I haven’t yet, but I will.

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day about how when we were younger and a guy we were dating treated us well, we would instantly no longer find him attractive. And the ones who treated us like dirt, we fell madly in love with.

I mean what rational person behaves like that? You are basically screwing yourself from the get go!

And then we wonder why all of our relationships fail?! Really?!

Does it really make sense that someone you were originally attracted to for being a jerk would all of the sudden become the thoughtful person you originally pushed away.

Having been that way most of my life, I realize now that any relationship I have ever been in was founded on unrealistic expectations. All of which were not communicated to the other person.

I came to this conclusion a few years ago when I was doing some major rehab on myself. And I swore that I would make a great effort moving forward to stop expecting and start enjoying.

I also made the decision to stay single until I learned to appreciate the value in it. I was a serial monogamist for years, jumping from one relationship to the next without taking the time in-between to evaluate where the previous one went wrong and what I needed to work on myself.

It was not fair to the person I was dating or to myself.

I have learned so much about myself over the past few years. The most important of which is that my happiness should never be considered the responsibility of another. That has always led to co-dependency and failure in my relationships.

I have also learned not to take things so personally. I mean let’s be honest, people don’t always say what they mean or they may in the moment, but in the light of day, everything changes.

I am a very strong willed and sometimes stubborn person. Partnered with my independence and the magnitude by which I feel, it can be a lot to handle. It always seems like a good idea in the beginning, but it is never very long before the opposite sex turns and runs in the other direction.

I used to internalize this as there being something wrong with me. Maybe I was just unlovable?!

It took a long time for me to realize that was simply not true.

I am not unlovable, I was just not meant to be loved by them.

And I know this now because I have been loved and I mean truly loved. For all my faults, through all my mistakes, unconditionally, I have been loved. It was a very long time ago, which is perhaps why for so long I forgot it was possible to find that again.

I haven’t yet, but I will.

And until then, I am content.

I know now that I am cut from a very different cloth. I am not the usual run of the mill gal and loving me is not a task for the weak.

I also know in my heart that behind the scenes, everything is falling into place.

There is nothing I need to do, when the time is right, I know our paths will cross. And it is important that they do not cross too early. Have you ever met someone and thought to yourself that had the timing been different, it could have been perfect. But for one reason or another, one or both of you were just not ready for the intensity of what you shared.

As I am growing and becoming more myself, I am sure that person is doing the same. Meeting now could mean preventing ourselves from lessons we are still meant to learn.

And besides, the main focus for me at this point in time is staying true to myself. Something that has been a challenge in the past when sharing my life with another.

After all, we are no good to anyone if we have not found a way to be comfortable in our own skin.

It was a rarity and a blessing back then to have found someone with whom I could walk that path. We were so young and our love so strong that nothing else mattered. And although we have both chosen to walk a different path, he will always be the one who gave me the courage to be myself.

Our love is different now and in many ways stronger. He is not a lover, nor would I want him to be or could he be. The story of how we came to this place is a long one and I am saving that for the pages of my next book, but let’s just say that he and I have the same taste… in men. 🙂

The last few months have been hard. I have struggled with the same feelings of inadequacy in love and after the most recent heart break, I really thought I would never feel unbroken.

But I do.

Now, I do.

I have been fortunate enough to find the strength to pick myself up (once again!) and move forward. I have been able to look back on the situation and see it for what it truly was…not meant to be.

He was the first person, I found comfort in after a very long stint of being alone. I could see his potential, but he could not. He was important to me, but I was not to him. And you know what? That is not his fault and it is not mine. My feelings for him changed, as I changed. He changed me.

That was more than a month ago now and I can honestly say that I have no ill feelings. He was doing the best he could with what he had at the time and that is all I could have expected from him.

As I said before, I know now that I am cut from a very different cloth and loving me is not a task for the weak.

I have been loved and I mean truly loved. For all my faults, through all my mistakes, unconditionally, I have been loved. It was a very long time ago, which is perhaps why for so long I forgot it was possible to find that again.

I haven’t yet, but I will.

And until then, I am content just being me.

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Silence

The silence thickens as the echoes of laughter slowly fade

I do not remember the quiet tasting quite this bitter

And it’s heavy now 

This feeling in my chest

Yet it is not like before 

Nothing is 

So I close my eyes and drift away to a place I never thought existed.

A place where I am no longer the fool

And there is nothing to be done.

Where the distance between happiness and loneliness grows closer 

Until I am all consumed by the sweet release of sleep.

What if we don’t have to be broken?

I think one of the most difficult parts of growing up is finding the strength to pull the skeletons from your closet. It would seem so much easier to hide them away forever and leave the past in the past, but in everything we have done that we are not proud of, there is a little piece of ourselves hidden among the ashes.

I hear a lot of people say they are broken. I have even said it myself in the past.

What if we don’t have to be broken?

What if there was a way to put ourselves back together?

When I first started writing my memoir, I remember it being very painful at times. Revisiting memories that I had selectively forgotten in order to save my own sanity.

As soon as I opened the door to my childhood, they all came rushing out and the wall of security I had built began tumbling down out around me.

It was from within one of the lowest moments of my life that I found my greatest strength.

One by one, I confronted all the residual emotional patterns that I had built up during those years.

The feelings of disappointment, neglect, abandonment, and loss.

The root of my constant need for approval and codependency.

My fear of love or the loss there of.

Piece by piece, I began putting myself back together.

Until I came to a place of great appreciation for all that I had experienced.

I was a new person the day I finished the first chapter and even more so as I wrote the final page.

And now, as I struggle with the pages of the 2nd, I am reminded of the same reluctance I felt when I wrote my very first blog post.

I know writing this next phase of my story will be just as, if not more of an emotional roller coaster than that last.

The first was during my early childhood and most of it was about my mother and her skeletons. There was aftermath, but it was her aftermath.

This next book will begin as I am entering High school, my mother having  been missing for just short of a year. I was lost and confused, but determined to act like neither of those were true. I don’t even know that girl now.

I picked up one of my old journals for inspiration and I barely got through the first few pages before I had to put it down. I could feel the pain on those pages and worse yet, I knew what was to come.

The moment my mother left me, something in me changed. Something it took years of reflection to understand. I spent a great deal of my life beyond that point feeling as though I always had to prove something to someone. In the earlier years it was proving to everyone else that I was not my mother. Showing them that I could conquer anything and everything she couldn’t.

Needless to say, it led me down a road where I did a lot of things I am not necessarily proud of. Things…the majority of the people in my life have no idea I did and for that matter would have a hard time believing I ever could do.

Up until now, I was not ready to share these things with anyone, let alone the whole world.

But you know what?

The person I am today is not just the result of all of the good things I have done. It is also and maybe more so, everything I have done that I am not proud of, those little piece of myself hidden among the ashes.

I am living proof that in this life, we are not bound by the mistakes of our past or the circumstances placed on us by others.

If telling my story is an inspiration to even just one, it’s worth it. That was the whole reason I started this blog and went on to write the book. So believe me when I say, I am not going to quit now, just because I hit a raw moment!

Thank you to everyone who has been so patient, yet persistent 🙂 in kicking my butt back in gear!

The wheels have started turning and I promise you’ll be the first ones to get a sneak peek!

 

It is a strange thing; this life.

I am writing to you today from within a fleeting moment of ease.

I don’t know how long it will last or how long it will be before my perception begins to blur, but these moments are scarce at best these days and therefore something to cherish.

It is a strange thing; this life.

A collection of moments woven together through emotional experiences. Creating the unique tapestry we cloak ourselves in for the entirety of our lives.

Seemingly so simple at times, almost mundane.

A settled routine providing much needed comfort in an otherwise chaotic world.

And then other times…it knocks the wind out of you. Sending you into a tale spin so fast all you can do is hold on tight and pray it is over soon.

Up until this week, I had been feeling pretty easy about things. Sure, I was still working through some emotional scars, but it was nothing I couldn’t handle.

And then, before I knew what was happening, manageable took a nose dive into sheer and utter chaos!

Before I knew it, I was behind in every aspect of my life! I won’t bore you with too many of the details (after all we all have our stuff). Basically, I went out of town on business, got sick and per the usual over extended myself on all levels. 😦

Due to a series of unfortunate events, I was behind on yard work, personal projects, social obligations, work obligations, you name it. And when I say behind I mean like a few days for most stuff. Which I’m sure sounds silly to most people, but for someone like me it is an emotional trigger.

I know that I have issues with needing acceptance from others to validate my own self worth and this last week was a perfect example of why that is such an unhealthy habit to have.

I woke up Monday feeling like death and my boss even gave me the okay to take it easy and rest up.

Nice right? Ya, she is amazing 🙂

Unfortunately, the universe had a different plan. All at once emails, phone calls, and notifications began pouring in.

At first I remained calm as I usually do. I began answering each in the order it was received (my normal MO) and repeated the mantra:

“Inspiration will come and I will get it done!”

 

Again, may sound silly, but all a mantra really is, is a way for you to take your mind away from worry (producing negative feelings) and realign you to a more positive manageable place.

Like I said, it worked for a while.

Until, people started getting antsy!

One negative to punctuality is that you end up setting an expectation. People are not used to waiting more than a few hours to receive a response from me, so when it is approaching the day mark they begin to wonder if I received their email.

So now Jane Smith’s one email and one phone call just turned into more emails and more phone calls.

And the list grows….

Every new request felt like someone placing another barbell on my chest.

All the while a portion of my mind was still focused on the previous heartbreak I was already dealing with and making a list of all of the personal tasks I had still not tended to.

It was too much.

And I had been here before; a bitter sweet realization.

The complete shut down. Depression.

Seeing as I am a frequent traveler through the town of The Overwhelmed , I knew I would be able to climb back out of it, but the question was how long would that take and was there a way to speed up the process?

So yesterday, after work ended, I decided to turn off  my phone. At this point, I knew social interaction was an absolute no go. Especially considering how emotionally vulnerable I was feeling. I even posted a message on FB letting everyone know that I was detaching so no one would worry when I didn’t respond to their calls/texts. Basically my way of saying, “I love you all, but please leave me alone!!”.

So I stayed up to 4 AM getting caught up on work. It wasn’t like I was going to sleep anyway! 🙂

And besides, it was worth the peace of mind it gave me when I started back up today.

Now… I have finished work and for the first time in almost a month I finally felt like writing, well more so I felt like sharing.

In a world where the list of aliments is never ending, I don’t think many people understand how diverse & debilitating depression is. And more importantly, how to properly give those suffering from it the support or in many cases the distance they need.

Before I gained the mechanisms to deal with my depression, tale spins such as the one I just described could have lasted much longer or resulted in a more serious outcome.

As unhealthy as it can be sometimes to love others more than yourself, in the case of depression it can sometimes prevent you from taking it to the extreme. I know what something like taking my own life would do to the ones I care about, so for me that will never be an option on the table. I am blessed in that respect. My struggle is my savior.

I have also had the benefit of studying psychology and as with most psych majors, the first person I picked apart was myself 🙂 Not everyone is as blessed to have this advantage.

I guess the point I am trying to get across is that you just never know where a person is at in life or what could send them over the edge. For that reason, is it not just better to be kind?

Depression is something I have dealt with and hid quite well through out most of my life, so believe me when I tell you that you may think you know what someone is dealing with at any given moment, but chances are you have no idea.

I can sit here now and clearly see the patterns in my behavior and I think while it was happening I had some awareness of it, but when my limits were tested as quickly as they were, there was little left to do than surrender.

My brain was all twisted up and the only way of releasing the pressure was to let go and ride out the storm.

There was nothing anyone could do for me in that moment, except leave me alone, but there was no way for anyone to know that because I would never tell them.

See how in essence I create my own misery? It’s sad really how clear it is to realize that after the fact!

The take away is that with each relapse comes the additional clarity to better deal with those that have yet to come. And there will be more.

As anyone with depression will tell you, it is not something that can be cured.

It is something that must be conquered.

To anyone feeling lost,

You are not alone.

Your feelings are valid and not meant to be understood by anyone but you.

Your heart will heal when it’s ready and only you can decide when it is time to move on.

You are not obligated to explain yourself for needing time alone with your thoughts or for anything for that matter.

It is okay to be selfish and even a little frivolous at times.

You are not perfect, but neither is anyone else.

You are going to make mistakes. Sometimes the same ones, over and over again. Go easy on yourself. Being alive can be challenging and unexpected. You are only doing the best you can with what you have and that is all you have within your power to do.

Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. I know you have wounds deeper than most, but you will never find the one meant to heal them, if you don’t let them try.

And most importantly, find a way to love yourself.

Even if it takes a life time.

 

Image courtesy of Janpen04081986 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Until That One Day Comes

Last night for the first time in a very long time I experienced an extreme amount of anger. It sounds like a bad thing and maybe it was at the start, but amidst the rage came a great clarity.

And today, I woke up changed.

You see, I am not one to get mad easily. Sure, I get frustrated quite often and emotional from time to time. After all, I am only human.

Otherwise, for the most part, I am generally pretty laid back. I like to think that I do my very best to be as forgiving and understanding as possible. I realize that no one is perfect, certainly not me. We are all just doing our best to get through life given the challenges we are faced with.

So for that reason, I try to do anything within my power for those that I care about. I will even endure a massive amount of mistreatment from them and still allow them back in my life over and over and over again.

Until that one day comes…

There is no telling when or what will cause it, but for one reason or another the moment will come when everything changes and there is no going back.

For, by the time I reach this point, I no longer care about the consequences of speaking my mind. The words I utter still come from the heart, but they are no longer sugar coated for fear of burning a bridge.

They are instead, blunt, straight to the point and comprised only of my final thoughts; my way of saying farewell.

No matter how much love I have for this person, in this moment, the love I have for myself over rules and anger becomes the fuel for a positive change.

The few people who have managed to push me this far, should consider themselves very special. For the depth of love needed to cause me to feel this level of anger is a rarity. A rarity that if treasured will lead to great loyalty and if abused…well there is no going back.

However, this does not mean that I will ever be nasty towards that person in the future, should our paths cross again. To be nasty would mean that I was still harboring the anger that pushed me to the breaking point in the first place and that is simply not possible anymore. Besides, it would be counter productive not to forgive and taste the freedom of moving forward without ill feelings lingering from the past.

I have said it numerous times before and I’ll say it again…we are all flawed. There is no telling what someone else is going through at any moment in time and we can only help them as much as they are willing to let us. Part of the growing process is knowing when you are no longer wanted/needed and to learn to bow out gracefully. It is not our responsibility, or within our power for that matter, to change people. Any time spent trying to could surely be better utilized.

Doesn’t it seem like it would be in our best interest (and theirs) to find a way to forgive them, accept them for where they are and come to a place where we are able to genuinely wish them well with no ulterior motives?