If you know Scarlett, you know that she has a lot of stuff. She saves items from concerts, trips, and events. She still has all her childhood toys and school lunch boxes, books, and magazines. Most of these items can be found pretty quickly. She could produce just about any item she's looking for in a matter of a few minutes. But occasionally Scarlett loses something. And when she does, it's no secret, a bit of panic ensues. Scarlett has often written about her full scale searches for assorted items in her blog. Sometimes the whole family gets in on the search. But until the lost item is found, Scarlett is a mess.
I'm writing about this because driving in to work this morning, I realized this is exactly how I feel right now. Inside the hurricane which is my head, I feel like I'm frantically searching for a lost item. Problem is; I'm not sure what the item is, which makes the search for it utterly exhausting. I only know I can't find it, and I want it back.
I started to assemble a search party, but I decided it just has to be me who finds it on my own.
Friday morning I was sitting at a red light on the way to drop my kids off at school when something strange happened to me. I looked up and saw a semi tractor trailer with the name of a moving company on the side of it, and realized it was really going to happen. I knew where the truck was headed...to my beloved Kitty's house. And when it got there, it would load up her things and take them a thousand miles away to her new home in Florida.
When I first got wind this move may happen I wrote a journal entry about it. I've been searching for it all morning, but haven't found it yet. At that time, I wasn't at liberty to say what "it" was, I simply said I just didn't know if I could take it. I was devastated at the thought of my sister-in-law (God, I hate that term, Kitty is my sister and my dear friend!) moving away from me. Then it kind of went away. I was hoping the whole thing had fallen apart. But it didn't. And a few weeks ago I found out it was going to become a reality.
Kitty and I became friends long before I even met her brother, who would later become my husband. She was just a kid, who got hired on at work as part of co-op program at her high school. I was nine years her senior, and in the throws of a very miserable marriage. I wrote all about this in several entries during the Fall 2010.
Kitty has come a long way since those days. She is very well respected in her field. So highly respected that she was heavily recruited by this company in Florida. Which, as I may have mentioned, is a thousand miles away.
But the doom, and almost terror I felt when I first heard this news, has subsided now. I know how hard Kitty has worked for this, and for the first time in a long while, I see happiness in her eyes as she talks about the new life she's about to begin. I applaud her for having the nerve to walk away from a job that was quickly draining the life out of her, to see where this road might lead. Most of the rest of us only fantasize about doing something like that.
So when I saw that moving truck turn the corner and head towards her house, I felt a ping of excitement. Excitement for the new life she and her husband are about to begin. Excitement for a new place (5 blocks from the beach) to go visit. There is a fear that we will eventually drift apart, but we'll just have to work hard not to let that happen. I like that gleam of hope and happiness I see in Kitty's eyes again. And in the end that's all that really matters.
Good Luck Kitty. I'll miss having you right around the corner, but will always have you right here in my heart.
I'm currently reading the book "Eat, Pray, Love". I know, I know....I'm a few years behind everyone else, but that's just how I roll. Anyway, in the chapter I just finished, Liz is in the throws of a horrible, years long, gut wrenching divorce. She's on a road trip with her girlfriend and is working herself into a frenzy worrying whether or not her husband will FINALLY settle and sign the divorce papers. Her friend suggests she write a petition to God concerning this matter. Liz feels this is inappropriate and you should reserve prayer for more serious matters. Her friend insists that she put it in writing in a letter to God, then throw the request out to the universe. After all, she is a part of the universe. So Liz writes the request on paper and then something interesting happens. She starts praying and she gives the thought power. She starts naming people whom she knows would sign the petition if given the opportunity, and one by one as she thinks of them she says out loud that they support her in this request. After an hour or so of naming people in her support group whom she believes would sign the petition if they could, she became exhausted and fell asleep. About an hour later she received a phone call from her attorney. Her husband had signed.
This is a concept I am learning to embrace. For years now if I say anything negative to Sally, she quickly barks back with "Don't say that out loud!! Your words have power! Don't put that thought out in to the universe!!" Me, being the quintessential believer that what's meant to be, will be, always shrugged off this notion. But when our house went on the market, Sally encouraged me to put it out there that a buyer would come. I said it out loud, but half-heartedly at first. I told my husband about it and he said he was also a believer in this form of positive energy. By the time we began to have repeat visitors to the house I was doing it on my own. I was saying it over and over and over again. "The right person WILL come along. They WILL worry that the house will slip away if they don't act fast. God WILL send us a buyer who loves the house and wants to live in it. We WILL get an offer....SOON!". And we did.
Whether we understand it or not, our words are powerful indeed. Think positive thoughts; avoid negative. Even though it feels silly, say your words out loud. Pray out loud and with feeling. You may be surprised at the results.
What is it that makes us happy? Is it money? Love? Is it a good job, a nice house? What does it take to make us really, truly happy in this life? Apparently my friend IJ knows, because when I saw him a couple of days ago he was almost glowing.
IJ found himself unemployed after our company eliminated several jobs in January 2009. So he decided to pursue his lifelong dream of working in law enforcement. After months of testing and interviews, he made it all the way to the final cut for the police department, but lost out because the university he had attended did not get a copy of his college transcript to the department before the deadline. After that, he lost a store security job for essentially "doing the right thing". It's a long story, but if he had to do it all over again, he'd do the same thing and so would I. So then he tried out for the Sheriff's Department where once again, he made it through weeks and weeks of testing only to be cut from the final 12 applicants. IJ recently parted ways with his long time girlfriend and the mother of his young daughter, who had used, manipulated, and taken him for granted for years. Since he was unemployed, IJ ended up moving back in with his mother. This series of events would leave most people curled up in the corner....but not IJ.
After he lost the security job, IJ turned it all over to God. He cut out bad food and alcohol, and started working out. If I had to take a guess, I'd say he dropped about 40 lbs...and then got really buff. He started teaching self defense to women and is also licensed to administer CCDW classes. He now realizes the toxicity of the relationship he was in and has vowed never to go back to it. He has some prospects for security management positions, but for now is content to teach his classes and work weekends at the home improvement store. He no longer gets to live in the same house with his daughter, but the time he does have with her is all quality. He tries to make the very most of every single minute.
So all the things that are supposed to make us happy have been taken away from IJ. At this moment IJ doesn't have a partner in his life to make him feel good about himself. He doesn't have a house. He doesn't have a "career". He's nobody's boss. But he has employment for which he is very grateful, and he's the boss of himself. And I think that's the key. He's found happiness from within, and happiness with God. All the worry and stress that used to be on his face is gone and he looks relaxed, healthy and content. I actually felt jealous after spending an hour with him. I just kept thinking "I want to be there!".
I'm happy for my friend IJ, and I wish him continued peace and prosperity. I just know God has a special plan for him.
Leave it to Sally to catch this, but in the previous post (R.E.S.P.E.C.T.) she pointed out that while the entire entry is about my fear since childhood of marrying a man who would control me and not allow me to make decisions for myself, I still wrote that my husband "lets me" do what I want, and I mentioned that Mike Brady "lets" Carol Brady have a maid. So even though I am commending these men, I am still implying that I (or Mrs. Brady) have to have permission from them to make decisions!
Ain't that some shit?
I'm not saying that either partner should run around doing everything they want without consulting the other. After all, marriage is just that...a partnership. But consulting and asking permission are two different things. It seems even though I have my husband's blessing on most decisions, deep in my head I still see it as having to gain permission; even though that's one of the core things in life and marriage that I say I want to avoid.
I'm not sure that my head and my heart are in the same place. Is it any wonder I'm a swirling mess of anxiety and depression much of the time?
When you deal with the public, you encoutner all sorts of people. One day this week, a man and woman came in to book a trip with one of our travel agents. Watching this couple interact with each other made me have a very, very strong flashback to my childhood. Watching them made me remember a vow I had made to myself by the time I was about 8. The vow I made NEVER to marry a man like that!
The man was clearly in charge...of EVERYTHING. The woman's place was to sit silently and agree with everything he said. He clearly expected that. When she did offer a suggestion, he laughed and gave her a look that pretty much screamed "you are to be seen and not heard". It made my skin crawl.
In my childhood home, my mother was a strong force. She paid the bills, she did all the shopping, and even though she didn't work, she bought whatever she felt like buying, and she pretty much ran the house. That's not to say my Dad was a pushover--not in any sense of the word. But that's how they both liked things to be. Dad worked hard and brought home the money, and Mom was the household manager.
So even as a small child, whenever I used to see television shows where the man bossed the wife around, or the wife had to ask permission to breathe, this all seemed very foreign to me. Very foreign and very undesirable. I can clearly remember thinking, "if THAT'S what marriage is about, you can count me OUT!" Even at that very young age I knew what I did, and did not want when I grew up and got married. I would certainly marry a man like....well, David Cassidy, or Mike Brady of The Brady Bunch. He let Carol do whatever she wanted. She even had a maid! Or maybe Charles Ingalls from Little House On The Prarie. How kind and loving Pa was to Ma Ingalls! THAT'S the kind of men I dreamt of.
So when I saw that couple the other day, my mind went back to that place in time, so many years ago. And while my marriage has certainly had it's share of struggles, I DID marry a man who is sweet and good to me. Who lets me do pretty much anything I want to do. A man who would never boss me around or belittle me in public. So for that...I am happy.
I mentioned before that Miss Pamela recently gave me a book called "The Book of Awakening". The message this weekend seemed appropriate for me right now, and maybe for you too. I think I'll put it into my own words and share.
It's very easy for us not to live in the moment. The writer of the book is a cancer survivor and he uses this example. "In diagnosis I feared surgery. In surgery I feared treatment. In treatment, I feared stronger treatment. In recovery, I fear recurrence".
Sometimes it's not easy to center yourself in the moment at hand. When Dr. Eve had me think of each part of my personality that plays a part in who I am, one of the major players was Chicken Little. It's very easy for me to think I can predict the future, and I often think the sky is falling. It's very hard for me to pull myself back into the now and focus soley on that place.
No one can avoid this straying, but our health depends on the breath that stops us from straying further. No matter how far we've gone, it is the practice of returning to whatever moment we are living in now that restores us.
This week I have watched a good friend of mine, struggle to deal with an addict. The results are textbook. My friend is very organized, very together, and very much likes to be in control. Recently, she's found herself thrown into the ring going head to head with her prescription drug addicted brother-in-law, and she's just about to lose her mind.
For privacy, I won't go in to too many details, but everytime I speak with her, another past Detach post runs through my head. "Oh, I remember writing about that". She admitted herself that dealing with him is like Einstein's definition of insanity; doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. She's at the point right now where she must accept that no matter how much he needs to, he's just not going to suddenly "do the right thing". It's just not going to happen.
My friend has talked with me several times about this situation and at first I found Codependent Mary trying to help her figure a way to manipulate this guy into doing what she needs him to do. I must say I was getting pretty creative in my tecniques. After sitting quietly for a long time, listening to us go on and on, my husband finally broke his silence and pointed out what we were trying to do. It hadn't even dawned on me to that point, but then suddenly it was crystal clear.
My advice to my friend at our next meeting will be to stop trying to control the behavior of this person, because it's doing nothing but frustrating the hell out of her. She must accept "what is" and figure out a way to deal with it.
I wish her peace. That's a tough pill to swallow for people like us.
When I first heard that Steven Tyler had agreed to be a judge on American Idol, I was worried. Was he selling out? Was he even sober right now? I'd heard rumors he was not. But the beautiful, wonderful, brilliant bad boy has come through again...in what I think is a very interesting way.
After the second or third episode aired, I got a call from a coworker. A good friend of mine, black lady about 57 years old. When I answered the phone, Joyce said "I hear you are trying to move in on my man!" I laughed, and asked what she meant. "Steven Tyler! I love him! But everytime I mention him, at least one person brings up your name!" Joyce went on to tell me she'd heard of Aerosmith, but never really knew anything about Steven Tyler. But she quickly fell for his charm after only a little taste on Idol.
That would only be the first of such calls I would receive. A couple of weeks later my friend Bunco Becky called. Bunco Becky said to me, "I've never been able to stand Steven Tyler. I couldn't even look at him before, but I just LOVE him on American Idol!!". I told Bunco Becky that he's just the same as he's always been, and maybe she just never took the time to see what he was about!
Then, a few days ago Miss Pamela called to tell me that her coworker, a proper lady in her mid 60's, had admitted she was quite smitten with Steven Tyler now that she'd seen him on Idol. In fact I believe her words were "He's kinda sexy!"
And these three aren't alone. Sales of Aerosmith records have skyrocketed since Steven Tyler went on the show and a whole new audience has discovered his charm. With his sordid past, he definitely deserves Mary's MILF status, but we'll save that for another day. For now, I can't wait to keep watching to see him on Idol, and I'm thrilled for his success. I'm holding my breath to see how it goes when the show goes live. Censors, start your engines!!
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.