Losing to Find Freedom

freedom

A lot’s been going on since Bro’Ham took over my computer a month ago.

Maybe I should qualify what ‘a lot’ actually means. I’ve been losing. In just about every area of my life, something is being purged to make way for something more expansive.

I lost my desire to palpitate every time The Kid makes a decision. It’s not my life, it’s his life. It’s also not my right or responsibility to judge his choices. At his age, I’d had him and was living at home with my parents, unemployed. His dad and I weren’t on good terms and life sucked. I survived. So will he. And the upside is he didn’t have a kid, so I don’t have to have an awkward conversation with my grandchild when I’m 50 saying s/he can now call me Gram D.

I let go of the notion that The Girl is someone she’s not. I realized that a 16-year-old teenager is not going to always think past her choices. I also realized that if I really want her to understand what owning her choices means, then I have to let her own them. We had that conversation earlier this month. I can only hope that conversation will make her at least think one choice past her immediate impulses. But if not, hey, it’s still her life to live. I can be supportive as she navigates a new set of choices presented to her.

I released the extreme emotional attachment to my mother. That’s a major statement that needs explanation. It happened in two phases. I first realized that I didn’t need to call on her to help me as much as I once did. I’d come into knowing what I know and realized that I already knew the answer and sought her spirit as validation. She stopped showing up for me. At first I was deep in my feelings about that, but I had a moment of clarity: everything I need is inside of me. She knew that and she needed me to know it too. The best lessons are the ones I figure out on my own. It was the first step in the process.

The second phase was releasing the emotional charges of her things that I still possessed. I don’t have a lot. Her wedding rings, a scarf, photo album, cake pans and accessories and some jewelry. Slowly those things weren’t symbols of who she was or remembered, they were just… things. Her spirit was no longer in them. What I came to realize is when she stopped showing up, she also took her energy from those objects. When I saw them with new eyes, I realized a few of them don’t fit who am. I stopped wearing the ring. I packed up the pans with the intention to take them home to my dad along with the photo album. I went through the jewelry and kept what I liked and tossed the rest. The scarf is no longer a staple of my winter gear. It’s actually been demoted to my scarf drawer instead of in its holy place in the front closet. Letting go of the emotional made room to free up my physical space. I will always love and respect my mother for giving me life and the lessons she taught me, but I was finally able to release her and let her go help others.

I purged stuff that didn’t belong in my life anymore. When I say I went through everything, I inspected every sock, earring, lipstick, nail polish, box, colored pencil, book, pair of panties, bras, shirt, skirts, shoes… I think you get it. The upside is it’s going to make packing next week realllll easy. The downside is, um, well, I need to go shopping. All that purging made my closet look like I’ve been struggling for a decade. That’s probably how long it’s been since I did a real clean out though. It’s amazing to see things I once loved now kinda repulsive to me.

I deleted old files in Google Drive and Evernote. Now that was an undertaking. Man…. Not only was I trash at giving documents good names and organizing them in the beginning, I couldn’t even remember why I’d downloaded and saved about 71% of the stuff I deleted. Random pictures of The Hero sleeping. Recipes I’m sure I expected to cook, but now just made me weary reading. DIY sewing projects when all I’ve mastered (and care to master) is making a banging set of curtains and a maxi skirt. Everything else? Gone. Except Triple Chocolate Devil’s Food Cupcakes and Hash Brown and Egg Casserole. They give life.

I stopped participating in friend groups that I didn’t develop. I sat and realized that I’ve been part of other people’s groups of friends, but have never cultivated my own. My Circle of Six was a figment of my imagination. I don’t even have a circle of six. I have a Triangle of Truth. But those three women? I love them and want them to remain my friends for the rest of my days. The frequency with which I talk to all of them is different, but the feeling when I do is the same: they are the sisters I chose. It was a long time coming, but I’m glad it did.

I released this notion that I didn’t deserve to spend on myself. Of all the things in this post, this one may have had the most significant impact on me because it made me look at how I value myself. I go to the spa every other week now to get something done. Last time, I went to get a color consultation on lipstick because I am sick and tired of trial and error and picking some color that, once on me, doesn’t make me feel electric. I allow someone else to cater to me and not feel guilty spending the money to do so.

Along those lines, I let go of this notion to blow all of my disposable income on eating and drinking. As a matter of fact, I try to limit myself to lunch and dinner on Fridays and no more than two hard ciders per day. I’ll be honest though: this really came about as a kind of trial and error. Wine started giving me ridiculous hangovers. Bourbon gave me the mad heart burn. I don’t like beer. So now me and a variety of hard ciders have a nice old time enjoying ourselves. And it frees up money for pampering at my new favorite day spa.

I let go of this idea that there isn’t enough and started making space for truth. Truth is, there are things I just didn’t want to do. I had money. I had time. I didn’t want to do them. Now the reasons I didn’t want to do them were all different, but when I owned that truth, everything else became easy. And I started to see that there was enough money, time, energy to do everything I wanted to do. I had to declare it and work the plan to make it come into fruition.

I let go of my tiny fear box. It started with work. I asked to take on some duties and when I realized that I wouldn’t be able to excel at them with my current knowledge, I freaked out. I got scared. I realized though that every unknown is scary and I can either let the fear cripple me and suck or I can acknowledge it and work on learning. It showed me how to slow down and move one step at a time instead of thinking 274 steps in the future in my head only to find that step 3 changes the whole plan.

I let go of later and focused on what’s happening right now. Because if you’re like me, right now is usually just fine. You’re still breathing and life is still rolling along. When things come up, it’s almost second nature to stop and ask myself ‘Is this affecting me right now though?’ I’m not saying I avoid dealing with things, but like the fear factor above, skipping past right now was causing me a lot of anxiety. The gray was getting real and I was exacerbating small issues into dramatic sagas. Nah.

I gave up my cape. I struggled with this because it’s how I show love. I do things for people. And the one person who gets the lion’s share of my love is The Hero. After 10 years of showing up at platinum level with gold energy though, I burned out. And I started being resentful. It wasn’t his fault. I didn’t ask for help. The thought occurred to me one day that I am not his caretaker, I’m his partner. And partners complement. He can cook and clean better than me (there was some stankness about admitting that to myself). I’m better at organizing our lives though and making sure everything rolls smoothly. I asked for help. He said yes. We’re living life again like it’s golden.

And there’s Honesty’s Protégée. This blog has been everything from mind dump to recipe/DIY repository. I’m not going to make any more statements about what it will be or what I will do. I know that I’ll come here when it feels right. That may be to cook. May be to dump 2,000 words and update you on my life. I don’t know. I hope you stay, but I understand if you don’t.

Until next time.

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Forgive and Learn

forgive and learn

Forgive and forget. I never liked that expression. Well… I won’t say I didn’t like it. The statement never made sense to me. How do you forget something or someone as if it never happened or you never met them? You don’t.

I’m not saying that forgiving is bad because it’s a source of freedom. It’s an opportunity to take back the power I gave to a person or situation. It allows me to forgive myself and learn that I can survive this situation and come out a wiser person from it.

But let me talk about the other side of forgiveness: the situation or person. I’ve come to realize that you can forgive a person and never speak to them again as part of forgiving yourself. “Forgetting” what they did sets me up to have it happen again. Someone called it denial or rejection. At first, I took issue with that, but after thinking about it, I’d have to say that person was right: I reject the possibility of allowing myself to be hurt, devalued or ignored by this person again.

I had to think hard on this because my current forgiveness work includes my father and stepfather, both of whom I have not talked to in months. I love them in my own way. I am, however, working through some deep issues I have with them and in this stage of my life, forgiving them means not talking to them and subjecting myself to the same behaviors that made me feel negatively about myself. And no matter how much I express that something bothers me or hurt, it’s brushed over as ‘the past’ and I need to ‘get over it’. Can you see how thinking that two and two will equal five makes me the crazy one? That’s self-abuse and I’m straight.

A lot of people don’t understand that though. They tell me the same things my father and stepfather say: ‘let it go’ and create a new relationship. I struggled with that advice for two years. Each time I tried to start a new relationship, we would slip back into our old patterns and the cycle started all over again: them not hearing my issue, me resenting them for it and resenting myself for trying AGAIN. It wasn’t until this year that I made the executive decision to stop listening to unsolicited advice. Especially from people who don’t know why I made the choice.

I had to forgive me for thinking that I asked for what happened or I was the cause. I had to forgive and be gentle with myself as I sorted through my shame, anger and grief. I’m still doing so and in this fragile state, I don’t choose to expose myself to being treated the same way. I don’t deserve to be ignored nor have my feelings dismissed. I learned to love myself enough to just say no. And in forgiving myself, I forgive them for their actions or lack thereof. I just choose not to expose myself to having the same thing happen time after time after time after time… you get the point.

Will I always feel this way? I don’t know. It’s possible that I will reach a place where their behaviors mean absolutely nothing to me. I’m not there right now though and am truly okay with that. Until that day comes though, I am happy with my decision to choose me.

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

Back in Business!

mental meltdown

We’ve managed to get most of the boxes unpacked and put everything away. Just a few more things to do and we’ll have settled in to our new place.

So what’s been going on? Well… a lot. I had a mini nervous breakdown the first week of my hiatus. Things on the job have been hectic and when I got home, I just wanted to lay around and watch movies. The problem was we needed to find a new place and pack up to move by the end of the month. A week before the end of the lease, we hadn’t found a place and did minimal packing. I freaked out and literally woke up that Tuesday and cried. It was such an overwhelming week AND I still had to go to work all week because we’re short-staffed and I’m doing parts of another person’s job until we hire a replacement. Let’s just say there was a lot of wine and whining.

The Hero was great in all of this. Well… sorta. He just wasn’t working on my schedule like I needed him to (hence the mini break down). His laid back approach would sometimes make me think ‘oh… everything will magically work itself out’ and others ‘OH MY GOD… If he HASN’T packed, I’m going to KILL HIM DEAD!’

I literally stopped cooking for the last two weeks (mostly because the pots and pans were packed in a box). I’ve had more fried chicken wings, Chipotle and Healthy Choice meals than I care to admit.

But there are a lot of good things that came from this:

Got a new hair cut. I went to the salon on the day I melted down. It was strictly coincidental because I’d already made the appointment, but it was right on time. I’d been wrestling with to cut or not to cut and then one day I accepted the fact that I’m not one of those women who wants long hair. I like it on other people, but I feel my best and most beautiful when my hair is short. Love the length and it doesn’t take an hour just to wrap it up at night so it looks halfway decent in the morning.

hair

 

I finally threw away a LOT of stuff I didn’t need. Is it just me or is that you really underestimate how much stuff you have until it’s time to pack? I didn’t know that I had the equivalent of a full box of stuff dedicated just to hair. I’m not even a hair enthusiast, but apparently I’ve collected curling irons, rollers, setting rods and gobs of products that got lost in the bathroom closet so I bought more. Trash. Lighter load coming into the new place.

I’m the enforcer. In the aftermath of the melt down, I realized that I’m the one who delegates tasks in the Hero household. Sure we make plans together, but if I don’t give The Hero a list, well… you can see where that goes. When I said that to The Hero, he kinda agreed. I gave him his list for the day and life was back to fairies and glitter.

I have some control issues. I’ve always known myself to be a problem solver. Something needs to be done, I’m on it. Lately though I’m starting to realize that I sabotage myself by not delegating enough work to people. Could be that I’ve always been the one delegated to, so I expect to just do everything myself. Between the job and moving, I realized that maybe, just maybe, if I let people help, my stress level would be way lower.

There’s nothing wrong with taking it easy. Now I don’t mean taking it easy when you have to move in four days and only packed the kitchen. Not saying that at all. But, it’s okay to be packing and realize ‘I’m tired. I’m going to sit down/take a nap and then finish.’ I had to force myself to listen to my body because I was abusing myself. Bad sleep, bad food and aching muscles five days in a row made for a very wired, tired and uninspired Dee.

That’s what’s been going on around these parts. What’s been going on in your world since I’ve been away?