Thursday, December 30, 2010

Oh, And Mary......That's Not Good Enough

It's no secret I've been really depressed and pretty hard on myself for awhile now. Ever since my birthday I've felt like I could spontaneously burst into tears at any given time.

On my birthday, Scarlett came by to spend a couple of hours with me and brought me a wonderful gift. Madison made a quick drive-by and gave me a Happy Birthday hug. Pinkie gave me the "Love Dare" book I've been wanting, and I got some great gifts from Kitty. I got dozens of well wishes on Facebook. Later that day a former employee of mine from years ago sent me the most touching email. She told me how many lives I'd touched and how special I was. I felt like George Bailey in "It's A Wonderful Life". But I still felt sad; like something was missing.

Today I was having a talk with Sally, and being the wise person she is, she pointed out something very interesting. She told me that even though I have many wonderful friends who think the world of me, I seem to focus most of my attention on two very powerful people who never, ever seem to be satisfied. These, she pointed out, are the only people who's approval actually seems important to me, and because it seems increasingly impossible for these people to ever be content, I view this somehow as failure on my part. Maybe if I just try harder...?

What Sally pointed out to me today is classic codependence. I get just enough adoration from these people to keep me reeled in and coming back for more. They tell me how wonderful I am, how much they love me, and then WHAM! I'm likely to get a jab in the gut. Not in the physical sense, but with insults and words that cut me down to the core. Most times, I never see it coming. I know they both love me very much, but why I continue to let their mood swings and increasing discontentment get to me so damn much...I don't know.

I'm tired, dear readers. I'm tired of everything.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Not The Same

It's really strange celebrating your birthday without hearing from your mother. This was my 3rd birthday without her, and I don't think I'll ever really get used to it.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Quotes I Like

"There are no more thorough prudes
than those who have some little secret to hide."
-George Sand

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Do I Smell Cake? And Beer?

Well, another Christmas is winding down, and I was going to write about my Christmas observations, but after spending an hour composing the entry, I have changed my mind. Instead I will say "to each his own" and drop it.

Instead I think I will focus on something different. Like any good codependent I would always rather focus on what those around me are doing, and completely ignore what I've been doing. But today is my birthday, and what better day to think about oneself and what you want for the coming year.

Well dear readers, I'm a mess. I've gained about 12 pounds since the summer. I eat fast food breakfast every day, and I haven't set foot on the treadmill in months. I'm drinking more alcohol than ever, and seem to have lost all motivation for anything healthy or productive. I keep thinking of that commercial that says "a body at rest tends to stay at rest, and a body in motion tends to stay in motion". Well, my body has been resting so long it doesn't know anything else. At work I daydream about going home and getting on the couch with my cats and my blanket. My joints are stiff and aching, and my heart rate hasn't been above a soft flicker in quite some time. I make noises when I get up from the couch and my bed because it hurts.

I'd like to sit here and type that I've dug deep inside myself and found the motivation I need to get back in the zone, but that would be a lie. Instead, I sit here thinking about how nice it would have been to have Eggs Benedict and mimosas for breakfast, and how I'd like to stay in my pajamas all day.

God has blessed me with a relatively healthy body. I bitch constantly about other people being inactive, unhealthy and eating poorly. For my birthday gift to myself, I am going to start praying that I find the motivation I need to get up and move. I want to feel like I did awhile back when I was excited about delicious, healthy foods, and exercise made me feel really, really good. If I could just find that part of myself again, that would be the best birthday present ever.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sleep Is The New Sex

Women fought hard for liberation and equal rights in the 1960's. As they began to grow tired of the "June Cleaver" lifestyle, women wanted to ditch their aprons and venture out into the business world. They wanted a voice of their own. They wanted to show the world they were capable of producing more than just offspring. Thanks to those pioneers, most of us now work outside the home; often contributing as much or more to the household budget than the man of the house. In fact, it's more unusual these days for a woman to stay at home than to be employed.

I'm reading a book right now, loaned to me by Kitty, that takes an interesting look at some of the effects this movement has caused in the last 30 or so years. The most interesting to me, plays out in the bedroom. According to this book, women of today have considerably less sex than the women of the 1950's. The main reason for this delcine? After fighting fires all day at work, we rush to pick up the children, and are lucky if we arrive home before 6:00 p.m. Then begins the second job of cooking, helping with homework, and attempting to fit in a day's worth of domestic chores in 30 minutes; usually unsuccessfully. Now, many of us don't even end our workday when we leave the office. With the advent of cell phones, laptop computers, and smart phones, we are bringing work home, and even on vacation with us by staying in constant communication with the problems of the office. This results in frustration and exhaustion by 10:00 p.m., and quite frankly, most women are just too darned tired to think about a romp in the bedroom. This phenomenon gave birth to the phrase "Sleep is the new sex".

I remember that as a child, my mother would start her chores immediately after she saw my Dad off to work. By the time "Another World" came on in the afternoons, she was ready to lay on the couch and have a nap. After an hour or so, she got up feeling refreshed, and started dinner. So by the time my Dad returned from work, at around 5:00, a lovely meal of fried meat, potatoes, and a vegetable was on the table. By 6:00 the dishes were done and it was family time. Instead of her day just beginning, her day was winding down. I guarantee she was feeling spunkier by 10:00, than I am today.

Now before you all start sending me hate mail, saying I'm trying to undo 35 years of blood, sweat, and tears, and I'm trying to send us all back to the days of high heels and pearls....let me assure you, I am not. I've worked full time outside the home since I was 19 years old. But I do think there's merit to this subject. Unless I win the lottery, I don't see myself turning in a resignation anytime soon, but I may just take a look at refinancing my mortgage. If I could cut off ten years, maybe I could retire at 60 instead of 70!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Beautiful Masterpiece

My eleven year old daughter has an interesting school assignment. The kids are supposed to come up with a metaphor about themselves. One girl wrote "I am the bow on top of the Christmas package." One boy in the class wrote "I am a monkey." Obviously a lot of work went in to that one! So I asked my daughter about hers, expecting to hear something about being a "Gleek" or something equally superficial. But to my surprise, my daughter wrote "I am the artist of the masterpiece", then proceeded to tell me that the "masterpiece" was her life. I sat there stunned for a second, thinking about all the possibilities in this statement and then I finally said "That is brilliant!".

Of course this prompted a dramatic speech from me about how we're all really the artists, but not all our lives turn out to be masterpieces. Some of our lives turn out to be items for sale at the Hotel/Motel Art Fair, or worse yet, crumbled up messes that end up in the garbage can.

After that discussion, I went to sleep thinking about how incredibly important every decision is for an eleven year old girl. The decision to focus on school or not, the decision to stay away from drugs and alcohol or not (especially with the addictive genes in my daughter's DNA), the decision to have sex too young or abstain, and the choices we make in friends. Every decision will shape the course of her life from this point forward.

So far my daughter has made excellent choices. I will try very hard to influence her to continue to make them, but ultimately the choices will be up to her. If she stays on the right track and keeps her heart and her head in the right places, that masterpiece will come together in a beautiful, beautiful way, and I can not wait to see it!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Never Leave Your Partner Behind

A few days ago I wrote about my years of struggles with communication when it comes to my partners (Communication Breakdown dated 11/20/2010). It seems I'm not the only one with this problem. I appreciate Mystical's willingness to comment, and some of the rest of you have shared your feelings with me on this subject too, via email or in person.

My friend and sister-in-law Pinkie, highly recommended I watch a film called "Fireproof". I'd heard of the film; one of my employees has a son-in-law who actually worked on it, but I never saw it until last night. Thanksgiving night I mentioned the film to Sara, and she told me she had a copy of it at home that I could borrow.

"Fireproof" is a low budget flick which I believe was filmed in about 30 days. The actors are not great. The lead is played by Kirk Cameron, who does an okay job, but the whole time I watched it I kept thinking the rest of the cast must be church members who volunteered to take rolls, much like a Christmas program.

But if you get past the low budget and the bad acting, there really is an incredible message. In the film, the main characters are very popular and get along great with everyone around them. One is a firefighter who is respected and admired; after all, he saves people every day. His wife is an attractive woman who works at a hospital, has lots of girlfriends, and is certainly admired by one particular young doctor. Yet as popular as they are with everyone around them, the minute they walk through the doors of their home the miscommunication begins and so does the fighting. The disrespect and the constant arguing made the couple believe they were no longer in love, so they were filing for divorce. That's when the fire fighter's dad stepped in (my favorite character in the movie), and begged his son to try one more thing.

The film suggests a 40 day program called "The Love Dare" to strengthen marriages, and bring ailing couples back together. Pinkie is going to loan me a copy of that. It also addresses selfishness, and how addictions affect relationships (the fire fighter liked his online porn). The film also promotes the idea that in order for relationships to work, each member of the couple should find their own peace with God.

It doesn't have to just be a husband or wife. I highly recommend this film to anyone who has found themselves constantly snapping at any of their loved ones. It's so easy to bark at the ones we love the most. You'll get past the bad acting, and just listen to the message. Thanks Pinkie and Sara for turning me on to this wonderful, inspirational idea. "Detach" gives "Fireproof" a major thumbs up, and I hope that because of this, I can pass the "Love Dare" on to someone else who needs it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's Not An Easy Thing To Do

I rarely talk about codependence in my blog these days. I haven't touched the Big Book of Alcoholics Annonymous or one of Melody Beattie's books in months. I wondered tonight if that was the missing piece of the puzzle. I stopped studying that which was once so very important to me about the same time I stopped working out and counting calories. It all connected. Healthy Mind, Healthy Body. They go hand in hand.

So tonight I did one of my favorite things. I grabbed one Melody Beattie's books and opened it to whatever page God wanted me to read today. Here it is:

"One of the most damaging things that happens to people who lived in abusive situations is that we were lied to. We were taught we couldn't trust ourselves.

The goal of healing from codependency is knowing that we can trust ourselves.Our goal isn't telling ourselves how messed up we are and that we can't be trusted. Each of us is connected to Life. God is connected to us. Some say God speaks to us through intuition. That part of us is like radar or a truth detector. It knows what's true and what's not. It will usually tell us who we can trust, for what, and for how long--if we listen and we're not blocked. That part also knows what we need to do next. It has the ability to compute past, present, future, and the unknown, then calculate the most appropriate decision in ways we couldn't by using only intellect."

Melody Beattie
The New Codependency

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Part Of The Plan

Someone once said to me, "God laughs at our plans". I thought about that for awhile, and now it's one of my favorite sayings. Just when we think we've got it all figured out, life often throws us a curve. It might be an unexpected illness, a natural disaster, the loss of a job, or a spouse who suddenly decides they want out. Often, we never see it coming. But even though it may not have been part of our plan, it was part of God's plan for us.