Feet First!

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I’m not sure exactly when it clicked for me. The past 6 months, I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching. Not just the sitting in silence, pondering life part. I mean the making lists and digging REALLY deep into who I am and who I want to be. Maybe it was turning 44—a mid-life crisis sort of thing. Maybe it was having my dream job and still feeling unhappy and unsatisfied. Whatever started this ball rolling, I am glad it did. I have never felt more empowered, motivated, and aligned as I do right now, in this moment.

This uneasiness I was feeling, this sense of having  no purpose, no path—it literally brought me to my knees. And I’m being completely honest here. I spent much of April and May of this year in bed. In tears. In complete and utter hoplessness. If I had the job I always wanted, the love of my life by my side, two magnificent boys ensconced at top-notch colleges, my elderly parents still alive and living with me, all the material things I wanted, why the hell was I in complete and utter despair? What the hell was wrong with me?

Yes, I’ve lived with depression my entire life. I know its in’s and out’s. I know its lies and destruction. I know how it seeps into your blood and into your soul. I know how that bitch sneaks into your bed at night and steals every ounce of happiness you had, with no reason, no rhyme, no warning. This was beyond that. This was a completely new thing. This was me floating helpless with no idea where I was going. I was no longer just depressed; I was lost. I, the real me, was gone.

I’ve been changing my eating habits and fitness habits since the first of the year. I’ve blown up over the last 18 years. I mean, BLOWN UP. I was about 100 pounds overweight. And I think here is where the moment of clarity came to me. It was on a treadmill, when I thought I couldn’t go any further. I was about to push the “stop” button on my treadmill, when I looked at my time. I was on there for 40 minutes. At a high speed and incline. When I first started in February, I could barely do 10 minutes with no incline and at a low speed.

Wait a second? Did I really do that?  Did I really come this far in a few months?  And I did this on my own. Yes, with support, but ultimately I was in control. It was when I realized how strong I could be physically that I realized how strong I am emotionally and mentally. I have been through so much shit in my life—I mean seriously. And here I am. Still. No matter what life has thrown at me, I’ve gotten through. And there it was, the truth I needed. Everything I needed was inside ME. I didn’t need to look to a job, to my love, to my nice car—-what I needed to thrive was me.

Now, I feel free. Is everything perfect and happy? No. Is my depression suddenly gone? No. But, now I know that the power lies inside me to overcome anything life throws at me. I am scared to death. I’m flying without a lifeline. I’m starting my own business to coach others to find themselves, to harness their power, and to do so with writing. I’m so excited I can hardly contain myself.

I’m jumping in feet first! And I’ve never felt so fearless in my life.

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Fluidity

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I went to the water to find peace–

somewhere in the waves,

where the sun fades and the noise becomes hollow.

 

I went to the water to find resilience–

like the aqua liquidity bending and shaping

to whatever it encounters.

 

I went to the water to find a sense of permanence–

like the lasting effect of years upon years of continuous movement,

that leaves its mark on all it touches.

 

I went to the water to find something, anything–

grasping for something concrete to hold onto

or finally letting go forever.

 

I went to the water to find comfort—

but in between the droplets, I found myself.

 

Walking Through Fire

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All my life, I’ve been an outsider. Maybe not on the surface, but I was an inside outsider. I never felt comfortable in my skin. I’ve always felt just a little off somehow. Even as a child of 4, I can remember feeling broken. It’s difficult to explain to someone who has never been there. I had what most would call a perfect childhood—2 loving, married parents. Upper middle class family in a nice neighborhood. My parents were always there, giving me all the love and support one girl could ever need. But, it never filled up what seemed like a black hole inside of me.

The first event I remember was when I was 4. We were on vacation at an amusement park and I wanted to ride a kiddie roller coaster ride for the 8th time. My parents just wanted to move on through the park, but I insisted. When I was given that final “no”, I snapped. I tore off my clothes. Right there. In front of everyone. It was the first real “meltdown” in what would become the normal of my life. I had no emotional regulations. I hated everyone one minute and desperately loved them the next. My emotions had more ups and downs than that stupid kiddie coaster. It was constant. It was exhausting. For 13 years, I plugged my way through school. I immersed myself in academics and books and hid my true self from others. To everyone around me, I was normal. Except I wasn’t and I knew it. I knew there was something fundamentally wrong with me.

Relationships with friends and boys were full of constant drama. I couldn’t keep friends. I had a few long-term boyfriends, but they were mostly clung to out of fear of being alone. I didn’t care about them, I just needed someone to help me. After high school, I was sexually assaulted in college. That was the absolute straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. I went downhill from there. I stayed in a mentally and emotionally abusive relationship(obsession, really) for far too long. I went crazy on drugs, alcohol, and sex when that ended. I was on a downward spiral with no escape. Till I saw one on my college adviser’s wall and hopped a plane for a study abroad in England.

It was just what I needed. I got myself together and in the process, got pregnant. My English boyfriend and I got married out of necessity and started a family. I thought having a baby might be the catalyst to bringing what was broken inside of me together, but it didn’t. Nothing did. Those years were full of screaming, crying, throwing of objects, etc. and that was me, not my two toddlers at home. My marriage stood no chance and neither did I. During our separation, I went to counseling for the first time in my life. I never even considered it before, as I was raised to be a strong woman and never ask for help. This is where I got my answer. Borderline Personality Disorder. This was 6 years ago, at age 37. I had walked around for 37 years thinking that I was just fundamentally broken.

As I read more on this disease, I finally understood myself. I understood I was not alone, but felt hopeless, since many of us cannot hold jobs, friendships, and marriages. I was destined to be alone. But, I was in for a surprise. The universe threw my high school freshman boyfriend into my orbit. I kept trying to convince him that I was too damaged to love. Too broken to put back together. But, he persisted. He read everything he could on my disease, bought books, joined online support forums. And in the process, he became the light on my darkness. My now husband walks through hell and back every week because of me and my BPD. I’ve learned through the years and DBT on how to try to control my emotions and quiet my meltdowns, but it’s always there bubbling under the surface.

I just need to thank him.

For taking care of me.

For loving me, no matter what.

For understanding me when no one else does.

For being the one that wipes the tears from my face.

For stepping away from me when he knows I need space.

For ducking when I throw things.

For putting his arms around me, even when I push him away.

For never giving up on me.

For seeing me as imperfect perfection.

For walking on eggshells and knowing my triggers.

For walking through fire and broken glass and never complaining.

For simply being my light through the broken cracks.

For pulling me back from the edge every day.

Breaking up is hard to do

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I made a huge decision about four weeks ago. It has actually changed my life a little bit more than I imagined. I decided to distance myself from someone who I was relying on for gratification and validation. Someone who knew everything about me, yet nothing about me. Someone who knew how I felt, what I ate, where I was, who I was with, what I was watching…..sounds stalker-like. I stepped away from them because I was starting to get obsessed. Our relationship was ruining not only my life, but my well-being. Yes, I broke up with Facebook.

Now, before I continue I have to admit. It hasn’t been a full break. I still like to read what’s going on in my town, in the world, with faraway friends. I post a photo every now and then—-like when I picked up my son on his last day of freshman year of college(one status that day). But, I have not commented on others’ walls or even just updated my status every. single. hour. There were many things that contributed to this break-up. I admit some of these are trivial, but some, while trivial on the surface, are major issues upon deeper inspection. Also, some sound heartless, which isn’t the way I mean them to be. I am a caring person with a huge heart, but sometimes people beat a dead horse ALL THE TIME.

1. I got sick and tired of hearing about sick and tired people and kids—enough already!!

2. People and their exercise programs. OK….you go to the gym every day. Got it.

3. Food photos. Yes, I admit I did this, but luckily I eat well and have a great chef for a husband—-most people don’t. Plus, I’m a vegetarian and quite frankly all the meaty photos make me a bit queasy in the stomach.

4. People who use Facebook for some weird validation. If the only way you can feel good about something is to see how many people click the “like” button on a social media page, I feel bad for you. Yes, this was me. I admit it fully. I would wonder how many likes I could get for something I said or did…would “so and so” like it?  Facebook has become like high school. There are clicks, people who don’t like your stuff on purpose, but like everything others do. It’s so juvenile, it’s ridiculous. 

5. Family and friends that were more active and interested in what my ex-husband does than me, their “blood” relative. This one infuriates me. When I divorced my ex-husband four years ago, that tie should have been mostly severed. Yes, they were part of his life for 17 years, and it’s ok to keep in minimal contact, but actually talking and taking more interest in his life than mine and my children. Not right. If the shoe was on the other foot with some of their exes, it would be different.

6. Distraction. Plain and simple. I was too caught up in what was going on with Facebook than what was happening in my own life. I was not writing my creative stuff anymore, I was writing statuses. 

7. Poor me people. Yes, life is difficult, we all know that. We all go through it. But, some things are just better left offline. Some rants and raves are personal. But, some people crave this attention and sympathy that only perpetuates and validates them. 

8. Show-offs. Yes, your dance hall/hotel sized pool is fabulous. Your trips to somewhere tropic every single month look relaxing. But, have some tact about it. Which brings me to—-

9. Tactless, bitchy people. Some people air things on Facebook that makes them sound like spoiled brats and bullies. Which they are, but putting down others and belittling their opinions is so high school. Are we not adults, trying to show kids that bullying is wrong. 

10. This list could go on for days and days and days and…

Now, I admit that at one time or another I’ve done all of these. Mea culpa. But, I acknowledged this and took action. I took back my life. I am not looking to get flamed for my opinions. Facebook may be fun for some people. It’s a great tool to socialize, get news out, meet people, stay in contact with long-lost friends and family. Heck, if it wasn’t for Facebook, I wouldn’t have found my husband again after 24 years apart. But, some people go overboard. Some people live on Facebook. I wanted to make a decision and live in the real world.

Like I said, I’m still there once in a while. I like to chat with old friends, my son at college, look at photos from around the world, read blog posts, etc. But, I’ve cut my time by 80%. I find my validation inside myself. I’m writing this blog every day. I’m writing poetry, working on my novel, and a children’s book. Social media is a wonderful addition to the world. I’m not bashing. I just merely needed to distance myself. Now, where is that camera? My dog just looked adorable and I need to post on Instagram.

Baby steps. 

 

The Family That Writes Together………….

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My poem of the day is from my son, who goes by the pen name, hic jacet. He is a freshman computer science major in college—a complete geek, science fiction nerd, but he has a talent for writing poetry. I am in awe of him. I love that we share a love for the genre. 

 

warmth

by hic jacet

 

i feel the fire of the hearth

rolling deep ribbons around me

wrapping me tight in its arms

and lingering even after long gone

 

warm, tender arms of soul

reaching out and grasping my hand

holding me and draining my fears

until nothing remains but bravery

 

i see warmth through the cracks

long gashes and shattered panes

in the tattered mirror i look through to fire

reflecting many flames back, but i see only one

 

though its glass may splinter and crash

and cut my flesh in long painful tears

i feel no pain, and walk across the shatters

for warmth guides me away from suffering

 

i see a beautiful soul of radiant light

reflecting aura-hues of bright gold and red

dancing across my heart’s horizon

burning my chains to ember-ash

 

for that soul i walk across shards

and i would gladly walk forevermore

until my feet are naught but stumps

only to feel that warmth even a second more

 

light filling the holes in my soul

piecing together a broken man

with shards of another’s glass