Thursday, January 31, 2013

Credentials don't count!

I’ve been emailing long, witty emails with A Teacher for the last 2 ½ weeks Finally we crossed the boundary and moved to a phone call.  For the first 2 days, we talked excited for over an hour on the phone until the hour was late and it was time to pass out.  However, I found that I stayed true to my nervous banter which I don’t think is nearly as witty nor endearing as my emails.  After not hearing from him all day yesterday, I started beating myself up for being too brash, too opinionated, too everything! Until it was pointed out that those things rephrased as being honest and genuine. And in being so with someone else, if they don’t respond by meeting you half way, then they aren’t worth the time & energy going forward. I love this quote:

“The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool” - Almost Famous (c/o Brene Brown)

I did finally exchange 2 texts with The Teacher right before bedtime last night when he basically said he had a bad day, he was exhausted, and packing for last minute trip to the Superbowl (long story).  I wrote a positive, if not downright cute text back, and received no response (likely because he was asleep before I sent my reply). Nonetheless, a good friend pointed out that we’ve been judging people based on their credentials - i.e. he looks great on paper!  But what really counts is actions. So going forward, I’m attempting to take the tactic of actions matter, not words & definitely not credentials. There are many “impressive people” but I’m looking for the one who can BE that person, not just say they are.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Tapping the A button to become Radioactive

I wish I had a nugget of wisdom to impart today but my time has been spent focusing on....well me!  If you ever played Mike Tyson’s punch out as a kid, you will remember that when you are knocked down, you have to repeatedly hit the controller buttons at a rapid rate to give your guy enough energy to stand up again. It was tedious and nervewracking to continually tap that button and watch the energy meter barely come up above zero.  The same is true for real life!  After being so depleted for so long, I’ve spent all of January focused on replenishing.  Many fun days and nights filled with friends and family.  I’ve been emailing with a few seemingly nice guys but nothing has materialized and I’m good with that for now.

In the spirit of sharing things that you find awesome (and please feel free to share back!), this song is perfect for right now - Imagine Dragons, "Radioactive":


Saturday, January 26, 2013

I'm gonna glow

“We all have it. It is a matter of getting out of our own way and letting the light through.” - a wise brother
I’m on to something. I can feel the glow coming.  The feeling that manifests itself as an actual glow around you when you are living Wholeheartedly, knowing you are ok.  I’m gonna glow. (I may need to re-read this blog post many times to remind myself).

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mind the Gap

I loved this quote from Daring Greatly so I ordered the print below for my home.

"'Mind the Gap'...reminds us to pay attention to the space between where we are standing and where we want to go."

Friday, January 18, 2013

The fine art of resilience

This week has been very productive in gaining perspective. Prospective over feelings and thoughts and recognizing their source and importance...or lack there of!  However, I am STILL waking up with mini panic attacks each morning.

I saw the ever-wise therapist this morning and she suggested that what I have been describing is akin to PTSD and that it fits with the circumstance that everything was taken away so quickly, with no notice. That it literally traumatized me.  She asked if I have flashbacks, moments where the emotion comes back full force. I replied yes, particularly in my house because that is where most of it unfolded. She recommended painting or making some cosmetic changes so the new memories will slowly unseat the old least until I am ready to sell the place and move.

I told her that I’m tired of speaking of myself as the victim.  As I relate parts of my story to others, I feel that I am always saying ‘poor me’, instead of ‘go me!’.  It still feels like a crime has been perpetrated against me, that someone lied and cheated and stole my life.  The wise doctor said that if I googled a checklist on how to be resilient, I would see I’ve done everything on it. I’ve done the most anyone can do each step of the way and have been resilient. I am a survivor, not a victim.  But I’m not quite to where it all clicks - where I can own it. I’m still a step away, I still find everything to be tenuous, uncertain. I’m panicking each morning, anxious that it will all be taken away that day and I will finally break.  

Acceptance of the uncertainty of life is the end goal for most Eastern philosophies.  But wow does the mind fight against it, looking to control whatever can prevent any possible pain. Knowing that in this moment, I am too raw. Too empty. And my life needs to be bubble wrapped, just for a little while so I can heal and refuel.

“I used to have a sign pinned up on my wall that read: 'Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us.”
Pema Chödrön

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Champion of the Smithsonian

Earlier this week I was in Washington, DC for an annual work event.  We had a large team dinner at the Smithsonian Museum of American History where they divided all of the attendees into 33 teams of 10 or so people for a scavenger hunt.

Most self-respecting adults respond to a scavenger hunt with an eye-roll. Aren’t we too old for this? In a history museum, nonetheless?  I pretended to eye roll too, making the appropriate comments about it being a long day, let’s just get this over with. Secretly inside, I was barely restraining myself from high fiving my new team and shouting “let’s f this sh*t up!”.  I subtly checked out the competition, who looked unfocused and weak in comparison. I had to decide for myself if this was going to be for fun or this was going to be to win.  

So as not to seem completely psycho to my newly met colleagues, I pretended it was for fun while quickly organizing us into the secretary, navigator and researchers, positioning us as a top competitor for a big win.  I even orchestrated finding clues in “innovative ways” (read: Google on the smart phone) to skip parts of the museum that were further away so our search was streamlined to pick up answers as quickly as possible.

While I’d like to take all of the credit for being slyly competitive, I suspect there were a few others on the team who were taking this hunt more seriously than meets the eye. We quickly completed our answers, took a team picture and returned the Official Form to the hunt administrators long before any other team arrived back.  After congratulating ourselves for the next hour on our cunning and speed while the other laggard teams slowly made their way back, the winners were finally announced...

Starting with the 2nd runner up (not us). Whew.  Oh wait, don’t look relieved, this is just for fun.  1st runner up (not us). Whew.  Oh wait, still don’t look relieved, it’s just a good time.  And the winner 24!  My team!  I had to fight my better instincts of jumping up and thrusting my fist into the air!  

We approached the stage to claim our grand prizes. I was a bit dismayed to see the executive who was emcee’ing the evening was not planning to give us time for a short thank you speech. We were the winners, weren’t we? Shouldn’t they should us revery and respect?  I elbowed a teammate and said he should make a quick speech, but he thought I was joking. Chuckle, chuckle of course I wasn’t serious (umm...well, I guess I wasn’t serious since this executive WAS NOT handing over the mic.)

Oh well, I had my grand prize bag in hand and was excited to return to my table to see what loot we earned.  I sat down...pulled back the American history trivia board game.  WTF?!?!   I felt like Ralphie (from A Christmas Story) on Christmas morning as he anxiously waited to unwrap a Red Rider BB gun, only to unwrap hideous pink bunny pajamas.  Where was my Red Rider BB gun? What am I going to do with an American history trivia board game for ages 9+?

Feeling slightly deflated, I did the only thing a true champion can do after winning the challenge. I brought home my proverbial pink bunny pajamas and then bragged about my victory on Facebook to my friends, acquaintances and people I barely remember ever meeting.

What is the morale of this story?  Winning feels good. At any age!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

15 days

Wise Little Buddha has a theory on recovering from a break-up and she calls it “15 days”. 15 days from last contact and you will feel better.  Have perspective, be ready to let go or nearly there.  Why 15 days?  Who knows! But it was worth a test.

Today is Day 13 and already I have an entirely different perspective on things. I’ve quieted the inner gremlin saying that I wasn’t good enough and replaced it with entirely new thoughts that I’m enough.  After spending weeks feeling unworthy, I decided to take the gloves off and fight dirty to get to a place of worthiness. This involved reading books and having many discussions with family, friends, trusted advisors, spiritual leaders and practitioners. Getting many views on how it is that someone comes to own a sense of worthiness.

Each time I wanted to reach out to the Runner out of a sense of nostalgia, I opted not to, for one of two reasons:
1) I already know what happens if I reach out (prolonged hurt/disappointment). I do not know what happens if you chose the other path.
2) He wasn’t reaching out to me. Why would I spend any more of my sparse energy on him when I could put it toward the very valuable task of worthiness, which comes with infinitely higher returns!

At your most vulnerable point (as defined as uncertainty, risk, emotional exposure) you feel the most scared, but as Brene Brown puts it best “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change”.  I focused on the fear of being alone and unworthy.  But at that same vulnerable point, I found the courage to stand up for myself and challenge my gremlins and start down a path that is entirely new.

Originally I thought that The Runner came into my life to show me that “good” was possible. And I did learn that.  But the greater good is that this forced me to take a deep look right into the eyes of my gremlins. To decide, with nothing held back, that I was going to find a way to tame them and to move forward from a place of worthiness.

Am I there yet? Not quite. Am I on the right path? Heck yeah!  

Wonder Woman doesn’t stay down when hit by a blow. She comes back wiser and stronger each time.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Thanksgiving and heavy hearts

That phrase caught me this week as it reminds me of what’s going on. Looking around at all of the things I have to be thankful for. Starting to see that maybe life isn’t as scary as I’ve been seeing it (though still having my daily morning panic attacks).  But also still unsure, unsteady.

I spoke with many of the sages in my life this week. If you are gonna work on worthiness, may as well pull out all of the stops, no reason to only go half way!  Here are a few of the insights gleaned as the work week is wrapping up and the weekend is about to dawn:
- Learn to validate myself.  I was disconcerted by the amount of energy I’ve spent worrying about what others think. It dominates so much of this blog it is embarrassing. Instead of wondering if I’m right or wrong, crazy or sane, it’s time to know that I’m enough.  What I’m thinking and feeling is ok. It’s me. It’s valid. It doesn’t matter what others think, it matters if I’m being true to myself.  I love Brene Brown’s tag line in Daring Greatly “It's not the critic who counts”.
(Here’s a fast and easy trick to knowing if your thoughts are fact or fiction: if it comes from a loving place, it is you, it is a fact. If it comes from fear, it’s a feeling, its temporary, it is fiction.)

- Stay connected.  Though I frequently feel isolated, the truth is there are many, many wonderful people supporting me. I may be crumble but they still hold me up. I can’t thank those people enough (many of whom are likely reading this now!).  THANK YOU!

- Stuff happens. Stuff happens & I’m ok. Stuff happens & I’m ok. I don’t give myself credit for any of the good things in my life (kid, dog, car, house, family, friends, etc) but I certainly take the blame for everything that goes wrong (it’s raining today, I must have committed a cardinal sin!)

- Know what you deserve. Ask for what you want. Don’t apologize. Enough said. Luckily I had a friend who has perfected this art and she’s teaching me!

All in all, a good end to the week before a bustling weekend and busy week follow.  I hope this blog post finds everyone well & on an upbeat as we close out a long, cold week.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

It's Gonna Be Okay Journal

Painting a mental picture

I suck at letting go. Perhaps one day I will grow enough that I will be able to let something go because it just “is”, but so far in my life, I have required a mental picture to understand what happened in order to let it go.  I can cognitively say “it’s not a fit” but my heart can’t let go until I understand why.

I fought for a mental picture of my divorce for years, an understanding of why things fell apart in such a sudden and shocking way (though now I see now as sudden and shocking as I first thought). When people said stop asking why and accept it as it is, I agreed and focused on acceptance saying ‘it is what it is’. But as a result of my persistence in understanding, I did end up forming a mental picture of what happened and that has greatly helped my process of healing.

While reading Brene Brown’s “Daring Greatly”, I found this passage that struck like a lightening bolt cutting through the dark fog of the storm:

“When the people we love or with whom we have a deep connection stop caring, stop paying attention, stop investing and stop fighting for the relationship, trust begins to slip away and hurt starts seeping in. Disengagement triggers shame and our greatest fears – the fears of being abandoned, unworthy and unlovable. What can make this covert betrayal so much more dangerous than something like a lie or an affair is that we can’t point to the source of our pain – there’s no event, no obvious evidence of brokenness. It can feel crazy-making.”

I’m still working to know that I’m ok, even without a detailed explanation of why something.  But I am grateful to have found this little bit of insight that helped me gain clarity and a step further to healing. Not just from The Runner, because let’s face it, this isn’t about him - this is about healing myself. Knowing that I’m ok.

I have been wondering lately, does this sense of okayness come easily and innately to everyone else? Or is this a common struggle among many, but viewed as taboo to admit?  Where is the balance between having the armor of confidence to protect your heart but remaining vulnerable and open to connection and the full experience of life?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Thoughts on happiness

As it always seems to be, things appear right when needed. Amid my soul searching, I came upon 2 interesting blog posts from Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happniess Project”.

The first is is an except from Gretchen’s interview with Brett Blumenthal:
Is there anything you find yourself doing repeatedly that gets in the way of your happiness?
When I start to do things that aren’t true to who I am or what I believe, my happiness takes a nose dive. The more I can stay true to myself and what is important to me and my values, the more I am in a happy place.

Is there a happiness quotation that has struck you as particularly insightful?
There are so many quotes that are great about happiness, but one of my favorites is “Happiness depends upon ourselves.” by Aristotle. It is so simplistic, yet sums up so much. In the end, we are masters of our own destiny, and so, our own happiness. If we are unhappy, only we have the power to change that. When we can stop looking externally to find happiness, whether it be through materialistic things, other people to make us happy or anything else, and instead, look inwards and rely on ourselves, we can finally find happiness.

The second is a quote from Robert Musil’s, “The Perfecting of a Love”:
“…all she felt was that she did not want to do anything or prevent anything, and her thoughts slowly wandered into the snow outside, without a backward glance, further and further, as when one is too tired to turn back and walks on and on.”

“I’m ok”

After facing the hard truth that my hang up on The Runner was less about him and more about me doubting if I’m ok, I spent the weekend (and am still) thinking about what this means.  I never learned the resilience of “stuff happens” in life but I’m ok. Instead I somehow decided that stuff is happening because of me. As a result of something being wrong with me. And if only I could address what is wrong, then I could control/prevent stuff from happening.  But it’s not true. There is nothing to control. And on some level, I know things did not happen because of me.

So I kinda know that stuff happens.  Maybe I wasn’t the catalyst for many of the painful events that have occurred. Maybe I wasn’t the let-down of a wife that my ex made me feel to be. Maybe I wasn’t the dull, weight dragging The Runner down that I felt like each time he told me he didn’t “fit into a family environment”.  Maybe I can let myself off the hook (this will take A LOT of work). But....“I’m ok”?  Am I, really? It sure doesn’t feel like it. It feels like I’m running on empty. Dangerously close to sputtering to a stop. In need of a recharge.

I re-read this blog. Horrified by the amount of energy I’ve spent worrying about what others think. Specifically, tieing my “ok-ness” to whomever I was dating.  At first I thought that I haven’t moved forward. But then I took a step back and saw things that I’ve done differently, that I wouldn’t have done a year ago:
1) I ended it with The Runner instead of working and working to force it to work.
2) I have not contacted The Runner since the last blog post.  I have a strong urge to hear him say “you are ok” and I keep reminding myself that it doesn’t matter what he says, what he thinks, or what he’s doing right now. I’m ok, I need to know it, I’m ok.
3) I know what I deserve. And I’m taking steps to let go of anything less.

The disappointment with The Runner was a big hit. Bigger than I expected. I hoped it would work out. In truth, I actually thought that it would (not logical, I know, but I’m driven by heart, barely balanced by sound mind). The hit came at the worst time, when the holidays bring isolation to a painful razor sharp point.  It knocked me down. And I’m scared to get back up because I don’t want to endure another wave.

I’m ok, I’m ok, I’m ok. I hold my hand over my heart every morning and repeat these words until I can open my eyes and face the world. I think of Grace and our dog and tell myself I’m ok. 


Sunday, January 6, 2013


I’ll admit it, Christmas was awful. I can’t even pinpoint why. tt was painful; downright traumatic. It used to be this amazing time, filled with love, laughter, surprises and a bit of magic. But in the two years since life exploded right before the holiday, it has represented pain and loss.

I thought it would be different this year. My daughter and I participated in all of the traditional holiday festivities.  We were set for a perfect day: abundant cookies, first with a tree, we even lit the Advent wreath at church!  We were the very definition of holiday spirit. But as Christmas Eve dawned, my heart felt heavy. It was suffocating for 48 hours. I smiled my way through for Grace’s sake. But as I flipped through Facebook on Christmas Eve/Day and saw all happy, perfect families sharing their holiday bliss, I felt like something was wrong with me and I withdrew to hide my shame of a less-than-joyful day.

After sharing my truth with two very close superhero-ettes in their own right, they shared personal stories of loved ones who had very painful holidays as well, and then they shared what those people’s Facebook pages said: fun times with the family, perfect pictures with loved one. They were faking it on Facebook - apparently everyone does!

A friend once told me that people try to paint picture-perfect lives on Facebook. And I took offense, as a parent who posts gleeful pictures of my child. I explained that the pictures I post are small moments of pure joy in my life. It’s not painting a picture of a perfect life, my friends & family know it’s far from that. But for those moments, it was perfect. And I wanted to share my joy with others.  Perhaps that is the motivation of other Facebook friends.  But after hearing stories of people who blatantly have a hard time and turn around to proclaim their bliss to all, I realize setting the bar of expectation by Fakebook is asking for a trouble!  Why don’t we post “having a tough day today, could use a warm fuzz”, instead of posting “my Starbucks coffee is delicious!”.  I’m not suggesting we turn it into Ventbook or worse, Bitchbook, as no one needs to know every time you stub your toe.  But it’s just life and maybe if we were a little more honest, made ourselves a little more vulnerable, the connection and universal feeling of understanding that would result would be a far greater reward.

Disclaimer: I fully admit, I don't post my blog posts on my Facebook page. I've never posted one link to this blog. I'm curious as to others' views: do you feel like you can be honest on Facebook? or it is meant only to share the good moments (and abused to that effect by some)? Is this just another way of setting our expectations against unattainable standards (such as Photoshopped celebrity pictures and the Hollywood perpetuated of what is beautiful)?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Oops, I did it again

I called The Runner last night (even louder collective sigh of disapproval). He didn’t answer.  I didn’t leave a message. I melted down. I wanted to hear him tell me why, from beginning to end, that things happened.  Really, I wanted him to tell me I was good enough, I was loveable. Double Down and Mulan talked me off the ledge. Mulan, a former single mom, said that she’s been there before & I have to delete the number.  That this is on him, not me. Double Down saying the same (accompanied by many words of understanding though I insisted I was broken, he insisted I was emotional and would be stronger as a result). I wanted The Runner to call back because it would make me feel better but realized it would only a band aid. Even if he told me what I wanted to hear, it wouldn’t fix the problem, it would only make me feel better. Only I can fix this problem. I need to know I’m ok. If he says it, it doesn’t change anything until I believe.

I was on the phone when he called back so I let it go to voicemail (normal for me).  He left a voicemail saying he saw my call, was just driving home, give him a ring back if I want & he’ll be around.  I didn’t call back. Both Mulan & Double Down urged me to let it go. I don’t owe him an explanation and inviting any type of interaction even if to say “oops, Grace accidentally dialed you”, was too much.  So I deleted him number. Then I deleted the secret place I put it after deleting it. 

I feel raw. And vulnerable. And stupid. I reread at the email I sent him the day after ending things. I was so strong and clear. How did I go from that place of strength to twisting this around and telling him I want this to work. Although in truth, I was trying to leave an opening in that email, I remember hoping he’d write back and say he’d fix it. I never thought he’d just walk away.

I don’t understand why he said he didn’t want to lose me the night I ended it. And why he walked away the next day. I will never understand that.  But I’m focusing on what he’s thinking about me. I’m not thinking about what I was thinking about him – how hurt I was, how much anxiety he was causing by his vagueness and his ambivalence when they should have been excitement.

I feel awful. Stomach ache and all. I’m glad I don’t have his number. Because I keep obsessing in my head but at least now I can’t act on it. Because that feeling of a knife right in the gut when I called and got voicemail, I decided that has to be worse than anything else so I can’t allow that to happen again.

He’s gone. He’s gone. He’s gone.  And I’m still fighting the same fight in myself I’ve been fighting for years.  I’m tired.

*this was supposed to be published on January 4th, it may be showing up at the wrong time*

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Apsiring Actor gone wrong

As midnight struck and 2012 came to a close, the new year promptly brought a new character: The Aspiring Actor.

On New Year’s Eve, I met an Aspiring Actor who lives in LA and was in town visiting friends for the holidays.  With flawless skin and a penchant for hair product, he chatted and chatted until I literally could not stay awake.  I unwittingly gave him my number, more because I felt rude saying no (which is exactly what I’d be doing all night long), and because he is a friend of a friend, so it’s harmless right?

The next day I receive an overly flirty text (though I never once flirted!) referencing the next time we hang out (which I never agreed to) and the possibility of more happening (WTF!!!)  It took me 24 hours to craft a politically correct response that would be less offensive than my usual blunt honesty since he knows my friends.  My eloquent reply was “maybe our signals got crossed, I’m not looking to hang out right now”.  Ok, fine, maybe it wasn’t that eloquent. But if you read his text word for word (which I would have posted, but my mom reads my blog), you would be equally as shocked that anyone could possibly think this level of cheesiness works on any self respecting girl.

Case opened and closed on the first new character of the new year.

Letting go - for real!

I texted The Runner last night. (collective sigh of disapproval, I know).  He basically said that he ‘hasn’t forgotten about me’ but feels like he ‘is better off being a recluse than anything else right now’.  And then it hit me - he’s not a fit! Ok, ok, I know this is old news. But until now, I wasn’t just holding on to the person whom I cared for, I was holding onto hope that he would go back to being the person I met. But the truth of it is, the person I met is not capable of sustaining a meaningful relationship right now.  Moreover, that person is not capable of handling attachment to either myself or my daughter.  He’s not a fit!

So I am still sad, because it was nice when we were actually together. But the in between times - I don’t miss feeling like a convenience. Wondering if I like him more than he likes me. Wondering why he doesn’t say any of the niceties that come with new relationships.  I don’t really miss it afterall!  I missed the idea of what it could have been, not what really was.

I lifted the “no contact” restriction and said he can contact me if he wants, and if I’m uncomfortable, I’ll take space. Though at this point, there is nothing left to say to him.  I am hurt that he talked me into going out on the edge of the proverbial limb, while he stayed safely on the ground, far from any risk.  But I’ll get over it.  The resilience of Wonder Woman is one of my most powerful traits.  And I’ll know better next time that if someone isn’t investing equally, they do not get extended chances. Either man up, or step away.

I’ve been beating up on myself for opening up & investing so much in him. Even telling him I missed him after it was over. But it’s nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about - telling someone how you feel. Being honest, being vulnerable, that takes far more courage than playing it safe.  I have always said that post-marriage blow up, I have been living life to it’s fullest. Not missing a moment. And I’m proud of myself for doing so in this situation. But next time, I will not allow someone along for the ride who isn’t an equal!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Letting go

It’s time to let go of The Runner. He gave the Christmas presents he made to Grace and I (gorgeous wine bottles lit from within with white lights, each personalized on the outside for Grace and I). He told me that I may be the right girl but it is not the right time for him (sting!!).  I asked him to refrain from texting me.  I opened up myself and my family to him, and now it is my time to heal.

We had one text conversation since Christmas (caused my one drunken text that I sent against my better judgement). He said he missed us and thinks about writing but does not want to hurt me further. He said he is reassessing what he wants out of life and does not know what that is yet. He said it’s not the right time right now.  Vague enough? Yes, I think so. He never explained what was really going on in his head enough for me to understand.

What I know:
I miss him every night before I go to bed. I miss him every morning when I wake up. I can't stand the idea that I'm not going to see him or talk to him again.
I continually tell myself that he has issues to sort out and this is not a fit.
I should move on, but I’m not able to do so right now.
If I really was the right girl for him or he would fight for this.

What I don’t understand:
Why does he tell me he misses Grace & I but he isn’t trying to fix this (I told him this directly).
What is causing him to reassess his life? What needs reassessing?
Is he going to move on and forget about me?
Is he happier now that we aren't hanging out while I’m feeling pretty sad?

It’s time to let go. I wish I knew how!  I made a list of all of the things that I’m upset with him for (23 items!). Down to nitty gritty detail. I re-read this list over and over to remind myself of why I need to move forward.  I keep thinking about what might have been and I’m losing focus on what really was.  What really was, was enough for me to end it. Enough for me to realize I don’t deserve to be treated that way. So why am I hanging on? Just because he comes back and says how much he cares?  That doesn’t get you very far if the actions don’t match.  It’s time to let go.