment. No bueno.

Sidenote: Ever cry so much that your neck hurts? Yeah, it’s a terrible feeling. I guess my head couldn’t go past 10 on the pain grade (I’m on a roll!) so it just sent the pain down. Yay coping mechanisms!

At some point tomorrow, um… later today, I will be able to look at this more objectively. I know this a snapshot in time and right now I just need to release some energy to get to that leveling point. Thank you, WordPress, for free blogging.

And thank you for reading this rant. I feel like you should get a consolation prize or something for sticking it out this long. But since I can’t give all 15 of you a prize, here you go. Don’t spend it all in one place.

grant-bill

 

 

Stadium of Lawn Chairs

lawn chairs

Y’all. Sigh.

I’m embarrassed.

I went ballistic about something that I misinterpreted and elevated to Def Con 4. What someone meant as a joke, I lost it over. My annoyance had been building over time and 13 variables went into my reaction. I won’t list them because you’ll be like ‘Dee… girl… Do better.’

But here’s what came out of that: in a very real way, I still have issues with being heard. And not feeling protected. Or respected. When I was younger, I just buried it. I thought I was insignificant and people not hearing me was what I should expect from life. There were instances when I needed someone to stand up for and protect me and they didn’t. I learned how to deal with it.

Somewhere along the line though, I realized that my voice is my way to communicate to the world exactly what I need and how I want to occupy my space. What Monday’s explosion helped me realize is that those were tools for dealing with my space. The place where I am the sun in my universe. I tried using my tools in someone else’s universe and it failed.

Hence Monday Magma Meltdown. And the lawn chairs. Lawn chairs because you know I’m not about to make myself have seats on a regular. I am going to deal with this issue.

We all like to think we are more sophisticated than we are. The Universe has a way of sending situations and people along and says ‘are you? let’s see.’ And in not being diligent, I had to answer no. THAT was and is a hard pill to swallow. No matter. There is work to be done.

I apologized to the people who got the full blast of my white hot anger. I didn’t feel good about myself until I did. I also removed myself from the situation. Can’t blow up anything if you don’t have access to explosives, right? And once I know that all of the residual feelings are gone and I can see clearly, I’ll work on being less petty. Hey! At least I’m realistic. There’s no sense in me saying I’m not going to be petty. Reasonable, people. I am reasonable.

So hopefully before the end of the winter, I’ll be giving away these lawn chairs. It’s not like I have room for them anyway and with summer and cookouts coming, you probably need some for your family and friends when they come over.

Look for the flyer on the site in the next coming months and a post about how I took the less petty road.

D

Giving up to Fear

keep_calm_and_say_yes__by_pikachu1452-d5bpojs

Two posts in one week? Wassup with me? Seriously!

The end of the year always makes me take a look at where I’ve been and where I’m going. This year is no different in that respect, except that it is.

This year I learned about my truth.

How could I NOT know my truth you may be wondering? Because I’ve always hidden it behind an inherent fear. Fear of the unknown. The cost. The social collateral. The financial collateral. Fill in whatever it is that people fear and I’ve probably used it. All to protect myself.

But what really is there to protect? My reputation is pretty good in areas that matter. I meet all my deadlines at work at a level that regularly gets me praise from others. I’m still confused about that as I’m sure I’m only giving about 55% effort and receiving 90% praise. Most people in my life think I’m useful in some way, even if it’s only to ask me to cook or bake them something (which can kinda get annoying, but whatevs).

You know what? I gotta go back a month or so. A friend of mine invited me to a virtual book club to read Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes. I’m not a fan of book clubs, but this particular friend made it to my speed dial, so I figured why not? What have I got to lose? If I don’t like the book, I’ll stop reading. I am a unabashed quitter when I don’t like something.

But Shonda is like a much richer, better connected version of my introverted self. She was the introvert whisperer. And something in the first four chapters hit me like a ton of bricks:

I always say no.

Let me rephrase:

I say yes, then find a way to change it to no.

I’ve been sitting with that for two days. Mulling it around in my mind. Feeling the bitter taste of the truth. I always find a way to say no when I’m afraid that people will see me for who I really am. Kinda awkward 40-year-old who starts talking and forgets the points she makes, sometimes has extremely unpopular or contradicting opinions and is always wondering what the lesson is. And that was all fine until I realized that I was shortchanging myself. Missing out on experiences. Relationships. Life.

So the Year of Yes coincides with the Year of You. The Year of Yes means saying yes to things that scare me, things that get me outside of my comfortable, little D box. Things that make me try life, even if it’s one tiny sample at a time. Because of all my fears, what I fear most is looking up and being old wishing I had done some things, wishing I had put in the work for more relationships. Wishing period.

So on this almost last day of 2015, I commit to more yeses. More opportunities to live and love life. To not be afraid to expose myself and see what life brings to my door.

Life Lumps

© EK Success

© EK Success

I’ve been avoiding the blog. Some of it has to do with the fact that I have work to do and, quite honestly, I’m afraid. Some of it is sheer procrastination (read: laziness by overachievers). Since the last time I wrote, life has been, well… trying to help me re-member some things that were once an integral part of who I am.

The Kid left. You know that. The Kid came back. You know that. I had issues with that whole period. You probably know that too. What’s been happening for the past five months though is energetic and spiritual denial. By me.

I’m a firm believer that Life/God/Universal Energy wants to be gentle with me. I also believe that when I’m like ‘yeah… I’ll get to that as soon as….’, God sends a more serious situation. And when I blow Her off again, she sends – dun, dun, dun, DUN – THE lesson. The one that says ‘listen up or knuckle up.’

Mine is an aching lump on the side of my left boob, near my armpit.

The lump itself doesn’t bother me. It’s what it represents. It represents my abject disobedience to my higher self, to the God in me who wants me to be happy, light and free. The lump represents resistance to the spiritual shifts that I’ve ignored. Its existence translates to ‘You ready to work now? ‘Cuz, you know, She has unlimited resources if you still want to fight.’

I don’t want the brass knuckle treatment. My face is too pretty.

This lump represents me denying the truth that I cannot save my child from himself. That no amount of love will keep him from learning his life lessons in the way that he chooses to learn them. It’s spent energy on the things I cannot change and unspent energy on the things that I can. And when I move back into my Dee alignment, the lump will go away. Sounds easy, right?

So I’m sitting here in this coffee shop finally accepting that protecting The Kid is not my responsibility and probably never was. That months of beating myself up wondering where it all went sideways is not my fault. I wasn’t June Cleaver to The Kid, but I did the best that I knew at the time. I don’t have to internalize imperfection. Even June Cleaver probably took shots and hit the blunt in the bathroom when everyone was away.

Honestly, this shit hurts. A lot. I could probably cry from right now until Sunday night and still feel this… deep mourning. Death of an age for us, The Kid and me. But death always bring life and the hurt is ‘what will that life look like?’

Which brings me to the second part of the feelings. The unknown is what scares me. What if The Kid… just… doesn’t want the kind of relationship I want? And this is when I realize all these years I wanted to be a good mother, but I sometimes lost my way. Denying it was a lie. I love my homegrowns and they represent some of my greatest work. I think about the future a lot because I like planning for most things (except retirement, but that’s a story for another day). I can’t plan for what’s coming so I’m forced to slow down and be present, be in one moment. Immerse in each experience. Be present for everyone who takes the time to share a part of their life with me, especially my homegrowns.

I have to re-calibrate my brain and let me tell you, that’s no small feat.

But this lump sure as hell ain’t a walk in the park either.

I’m at a crossroad: I can choose the path of least resistance. Or not. It’s that simple.

Think I’ll take the easy, low road.

Dr. Seuss drops knowledge

Milestones

Pearl Cleage quote

It’s been a LONG time since I wrote on the blog. More than two months.

Okay.

So what’s been going on? Life shifts. When I was in the midst of it all, I thought I was literally go outta sane. Losing my grip on life in so many ways. I needed time. I needed to focus on the abrupt changes seemingly wanting attention all at once and politely ask each one to allow me to handle one thing at a time. Miraculously, it worked.

May. Let’s just start there. The Kid returned to my dad’s house about a week before he would have graduated. Let it be known that he didn’t come back on his own volition. Life forced him back. He currently lives with my dad and is figuring out what adulthood means, which includes finishing high school, getting his license, and finding his way in life.

Fine. Like I’ve said before, this was never about him. At least not from my life vantage point. My son leaving was the impetus for a bunch of life changes in me. I still don’t know what triggered an awareness of me now, but that one thing, my first child leaving the nest, set off a chain reaction that at first scared me, but then helped me blossom into the remainder of my life.

One of those changes was a shift in what I want to write about here on Honesty’s Protegee. Crafts, recipes and all that is cool, but is not where my heart lies. My deepest passion is in revelations and evolution. Recognizing those moments when I can see the progress from Point A on my life journey to Point B. And this Point A-Point B revelation is huge. Life altering.

There are a million blogs on how to make a dress from curtains, 90 ways to decorate with two-liter Coke bottles, how to make my own nail polish. What’s not out here is a lot of what happens after you feel like ‘WTF?! My body/mind/soul is evolving and I’m scared as shit because I don’t know what to do!’ Some people call it mid-life crisis, but since I don’t plan to die when I’m 78, I’m calling it a milepost.

I’ve wrestled with this. During my time off, several other bloggers have had milestone moments and transitioned their blogs from one focus to another. Some I stayed with, others I didn’t. What took me so long to admit that I couldn’t continue on the path I was walking was losing readers. For a long time, the numbers meant something to me. But I got past that fear.

Here I am. A half-empty-nesting, looking-at-40, imperfect, gracefully aging, coming-into-full-mature-womanness human. And I love it. I embrace it. There are hard days, but the new freedom of not giving a rat’s ass about what another person thinks is liberating. So I hope you stay around. I make no promises about posting. I’m not doing it for the numbers anymore. I’m doing it for the love. The love I have for me and the love I have for the freedom of every one of us unapologetically being exactly who we are at every moment without shame, insincerity, or fear.