Only the lonely…

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At my husband’s request, I took down my last two blog posts. While they were not meant to reflect him in a negative light, and I was coming from the place of emotional exhaustion and honesty, he felt they painted him badly…

The irony of all of that is not lost on me, I promise.

I’m stuck in such an uncomfortable place where my feeling don’t matter. Where I’m not meant to be considered. Where maybe the other person didn’t intentionally mean to hurt me so it shouldn’t matter, and where I am tired, convicted and crucified every single time.

I read the other day that I probably didn’t have depression last summer/fall, but instead suffered from loneliness. The entire chapter about this rang so true that I had to sit afterwards and admit that this was entirely possible.

Life is funny. I find myself looking at photos of kayaking, skydiving and all around adventuring and my soul literally yearns to take off on an adventure. I was supposed to be away for the weekend, feet dipping in the icy ocean simply so my soul could exhale and then reset itself, but that didn’t work out and now I honestly feel restless. I long to go, to do something significant. I’m itching to engage with nature. In reality, I’d likely be mauled by a bear and drown in the ocean, so it’s probably better I stay here and engage in the daily practice of feeling like an alien in a land I recognize but do not belong…

Tomorrow is Lent. Every year I give up three things that somehow help me engage with my WofY. {reminder: my word for 2016 is connect.} Every other year, giving up Facebook somehow seems to fit right in with my word. Whenever I’ve done it in the past, it’s fallen over my birthday and so I missed all the birthday love. This year Lent will end the day BEFORE my birthday… So that’s ironically fitting. :) So it’s Facebook, soda (because without intending to, I’ve found I am partaking in fountain soda much more regularly than I wanted) and sleeping past 6 in the morning. If nothing else, I guess I’ll be sleeping through my entire birthday, which is fine by me. I hate them anyway, and this year is bound to take the cake on horrible birthdays… I’m also vowing, this year, to do three things every day, for those 40 days: pray intentionally for my husband and our marriage, do something intentionally selfless, generous and kind for someone else, write for one hour (non-blogging or freelance) every day. If that day’s schedule means I have to wake up at 4:30 to fit it in, I guess that’s what I’ll have to do. I also want to have one real adventure and learn one new thing… Lofty, I know.

We have today, and that’s it. I KNOW I am supposed to make the most of it, but quite often I don’t pay attention to how significant the gift is… It’s a real gift. It’s the best gift, and I don’t want to be that girl on the couch wasting it, because I might emotionally feel like being that girl. I’ll regret it if I go through my life doing what I feel like, because these days what I feel like isn’t going to lead anywhere good…

Wish me luck on my intentional Lent, and journeying boldly and bravely through the 40 day countdown to my 40th birthday, or better yet- join me. :)

The last day…

 

I’d had a plan to leave my husband, in spring. It had been a homework challenge, with counseling. Then it became a “what other choice do I have, if he doesn’t want me?” sort of option, which evolved into an “I want this to happen.” sort of scheme. I had set my deadline so far away because I honestly believed he would step up and proclaim a fight for us. Everyone who really knew me realized this. I just couldn’t utter those words myself because the rejection of the one person who truly, deeply knew me was already destroying me. Once I spoke those words into the world, they were real and if he didn’t, I felt like it would be the death of me.

The last afternoon, before life truly fell apart (and seven days before I no longer had a home or a family) my husband and I had a great afternoon together. We had connected more in the former 15 days than we had in months and I felt filled with hope. I had been out-of-town for a couple of days and I’d missed him so much. I told him as much, when I returned. We went for coffee, shopped a little and sat talking for a long while. It was the sort of conversation filled with laughter, memories, dreams and a thousand other veins of talk that only could be truly made sense of by us- the livers of the life we were in. As the sunlight streamed through the windows of that second floor room where we sat, I felt so overcome with how grateful I was for my life, how deeply I loved that man and how desperately I wanted our marriage to last.

I fell asleep snuggled deep into him, inhaling him and just forcing myself to live in that moment. I had no idea what tomorrow held…

With a fierce punch to the heart, also known as disastrous hind sight, I was smacked with all of this today as I sat for a minute looking back on my Instagram stream. There on that day, in that room, was my daily photo. Because, as we were walking out I knew I’d want to remember it forever. Forever I will…

It’s so hard, with the magic of hindsight-vision, to not simply hate yourself for what you threw away. Regardless of the hows, the whys or the other factors- I had my own responsibility in the situation. While it’s true, I felt (by that time) that I had no choice in the way it all played out- I now see differently. So today, tear-stained and feeling so rebroken, I have to hold on to the memories to soothe the ache, and keep moving forward.

I breathe…

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I’m working two jobs, these days. From full-time student to juggling two jobs of which I won’t see any fruit until long after bill due dates, and even then those dates will have looped back around. That’s ok. I actually really love both jobs, and my favorite part of them is connecting with people. A smile and a friendly interaction can really change the course of their day.

The really awkward part about starting to work at entry-level jobs is that the majority of my co-workers (and in one instance, bosses) are the age of my kids. I have loved getting to know them and the conversations that have blossomed, but there is this voice calling to me from deep inside that tells me I’m a loser, and I’m a failure because I’m there, scraping to survive with 24 year olds who are just growing up.

Am I 39 and just growing up?

I’ve been able to silence the voice, thus far, because honestly it really doesn’t bother me. A little maybe, but not for those reasons. For the reasons that I simply worked really hard and invested my everything into a life and a family which are just fine without me. I am very proud of committing and focussing to be the very best I could be, for them, for my life’s work and purpose. Things changed. I got sick, (depression) and consequentially this is my life now. It is, at times, so lonely I can’t even gasp for air… At other times, it’s the memories of my family that get me through and make me smile. The tears are always there, behind the eye lids. Sometimes they spill, sometimes they flood… But still, every waking morning I come closer and closer to accepting my fate. Am I behind other women my age, professionally? Significantly… But life is not about work. It isn’t about “success” in the world’s eyes… I have lived my life and loved so incredibly much, that maybe in some ways I’m ahead of them too… At least, for a large part of my life, my priority was where it should have been. And now, now my life is that of my twenty year old co-workers, only I could be their mother.

We do the best we can, and that’s simply it. I’m doing my best, succeed or fail, this is all I’ve gone.

All of my friends are either solid in their career, or still at home with their kids. They don’t get it, and that’s ok. I’m learning that I don’t need to be “gotten”. Again, I walked away from that too. A single mom friend said to me, “At least you don’t have kids. I am so jealous of your new start and second chance.” I guess we’re all there, comparing what we do or do not have to someone else. Believe me, this is no beautifully ideal new beginning. I’d rather have someone to hug, someone who needed me and whispered “I love you” as they fell asleep…

Last week someone asked me what my life feels like. I try not to think about it, but when I do (If I’m honest) my life feels exactly how I imagine hell to feel. Complete isolation from true personal intimacy and living within the very deep and fragrant realizations of my short comings, mistakes and failures… The only difference between what I can imagine to be hell and my reality is that I at least can move forward and try to build something new. I don’t want to, but that’s my choice. Either do, or succumb to bitterness. So I do. I wake up, I pray, I read, I go to work. I come home. I learn. I actively show love to the people I see, the best I can. I fight a painful night of sleep with the most horrifyingly vivid dreams, when sleep wins. I wake up and do it again. I try not to resent the laundry when I fold it and it is only my clothes. I avoid the kitchen (haven’t cooked since November) because it reminds me of what I don’t have. My life is the polar opposite of the life I both gave up willingly, and was stolen from me. I breathe. In every moment, that is my only consistent and sane decision…

I breathe.

Be grateful and glad in all things, and when all else fails… rant?

tvA long time ago I truly grasped the lesson & importance of being grateful and glad in all things… Then something got lost, along my journey. I sunk deep into a terrifying depression, which I couldn’t truly understand while drowning in it, but strangely and intricately do now. Within that depression, a great many things changed. I had lost, along the way, the importance of being grateful and glad in all things. Truthfully, I felt like I was barely surviving. My perspective of all things, from my parenting to my marriage, my education to my skills and talents, was all seen through a filter so far from reality. In the end of that chapter, I partook in a very time sensitive decision, going in a direction where I believed I would actually be needed, valued and wanted. The truth, outside of that sludgy despair however is that I was far too emotionally sick to really know what any of that looked like. Depression is a beast… Sometimes it can lay at bay, on the surface, and it feels like you’re out of the sea. That’s the best I can explain it.

I wonder what would have looked different if I’d been able to hold on to my sense of being grateful and glad in all things? In all things would mean in the sea of depression or other illnesses as well. In isolation from the very people you live with and love. In abandonment from relationships which fed your life. In the joy and celebration that comes with great blessings… In all things.

I lost this sense. My sense. And over the past many days I’ve been reminded and validated upon the path of reclaiming it. I am someone who needs relationship with people. This is not a character defect. This is not a deep, emotional flaw. This is how I am designed. I am crafted to thrive on connection with others. Our society promotes surface connections, declaring that true friendship is talks of sex, meeting for drinks and Facebook collections. None of these are friendship. Sure, friends CAN talk about sex, share a drink and be connected on social media, but when one, two or all three of these things make up the bulk of your “support system”, there is no support. We have a need to be entertained in all things, and have had this need for independence shoved down our throats. There is this weird parasite in our thoughts that we mustn’t allow ourselves to be too vulnerable, too needy, too dependent upon someone else. What is wrong with us? And we can go through a season in our lives when we form a real, true and deep connection with someone but that tapeworm of ridiculous garbage will live again and try to destroy it. While I suspect we all have the same need, but different life circumstances have left us scarred and unable to heal it, I at least know for sure that I do have this need. In the core of connecting with others, conversation and interactions I thrive. Without that, in any form of isolation, I wither. I can be grateful and glad in all things… In all times. In all seasons. That is my choice, and one I must make and work to retain. Whether it is times of togetherness or isolation. But the intentional connection thing is something I am going to have to be sure to do, as well. In all things… It is the cure to my depression, the cure to that childhood lie stitched upon my soul that I am unloveable. We were created for community, and within a community I must live…

I was already thinking these things, relearning and newly realizing these things, and at this very place in my journey when my pastor, Sunday, spoke on this very idea. I can’t take credit for it at all, as I am merely recycling other people’s wisdom with my own commentary. One thing he said Sunday which hasn’t left the forefront of my brain since then was that a study conducted in 1984 polled people to see how many close friends they had. The average number among the majority was 3. The same poll was taken within the last year or two and the majority answered 0. ZERO. NONE. The majority of people have no one whom they can trust, confide in, rely on… And the very best part of friendship is also being trusted by someone, listening to someone and knowing you are reliable. What has changed in those 22 years? The internet, the mass web of social media, the rise and growth of video games and our 700 television channels waiting for us. Beyond technology, not much has changed. This is sad to me. There was a time when lunch with friends, long distance phone calls and actually, truly knowing someone, were normal. Now, they are occasional treats. We say we are busy, but we aren’t. We are programmed to be “busy” with tv shows, video games and our cell phone obsessions. I remember paying steep long distance bills and buying phone cards to talk to friends for hours. Now? Now I could go a week without a single conversation and NO ONE PAYS LONG DISTANCE anymore!

This totally turned into a rant, which wasn’t my intention… Be grateful and glad in all things… I am grateful to realize this, and glad to know that this epidemic is easily solvable. It just takes altering our priorities and intentionally connecting with someone. Engage in a conversation, get together over a cup of coffee or dinner and talk. Listen. Love. It’s easier than we think. Maybe not as easy as turning on the tv or gazing at our iPhones, but it is so much more rewarding… We idolize our electronics, but the truth is that they don’t give a damn about is.

Forty Eve…

Last year my birthday had me turning 39…

I spent the day with my husband and youngest daughter, but I honestly do not recall what we did. I do remember my husband did one of his characteristically thoughtful little surprises. Those are the things I love to remember the most. It’s bittersweet…

The one thing I did FOR myself, on my birthday, was taking a time out to work on a list of forty things I wanted to do before my fortieth birthday.

Here is the list now…

  • My first 5K
  • get a job.
  • take classes or a course to make #2 easier.
  • go on a real vacation with my family.
  • get my passport.
  • get my concealed weapons license.
  • finish my memoir
  • Learn how to do four new things.
  • make a new friend.
  • get into essential oils.
  • have dinner with, and spend time with William. (My high school BFF)
  • see my son.
  • make it as natural as breathing to bless someone else’s day, anonymously, every day.
  • to go on a long weekend with my husband.
  • take up yoga regularly.
  • Go to Idaho to see friends.
  • See a new-to-me broadway show.
  • confront my fear and hold a snake.
  • Put my toes in the ocean.
  • Live intentionally, Savoring even the unsavory in some way.
  • write more letters and notes than emails and texts.
  • realize what is really important, and focus on those things/people.
  • Skydive
  • take Gen (my youngest) to the DIA.
  • Do something memorable and special, with my family, every month.
  • have a girlfriend getaway.
  • pick up my camera and become friends with it again.
  • get new wedding rings.
  • Ride horses again, it had been ages.
  • go up north in the fall.
  • create something beautiful.
  • Speak in a public speaking engagement.
  • dance with and date my husband intentionally.
  • make REAL plans with Kozzette, for Sundance.
  • be an intentional gift giver to those I love the most.
  • get a basket for my bike, to carry picnics and flowers in, all summer.
  • more non-tv nights than those with the tv on.
  • catalogue the things that make me laugh, for when I can’t.
  • Be a better version of who I was at 38.
  • plan an amazing celebration, for my next decade, with the people I love the most there.

When I pulled this gem of a list out, some 65 days before my birthday, I went through various stages of shock… Bold would be the things I actually have done/continue to do. I admit that I was a little devastated to read through these items.  It was like having to face a bullet-list reality of your very personal failures.

If I were to make a list of things I wanted to bucketlist for my fortieth year, it would be eerily similar. I guess that proves that I did NOT become a better version of me. In fact, when I look at the severe depression I plummeted into about a week or two after I wrote this list, and how much darker and scarier it got, well… I’d say it’s fair to say I became someone much worse. The things my depression put my family through are things I may take a very long time to forgive myself for… I italicized Idaho because moving here, at the end of my marriage was not what I’d had in mind.

In a raw and very real way I figured I’d make a list of the forty things, both good and bad, that I did do from 39-40…

  • Saw a few concerts I’d wanted to see for a long, long time.
  • helped my husband remodel the kitchen. Before my eyes it transformed into something more beautiful than I’d ever imagined. It will always be my favorite room ever.
  • I got drunk. twice.
  • I worked really hard, with Gen, to give my husband a beautiful Father’s Day. He really deserved it and it was so fun to have a conspirator.
  • I played a fair amount of table tennis.
  • I rode a roller coaster. Still get migraines from them and they aren’t my favorite, like they used to be, but I still did it.
  • I saw a fortune-teller, at an amusement park.
  • I began (And quit… twice) an Esthetics program.
  • I moved away from my husband and daughter, to a million miles and hours away.
  • I made an a few friends, one of whom is amazing and I adore and miss her!
  • I finally came to terms with the fact that my mother is not capable of loving anyone, even her only child.
  • I took part in breaking my daughter’s heart and forever altering her life.
  • I was introduced to the beauty that is Korean television, by two friends of mine. I shared this with Gen and I miss us in this way, very much.
  • I had a car accident.
  • I plummeted into a deep, terrifying depression and had no idea for most of it.
  • I took Gen to get her nose pierced. (I got the part of my ear I can never remember, pierced.)
  • I got an ironic tattoo, while severely depressed, as a milestone tattoo. SMH
  • I saw a lot of movies. Of course.
  • I fell in love with Korean Food, Korean music and the loveliness that is Korean culture.
  • My Kate Spade collection grew.
  • I made a lot of stupid, unclear decisions while I was depressed. (If you ever find yourself in that position- just don’t…)
  • I spent a ton of time obsessing over M & S’s Wilder Mind album.
  • I finally dove into a vinyl collection. The start of one anyway…
  • I realized I love a good cover song…
  • Bowled a few times. It’s my absolute favorite thing and I got to bowl about 5 times, which is really amazing.
  • I skipped Thanksgiving, and probably will make that same decision from now on.
  • I had the worst Christmas I’ve had since childhood.
  • I had an even worse New Years, but that’s a holiday we can’t ignore.
  • I learned I will do almost anything alone, without fear or complaint, but there is a small list of things that it’s just not in my capacity to manage.
  • I bought Broadway tickets, but didn’t get to use them. That had NEVER happened.
  • I changed every single ounce of my life. I went from being a wife and mother every day to being a pen pal.
  • I did a mom swap for several months and it was the one thing, during my 8 months of depression that I really loved. It kept me going and motivated me not to lose myself in it.
  • I tried Couch to 5K, and quit. I decided running, though my husband loved it, was not for me.
  • I got my first apartment based just on my credit.
  • I then lived off of credit cards after I worked incredibly damn hard to build my credit, because my money was all gone on things like moving, apartment deposit, helping a friend, etc… Thus ruining my hard-earned credit. Definite negative.
  • I realized I worked really hard to build a life that I’ll never get to live again, and that life had been my world.
  • Didn’t see my son, but there were still beautiful developments and I’ll hopefully see him soon.
  • I did learn how to give an AWESOME facial. And how to wax…
  • Totally lost sight of myself and then life changed so quickly, in that. I have no idea how to be, who to be, or how to fix things.
  • I got to spend a lot of time with my daughters, prior to Thanksgiving… I’m reminded constantly that it will never be the same. I’m living with that.