Monday, December 23, 2013

Year End Wrap Up

I can honestly say I am ending the year in a better place than when it started.  It was a year of mainly solitude. More focus on myself, taking care of myself, finding enjoyment in what I’m doing. And when the end of the year came, it clicked - having love for myself in my heart. The illusive thing that has been missing for all of these years. The thing I thought impossible to have.  I don’t know how or why it just clicked, but things look so differently now.  It is still early days, still one day at a time. But the constant reminder that no matter what happens, I am ok, is a nicer undertone that I’ve ever had before.

Things with Chap are continuing well. Again, still early days, still one day at a time. It has been nice to have someone to share things with. It is hard having him so far away though.

So a few bits of exciting news. I accepted a job offer to be the head of marketing for a company!  This was my career goal since..well since before I could articulate it as a career goal. I am so excited for the new position and it feels amazing to have achieved that goal.

In the interim, I am taking 2 weeks off between my current job and the new one - and I’m going to visit Chap!

This year has been a lot of work and it’s nice to see some payoff as the year ends and the new year begins.

As for the blog...I don’t know if anyone is still out there. I started this blog so people in the same situation wouldn’t feel as isolated as I did - know there is someone else out there fighting similar battles and feeling the same way. But it may be time to wrap this up….

Monday, December 16, 2013

One Day at a Time

He came back. I was resistant, hesitant, doubtful, but he made his case - he owned up to everything that had happened and said he panicked. That once it ended, he realized what had happened and that he didn’t want to let me go. He made no promises for the future, only that what is between us is worth working toward and he wants to do the work.

I thought if I gave him another chance, my friends and family would call me a fool. I gave him so many chances to hurt me. On the other hand, if I didn’t give him a chance, would I always wonder what could have been?  And honestly, is there any girl on the planet that can say no when someone says deep things that sound like they are out of a romance movie? It is what every girl wants to hear. I am cautious that the actions need to follow.

So I cautiously said ok, that the pace needs to slow way down and the intensity needs to come down. Although he apologized for that and said it was his fault, I take ownership of part of that as well. I open up so easily and show someone the vulnerable parts of myself before they earn it. I set both my hopes and expectations high, believing things will work out, merely because you “like” someone.  That part of me needs to grow up. Being open and vulnerable certainly takes a lot of strength but I have much to offer and that should be earned through the other person’s actions.

So I’m giving it a chance. Because he is long distance and a few things are influx personally on both sides, we haven’t set a date to see each other. I’m not even sure if he can sit through the uncertainty long enough to get to the point we are ready to set a trip to visit.  I hope he can. Hopes high, but no expectations. One day at a time.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

How could you?

I am not going to sugar-coat, the end with Chap HURTS! It hurts bad. The night after it happened I literally couldn’t fall asleep because my heart ached so much. I laid there and mustered all of my strength not to contact him, not to tell him how much he hurt me. Because I knew there was no point, I knew I needed to let go, and I knew the ache was my heart letting go of something it had hoped so hard for.

Instead of reminiscing of the wonderful things he said to me, how amazing it felt to be together, I started thinking about how unfair all of this has been. How badly he treated me from his fears. How drained I felt providing constant reassurance that I would be true and this would work out.  How betrayed I felt during that last fight when he turned good parts of me into bad and made blanket hurtful statements about me that no one who truly cared about me would ever believe. No one who truly knew me would ever believe.

I want to shout at him:  How could you”?  How could you do this? How could you let your fears win over the connection we felt. That connection was real and strong. The “good” part of you fit so well with me. Why did you insist it was impossible this could work and then went and made it impossible - all on your own? Why couldn’t you open up and feel all of the good? Believe that it could just be good?  Believe in my feelings for you?  What an idiot!  What a waste!  Don’t ever talk to me again, you cold-hearted, twisted liar. You accused me of being capable of lying when I was nothing but true, but you told yourself lies about me and then you believed them!  How could you!!!!

If this is what I really feel then why does it hurt so badly and why do I have such an urge to reach out to him? To connect with him one more time. When I know he is capable of such single-handed hurt and destruction.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Having love in your heart for yourself

On S-day last week (my “dark day”), I took a good look at why that day is so hard for me. I’ve been carrying around three years of fears about
a) can I be a single mom? A good mom? and support Grace?  Yes!  I am doing just fine at that!  
b) will Grace carry the scars of an only child of divorce?  No - she is perfectly well adjusted, her situation is so different from my own parents’ divorce.
c) did the affair mean that I would never be loved? Was I truly unloveable?

That last question was really my only one remaining pain. And a wise person pointed out to me that I can choose to have love for myself in my heart. The only person that exists is who I am today, in this present moment. I can go back and tell past versions of me that they are loved.  But every day I can make the decision to say “I love me”.

The wise person said that what comes into our lives is a reflection of how we view ourselves. I asked if that means I brought on the affair. She said, “Do I think you drove him to the affair? No, that was his choice. But answer this honestly: if you had love for yourself in your heart, would you have married him?”  I said “No”, and she said “In that way, you allowed someone who was capable of acting that way close to you. And when you love yourself, you will not allow those people close.”

So instead of viewing it as a dark day, I realized it is really a great day of change. For so long I’ve thought “poor me, this bad situation happened and now life is so hard”. Instead, it is really “a bad situation happened and now I have the opportunity to change me to bring in more good things”.  From that day (which was just on Friday), I’ve been telling myself all sorts of things that I love about myself.

It was also during this shift in thinking that I stopped defending myself against Chap’s groundless accusations and started standing my ground, when he started apologizing.  It was also during this shift over the weekend that things with Chap ended. Is it possible that with love for myself in my heart, I knew the loving thing to do was to let this relationship go? That as the wise person said - would I allow someone close to me to treat me poorly? Because the relationship was not loving to me. It was undermining all of the work I was doing on myself - by allowing someone close to me who would make me feel badly about myself.

For my part in the Chap situation, I placed so much hope on this because it was filling a void that I have. I knew after that first week that I was taking a huge risk on someone who had already accused me of untrue things once. Someone who had deep seated issues and needed to do his own work. I stuck with it because I wanted someone to fill that void.  If I had love in my heart for myself from that first week, I would have said “Thanks, but no thanks” and left it where it was.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sometimes letting go is the most loving thing to do

Things ended with Chap. The quick and dirty version is that once again, I told him of one of my vulnerabilities (go me, that takes courage!) and he took a tiny shred of the truth and twisted it around to support his fear that I was not trustworthy. I spent an entire day defending myself and convincing him that what he was saying was not true, until finally I stopped defending and stood my ground - and then he apologized. He owned the entire thing and said he wanted to change. I was hesitant to even more forward, as the things he said to me during the time when his fear took over were really harsh. He took good things about me and twisted them around into bad. He made me feel badly about myself!  Who does that?

The next day I tried to say I was still uneasy about what happened. I was going to ask to find a time to have a good old fashioned conversation to sort out this pattern and find a way to work together to break it going forward. A way to handle things differently that would be positive for both of us. However, he latched right on to my uneasiness and used it to say that he apologized and I’m still upset with him and it is unsustainable if I won’t just accept it.

Though I reiterated over and over that I was trying to open a conversation about the cycle, not the details of what happened - he held on to his story that this is too much and it needs to be let go.

Everyone has their own truth. He constructed a story to support his fears that this couldn’t work out, he literally made it a self-fulfilling prophecy.  My truth is that I did my part WELL!  I was strong, positive, supportive. And when he says “this is too all much”, I know it is not me, it is his trust issues and the stress the distance causes him. He cannot for one minute honestly say I did anything to contribute to this not working, but he can weave his story of half truths and twisted facts to ease his conscience that he gave up on something that had a lot of potential.

It is only causing me more stress coming up with knotted explanations of why he told me last week I am everything he looks for and why this week “it is all too much and he needs to leave it”.  Here is what I know to be true: The first week we met, he told me three things: 1) he sometimes accuses girls of things that didn’t really happen 2) he cuts and runs really quickly 3) he was scared because of this he would hurt me.  He did all three of those things. And now I am hurt.

But I stayed true to myself. I didn’t bend to try to please him or make his issues better. I stood my ground and knew my worth.  I was a dreamer, I looked at who he could be and didn’t pay attention to who he was telling me he was - in his words “I am not a person who can handle distance”.  That is the truest fact of all.

We exchanged a few emails where I made it clear my hope had been to work together and grow together. But without trust, it can’t grow. And if something isn’t growing, sometimes letting go is the most loving thing to do.

Friday, December 6, 2013

“Tears hydrate the ground at our feet and who know what is going to grow”

Today is s-day = the milestone name I’ve given to the anniversary of when I kicked my husband out (aka separated). Make no mistake, me kicking him out does not mean I ended the marriage. He ended the marriage, he just wanted to continue living at home.  This PTSD effects of this day (entire week) plague me each year, and this year is no exception. So in honor of S-Day, I will share a quote that Anne Lamott wisely stated, that set my ears ringing and lifted my heart, during her Super Soul Sunday interview with Oprah: “Tears hydrate the ground at our feet and who know what is going to grow”. - Anne Lamott

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

"How do you feel?"

Little Buddha asked me how I feel about Chap. Not how he feels and what he is thinking, as much of our conversations have been focused on, but how I feel.  How does she always know the exact right question to ask? Aside from being swept up, when I really stop to take stock in how I feel, I really REALLY anxious. All of the time. It is hard to focus and nearly impossible to be present anywhere. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. Waiting for him to disappear. Bracing myself for the fallout and telling myself it will be fine, no matter what happens.  Because nothing good seems to stick for me. Is that true or is that just my fear talking?  Perhaps that’s why Buddhist practice non-attachment..

I'm constantly wondering if he is thinking of me, what he is thinking of me, if I think more of him than he does me, etc.  I am literally so consumed by fear that this is not real or that maybe this really is real - that it is taking up all of the space where joy should be.

Don't get me wrong, when we are talking, I'm happy as a clam. But what does that matter if I'm on edge the rest of the time, if I let that seep into my every day life with Grace and with my friends, unable to be present with them.

What is wrong with me?? Why can't I get it through my thick skull that what he is or is not thinking is irrelevant because the only truth is that I am enough. It is the only true thing and the only thing that matters.  Why doesn't that release me from the throws of the anxiety of uncertainty?

I still feel like I reach out to him too much, keep checking to see if he's there. I've done a fairly good job of not controlling, not trying to manipulate it, more just a gentle nudge of "still there?" "ok".  "Still there now?" "ok".

What is your advice for this? I feel weak. I thought I was supposed to be strong and stay grounded in who I am, and I feel like I am failing at doing that.

“I'm all over the place, up and down, scattered, withdrawing, trying to find some elusive sense of serenity. The world can't give that serenity. The world can't give us peace. We can only find it in our hearts. I hate that. I know. But the good news is that by the same token, the world can't take it away.” ― Anne Lamott

Monday, December 2, 2013

Kids Waking Up at Night and Other Annoying Habits

I’ve been fighting an ongoing battle with Grace for the last few months to get her to sleep through the night.  From birth, she was an exemplary sleeper. Others marveled at my child’s ability to be on a schedule and sleep without the least bit of fuss.  Then, right before she turned 3, Grace started waking up at night, multiple times, every night. I am sure this is tiring for every Mom. Especially working Moms. And as a single mom, I can assure you, it is downright exhausting.

So last night, as she woke up and plodded downstairs in her adorable “footy PJs” and looked at me with her head tilted slightly downward and those big sad eyes, informing me of whatever was not quite right that was prohibiting her sleep (shadows, foot hurts, bunny feel on the floor - which is about 1 ft lower than her mattress), I met her cuteness with anger. How could she continue to wake up? How is she ever going to grow strong and healthy if she doesn’t sleep? Will she ever kick the cold that is currently plaguing her? Will this stunt her growth?  Will it stunt mine? Will I ever feel rested and sane again?

What I missed altogether from this cycle of sleep deprivation is to say thank you. Thank you that Grace is here to wake me up in the middle of the night.  Thank you that I am losing my sleep to such a worth human being.  Thank you for Grace.

"Hustling for Certainty"

He is opening up. Beyond all doubt, he is moving toward me, not away. At this point, I think it is only fair that he is given a name for reference, since he has been a recurring theme over the last 5 weeks or so - so he shall be called Chap.  

I would say that I didn’t expect it because my heart did not believe Chap could just cut things off. In my heart I believed that if he opened his eyes and removed his screen of distrust, he would see me. And that is exactly what happened. He told me that he looks at me different now; I am everything he looks for. He apologized multiple times for his doubt and distrust and said that I opened my home and my life to him, made him feel a part of something.  He said he is beginning to get past his trust issues and thanked me for that (to which I replied it has nothing to do with me, only he can choose to trust).

We are talking about the future again. We agreed not to hang out with anyone else until we see each other again. There isn’t much reference past the next time we see each other but that is enough for now. I wasn’t ready for it to end, and now it is not over. I think it should be taken week by week, visit by visit and see what is really there. If it is right, we will find a way to fight for it.  At least, that is my opinion.

He is still worried about logistics if he takes a new job. It will mean less potential time together in an already very long distance relationship.  This scares me. I had nightmares last night that he got the new job and he walked away. Although I think the new job makes things a bit more challenging, I am thankful to have something wonderful to figure out.  He says that new job means we stand less of a chance. I say the new job doesn’t change how we feel, and that is what matters right now.

So I’m holding my breathe. Holding it because he has panicked many times already. He takes a step toward me and then freezes. Then opens up and moves a bit closer, then freezes again. And each time he freezes, I panic that this will be the end.  So I’m holding my breathe that the step he has taking toward me will stick. That maybe, against all odds, he will continue to move toward me.  I’m holding my breathe that even if the other job comes through, the way way we feel will win out over and distance-caused challenges.

I can’t imagine what you must be thinking, reading all of this back and forth, back and forth. My head is spinning. It is a lot to process in a short amount of time. I feel like I’m temporarily suspended in an Alice and Wonderful type dream where you aren’t really sure what is what but you are compelled to go on and figure it out.

All I can say is when a tall, dark, handsome English man sweeps you off your feet, tells you everything you have thought someone should say, puts your needs before his, you are compelled to want more, to find a way to have more.

I am literally living in uncertainty between his fears and the implications of the potential new job. And history (and this blog) is a pretty clear indicator that uncertainty makes my anxiety skyrocket and I usually begin to flail around, reaching for any control possible. So I will focus on breathing, patient, peaceful breathes that will ground me in the one thing that is certain: I am enough, just being me.

“Sometimes when I think I'm praying for clarity, I'm really hustling for certainty. It's so hard for me to remember that there's a difference”. - Brene Brown