Wednesday, September 28, 2011

To A Friend

We never know what's going to happen to us next, do we? Life is full of changes, surprises, and lots of challenges. Some challenges we accept, some we do not. Sometimes when we accept a challenge, we are pleased with the outcome. Other times....not so much. Sometimes our heart tells us to move on. Sometimes it tells us to stay put.

Sometimes change is a good thing. Often (at least for me) it's a scary thing. We don't always have to embrace it. Listen to your heart--listen to your head. Pray. You'll make the right decision.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fun With Shoes

It never ceases to amaze me how good a new pair of shoes can make me feel. I don't care a thing in the world about designer names, never have. No matter the label, I want to put on a hot pair of shoes that fit me well, and make even an old outfit come to life. It's helpful if the shoes are comfortable, because if you look awkward or like you are in pain when walking in them, you've defeated the purpose, right?

Clearly, some shoes are "sit down" shoes. You just need to get where you are going and sit down, before you fall or before your feet begin to scream. But the best ones are the ones that feel good AND look good.

So go shoe shopping this weekend. Grab something that may be a bit out of character for you. Maybe even some great boots.

I promise it will give you a glimmer of happiness when the alarm goes off one day this week and you remember you have your fun new shoes to wear!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Mom

Yesterday was my yearly visit to my dermatologist for a skin check. He and I are only three months apart in age, and usually have at least some dialog about who's older or how aging is affecting us. Yesterday the doctor told me he looks in the mirror these days and sees his father. I told him I feel the same way! I'm morphing in to my dad. A little harder for a woman to swallow than a man. Anyway, my point is that most all my genes come from my dad. Very few of my physical traits come from my mother.

The same can be said about my daughter. She gets very few characteristics from me. She has many more of her Aunt Kitty's features than mine. But there is one interesting trait that passed from my mom to me, and then to my daughter. The love of singing.

When I was growing up I would hear my mom sing all the time. She sang to songs on the radio. She sang to her favorite record albums. She sang loudly at church. But my favorite memories of Mom singing were times when she got together with her brothers and they played music. Guitars, banjos, mandolins, steel guitars; they would play for hours and hours down in the country on my grandma's porch. Or sometimes here in the city, if we were lucky enough to get everyone together. They played what I call mountain music. A mix of gospel, bluegrass, and country. The brothers would play and my mother would sing in her best Eastern Kentucky twang, until the sun went down and everyone was tired. As a child, sometimes this playing and singing would annoy me, but in later years I couldn't get enough of it. I even recorded my mom singing. Now that is a cherished memory of mine.

I shared my mother's love of singing. As a young child I would sit in our attic bedroom and play my sister's albums, learning the words to them all. As I grew, and we moved to a new house, I would sit in the basement for hours, singing and drawing. When I met Scarlet, we quickly discovered a mutual love for similar types of music. We were both raised on classic country; Tammy Wynette, George Jones, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn. We also loved groups like Heart, and singers like Pat Benetar, and Crystal Gayle. Scarlet and I spent many evenings and weekends playing records and singing. Often, Scarlet would bring one of her guitars and play. To this day, Scarlet and I enjoy singing karaoke and whaling out our favorite songs.

I am so happy that my daughter, who is now 12 years old, shares this love. She sits at the computer or listens to her iPod, and sings along to all her favorite songs. Once in awhile, she'll even grab the karaoke mike. Tonight I heard her singing loud and proud and it reminded me of how Mom would come downstairs and catch me singing. At first I would be embarrassed, but Mom would say "Rare back and sing it, honey!" It never mattered how good it sounded; Mom loved to hear me sing. It doesn't matter how my daughter sounds either. What matters is the love of song, and the freedom and confidence to open your mouth and let your voice shine through.

I'm happy that this is a, a gift, that the three generations have shared. I hope it is one that will carry on for many generations to come.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Constant Craving

Going back to yesterday's post, let me be clear about something. Codependent people are not just codependent on their spouses or lovers. And they don't all have a relationship with an addict; it just so happens many of them do. People with codependent tendencies constantly crave approval, attention, and never ending praise and love from many other people. Friends, bosses, parents...pretty much everyone. They simply draw their energy and their self worth from other people. It isn't enough to know you are loved, you need to beTOLD you are loved--constantly. It isn't enough to know you did a good job, you need your boss to TELL you what a wonderful job you did. Codependent people cannot seem to be content within themselves. They need others to affirm, confirm, and provide never ending reassurance. They want to feel wanted and needed.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday Reflections

When you have a codependent personality, your world often revolves around other people. There are times when you find your independence and can fly strong and on your own for awhile, but that's often short lived and you find yourself back in the rut of letting other people's behavior control your happiness. When they are attentive to you and things are going your way, it can be the happiest, highest feeling imaginable. But when they are not giving you what you want or need, it's the lowest of low. The loneliest feeling in the world.

I live on this roller coaster every day. I rarely have control over my own happiness, because I allow my happiness to hinge on the behavior of others. Usually those people are unreliable and unpredictable, thus so is my happiness.It's been nearly three years since I started writing about this subject. Three years of trying to find my independence. Three years, three different therapists. Three years of piecing together how I got to this point. Three years of understanding the patterns I keep repeating and the affects they have on me. Three years and I'm really no better than I was when I started.

My current therapist, Kate tells me that there's really not much she can tell me that I don't already know. I completely understand codependence and how it has affected my life. I understand the unhealthy behaviors--often I see them coming. Rarely do I dodge the bullet. I get it. I really do. But after three years, I still don't seem to be able to stop it.

I'll never give up trying. At least I don't think I will. I've got a lot of reflective time coming up this fall. I have a two and a half week vacation from work, and will spend four days of that time with Kitty at her place in South Florida. Shortly after that, my husband will go down there for a week. I love the fall. It's by far my favorite time of year, and the time I feel most alive. I'm hoping the alone time will help me with my independence. I think the time apart will do us all good.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Codependency Check Up

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.

Yep...that's still me!

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Tonight I was visiting with my friends Sara and Marty-Marr. We were enjoying some of Sara's wonderful homemade apple turnovers and coffee, and as always, good conversation. Sara lost her father to cancer a few years back, and Marty-Marr has lost both his parents since I lost my mom, and we often talk about the four of them and how their deaths have affected us. It's nice to bounce those emotions off someone who is feeling the same way.

Tonight Marty-Marr posed an interesting question. Maybe more of an observation. He said he had noticed that at both our houses, the only photos of our parents that were out on display were those taken when our parents were young...and beautiful.

We both agreed that looking at photos of our parents from recent years made us sad, but that the photos from decades back, somehow made us feel happy. My mom was beautiful, but I must say, in the 1940's, Marty-Marr's mother was a stone cold fox. There are lovely photos of her in Betty Grable type bathing suits and heels. You can't help but look at those photos and smile.

But some sadness does come from that. You see photos of your mom with three or four other young women; clearly close friends. You wonder where they were. Who were the friends? What happened to them? Questions that will never be answered, and that is bittersweet. After her death, Marty-Marr uncovered a wealth of old photos that made him wonder about the woman he never knew. He wished he'd taken the time to look at those photos while his mom was alive, so she could have answered the questions, and given him greater insight into who she really was back then. Clearly, she wasn't always the mama who bandaged his knee and fought off the bullies.

So if your parents are still alive--get to know them. Drag out those old photo albums now, before it's too late. Ask questions. Listen to stories. You might just be surprised.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Lyrics I Like

"Disillusion and confusion
they make me wanna cry"

-Angus Young, Malcolm Young, Bon Scott