Today's story is from a very special woman in my life. I've known and worked with Margo for 26 years. Although she's not (yet) a "Detach" regular, many of my readers know her. Words that come to mind when describing Margo would be beautiful, classy, spiritual, honest (sometimes brutally honest), loyal, dedicated, and intuitive. Margo is in her mid 50's, and is married. I sat down with her one day and posed our question. The interesting thing about it was I already knew the answer; and so did Margo. She didn't even bat an eye before she started telling me what she believes her purpose to be.
From that in-person interview, these are Margo's words:
For years, my mission in life was to go out and have a good time; and I was very good at it. My friends and I would party whenever we had the chance. But after my first marriage ended, something crossed over in me. I felt like I had failed. I felt like I let my parents and everyone else down. I felt lost. So I turned to God and simply said "Show me what it is that you want me to do in this life" and He did. I believe God started using me to comfort people and to guide them when they need help. For some reason people just flock to me. Friends, family members, church members, and even customers at work will sometimes just start spilling their hearts. They come to me with problems, burdens, and heavy hearts. I never had any children of my own, yet even young people come to me and pour it all out, sometimes telling me things they don't feel they can tell their parents or anyone else. I pray regularly that God will somehow use me as a vessel to say the right words when speaking to these people, to give them hope, and maybe show them the way. I embrace this gift from God and feel blessed that He has chosen me to bring comfort and peace to people who need it.
Not only have I seen this with my own eyes, but I also feel it. I've gone to Margo dozens of times in my life when I feel confused or sad or when I believe I've been given a sign or a miracle has occurred in my life. Margo can usually sense when your heart is heavy and will sometimes just walk up to you and give you one of her famous Margo looks and say "What's wrong?" Just as I believe we regularly receive signs if we are open to receiving them, I also believe God has chosen people on the Earth to speak through, to send comfort through, if we just open our minds and recognize them. I truly believe Margo is one of those people. No, there was no doubt in my mind (or hers) how she would answer this question. God has truly given her a gift and I am so very thankful to have her as one of the wonderful women in my life.
In so many ways, faithful "Detach" reader Madison and I are very much alike. We had a similar upbringing, we hold the same position at the same company, we both believe everyone could benefit from regular therapy sessions, we both have to keep our compulsive "fixing" in check, and we both want very much for everyone around us to live their best life.
Madison is 40'ish, single, and no children. She loves to travel. Two different times in her life she has been brave enough to accept jobs in other cities or states, pull up stakes and take a leap of independent faith. She lives in a smaller, college town, about 2 or 3 hours from her family, where she manages an office full of women, which can often be quite a challenge.
Here are Madison's thoughts on our topic:
My reason for being here is to prove that no matter where you come from or how you were raised you can be successful. With that said, allow me to elaborate.
I grew up in a blue collar, south end family. Dad drove a truck and Mom was a factory worker. Neither attended college. Well Mom did for a minute and Dad dropped out of high school. His education came from being in the Air Force. What's funny is, he is one of the most intelligent people I know, he just has horrible communication skills! I’m not sure what his IQ is but I am sure it is well above average. As for Mom, she is no slouch, but she has communication issues too. Best thing my Dad has taught me… You will learn much more by listening than talking, he is absolutely right. But we can both hang with the best talkers too!!!
I have learned so much from my parents. I consider myself lucky, because at an early age I realized they were pretty sharp, and I was lucky to have them, flaws and all.
As my parents get older, I can’t explain how proud I am to hear them say how proud they are of me. And they don’t love me more than their other children, but they like me more. WOW, that is powerful, it says something about my character and in the end, our character is all we really own.
Although I have many purposes and hope to continue to have many more, the most important to me at this time, is that my parents are proud of the daughter they were able to raise, and share my successes in life. Not perfect, but happy with the person I am.
How I got here is a very long story. But I use very simple things to grade my life. I have about 4 GREAT girlfriends that I would be lost without, and I have had 2 of them almost my entire life, that says something about us. I get joy in being able to make others smile; a smile goes a long way. There are no menial jobs, only menial people, and I have not had very many jobs, but have had many tasks to complete at those jobs, some not so nice but it doesn’t make me less of a success.
Animals and children are the best judges of character, I whole heartedly believe this, and love them both. And one other thing, Karma is out there. What you do, will come back to you, good and bad, so be careful, sometimes it is hard to tell which is which.
The next faithful reader to write a commentary is none other than my friend, Mystical. Mystical is 40'ish, married, with no children. Her job requires that she is constantly learning new things, and can sometimes be very hectic. I've been friends with Mystical for several years now and I believe her to be the calmest, most even tempered friend I have. Sitting here right now I can not even recall a time when I've seen her rattled or seen her come unglued. I think these personality traits play an important role in understanding Mystical's response to our question.
Here are Mystical's thoughts:
What a question. In fact, it happens to be a question that I don't think I have EVER really thought about. I guess it should be everyone's purpose to try and do good unto others and to try and spread as much joy and happiness as humanly possible. To be aware and considerate of other people's feelings, beliefs, religion, etc...and not to judge them because of it. It's so easy to find ourselves judging another person because we don't agree with or believe in their way of living or thinking. I know that I'm guilty of doing just that but I do try to not go there. Just last night, I was watching a show on TV about polygamists in Canada and I thought to myself, why would it bother anyone that these people CHOOSE to live their lives like this. Now granted, I know that there are some Mormons that go to the extreme and force young girls to marry someone that they don't necessarily love. Warren Jeffs was a prime example of that. To me, that is a crime. But this program was showing a family who had broke free from that way of thinking and moved to Canada. The husband was very open to the real possibility that some of his offspring may very well choose to live life outside of the religion and he was ok with that. The women were great friends and helped each other tremendously. I can't remember exactly how many children were involved but one of the girls was about to give birth to her 7th child. While the whole polygamy lifestyle wouldn't be for me, I think I could be totally happy living with a bunch of women who were compatible and raising kids or not, and just helping each other live long, healthy lives. I know it sounds weird but it appeals to me. Girl power, I say! I don't think of women in an intimate way by any stretch of the imagination, I just seem to enjoy their company a lot more. I guess when you've been with the same guy for as long as I have....well, I don't know. All I know is that as he gets older and his views go one way while mine go another it makes it difficult to share some of the feelings that I'd like to share. They get a lot more curmudgeony as they get older too! Men, gotta love em'! So, back to my purpose...like I said, I've never really thought about it and now I will always be thinking about it thanks to Mary. I guess that's a good thing because it might help keep me in check to be a better person. Thanks to Mary for posing this deep thinking question and I can't wait to see what everyone else had to say.
First, let me say that if at any time all the "Detach" women want to move in together, I am IN. How wonderful would it be to have your closest friends around to share the cooking, cleaning, and working out daily problems?
Next, let me share with you Webster's definition of the word "mystical". Mystical: Having a spiritual meaning or reality that is neither apparent to the senses or obvious to the intelligence.
I want to point out that while I am quite positive Mystical DOES have a very special reason for being here, she's no more worried about it than she is about who is doing what, wearing what, saying what, and believing what. Maybe Mystical is calm and seemingly stress free because she doesn't spend her life worrying about what the people around her are doing!
What you probably already know about Scarlett is that she is a faithful "Detach" reader. You probably also know she's my dear friend, and has been so for more than 30 years; since we were in 8th grade. This friendship kicked it up a few notches when we reconnected 10 or 15 years ago. We spend every Sunday afternoon together, we go on a girl's getaway vacation every year, and we talk to each other every day. Some important things you may not know about Scarlett are that she is very tenacious, and very, very loyal. She's single with no kids, and like many of us, she's worked for the same company for more than 20 years. I believe that is what makes this story so interesting...
In her own words, here is Scarlett's "Reason":
If you’d asked me six months ago why I thought I was put on this earth, I would be giving you a whole different answer than I am today. Through an unplanned chain of events, I’ve discovered a new reason why I believe I was put on this earth.
Let me give a little background first. When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a police officer or detective when I grew up. But the Lord and life took me down a different path to the business world. I worked and went to college and earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree and was fairly content. Last spring, something started stirring inside of me, and I decided to go back and earn a second Master’s. I chose an area totally unrelated to anything I’ve ever done before: Security Management. I applied for tuition reimbursement through my company and was denied because they’d already “paid” for one Master’s Degree for me and wouldn’t reimburse for a second one. I knew I couldn’t afford the tuition on my own, so I prayed about it and asked the Lord for a clear sign; if it was meant for me to earn this degree and learn about this area, all I asked for was for Him to help me make it happen. I’d almost given up and called the university’s registrar and told them to cancel my paperwork because I wouldn’t be able to attend. The registrar put me on hold, and when she got back on the phone she told me that I’d was eligible for a grant, a scholarship and the rest would be funded by a government loan with an extremely low interest rate. There was my answer. But the story doesn’t end there.
It didn’t take me very long to realize that “Security Management” degree program actually meant security management. I thought it would be about keeping companies safe internally – like from corporate takeovers, embezzlement, shady accounting or IT practices – things like that. But it meant actual security. It also didn’t take me long to fall in love with it. I couldn’t wait to get home from work in the evenings and study. I even loved the homework, especially a big project where we had to do an in-depth analysis of an organization’s security program. Something started stirring inside of me again, and I chose the area of church security for my analysis. I analyzed the security programs of two churches in Louisville – one was my church, and the other happened to be the largest church in the United States. Not only did I get a 100% on this project, I also got the realization that this was maybe what I was supposed to do in life. A month later, I received a call from church, and was asked to be a member on the church’s security task force. After attending a couple of meetings and offering some suggestions, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they were actually putting my suggestions into use. And just a few weeks ago, they asked me to be the lead security monitor during our early church service. They’re also sending me to a church security and emergency planning seminar up in Cincinnati next week, too.
Last year when I decided to go back and get this degree, I jokingly said that this was my mid-life crisis. Little did I know that this would turn into my mid-life changing event. None of it is coincidence; anyone that knows me knows that I’m a firm believer that there is no such thing as coincidence. The Lord took forty-six and a half years to get me molded and prepared for what He wanted me to do. As a kid, I wanted to be an officer and “serve and protect” and now through this unplanned chain of events, I’m finally getting the opportunity.
And the timing is perfect. With more and more shootings and other violent events happening at churches, there is a huge need for this type of security. I agree Scarlett, I think this is your "thing". Start going forward and don't look back!
Today's writer is no stranger to 'Detach'. She is our faithful reader, Sally. I've said this before, but Sally is probably the most intuitive person I know. She has this uncanny knack for looking at a person and seeing straight through any bullshit they may be hiding behind. Just when I think I've looked at something from every possible angle, Sally can see it in a whole new light.
The following mini-bio was written with her permission.
Sally is in her late 30's. She's quite intelligent, and has a promising future in her field. She's able to accomplish pretty much anything she sets her mind to do. I see Sally as a warrior. After breaking free from an addict/abuser husband, she found herself a single mother. For awhile, things were tough. For years she raised her two children on one modest income, working full time and going to school to obtain a Bachelor's Degree which enabled her to get a better position with her company and buy a home for her and her kids. Through much adversity, she has looked for the good rather than focusing on the bad. She doesn't complain, and she doesn't feel sorry for herself. She sees every set back as an opportunity to learn and grow. Sally's perspective on our topic illustrates her focus, her positive attitude, and her deep spirituality, and I love it.
Here are Sally's words:
I was put on this earth because I chose to be here.. I have accepted all the challenges and responsibilities that have accompanied this place, and I hope that I have served justice to this beautiful life. I've accepted responsibility, and marched through the murky existence that was handed to me. I've cherished the awesome gifts, and relished in how much I am blessed to have. I live each day and breathe each moment as if a second is too long to lose. It hasn't been pretty, and I doubt it ever will be, and yet it stands in my heart to be beautiful.. I don't really know how else to express it.. I am here to live, and live fully!! Breathe, See, Exist in a moment, or two, or for forever!
The first installment in our series is from someone you've read about from time to time in Detach; my childhood friend Sammy. Sammy and I grew up across the street from one another, and together we faced parents, dating, and the battle of becoming young adults. We saw each other most every day of our lives as adolescents, and held each other's hands through lots of fun times and a few rough times. Even though we live in different states and rarely get to see each other, we've never allowed ourselves to completely lose contact.
Sammy is in her mid-40's, is married, and the mother of two lovely daughters. She is a highly successful business professional who works for one of the top 20 most profitable companies in the United States, and she is the family's sole bread winner.
Here are Sammy's thoughts:
So, why are we put on this earth? I think I was put on this earth to create and care for 2 beautiful girls who will grow up to touch people's lives and make a difference in the world. Making a difference in the world didn't seem important to me when I was growing up, my goal was to get a good job and be able to take care of myself. I actually didn't think I would ever be able to provide for my entire family the way I do today. My goal was to become a secretary, and I've exceeded that goal beyond my wildest dreams. But for some reason as I've gotten older it doesn't feel like enough. I wish my career could have actually made a difference in someone's life. I wish I would have been a nurse or some kind of volunteer for a special cause. I suppose when I retire I'll have more time and opportunity to volunteer to a special cause and make a difference in someone's life. I'm sure I've made a difference in my daughter's lives, I see it everyday as they grow up and become young women. They have goals & dreams and they are very driven. One of my daughter's is at college working on becoming a nurse, she wants to work with children (pediatrics), so I really feel like she will make a difference in little kids lives everyday. I am so proud of her and I'm so glad I'm able to provide her with the opportunity to go to college to pursue this dream. My college options were very limited, in fact, I was discouraged from going to college. My parents said I just needed to find a good man to marry that could provide for me. Well, that didn't happen, but I managed to take care of myself and later on take care of my entire family. I guess for that I should be proud of myself and my accomplishments.
Sammy, you should DEFINITELY be proud of yourself and all your amazing accomplishments! I think my readers will find it interesting that while you've been hugely successful in your career, the thing that is important to you is you and your two daughters making a difference in this world. As long as you are alive, it's never too late for that. Thank you for sharing your story!
"What is my purpose in this life?" is a question that seems to pop up every few months during deep conversations with a close friend of mine. I believe this question truly haunts this person. The more I thought about it the more interested I became in the subject, so I decided to implore the help of my 'Detach' readers and create our first "interactive" mini series.
Welcome to "My Reason For Being Here".
I interviewed ten interesting and insightful women that I know, love, and trust, posing the question "Why do you believe you have been put on this earth"? Some of these women are married, some are not. Some have children, some do not. Some are young, some are older. Some have jobs, some work at home. Some attend church, some do not. Answers are starting to trickle in and I am amazed at some of the comments. Some people seemed to find this a very easy question to answer. Some found it difficult. Some answers were relatively short, some were quite lengthy.
I'm convinced there's no right or wrong answer to this question, just everyone's own very unique and very personal thoughts.
This promises to be an enlightening series, so stay tuned!
I seem to have some kind of crazy, jacked up metabolism when it comes to consuming alcohol. It seems every time I have a few drinks my weight the next morning jumps up four, even five pounds. People tell me it's just water weight but it typically takes me five days to get back where I was before I drank. This creates a frustrating cycle of losing all week only to gain it back in one day.
I didn't think it seemed possible that 4 drinks could cause this phenomenon, so I did some research on the subject. Here's what I found:
Rather than getting stored as fat, the main fate of alcohol is conversion into a substance called acetate. In fact, blood levels of acetate after drinking two shots of vodka were 2.5 times higher than normal. And it appears this sharp rise in acetate puts the brakes on fat loss.
A car engine typically uses only one source of fuel. Your body, on the other hand, draws from a number of different energy sources, such as carbohydrate, fat, and protein. To a certain extent, the source of fuel your body uses is dictated by its availability.
In other words, your body tends to use whatever you feed it. Consequently, when acetate levels rise, your body simply burns more acetate, and less fat. In essence, acetate pushes fat to the back of the queue.
So, to summarize and review, here's what happens to fat metabolism after the odd drink or two.
. A small portion of the alcohol is converted into fat.
. Your liver then converts most of the alcohol into acetate.
. The acetate is then released into your bloodstream, and replaces fat as a source of fuel.
The way your body responds to alcohol is very similar to the way it deals with excess carbohydrate. Although carbohydrate can be converted directly into fat, one of the main effects of overfeeding with carbohydrate is that it simply replaces fat as a source of energy. That's why any type of diet, whether it's high-fat, high-protein, or high-carbohydrate, can lead to a gain in weight.
The combination of alcohol and a high-calorie meal is especially fattening, mainly because alcohol acts as a potent appetizer.
Not only does too much alcohol put the brakes on fat loss, it's also one of the most effective ways to slash your testosterone levels. Just a single bout of heavy drinking raises levels of the muscle-wasting hormone cortisol and increases the breakdown of testosterone for up to 24 hours. The damaging effects of alcohol on testosterone are made even worse when you exercise before drinking.
Although an alcohol-rich meal does increase your metabolic rate, it also suppresses the number of fat calories your body burns for energy — far more so than meals rich in protein, carbohydrate, or fat. While the odd drink now and again isn't going to hurt, the bottom line is that alcohol and a leaner, stronger body just doesn't mix.
I get VERY hungry when I start drinking and often start grabbing snacks. Also, I usually have a large meal immediately after drinking. I believe my body stops burning fat, starts running off acetate, and then takes in a few hundred extra calories that it won't be able to burn. All these factors together are most likely the culprit.
Tomorrow would have been my mother's 76th birthday. To honor her I will tell my readers another story about her. This is one that she told everytime she got dressed up and someone told her she looked pretty.
The story goes that back in the day my mother was walking down the sidewalk looking exceptionally hot. One man was so busy gawking at her that he crashed into another car.
The second episode of "Intervention" was about some musician. I happened to wander into the room during a scene where his girlfriend was trying to sleep but the guy woke her up. She calmly tried to tell him she was sleeping and to please leave her alone. He wouldn't give up. He persisted until she was up out of bed, then he started picking a fight with her. She tried really hard to stay calm and avoid the fight, but he became relentless. He picked and picked until she could take no more. As I watched this scene, something came over me. It brought back memories of this very scene being played out many times before in my home. I watched the woman try to hold it together and I could sense her tension as things started to unravel. Instantly I felt electricity start to run through my body. Finally I just exploded. I jumped up off the couch and shouted "She just wants to go to sleep asshole. Now leave her alone before she blows your brains out!!!".
I don't know where this came from, but I didn't like it. It was a reminder for me how horrible living with a drunk really is. It also reminded me that I will never go back to that way of living again. Yeah....we both needed those two episodes.
Oh, and I'm happy to report that the musician completed rehab and as of the air date, had remained sober.
Simon Cowell is not irresistably good looking, but he's such a cheeky little monkey. Maybe that's the reason I find him sexy. Even though I usually agree with his critiques of the contestants on American Idol, he's just so mean, often reducing the poor people to tears.
Simon is arrogant and cocky and he doesn't care what he says, but it works for him. He's got a naughty little way about him that makes a girl wonder what he might be thinking. I'll miss the sexy rapport he shared with Paula Abdul. For these reasons, Simon Cowell is the latest Mary's MILF.
Once in awhile my husband and I will watch an episode of "Intervention". Now in case you've never watched the show, it's a sort of reality series on A&E about people with drug and alcohol addictions. These addicts have usually hit rock bottom and are on a collision course with disaster. The addict is told they are being featured in a documentary about addiction (true) only at the end they are met with a room full of friends and family members and they face an intervention. They are offered free in-patient treatment and sometimes codependent, enabling family members are also offered treatment. It doesn't always have a happy ending. Sometimes they agree to treatment and succeed, but more often than not, they go to treatment and later relapse. I think it's very interesting that the codependent family members will usually turn down the offer for free treatment. That goes way back to Codependent 101 which says "I don't need help. It's THEM who has the problem, not ME!".
So the other night we ended up watching two episodes, back to back. We didn't set out to watch the show, we were just flipping channels and landed there. As it turned out, we both needed it.
This may sound strange to some people, but sometimes watching that show can be quite emotional and a little exhausting for the both of us. When I hear the way the addict manipulates and controls their family members, I get mad. When I see the hopelessness in the faces of the people who want so much to help, I get sad. When I see the ones who relapse and fail, I get a reality check. Tonight I want to focus on the first episode we watched.
There was a very sweet man about our age, who ultimately lost his wife and two children. Alcohol had consumed him. This was probably the most gut wrenching episode I've ever seen because the family was so "normal". They weren't white trash, they weren't dirty, they were a family just like mine. The worst part was when his 10 year old son cried and cried because he missed his dad. After a greuling intervention (the worst I've seen) the man agreed to go to rehab, where he stayed for 80 days. That was when he found out he had espophogeal cancer and they sent him home. He lived three weeks. Alcohol won that battle, it would appear.
Believe me when I say my husband and I were both sobbing when we saw the young son say that even though the intervention was a horrible experience, it was worth it because his dad did not die a drunk. He was sober when he died.
Alcoholism is a terrible disease. It ruins lives and it kills people. Sometimes people in recovery need to be reminded of that. At that particular time, my husband needed to see that episode. The next one would be for me.
A codependent person is one who has let another person's behavior affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person's behavior.
The following two "Detach" journal entries will give you a crash course:
"An Answer to a Prayer" dated Nov 1, 2008 "How Did We Wind Up Here?" dated Nov 2, 2008
About This Journal
In 2008 I had the life changing realization that there was a name for what I'd always felt was "wrong" with me. After 20 years of thumbing through various self-help books. I learned about codependence.
I began writing this journal to document my journey out. Over time, it's evolved into something more. While I still talk about codependence (I know now, it will never totally leave me), this blog has turned into the thumbprint of my life; a therapeutic journal for me to sort out a lifetime of thoughts and memories. I believe in being honest with myself and others, and when something is bothering me, I reach out. With a support team of strong, smart women surrounding us, we can all continue to grow. I'm trying to live my best life, in pursuit of a Healthy Mind, a Healthy Body.