Pieces.

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What courage have I?  In the moment, it is simply a thing I have to do.  Tired of picking up pieces; the result of others’ choices, I made my own, and scattered my marriage, my life and his life to all points and corners.

I had envisioned months and months of civil side-by-side living while I cultivated the desire to live away from him.  I was shut down, closed off, impenetrable, had made my decision and dammit, I’d had enough.  I loved my children but I did not love my husband anymore.  Even the little, familiar things we shared seemed inconsequential and did not affect my ambition.

Six weeks later, I find myself rummaging for all the pieces.  Slowly, deliberately, even perhaps letting them come find me for repair.  As in Kintsugi, we are reconstructing in new ways.  Our marriage from before is dead; exploded, and the new one is beginning to look much different.

With this slow repair though, comes a devil on my shoulder.  The doubter, nagger, and all around pessimist.  She is obstinate and doesn’t want to move forward.  She is petulant and refuses to show any kind of affection.  She throws emotional grenades that make me break down in counseling sessions.  But what she fails to realize is that her work aids progress; she is part of the yin and yang of me.  However, she’s been the larger of the two for a long time and she’s not keen on sharing power.

So, I am struggling with conflict.  The desire to move forward and to not.

These are interesting times.  I see my husband in a new light but I don’t yet know who I am, or who I am in this relationship.  It’s a new thing, but not.  It’s not like a new relationship that’s thrilling and butterfly-inducing; it has a history.

So, I work on myself.  Or sit with myself.  Do nothing.  Think nothing.  Feel nothing.  Other times, I do, think and feel it all at once.  It’s still choppy waters.

But that devil…..boy, she’s had her way for so long.  I mustn’t fight her, but allowing her just to be makes my life quite challenging.

 

Pick up your tools, child

Having children is obviously a lifelong thing. Raising them is long too, but at some point you know they will be free to go out and do what they do, to plow ahead, or dawdle along, get lost, get found, get hurt, get healed, make mistakes, likely learn from those mistakes far too long into the future, and generally go in whatever direction they please, or are propelled.

Many times, over these past few years I’ve wondered at my own “freeing time.” It was more of a petulant wrenching than anything else and when I left, it was without any moral guidance, or financial insight, or emotional anchor. I went fleeing, and blind. And I made horrible choices based upon a lack of reference. But, here I am approaching my mid-forties, and I remain grateful to have avoided any consequences from those choices and actions.

(I have to add that I am not being critical of my parents; they provided me a good, safe home, healthy meals, and financial support later on in my life.)

Now it is my turn at parenting, and though I forge ahead with the same blank pages as my parents, I have hindsight and a sort of youthful insight. Yes, we have those situations where my husband and I look at each other and say “wtf?” but we get through them, and in a way that is different from the way we were raised.

One important thing I have taught my daughter (my son rolls his eyes at the prospect) is to name her feelings out loud. It’s not important the why’s or the situation, it’s about acknowledging the emotion.  I explained that when we ignore the stuff that’s raging inside, or allow ourselves to wallow in it, this makes it burn brighter, and feel worse. This serves no good purpose.  If we give it a name, we come face to face with the emotion; it is met unconditionally. In this way, it has nothing to fight.  My daughter understood and she uses this technique often to calm herself when she is upset.

It’s a factual cycle, I think, that when it’s your turn as parent, you want to do a better job than your own parents.  You realize though, at some point along the timeline, that every set is different, and not only did your parents come into the arrangement with their own baggage, their own ideas of ‘doing a better job’, they also got handed the completely blank manual. My parents weren’t perfect, and neither am I, but I feel I’m setting a new standard with my own kids by consciously planning ahead, and planting seeds that they can reap when fully grown.

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I found my life tools late, but still with plenty of time to use them for the good.  I know that no matter how much we prepare, and teach, and provide insight, our kids will do whatever they desire. They might end up taking that well-worn path with what we know to have sucker punches hidden behind certain trees. All we can do is hope that they remember the tools they carry that will help fight back, withstand, or get back up quicker, and realize that heading in a different, less traveled direction might be worthwhile after all.

 

Buy, buy, buy

It’s been a strange-feeling Christmas this year, and I can’t quite put my finger on the reason.

This is the first Christmas since my oldest was born that I am working. Perhaps I have felt the time constraints more keenly because of that. When I was able to get presents for my kids, it was within a week and a half of Christmas, and how time breathed heavy down the neck of my shirt. The things they wanted were no longer available; snapped up by others with the luxury of time and income. ~a touch of resentment there. 

buy_all_things-400x300At the mall yesterday (a place I had hoped to avoid) I was aware of the materialistic nature of the season. Signs everywhere begging for attention, and I felt dissatisfied. I’ve been naming emotions the past few days and that one pops up frequently. I’m on the road a lot more this year with work commutes and I’m more aware of the douchy nature of so many drivers. Why not just let the guy in? Why do you have to close ranks and be a dick? Why? Where is the courtesy? Where is the compassion?

I know it’s out there. I see it on my facebook feed daily through the lives of friends and acquaintances near and far.

There’s just something lacking, which is hilariously ironic because truthfully, I lack for nothing. Nothing of importance anyway – I have love, comfort, family, a roof over my head, and those are enough for my soul. It’s my ego that is dissatisfied.

So, to the ego, I say go. Leave and let self bask in the joys of the season. There is nothing here for you to worry over, or stress about, or be angry about. Nobody else matters. Just relax.

Breathe. Beer. Cookies. Delight. Togetherness. Tradition. Family.

Hello and welcome

Some mornings after the kids have gone their way and I am in the car to work, I think that I need to find a quote or an affirmation for my day.  Much like holding tightly to a balloon string, I hope that it will keep me steady and aloft during what could be a turbulent day or one that is slightly off-kilter.

I forget often that I am my own balloon and string.  Sure, the words I would eventually find might offer solace and comfort or be a momentary guide but essentially, I am the only one who can glide above the crap.

Having said that, some things I have read have stuck and are helpful.  One phrase (which I shall paraphrase because the exact wordage has faded) goes along the lines of “Whatever knocks at the door of your soul, be it anger, fear, disappointment, happiness, joy, whatever…open the door and welcome it.  Whatever it is will not stay but while it is there, be a most welcome and gracious host.”  I take it to mean that it is up to me to observe and feel and to avoid being carried away by undercurrent to a place where I am no longer in control.a_red_balloon

I’m not quite sure why I feel a faded shade of blue today.  It’s possible in part to my son’s expected reaction to starting a new school and subsequent sickness on day two.  It’s also possible in part to the attachment I have to my car which will be an unattachment very soon, I discovered yesterday.

It’s silly to feel the sting of an impending cheerio for an inanimate object but my car has many memories attached to it.  Since I got her in 2010, I have run the gamut of situations and emotions.  She has been there for me through every time capsule of anger, guilt, rage, fear, love, passion, wonder, confusion, worry, joy, hope.  Like a soothing blue angel, she wrapped herself around me, comforted me and allowed me room to express.  She opened up and gave me space to be lifted when I felt at my most happy.  To feel this strongly is trivial and natural at the same time and I will miss her for a while when she is gone.

Also, I am, as the English part of me would say, gutted, that I may be unable to accept a sudden opportunity.  This, due to the new Autumn schedule for our kids.  On one hand, I am delighted that we are finally able fund extra-curricular activities and yet the timing puts a crimp on my own loves.  And so, a feeling of ambiguity has stepped across my threshold and I am breathing deeply to allow it room.

How fickle the human nature.  How wondrous.  To be able to feel happy and lithe only to tumble down to feel the opposite.  Up and down we go, and around and around.

All the while I continue to learn and grow.  I open the door every day to whatever is knocking.  Some days the balloon stands no chance against my guest and I do get swept up. For some time there is no way for my feet to touch the floor but I am so grateful when they finally do, because they always do…eventually.

And there I am again, at my front door, holding my own balloon and string, taking a deep breath.

What’s on your plateau?

I am not lost. I am not in a quandary. I am not confused. I have simply…taken a step away. Definitely in a spiritual valley, a lower plateau so to speak, certainly not on any part of the journey that slopes upward to a peak affording magnificent views of the land ahead.

I felt it, a certain snapping last week during a particularly hellish emotional time, which bore the fruit of my last post. Initially I had prepared myself for a big change; an impending house move – another move in a long 43-year timeline of moves. Except this one had snuck up early and at first I was a bit out of sorts about it but came back around to my usual, “y’know…it’s gonna be ok, home is where my family is and that’s what’s important.” I laughed at that, my husband rolled his eyes good-naturedly and we swept any concerns about the wheres and the hows under the now, very lumpy rug.

Money’s Too Tight To Mention so sang Mick Hucknall and it has held true for too many years but we could see a light at the end of the tunnel, my husband and I. He had started to bring home a real, honest-to-goodness paycheck and so was I. He had a plan to pay off some very important overdue bills so that by the end of this month, we could begin to put aside funds for the move….deposit, moving company etc.

The most pressing thing was to keep our kids in their current school; we felt another switch so soon after making new friends and finding a new rhythm would be too hard on them, despite their resilience and adaptability. Thanks to a rather nice Delaware education clause named “Choice”, we found out that we could move out of the school district yet still keep them in the same school, so that gave us some breathing room. With that in mind, and now with a sense of urgency, we expanded our search of homes to surrounding towns but it soon became apparent that we were woefully short of the amount needed to move into anywhere. We were also uncomfortably aware that our past credit history would drag behind us like an anvils tied to our legs. It began to feel hopeless. Then my husband delivered another blow which I was totally unprepared for; a possible move out of state to a townhome owned by a builder who knows a business partner of a friend, who knows this guy and is the accountant of that friend who knows his Dad – yada, yada, yada. The feeling of puppetry working all over us, herding and shuffling us around from here to there, forcing us to obediently bow and scrape our thank you’s and gratefulness was the final straw. You see, it’s a continuing theme in our lives – this lack of control.

I threw my spiritual hands in the air; had enough of believing in source and abundance and love. I relinquished it all and have not felt at all like meditating or reading my favorite uplifting blogs or having anything at all remotely to do with wellbeing, mindfulness, love, light and spirit. I am not the least bit interested. Neither am I bothered by my indifference. I know the true me is there, always will be, would never abandon me because that’s impossible. And no doubt I will return in my own good time. I don’t want to admit that “I’m just being” or “I am letting it be”. To say it implies that I am interested when I just don’t care right now. That’s not to say that I’m grouchy and miserable either (although I am on the tail end of the flu, so may be forgiven for being a bit limp) I’m not at all. I’m civil, I’m nice and I’m genuinely kind. I’m…simply holding steady, I think.

My husband would like to see me back on track; he feels a certain responsibility for my current location and I would just like to say that no matter the lowest of lows and the joyous high of highs, I wouldn’t want to be stuck in the trenches with anyone else but him, even if I want to flick trench mud in his face from time to time.

And so we wait, almost as if on the precipice of someplace. We wait for news of a place to move into which all hinges on background checks, credit checks, references etc. It’s a nice place that we could afford after a little help getting our feet in the door. And I wait for news of a short story…will be published, will it be rejected?

We wait. And no matter what happens or what direction we go in, we take steps forward together. And I will come back to the spiritual when I’m ready because sometimes, you just gotta take a break.

I have sheep on my plateau!

I have sheep on my plateau!

Ell…