The Good Ole Days

Remember the days when we didn’t carry around a tracking device with us at all times?

The time before the instant gratification of text messages and google searches. When one had to ponder their questions and research the answers, rather than merely typing them in the search bar.

When not answering the phone meant you were not home or otherwise engaged and the person on the other end simply left a message, rather than jumping to conclusions as to why you did not pick up.

I miss those days.

This device that was once intended to enhance our communication with one another causes me to want to completely disconnect instead. So, yes, there are times when I turn off my phone, for days. In fact, on most days the ringer is not even on.

Why? Because, I am sick and tired of my life being centered around this constant tether to the world. My actions at any given moment being dictated by the schedule of the person on the other end.

Every once in a while, I just want a little peace…some quiet…in a world that never seems to shut up!

And is it not our right to decide how and when we chose to have those moments?

It should be.

I worked many years at the beacon call of everyone else and in times of turmoil and discontent, I find it absolutely necessary to disconnect in order to ensure the decisions I make moving forward are my own and without influence of how others perceive them to be.

In matters of the heart, friendship, I can sometimes find myself clouded by the worry of disappointing others or the fear of how they will perceive the actions I take moving forward. And it is for that reason that in such times of reflection, I take a step back.

It takes a great deal to push me to the point where I would consider ending a friendship and few have brought me to that point. After all, we all make mistakes, misunderstandings happen and life is just too short not to try and work things out.

In the end, I think it comes down to the level of pain inflicted and whether or not it is possible to recover from. That is not a decision I take lightly.

And if so, where is the balance in the friendship moving forward? What was it before? Was this event something that has been an ongoing struggle between the two of you or are there other outlying factors at play? If it has been an ongoing point of contention, then it may be time to consider the value in salvaging it.

An otherwise rational person, does not lash out, seemingly unjustifiably without there being something else at play. If you know there to be outliers, a certain amount of give is understandable.

We often make rash decisions and/or say things we don’t mean in the heat of an argument or while we are still feeling hurt.

But when does it cross the line of acceptable behavior, regardless of any outlier?

After all, when someone has been verbally abusing you via text to the point where you don’t even want to pick up your phone, it seems quite silly to continually open yourself up to more insults when you are still processing the ones from before.

I mean I could, but then I would most likely just get angrier and say something cruel in return. That is not productive by any means.

Therefore, until I have fully processed, cooled down and have a full understanding of how I want to move forward, I will in most cases, shut that person out until my decision has been made.

I’m not saying that is the correct thing to do by any means, but it’s the truth and it can cause the situation to build unintended momentum.

My unread message becomes fuel for another round of messages that go unread, and so on and so on, until by the time I bring myself to read them, there is an arsenal of emotion before me.

The whole time I am working through the initial altercation, the other person has had like three arguments with me that I wasn’t even present for!

I understand that it is human nature to assume the actions or intent of others, but the old saying is absolutely TRUE!

I’m not trying to poke fun at the situation by any means, I realize I could handle things differently, but when I am attacked, I close that person out almost immediately until I can try to come back to the situation rationally.

I think it may be a defense mechanism for holding it together when everything around me was falling apart. I learned over the years to compartmentalize. If there was something that seemed to big for me to handle, I simply shut it out and tackled the things I could until I was ready to take on the rest.

I guess what I am saying is that you never know what someone is going through at any given moment and unless you know for an absolute fact that they are just being a jerk, don’t assume they are.

Them not responding to you could mean they are deciding where they stand on things. Perhaps they haven’t even opened your message or listened to your voicemail. And if they haven’t, than over reacting would seem quite unnecessary, now wouldn’t it?

There is only so much a person can take before they decide it is just not healthy to stick around. Don’t give them a reason to walk away, give them space and understanding. It could be the reason they chose to stay.

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The Breaking Point

Have you ever been pushed to the point where you feel as though no matter how much you try, you just can’t seem to get your head above water; emotionally, mentally and in some cases physically. Over the last few months, I have felt all three.

If it were not for having someone with whom I feel unconditionally loved and safe with, I’m not sure I would have been able to find my strength over the last few months.

I have always been that person, dying on the inside, but smiling on the outside. For there will never be a day when I awake without the feeling that a piece of me is missing.

No matter how much time passes, the pain of the past will never truly disappear. I will always be the daughter who was left behind. The girl with the scars buried deep within my soul.

But in that moment, before I begin the battle of the day, I remind myself of all that still remains. Those who have chosen to stay; to love me. Not despite being broken, but because of it.

There are those who understand my silence. Those who know that when I chose to disconnect from this world, it is not because I do not want to be there for them, it is because I can’t.

I try to give as much of myself as I can to others, because I know what it feels like to feel alone, forgotten, and tossed aside. The problem in this is that I have yet to find the balance between being everyone else’s rock and spreading myself too thin.

So instead of being aware that I am taking on too much and communicating that to those around me, I just break and shut everyone out. My mind begins to spiral and depression rears it’s ugly head.

For those on the outside, I appear to be cold or distant, which makes them upset, causing them to lash out and hence continuing the spiral down into the darkness.

For me, letting people down is the worst thing I could possibly do and so I try to please everyone all of the time. Sounds like an honorable trait in theory, but the fact of the matter is that it is an impossible goal. One to be met by failure almost every time.

You can’t please everyone all of the time and you can’t be there for everyone all of the time either. First of all, there just isn’t enough time to be everyone’s rock and it isn’t selfish to take care of yourself first, before tending to everyone else.

A few weeks ago, my entire life shifted. The future potential of which I am greatly excited for, but change has always been a bit of a trigger for me.

Hmmm…I wonder why? It couldn’t be all that moving around when I was younger could it? Or never knowing where my mother would pop up and reek havoc on my life.

I took the first week off to gather my thoughts and create a plan, then the next week I started acting on that plan. I was feeling good, but still a little raw emotionally. I knew what I really needed was to walk away from it for a little while and take some time to let it all sink in.

As luck would have it, I had a trip scheduled to house/pet sit and help run the business for a family out of state, one I consider as my own. We have known one another many years and have grown quite close.

Words can not express how thankful I am to have them in my life. I would not be who I am having not known them.

It is a rarity for me to feel comfortable enough with someone to not be afraid to truly open up and be myself. Those I am able to do that with, I hold above all others; it’s unconditional at it’s best!

I ended up getting super sick just before I left and was down for the count for days, which made the need for recovery (mentally & physically) that much more important.

At a time when I was feeling a bit like I was losing stability in my life (i.e. employment), knowing I would be doing something I enjoyed (their business) and was good at, gave me something to focus on, while I let all the unknowns brew on the back burner for a while. I didn’t want to see anyone or do anything except house/pet sit & run the business.

And the emotional things I was dealing with (family health issues, depression, loss)…well three dogs will keep you laughing and smiling all day long, so that was just a bonus!!

Seemed like the perfect situation to take my mind away from struggle and focus instead on the many blessings in life. And it did.

Until…in true ME fashion…I began putting this unnecessary pressure on myself to over achieve.

There always seems to be this underlined sense of urgency when it comes to anything involving anyone else, but almost no sense of it when it comes to myself.

The only exception being the aspect of failure and how it relates to how others view me.

I am not sure where this intense need for approval came from, but I can only guess that is stems from my inner struggles with abandonment, such as, “I must please or everyone will leave”.

Seems a bit irrational, I know.

But than, someone goes and proves you exactly correct. You see, while I was trying to get myself back up on running again, I neglected to tend to others who may have needed my help.

I was too immersed in finding my own strength that I didn’t realize someone else needed it more, and for that I am regretful. I didn’t think I had anything more to give, but I should have at least thought to try.  That is my mistake. One to end a friendship over, I would hope not, but that is not for me to say.

All I can do, is what I have already done, apologize.

I think the important lesson here is in communication. Especially for those of us that struggle with depression. It’s hard to talk about, but it doesn’t have to be.

It’s okay not to be okay sometimes and you shouldn’t be afraid to tell the people closest to you as much as you want to be there for them, you are struggling to take care of yourself.

It doesn’t mean you love them any less or you are any less of a friend. It means that you respect them enough to be honest with them. It is when we hide our battles and fight them alone where everyone loses.

Those of us with depression and anxiety need to disconnect sometimes in order to reconnect. If we don’t, my may disconnect forever. It is a constant fight, every day, but it is not one to be ashamed of.

It is something to be proud of. Because every day you make it through, is a day you’ve won! It is a another reason to keep going.

Some people will keep going with you and some will not, but that is their decision, not yours.

Be kind, not just to others, but to yourself.

Ghosted

I will keep this short and sweet this morning. Call it another public service announcement from T-Bell if you will, but I cannot go through this day without sharing with you a very important lesson I learned this weekend.

So, Sunday was my birthday. A day that has been hard for me since I was a kid. Mostly because I never knew where my mother was most of the time, which usually meant that as a child, I would spend the whole day wishing and hoping that somehow she would reappear and she never did. So year after year, my heart would break just a little bit more. This year was no different.

You see that is why people don’t understand how important being remembered is to me. For someone who is always forgotten, a simple text or phone call to say happy birthday means more to me than anything in the world. Just once, it would be nice to not be disappointed.

I had such an amazing day on Sunday, so much fun! I went to the car show with Daddy J, which was a blast and then a few of us came back to my place for an impromptu hang session. It was everything I could have asked for and more.

When everyone left, I came back inside and started catching up on my birthday texts 🙂

When I replied to the last one, I realized that two very important people had still not sent me anything? And I don’t mean gifts, I could care less if you buy me anything. Although, my friend Elaine did hit it out of the park this year!!

Two of the people I care for most in the world, showed me just how little they care for me. I kind of expected it from one of them. I know him well enough to know it was not really because he doesn’t care about me, but rather he just cares about himself more. No surprises there, he has been this way his whole life. It doesn’t excuse it (believe me I ate his ass!), but the point is that I know in my heart that he never intended to hurt me.

The other, was a complete surprise. It was someone I thought I could count on, someone I thought valued my presence in their life. Someone I never thought would blow me off, especially on the day he knows I struggle with. We lost touch for years and having him back in my life this last year has been great. It was so refreshing to spend time with someone I could truly be myself around, someone who truly saw me and valued me for all that I am. Which is why, his forgetfulness hurt more than anything I could have imagined.

Now, I try my best to give everyone the benefit of the doubt…Maybe something horrible happened, he lost his phone or a million other acceptable reasons for treating me like garbage. And so, at first, I tried to give him a chance to explain. One simple text from me to say that I was a little hurt. No response.

Okay so now I am worried, maybe something did happen? He doesn’t normally blow me off like this. And then the next day came, still no response.

“What’s the deal man?”

No response.

And that is when the waterworks began. Which pissed me off, because I thought I was done crying over stupid inconsiderate men, but I guess not.

I realized in that moment, that the friendship I thought meant as much to him as it did to me, clearly did not and boy did that sting.

We all screw up, we all forget things, but to not even acknowledge it or me? How cruel is that? Especially coming from someone who deals with the same emotional issues that I do and knows how much his actions would hurt me.

I can take a hint, but at least have the common courtesy to tell me you don’t want me around anymore instead of taking the cowards way out and ghosting me…on my birthday of all days! I deserve more than that, a lot more.

His actions disappointed me more than anyone’s ever have, because I never saw it coming, but I guess I should be thankful for that.

To him, for reminding me that I need to make better choices about who I give my time to. There are those that value me in their life and those that simply use me to fill their time when something better is not available.

And the timing could not be more perfect. As you remember from my last post, I have been taking a long hard look at the people in my life and well, I guess as heart broken as I have been over the last few days, at least I know now where I truly stand with some people.

I am so thankful to the people who remembered me on Sunday (even if FB reminded you, teehee I get it and it still counts).

If it was not for all of you, having been forgotten may have stung a lot worse.

The lesson here, if it’s not yet clear, is that no matter how much you care about someone that doesn’t give them free rain to disrespect you.

And if you are someone on the other end of this, try to remember that no matter how much you don’t care about someone that doesn’t mean your actions do not have the ability to destroy them. Try to be kind, respectful, is it really that hard to allow someone to leave your life with their dignity still intact?

I think not.

Existential Crisis?

What if the main lesson we are supposed to master in this life is not for us to all come together as one, but rather to learn how to find solace in being alone; individually independent?

After all, we have tried for years to unify this world and where has it taken us? Some may say closer together, but I would argue, that we are more divided now than ever before.

We live in a world of instant gratification. A place where deep discussions with another human being face to face or even over the phone have become a rarity.

It is the ME generation. Where our interactions with others have become more focused on what they can do for us than what we can do together.

I wish what I was saying was simply rooted in my own cynicism, but I see evidence of its reality every day.

The actions of others (or lack there of) can be very telling, if you are paying attention. I have spent so much of my life trying to see the good in people that in many cases, I overlooked some very obvious signs that their intentions were untrue.

I think I wanted so much to believe that I mattered to them in the way they mattered to me that it became easier to lie to myself than to see what was directly in front of me.

Oh the heart break I would have saved myself!!

No sweat though, I hold no regrets there. It was all valuable in bringing me to the place I am today and contributed to the beautifully broken person I am, regardless of others’ ability to appreciate it.

“I am nothing special; of this I am sure. I am a common man with common thoughts, and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten, but I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul, and to me, this has always been enough.” – Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook.

And that is why I am changing my tune.

When I think of all the pain and disappointment in my life, the majority of it was rooted in expectations that either I or society has placed on other people.

We operate from this selfish need to be valued by others, when if we were only to find value in ourselves and say screw  everyone else, wouldn’t we eliminate this ridiculous idea in our heads that we are only worth what others perceive us to be?

I have found myself so angry these past few weeks and up until a few days ago, I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. I chalked it up to being burnt out, tired or whatever and in part that is it. I am exhausted, but not necessarily in the physical sense. Although, over analyzing things the way I do could play a role in that as well.

In reality though, it is more existential.

Every single day, I struggle internally with so much that I can’t even begin to explain. I am just so tired of it all.

If there was a pill I could take to never feel anything ever again…love, hate, passion, fear, anger, disappointment, anxiety, loneliness, sadness…I am not sure I would be able to pass it up. I’m not gonna lie, there are days where I feel as though I am operating as an emotionless machine in a world full of humans and it has its appeal.

“…And all the people say
You can’t wake up, this is not a dream
You’re part of a machine, you are not a human being
With your face all made up, living on a screen
Low on self esteem, so you run on gasoline…” – Halsey, Gasoline.

But that would be the cowards way out and if there is anything I am NOT, it is a coward. So as tempting as it is to leave it all behind, I stay and I continue to fight what feels like a losing battle.

I used to have this love for life…for people.

It’s sad really. How the world can turn a person cold.

How the people you care for the most can be the reason you never search for love again.

And that is why it is so important to tell those closest to you just how much they mean to you.

If I have learned anything in this life, it is that anyone can be taken from you in the blink of an eye and the only true regrets I have are the words I never had the chance to say.

Friends that were taken too young, who I will never have the chance to tell, how much they inspired me. Or the mentor who left this world before I was able to express to them my gratitude for never giving up on me.

And most of all, the love I found so hard to give to the one man who loved me just as I am. The wisest man I never really took the time to get to know before his time on this earth was over. He knew I loved him, but I wish I could have told him how much.

As of today,  I am going to try my very best to move forward without the need for love in my heart.

Maybe then I will stop giving mine away so easily to the undeserving and instead express it more freely to those who never leave me wondering whether they feel the same.

It is about damn time I realize that I am worthy of more than I allow myself to settle for. My presence in this world is of value and those who freely disregard it are the unworthy ones.

The hardest part will of course be not to get tangled up in those heart strings. After all, when you care about someone it can be hard to simply turn it off.

Even if all the signs are there that they will be your undoing. The heart wants what the heart wants even if getting it means a bullet straight its core.

Obviously, I have thought long and hard about that or else I wouldn’t be writing about it now – you know how I work 🙂

So here it is…my so-called plan if you will…

Balance. Or more simply, what you give, is what you get.

The amount of attention, courtesy, and consideration you give to me, is exactly what you will get in return; no more and no less.

It sounds very simply and for any new relationships/friendships it pretty much is. No boundaries have been set yet or emotions unbalanced in any way.

It is the old unions that will be the challenge, because you see, you have already allowed a certain pattern of behavior that has formulated a belief system around the balance in that friendship/relationship.

For example, fairly recently as you know, I found the strength to discuss my depression on a level that has been very freeing and from the feedback, helpful to others’ who suffer the same.

Owning my issues ( I hate to use that word) has given me a greater sense of myself. I feel more confident in who I am and more refined in what I want. I no longer apologize for or hide the way I am feeling from the world…okay well for the most part I don’t, I’m trying! The point is, in embracing myself for who I am, I have been able to find the courage to speak up when I would normally stay silent and to stop making excuses for people’s bad behavior, but instead, call them out on it!

It has led to some intense interactions, let me tell you!

And sometimes it is as simple as not doing anything at all. It’s funny, once people get used to taking you for-granted, they don’t take it so well when suddenly you are not so available to them.

It becomes a culling of sorts or as I like to say, weeding the friend garden.

Though, the best examples I think are the friendships that ended with no interaction at all. Now that is when you know you really screwed up. If I have reached the point where I simply walk away with no explanation, that is when there is truly no going back.

There are a rare few who have made it there and I am sure they’d confirm for you, but…I don’t talk to them anymore so …haha! 🙂

Maybe it is that I am getting older and I have realized how little time I have left on this plane that has led me to this somewhat existential crisis. Time is becoming more and more precious and with as much as I work, my personal time doubly so.

I guess I am just searching for some type of balance or effortless existence that doesn’t really exist, but it seems like something worth looking for in the off chance it does.

Lately, I find myself enjoying my time alone more than my time spent out in the world. Things and people I used to enjoy bore me at times, but there is this pattern of thought ingrained in my mind that history = closeness/security and it is just not true.

I wonder how much socializing I do based on obligation? I don’t think I want to know.

I am starting to understand why they call it an existential crisis now…

 

 

It Is What It Is & It’s Great

A little less than a year ago I reconnected with an old friend of mine and it has turned out to be the catalyst for some necessary change in my life. A mutual friend of mine made the comment when we first started hanging out again that he had always treated me better than my own boyfriend at the time and was not surprised to see that something may be blossoming between us after all these years. Her observation at the time, not mine. There has always been chemistry between us, but it has never grown into anything more than friendship.

I was thinking about that yesterday and you know what, looking back, she is absolutely right! He has always been there for me when I needed him. Sometimes in ways I didn’t even realize.

Now before I continue, I want to make it very clear that I am not reading into any of his actions as more than what they are. We are still just friends and I am not expecting anything more than that from him. He has made it very clear where he stands and I completely respect that.

That is not what this post is about.

What it is about is the appreciation & understanding I now have for those true friends that are so hard to find and the necessary changes we sometimes need to make to our social circle as we mature in order to ensure we are receiving the level of respect we deserve.

This past year, I have stepped back from a lot of people in my life. I began to realize that the time and energy I was putting in far outweighed what I was getting in return.

It’s the little things like…

Encouraging my creative adventures & giving me that push I need sometimes to keep going.

Inspiring me to try things I’ve always been afraid to.

Supporting my decisions even if not fully in agreement with them.

Reminding me of my good qualities and why I should never settle for less or allow others to make me feel like I have no value

Opening the door for you or waiting by you at the check-out even though they are finished.

How they know you are feeling down without you saying a word and make that small gesture of kindness as a reminder that you are loved.

Remembering the things you have said or done, no matter how insignificant they may seem.

Being true to their word – That’s a biggie!!!!!!

I am so sick and tired of being disappointed by the people I care about most and somehow being made to feel that the fault is my own.

I’ve never met someone so much like me…similar yes, but not this much!

It is refreshing to know that I don’t have to be afraid to let my guard down and truly be myself. When I talk, he listens. He is not on his phone or barely paying attention. He is always present and most of all he actually cares about what I am saying, even if it is some meaningless thing I am just babbling on about.

The level of respect he treats me with has put so much in perspective for me. I know he is someone I can tell anything to without judgement (even if it’s about him haha!). He has given me the courage to stand up for myself and shown me that it is possible to be fully open and honest with someone without it all falling apart. We talk about everything, but I guess we always have really.

Our friendship is something very few may understand I think, but I don’t care.

For the first time in a very long time, I finally feel understood and genuinely cared for.

Now that is true friendship and something I wouldn’t give up for the world!