Sunday, December 30, 2012

You What???

Back in the early 90s, we used to play this game. A group of people would each have 5 or 10 one dollar bills, or quarters or whatever. Then you go around the room and say something you have never done before. Anyone in the group who HAS done that thing has to give you a dollar. You keep playing until one person has all the money. So obviously you want to try to think of things you haven't done, that most other people HAVE done.

So one day we were playing, and this girl who was about 20 years old at the time says "I've never played in the snow". Of course everyone in the game had to pay her, but this ensued a conversation. I mean every kid plays in the snow, right? We asked had she grown up in the south. No, she lived in in Kentucky her whole life. She said her mother just did not allow she and her siblings to go out in it. Maybe she was afraid of them getting sick? Maybe she didn't want them tracking in a bunch of messy stuff and a mound of wet clothes? Whatever the case, we all thought it was perfectly sad.

So today as I sit and look out my back door at the blanket of beautiful snow, I can't help but wonder if the girl ever got the opportunity to make snowballs, or a snow man, or snow angels. I wonder if she ever got to take a bite of the stuff. I wonder if she ever got to knock all the icicles from the roof of the porch. She surely has children of her own now--i wonder if they are allowed to get out there and romp around? I sure hope so.

Friday, December 28, 2012

How's The Plan Coming Along?

The other night Kitty asked me an interesting question. "What would you do with your life if you could remove all fear, all limitations, and all financial worry?". It didn't take me long to give her an answer. I felt empowered. I felt like I had a plan.

Today Sally asked me what steps I was making in my 12 month plan of action. Had I made any plans? The answer is yes. But with planning, I ran into reality.

The cold hard truth is there are limitations, fears, and major financial roadblocks in my fantasy. In my plan.

That doesn't mean I'm going to give up. It only means I have to do some work. Well okay, a lot more work. But at least there's a starting point.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

"What, Are You Gonna Cry Now?"

Today is my birthday. I am now 49 years old. For some reason this feels like a very big deal to me.

I have this fear of turning 50 and saying "I hate my life". I can't allow that to happen. I'm going to work very hard these next twelve months to ensure it doesn't.

Remember that scene in "A Christmas Story" where Ralphie is walking home, and gets plastered square in the face with a snowball? This is the incident that triggered his insane rage, and caused him to beat the living shit out of Scut Farkus.

In the past weeks, life has bombarded my face with several attention getting snowballs. And I need to muster up the courage to do something about it. Just like Ralphie.

I'm not where I need to be. Not yet. But Good Lord willing, I've got a year left to get there.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The New Normal

Life changes. The days of my mom and dad having Christmas Eve at their house, with me and my sister and our families, are gone. I didn't even see my sister or her family this Christmas.

My kids no longer run down the steps on Christmas morning to see the toys Santa so painstakingly spent half the night assembling and arranging. This morning my son wanted to take a shower before opening his gifts.

And I have no idea what next Christmas has in store for me. I guess none of us do, really.

But I know I am not the only person struggling with changes. Many people I love are doing the same. Last night my friend Marty-Marr and his family came over for awhile. When they left, Marty-Marr said "Well...I guess this is the new normal".

Merry Christmas to all my friends and readers. And for anyone out there struggling to embrace the new normal...good luck. For those who are fortunate enough to still have their families and their longstanding traditions; count your blessings and enjoy it. You never know when life is going to throw you a curve.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I feel absolutely exhausted. Like someone drained the life from me. I have huge bags under my eyes. I've never seen those things before! I don't even look like myself.

I'm going to sleep now. Please God, let tomorrow be better.

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Day That Will Live In (Mary) Infamy

Hands down, the number one worst day of my life to date, was Wednesday, April 23, 2008. The day I buried my mother. They day my sister and I had a terrible, terrible argument. The day my husband guzzled an entire bottle of vodka and went in to an alcoholic rage.

The second worst day was just a few days before that. Sunday, April 20, 2008. The day my mother died. As Forrest Gump said..."That's all I have to say about that".

The night I checked my husband in to inpatient rehab, and the drama that ensued before and after, was the third.

Today, Monday, December 17, 2012 might have just found it's way into the top five. I may not be able to recite the date later, but I'm betting I'll never forget this day as long as I live.

Right this moment I can't go in to all the details of what has happened. But there are multiple components. It started on Friday. It climaxed today. The ironic thing is, the things that have happened are all very clearly, answers to prayers. For big prayers, I got big answers. But as so often in life, the answers God gives us aren't always the ones we wanted. But like it or not, God and the Universe know what we need. What is best for us. This is one of those times.

Also, even though the answers weren't exactly what I was hoping for, I believe the end results will be. Even though I feel extremely sad tonight, I also feel extremely relived. More relieved than I have in awhile.

One friend told me today that things will get better with each passing day. I know she is right. My tears will dry, and I will move on to wherever it is I'm supposed to be next.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Lyrics I Like

When you were young and your heart was an open book
You used to say
Live and let live

But if this ever changing world in which we live in
Makes you give in and cry

Say live and let die

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Reflections On A Typical Wednesday

There's at least one advantage to having a busy, racing mind. Sometimes in just one days time, a lot of interesting things can happen to me. Today was one of those days.

Some of it happy, some sad. (I cried more than once today. I also laughed). Some enlightening, some reflective. Some hopeful and satisfying, some frustrating and confusing.

But all in all, a good day.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dealer's Choice

Tonight I feel peaceful. I'm not always sure what triggers peaceful days or anxious days. Sometimes the weather, sometimes something someone says to me, but more often than not, good days and bad days are triggered by my own thoughts.

Picture a very large stack of playing cards. Kind of like the ones at the black jack tables in Las Vegas. Now pretend each card has a different thought on it. For example:
This coffee makes me happy
I've put on weight
Angie looks cute today
I need to go to the grocery
What did that text really mean?
I need to clean out some emails
Survivor comes on tonight
Did she just give me a funny look?
I'm sleepy
Wow, that was a great session with Kate today
I forgot to answer Scarlett's question
I want something chocolate
I need to return Sally's phone call
Why did I just say that???

Now picture a dealer. Every 5 seconds, the dealer pulls a card from the deck and slaps it on the table. That's my thought for that fleeting moment. That's about how badly my thoughts often bombard me. Every few seconds, a new card. But then I get fixed on a card. If its a good card like "man, that was a great session with Kate today", then I'm good. In fact, that's kinda where I am tonight. But if I get fixed on one of those bad thoughts like "why did I just say that??" then it's over. There could be hours of over thinking. There are going to be distorted thoughts. There are going to be worst case scenarios played out in my head that would terrify any sane person.

So I have to try to think about what I'm thinking about all the time. If I find myself pausing too long on a bad card, I just need to ask the dealer to keep drawing until I get a decent one. As Kitty always says, "keep your thoughts positive or neutral".

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Saturday Strategy

That's almost impossible to say.

It's Saturday morning. I had to get up early to take my daughter to her prospective new high school to take a placement test. I can't believe this time next year I will have two teenagers in high school!

It's dark this morning. Dark and rainy. A perfect day to let my distorted thinking take over. There are a couple of stress triggers happening in my household right now, and I feel I could easily withdraw today and succumb to depression, but I'm not going to allow that. I'm going to have some quiet, alone time, then finish this coffee and take a shower, and get my day rolling.

I've made a slight dent in my Christmas shopping. I've done almost all of it online. Much better than going out. Also I am looking forward to a visit from my brother in law, Kitty's husband, who arrives next Saturday. Bobby makes everybody in my family happy.

I will sit here until my coffee is gone and my feet are warm, then I will move on with my day!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Time To Get A Grip, Mary!

It feels like my eating and my drinking are out of control right now. I so love to blame anything I can think of for my overwhelming desire to over consume. Stress, hormones, PMS, other people....the MAYANS!! Anything to avoid thinking its just me allowing myself to splurge. I need it. I DESERVE it. Well I DON'T deserve it.

I can't keep doing this til the new year. No way.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Best Christmas Ever Part 3

Back in the day, my friends and I played board games pretty much every day. My games were often under the tree at Christmas. They would be an easily identifiable gift.

The games we played over and over and over again, were Clue, Masterpiece, Monopoly, and my all time favorite, Life.

I would say I probably received that game for Christmas sometime around age 10, and I think it would be safe to say it was played hundreds of times. I was always the red car. There were little pink and blue plastic pegs that were used to represent the members of the family in that game.

My game looks like the one in this photo, but scrolling through images online, I see there have been numerous box design changes over the years, and a few variations of the game, such as a Spongebob themed one. Now there are versions of Life for your electronic devices as well. I once found a Life slot machine in Las Vegas, and won some money playing it.

A couple of years ago a new version of the game came out. Life Twists and Turns. It is a board game, but also electronic, and you get a debit card instead of paper money. I found it a little complicated, and not nearly as fun. I think we played it one time. Not worth the $35 I shelled out for it. But Santa got his money's worth with the original, which features a photo of Art Linkletter, and reads "I heartily endorse this game". Me too, Art!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Best Christmas Ever Part 2

When I was about 8, I got this exact doll. Thumbelina. She was 9" long and had a pull string in the back, that would make her slowly wiggle around like a newborn. I was old enough to take really good care of her. I was careful where I laid her, and wouldn't let anyone irresponsible pull her string, for fear they may jerk it or pull it too far out and get it stuck!!

One day I went to fetch Thumbelina, and to my horror, discovered someone (my young neice, who was a toddler at the time) had taken a blue ball point pen and scribbled all over her face and belly. Believe me when I tell you I had a melt down.

I've since forgiven my neice, who is now 42 years old. I guess it was karma's way of paying me back for ruining an autographed black and white photo of the Monkees, that belonged to my older sister.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Best Christmas Ever

I have very fond memories of Christmases when I was a kid. I would lie under the tree for hours, in awe of the colored lights reflecting off the silver tinsel. In those carefree days, I could tell you exactly how many gifts were marked with my name. I knew how they felt, how they sounded, and loved trying to guess what treasure they might contain.

This leads me to remember some of my all time favorite gifts from those days.

This is Dancerina. She was a hot item during the Christmas of 1968, which would have been my 5th birthday. I wanted her so badly. She was a big doll. At the time, she seemed as big as me. She had golden hair and a pink ballerina suit, with swell pink tights. She wore a pink plastic crown. When you maneuvered the crown, Dancerina would spin around. I was so thrilled to get her. I played with her non stop. But Dancerina met a quick demise. She got hold of some bad batteries. They corroded in her and she was ruined.I was so devastated,my parents got me a replacement Dancerina. That was great, but she didn't look, feel, or dance exactly the same as the original.

I loved that doll.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

What I Do, What I Know, What I Think

Some people tell me I deserve more, and I continually settle for second best.
Some people tell me maybe I expect too much.

I follow my head, and I'm unfulfilled.
I follow my heart, and it usually ends up broken.

Sometimes I am very anxious.
Sometimes I am very sad.
Sometimes I feel hopeless.
Sometimes I feel paralyzed with fear.
Sometimes I feel very hopeful.
Sometimes I feel very happy.

I know that I over think.
I know that I often create my own chaos.
I know that I am good.
I know that I have a lot to give.
I know that I am very, very blessed.

I have chosen the life I have.
I have made some very bad choices.
I have made some very good choices.

I won't give up.
I will keep working.
I will keep learning.
I will keep growing.

Life is complicated.

God has promised me I am always exactly where I'm supposed to be; exactly where He wants me, right at this moment.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

That's A Good Question

Earlier this week, a good friend of mine said something to me that keeps resurfacing in my head. She asked if it was possible for me to ever be happy. Essentially, would I ever allow myself to be happy.

So I've been thinking about this question. I used to be happy. In fact, up until my early 20s, I rarely remember being unhappy. So did I physically change? Were anxiety and depression always simmering just beneath the surface, waiting for me to reach a physical age? Or did life experiences harden and jade me to the point where I learned to trust no one? Where I learned if I over analyzed everything, and stayed on guard at all times, no one could make a fool of me again. I would have supreme control to prevent that from happening ever again.

I'm pretty sure the life experiences, and my paralyzing fear of being duped again are to blame. Can I get past it one more time? Can I ever trust someone 100% again? Probably not. Will I ever allow myself to be happy again? Maybe. I don't know.

Monday, November 19, 2012

My Mom

I dreamed about my mother again last night. I went somewhere and saw her there. She looked good. Happy, healthy. But as usual when I have those dreams, I was frightened of her. After all, she's not supposed to be there.

I guess I'm thinking about my mom a lot right now with the holidays upon us. When I was young, my mom always cooked a big Thanksgiving dinner. My mouth would water, and I couldn't wait to snatch a bite of the turkey as my dad sliced it with the electric knife. It was always one of my favorite days. I would stuff myself to the point of absolute misery.

Back then there was no "Black Friday" to work yourself up over. There was no pressure to have Christmas decorations up for Thanksgiving. In fact, the only Christmas decorations we had all season, were a Christmas tree and some plastic electric candles in the window. Oh, and Mom would tape all the Christmas cards up around the door way. That was about it.

I wore my mom's Sicilian Hex ring today, just to feel close to her. Nothing has been the same since she's been gone. Strange things have happened to my family. Nothing she could have prevented really, just seems like with each passing year, things get more and more...complicated.

I know it's only natural for things to evolve and change. That's life. And for my kids, the way things are now is the norm. These are the Thanksgivings they will remember when they grow up. My son says it's his favorite holiday. He loves having the families together, and all the food. Now he and my daughter are the ones nibbling at the turkey before dinner. So while things are different from before, now I'm the mom, and new, happy Thanksgiving memories are being created with my own children.



Monday, November 12, 2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Making A Budget

I'm on a mission. While I was on vacation, I did some spreadsheets, and took a close look at the family budget, and realized some serious changes have to be made. I have not received a raise at work for the past couple of years, so my income is not adjusting with everything around me that is continuing to cost more and more. Our family's cell phone bill used to be about $150 per month. Now it is nearly $300 per month. Our gas & electric bill used to be about $150. Now it averages around $300. The cable/phone/internet bundle is now about $190 per month. Some changes have to be made. For starters, I discontinued the land line phone. I've had a lot of people tell me I'll be sorry in the event of an emergency, but my close neighbors still have one, and I'm sure I could use theirs if cell phone towers were inoperable. I also discontinued our home security service. I hope this will not prompt anyone to come break in my house. I downgraded our cell phone minutes. I cancelled the part of Netflix that allows me to receive DVDs. These changes have saved me about $100 per month. It's a start.

Next, my coworkers and I usually go out for Happy Hour on Fridays. We've decided to start bringing our own booze, and taking the party to someone's house. This has potential to save a bunch of money, but comes at a big price. Kids don't care if Mommy is having Happy Hour. If Mom is in the house, they still want things. Plus, I have another very large obstacle when it's my turn to host the party. If Mr. Hyde decides to rear his ugly head, which he usually does, my friends become very uncomfortable. So while this idea saves about $80 per month, I'm not sure it's going to work. This money saver is still up in the air.

I'm still working on ways to cut back. Eating out is going to be a major one. I realized I spent $13 this past Monday, on coffee, fast food lunch, and a dessert from the little bakery down the street. Doing that every week day adds up to a whopping $260 per month. This does not include family pizza night, and carry out on Saturday nights, which typically adds up to about another $250 per month.

I have a couple more places I can cut luxuries out of the budget, but first I want to see how these changes affect us.

But there are some luxuries I'm holding on to for dear life. I spend about $50 per month getting my nails done. I really want to hang on to that one.

So if anyone has any good budget tips, please share them.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Back To Reality

Today is the final day of my two week sabbatical. As usual, it was a much needed break from work, and day to day routine. Going back to the real world tomorrow actually feels a little scary to me. For two weeks I haven't had to feel rushed or overwhelmed. I have been able to sort through a lot of emotions and feelings, and I made progress: at least in a couple of areas.

I'm trying very hard to take some advice Kitty gave me. To live in today. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow, or next week, or next year. Just think about where I am today, and what I need to accomplish in this day. Just like AA--one day at a time. Easy does it. Only for today.

Life is continuing to present me with sometimes big challenges. Of course it does; I am still living with an alcoholic. Every time I hear the garage door open, there is a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, wondering who will walk through the door. Will it be Dr. Jekyll? Will it be Mr. Hyde? That is never going to change as long as we live under the same roof. And that is a choice I have made, at least for now. So I will keep coping. I will keep living in this day. I will take care of myself and my kids, and to hell with the rest. I will live my own life, and I will try my hardest not to be affected by Mr. Hyde's screwed up world of insanity. I will stand firm by my decisions, which were not made lightly. I will never go back. I will keep moving forward, no matter how hard it is some days. I will continue to pray for guidance. I will trust my decisions. I will continue counseling, and to rely on my friends, who mean the world to me.

That's where my head is today.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Thank You, Pink

White knuckles
And sweaty palms from
Hangin' on too tight
Clenched shut jaw
I've got another
Headache again tonight

Eyes on fire, eyes on fire
And they burn from all the tears
I've been cryin', I've been cryin'
I've been dyin' over you

Tie a knot in the rope
Tryin' to hold, tryin' to hold
But there's nothing to grab
So I let go

I think I've finally had enough
I think I maybe think too much
I think this might be it for us
Blow me one last kiss

You think I'm just too serious
I think you're full of shit
My head is spinning so
Blow me one last kiss

Just when it can't get worse
I've had a shit day (yeah!)
Have you had a shit day? (yeah!)
We've had a shit day (yeah!)

I think that life's too short for this
I want back my ignorance and bliss
I think I've had enough of this
Blow me one last kiss

I won't miss
All of the fighting
That we always did
Take it in
I mean what I say
When I say there is nothing left

No more sick whiskey dick
No more battles for me
You'll be callin' a trick
Cause you'll no longer sleep

I'll dress nice, I'll look good
I'll go dancing alone
I will laugh, I'll get drunk
I'll take somebody home

I think I've finally had enough
I think I maybe think too much
I think this might be it for us
Blow me one last kiss

You think I'm just too serious
I think you're full of shit
My head is spinning so
Blow me one last kiss

Just when it can't get worse
I've had a shit day (yeah!)
Have you had a shit day? (yeah!)
We've had a shit day (yeah!)

I think that life's too short for this
I want back my ignorance and bliss
I think I've had enough of this
Blow me one last kiss

Bah da da-da, da da da da
Bre-ump-ump um ah uh-uh
Blow me one last kiss
Bah da da-da, da da da da
Bre-ump-ump um ah uh-uh
Blow me one last kiss

I will do what I please
Anything that I want
I will breathe, I won't breathe
I won't worry at all

You will pay for your sins
You'll be sorry my dear
All the lies, all the why's
Will all be crystal clear

I think I've finally had enough
I think I maybe think too much
I think this might be it for us
Blow me one last kiss

You think I'm just too serious
I think you're full of shit
My head is spinning so
Blow me one last kiss

Just when it can't get worse
I've had a shit day (yeah!)
Have you had a shit day? (yeah!)
We've had a shit day (yeah!)

I think that life's too short for this
I want back my ignorance and bliss
I think I've had enough of this
Blow me one last kiss

Na na na na da da da da
Na na na na da da da da
Na na na na da da da da
Blow me one last kiss
Na na na na da da da da
Na na na na da da da da
Na na na na da da da da
Blow me one last kiss

Just when it can't get worse
I've had a shit day (yeah!)
Have you had a shit day? (yeah!)
We've had a shit day (yeah!)

I think that life's too short for this
I want back my ignorance and bliss
I think I've had enough of this
Blow me one last kiss

Time To Think

Every October I take a two week vacation. It's two weeks of clearing my head. Two weeks of taking care of unfinished business. It's an opportunity for me to think, cleanse, and regenerate.

I have just begun week two of this rest. Week one was a big success. I sorted out some thoughts and got several things done around the house. I hope this week will be as productive.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Quotes I Like

"The one who cares the least
has all the power"

Monday, October 15, 2012

No Presents

Last night I dreamt I was with someone (not sure who it was), and we were on our way to a family Christmas celebration when it occurred to me I had forgotten to buy Christmas gifts. Not just a couple of gifts....ALL of them. I had nothing to give at all. Not even for my children! There was no time to go shopping, besides I has no money. It was classic fear of not being prepared.

I'm not prepared for what lies ahead, folks. Not prepared at all. That's unsettling.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Needy, Insecure, and Codependent

It's been an uneasy few weeks for me. On Thursday I saw Kate (my counselor). After telling her everything that was going on with me, and how I'd been feeling, I really felt frustrated. I felt that way because as the words were coming out of my mouth I listened to them. And what I heard, I did not like. I heard how needy, insecure, and codependent they were. I've come to despise needy, insecure, and codependent, not just from myself, but from everyone around me. And knowing how much I hate it and how much it wears me out, hearing myself saying what I was saying made me feel angry.

Kate told me that it is impossible for me to feel worthy or important without constant validation from a man. Ouch. This is something I certainly do not have right now, and it seems I am not able to dig deep enough to just be happy with myself for who I am and what I have done. Am I really that pathetic that I have to have a man (or friend, or anyone else)telling me how wonderful I am in order to feel good? I HATE that about myself. I truly HATE it, and for various reasons, I feel like it may be hard for some of my readers to understand that. Extremely easy for others.

I don't know how I got this way. Probably some deep rooted "daddy issues" or maybe just 30 years of lies and betrayals have made me wonder if it's me that's caused every relationship I've ever had with a man to eventually crumble.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Quote Of The Day

A special thank you to the person who gave me this advice today. I love you! You know who you are.

I think I'm going to say this out loud every day:

"Take care of you and the kids. To hell with the rest".

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sunday Reflections

This has been a strange weekend. I have felt extremely emotional and very reflective and very conflicted. Dazed and confused. I've done a lot of praying, and feel I did receive an answer about one thing that has been on my mind. I have made the right decision concerning my relationship with my husband. That was made crystal clear to me last night, when I got a big fat dose of ugly reality.

In fact I got a couple of reality checks this weekend. Painful, and hard to swallow, but necessary.

I just really wish I knew exactly what it is that I'm supposed to be doing.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Head vs Heart

Why is it the head and the heart rarely agree? Often the head tells you one thing, and the heart says "you're crazy". Who is smarter in this case? Who is right? Who should you listen to?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Me and God Having Coffee

Sometimes I wish I could just sit down and have a conversation with God. Not me praying--but me and God, having a cup of coffee, and He is talking back to me, explaining all the things that seem so completely impossible for me to understand.

Yeah...that would be very cool.

Monday, October 1, 2012

You Knew That Couldn't Last

When I started writing the Timeline series, I was actually feeling pretty happy. I honestly felt like I may have arrived at the place I'd been striving for. I was happy and hopeful. It was time to do a recap. After I wrote the last entry, that all changed. The bottom fell out. So there's no happy ending to the Timeline--only more pieces of it.

It's been a fucked up few weeks. So much so, I've not really had the energy to write. I've been very depressed, and feel like all my hard work and progress has been useless. I won't feel that way forever, I know. But right now, I'm frozen. No desire to write, no desire to even move. I just feel like sleeping and staying in my two safe places--at my desk and in my house.

It was stupid of me to think things were falling into place for me. Somehow I always manage to sniff out and stumble upon chaos and discontent.

I'm not going to say I'm back to square one, but I have had a set back. So for now...the Timeline ends at Part Five.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Timeline: Part Five

November 3, 2011
I wrote an entry called "How About Now?"

I knew when I wrote this entry it was important. After nearly 20 years of my husband telling me, "This is who I am. I am never going to change. If you don't like it, you can leave", I finally, finally got it. It wasn't that I hadn't heard it a thousand times, I certainly had. It's just that I never thought he meant it. I never really believed it. I always thought he would change. That I was going to fix him. It was right about this time that I realized something very, very important. Something life changing. I was never going to fix my husband. He doesn't want to be fixed. He doesn't want to change, and he's been trying to tell me that for nearly two decades. This is as good as it's going to get.

This all came about after the second of the two counseling sessions we attended together. I've since told my husband at least a dozen times, that this session was a game changer for me. That's when everything changed. It was truly one of the most important events in my life. It would change my outlook on my marriage, and my relationship with my husband from that day on.

After this revelation, I began to focus on myself. My self image was shot. Kate told me my thinking was distorted. She had me write out a dozen or so "Affirmation Cards". On these index cards I would write thoughts about myself that were most likely distorted. On the back, I would think things through, and write a more "rational" thought. It took me about 2 minutes to write out the cards. I still remember many of them. "I am fat", " I am not good at being married", "I am old", "Any man would pick a younger, thinner woman over me","I am not lovable". And I truly believed every single one of these things. I believed them so much, that I was completely unable to write anything at all on the backs of the cards. I tried for an hour. I couldn't dispute even one of these things with a "rational" thought.

This is a very important place in the timeline. Probably THE most important place. I was broken. I was defeated. I accepted the fact that I could not win over alcohol. I had beaten myself down to a bloody pulp. I was wearing frumpy clothes and shoes, that fit the part of a middle aged soccer mom who was so exhausted, so tired from trying, that she accepted her fate and surrendered. I think I even embraced it. Maybe if I feel like I don't deserve things, I won't long for them so badly. Maybe if I accept that I am old, fat, and unlovable, I will not feel alone or neglected. I will not miss having someone go places with me. If I don't feel I deserve to be touched, I won't long to be touched.

This was a sad, sad time for me.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Timeline: Part Four

March 27, 2011
I wrote an entry called "New Beginnings"

This entry was about Kitty moving to South Florida. I wrote that as I sat at the red light, driving my kids to school, I saw the two semi tractor trailers turn the corner, headed to her house, to move her a thousand miles away from me.

I can't stress this enough; this was one of the lowest, darkest periods of my life. Depression had a grip on me and would not let go. While I was still functional; still working, still caring for my kids, still going on with day to day life, I cried alot. I slept alot. I didn't want to do anything except come straight home from work and curl up on the couch. I felt sad almost all the time.

My husband had told me he was no longer interested in having a relationship with anyone. That he was incapable of it. How could he give to anyone, when he couldn't even take care of himself? He told me I deserved better and I should divorce him. Later he would tell me he didn't know why he said that; he didn't mean it. All this did was send me on an out of control roller coaster ride. Throughout it all, we were doing less and less together. We were drifting further and further apart. One night I felt so out of control, and cried so hard, that my husband didn't know what to do with me. I kept telling him, "I'm just so unhappy! I'm so tired of being sad and unhappy!!" For the life of me, I could not understand why he didn't feel the exact same way, but he didn't. He was so very confused, and he truly didn't get any of it. He took all the weapons from our house and hid them from me, because he feared I was a danger to myself.

It was about this time that I had my yearly appointment with my gynecologist. Everything was fine at first. She asked how I was doing, and I smiled and said "I'm fine." She was going through my chart and said "I see you've gained quite a bit of weight since last year. Is something going on?" That's when I burst in to sudden and uncontrollable sobbing. I started talking about my mother, about my sadness, about my anxiety. I couldn't pull myself together. I had a meltdown right there in her office. My doctor came to give me a consoling hug. Then she asked if I would consider seeing a psychiatrist. I said yes. This would become a huge, huge step for me. I had hit bottom. I didn't feel I could get much lower, so what did I have to lose?





Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Timeline: Part Three

December 4, 2010:
I wrote an entry called "Never Leave Your Partner Behind"

I was still writing and grieving about Mom. I wrote about past loves, which was extremely emotional and somewhat bittersweet. I was spending a lot of my time wondering how things went so wrong. Things were no better with my marriage, and I desperately needed a reason. It had to be something I was doing.

I was becoming more and more frustrated with myself. I knew what I thought was supposed to be happening, but it wasn't. My house and my head were becoming cluttered. I was beating myself up; disgusted with my weight, my eating habits, and feeling like a failure. I had no energy to straighten things; not in my head, not in my closet. My anxiety was ever present, but my depression was beginning to growing like a monster.

I watched the film "Fireproof", and it had quite an impact on me. A young couple who had drifted so far apart from each other, it seemed there was no hope for their marriage. The characters in the film use a real life program called "The Love Dare". A 40 day program, designed to strengthen marriages and bring ailing couples together. It addresses selfishness and addiction. It also promotes the idea that in order for relationships to work, each member of the couple should find their own peace with God. This was just what I needed! I would work "The Love Dare" program, and in 40 days things would surely be a lot better. It sure was in the movie!

My heart was in the right place, but I quickly realized that once again, I was doing this alone. My husband was not the least bit interested in watching the film, or working the "The Love Dare" program. I was beginning to feel frantic that I wanted and needed my husband to work with me here! I wanted desperately for us to be close again! I wanted us to bond in the way we used to bond. I wanted us to go to restaurants together like other couples. I wanted us to go anywhere together like other couples. It's like I woke up one day and suddenly realized that somehow over the past few years, we had become separated. We were hardly ever together, aside from living together in the same house. We weren't even eating dinner together at home anymore. In fact, I was beginning to feel like my husband was making a conscious effort to avoid me. I was deseprate to figure out the reason.

I was not ready to give up. I was still willing to work very hard, even if I was the only one working. I just needed to get my husband on board. I believed we had both just become complacent. We both needed to focus. I began suggesting we renew our wedding vows. We would buy new rings, invite our friends, have a wedding and get remarried. We could put everything behind us. All the bad things that had happened in the past, all the unresolved issues I mentioned in Part Two, could just be erased. Poof! We wouldn't have to address them, or figure out a way to fix them, because they would just be gone and we could start fresh. I suggested this idea many times. I never got any response from my husband whatsoever. He didn't say "no", he just said nothing.

This was about the time I started to realize I was the only one fighting to save this marriage. But I would not give up.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Timeline: Part Two

May 5, 2009:
I wrote a journal entry titled "What I Learned During Derby 2009"

I'd been studying codependence diligently for more than 6 months. I'd had a couple of small victories, and some defeats. I knew what I needed to be doing, and sometimes I was able to do it, but nothing was changing. In fact, my husband and I seemed to be drifting even further apart. While it was still always in the forefront, his level of drinking was a definite improvement over where it had been in the past, so why weren't things getting better?

I'd had 6 months of enormous self discovery and reflection. I had always been a somewhat over anxious person, but my anxiety was beginning to escalate to the point it was disrupting my life. And for the first time ever, I began to suffer from occasional bouts of depression. I was writing a lot about my mother, and still grieving over her death, just one year earlier. I was incredibly sad, mad, and frustrated that despite my hard work and effort, things with my husband were not improving.

I chose this day as pivotal because some of the key points in that day's journal entry will come in to play again, further down the timeline. Of course I wrote about my frustration with my husband's over the top Derby antics. And I noted that I was aware of the fact that I was still way too concerned with his behavior. But I also noted that when he and I argue, the same unresolved issues keep surfacing over and over. I wrote that those issues really needed to be resolved once and for all. Finally, I wrote that my husband was not cured of alcoholism and I was not cured of codependency. We have some issues but we love each other, and we both want to be better. Better individuals, better parents, and a better couple.

At this point in time, I still firmly believed that this relationship should, could and would be restored to it's original 1995 luster. That somehow, one good, happy, sober day when we could both think clearly, my husband and I would finally be able to sit down and talk out those unresolved issues that keep surfacing over and over again. We would work them out once and for all, everything would be fine, and we could get on with the business of our lives.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Timeline: Part One

October 27, 2008:
The day I started writing this journal.

After years of searching for a way to cure my husband of alcoholism, thus solving all of my problems, I had just discovered the term "codependence". My role in the disease. My role in the alcoholic relationship.

It was completely intriguing to me to realize that for a very, very long time, I'd been looking at this whole thing the wrong way. Instead of fixing my husband, what I really needed to do was fix myself.

I couldn't put down my paperback copy of Melody Beattie's "Codependent No More". As I read it, I got it. I truly got it. I spent the next several months sorting through it in my mind; understanding how I got this way. Stories from my childhood, stories from every relationship I'd ever been in were whirling at me, and they all starting falling in to place, like pieces fitting into one big jigsaw puzzle. It was all making sense to me now.

I knew I had to break this pattern of behavior, and I knew it wouldn't happen overnight--after all I didn't get this way overnight. For the next several months, I would read everything I could get my hands on concerning codependence. I studied and I wrote, and I worked very hard to be aware of, and avoid the triggers and the behaviors that were responsible for my unhealthy behavior and my misery.

At this point in time I believed that if I could conquer my codependence, I would become healthy and independent. When that happened, my husband would no longer have his enabler, his yin-yang counterpart in this disease, and may just follow my lead and become healthy and happy too.

I knew I was on to something big. I was determined to have a healthy mind, and I was determined to have a healthy marriage.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pretty Soon, I'm Going To Write About It

I wish I could remember who said this to me...I don't, but many years ago someone told me "God laughs at our plans". Often I think how true this is. Very often. In fact, I was thinking it today, while I was toting a large, sun faded Harry Potter cardboard stand-up to the dumpster at work.

Sixteen months ago, if you'd told me my life would be where it is today, I'd have rolled my eyes and laughed in your face. That's because sixteen months ago, I still believed I could and would eventually control the situation I was in. Even after all the information I'd learned and read, after all the time I'd spent writing in this journal, I still held on to that deep rooted belief that somehow, some way, the situation I was in was eventually going to get better.

I still remember the day that all changed.

I haven't had much to write about lately, because I've been waiting. Waiting for the ball to drop, I guess? Waiting to see how I would feel the next day, or the next week, or the next week. Kind of like I ingested a drug, and then sat down and waited to see how it was going to affect me. Will it be good? Will it be bad? Will the feeling change after a certain length of time?

I'm starting to piece together the series of events that unfolded from the day it all changed to now, and very soon, I want to write about them. When I first started this journal, I called it "My journey out of codependence". Even though I began planning and "packing" back then, my journey truly only started that day, a little over a year ago.

I'm getting this all straight in my head, but soon I will write about it. I'm not yet sure of the format; I'm working on that too. I just know I really want to write about it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Not So Different From 1977

My daughter started school today. 8th grade. She came home very excited, and talking non stop about her day. I'm glad it seemed like the day was good, and that she is happy about her final year of middle school. So many fun things and events will happen during this year, to prepare her for high school.

She was talking about some new friends she'd met today. I started thinking how this is the same grade I was in when I met Scarlet and Kim; friendships that have lasted more than 30 years. In some ways it seems like a hundred years ago. In some ways, like yesterday. It's nice to have friends who have stuck by you through good and bad, happy and sad....even read your blog! I always tell my daughter how important it is for her to surround herself with strong women. I hope that she'll have at least one friendship from this school year that will endure as ours have.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Update

I'm having a hard time coming up with the inspiration to write these days. I'm not sure if it's because I have nothing to say or if it's something else.

But rest assured, I am alive and well.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

It's Getting Better All The Time

I'm happy. Life is complicated, and there are a few people who are having some issues with me right now--and I'm pretty sure I've somehow managed to jack up my karma a little bit, but even so, I'm still happy.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Don't Give Away The Ending!

Did you ever watch a really good mystery movie, and half way through it, you realize you have no idea how its going to end? That's how I feel about my life right now. How will it all play out? Sometimes I think I'd like to know.

Then again, I guess the movie wouldn't be any fun to watch if you already knew the ending.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Leos In The House!!

Three of my favorite people in the world have birthdays this week. Miss Pamela, Kitty, and Sally.

Each of these people is unique, and I'm so very thankful to have them in my life!

For Kitty and Sally, this birthday marks the beginning of a new decade. One that I'm sure will be filled with lots of joy and self discovery.

For Miss Pamela, this marks her first birthday since cancer interrupted her life several months ago. For her, I think this new year of life will be appreciated in a way many of us will never understand.

Miss Pamela, Kitty, and Sally-- I love you all dearly. Thank you for your friendship, your love, and support for all these years. Happy, Happy Birthday to you all!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lyrics I Like

I started a joke
Which started the whole world crying
But I didn't see
That the joke was on me

I started to cry
Which started the whole world laughing
Oh if I'd only seen
That the joke was on me

-Barry Gibb
-Robin Gibb
-Maurice Gibb

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Keep Moving, Keep Breathing

I don’t like change. I’m more receptive to it than some people, but overall…I don’t like it. I’ve been with the same company for 28 years, I’ve known many of my friends since childhood. I get hysterical at the thought of someone I love moving out of town. I’ve only owned a handful of cars in my life, and only lived in a few different places. I like familiarity. I like things to be constant.

But in life, things can’t always stay the same. Sometimes they have to change. Sometimes people do move away. Sometimes cancer interrupts the annual birthday lunch you have become accustomed to. Sometimes families and relationships have to change too. They dissolve, or maybe just the dynamic of them changes. Either way, that’s a big one. When that happens, it’s hard to swallow. Even if it’s a necessary change, it’s not easy.

So for a person who is resistant to them, the life changes I am experiencing right now are bittersweet. I asked for them. I initiated them. For the past year now, I’ve been convinced I wanted them—and I did, but that doesn’t make them any easier.

I don’t have a lot to say right now. I’m just trying to focus on what’s best for me and my kids, and my husband. All four of us are important, and all four of us deserve to be happy. It’s a bumpy road, and it doesn’t feel familiar to me, but I’m forging ahead anyway.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

You Shone Like The Sun

It's thundering outside tonight, and there's a lot of lightning and some rain, but not much. Mostly just thunder and lightning. It's not a scary storm, more of a sleepy one. The kind that makes you want to lay in bed, maybe listen to some PInk Floyd. Dark Side of the Moon. It's a "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" kind of storm, and kind of night. I just put some fresh clean sheets on my bed, and there's a nice breeze from the fan blowing across the room. I guess it's time for me to put on something soft and cool, go to bed, and talk about my day. What I'm dreaming about, what I'm afraid of, and what I want to do in the future. I sure hope my cat is ready to listen.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Blah

For some reason, this week I have felt very lonely. Even when I'm with other people I feel lonely.

I have a friend who very much enjoys solitude. In fact, he prefers it. That is very hard for me to grasp, but maybe I should try, because he seems far more content than I am. It's my codependence.

I don't know how to find happiness within myself. I'm still seeking it from others. When others aren't around, giving me constant validation, I'm not happy.

I've also been particularly hard on myself this week, feeling I've made several bad decisions. Well really a couple of bad decisions and one stupid mistake. I'm beating the hell out of myself for them all; second guessing my every move. Feeling like I'm not even capable of making good decisions.

Im sure I'll snap out of this, and I'd really love to be able to entertain my readers with some happy, witty entries, but this journal is about my struggles with codependence, and this Sunday morning, I'm losing.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

It WAS A Great Day!!

Wednesday DID turn out to be a great day. I got the news that my dear Miss Pamela is now cancer free! I was so happy when I heard the news that I got big tears in my eyes. It's been a rough few months for Miss Pamela. Chemo and radiation took a toll on her body, but she's bouncing back and getting stronger every day.

I am so thrilled about this wonderful news, and wish Miss Pamela all the best in getting her life completely back, and staying CANCER FREE!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tomorrow

I'm expecting some really good news tomorrow.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pondering

I had an interesting conversation with my husband last night. We talked about a lot of strange things. A few of them were things I never thought we'd talk about. But we did. Anyway, the conversation eventually lead to a topic that I've brought up a hundred times in the past. I mentioned how I hate when people try to get things over on me because they think they are smarter than I am, and that I'm too dumb to notice. This is nothing new. I've mentioned the same thing many times in this journal. It's deep rooted in me, and born out of a resentment of being lied to, and cheated on for the better part of my adult life. I told my husband that I've often pretended not to notice things people have done, or just chosen to ignore them, even when they were right under my nose. After some deliberation, my husband said "I've certainly never thought you were stupid. It's just that your personality....." then he froze for a moment, as if to think of just the right words, "...your personality makes it really easy for people to feel comfortable deceiving you".

I'm sorry, but what the hell does that mean?

I've thought about this all day. I keep going back to counseling sessions from the early 1990's, when I was going through my divorce, and working with my first, and very favorite therapist, Scott. He once told me that he felt an overwhelming need to protect me. I may be a lot of things, but I have never pictured myself as vulnerable. I have certainly never felt naive. People often tell me I am a strong woman. Kitty tells me that all the time. So does Sally. So what piece of Mary are others seeing? What part of me is so weak that some feel the need to be fiercely protective of me, while others see me as someone they can easily (and comfortably) take advantage of?

I'm going to have to ponder this for awhile, because I'm really puzzled by it.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Choices

There's a ton of things on my mind this morning. Interestingly, they all seem to involve choices. Among other things, a triple homicide a few miles from here. A woman and two pre-teen boys shot to death. Also a man shot, but alive. At this time, they don't seem to know how the four people were related. On the same news website, a young man shot to death by his 3 year old son, who picked up a loaded hand gun his parents had in the house and accidentally fired it at his father. Something that poor child will have to live with the rest of his life.

I'm sitting here thinking how many people's lives have been affected by these two senseless acts. Family members, friends, class mates, coworkers. Choices. Hooking up with dangerous people. Leaving a loaded gun where a child can get their hands on it. Bad choices.

We make choices every day. Sometimes they seem very simple, but actually one bad decision, and your whole life can change. "Do I have enough room to merge on to this expressway?" "Did I set the microwave for 1 minute, not 10 minutes?" "Should I let my small child pet that seemingly friendly large dog?" Those are split second choices. Other choices take more time to have an affect. Choices about relationships, careers, education, substance abuse, our own health.

But bottom line, for every action, there is a reaction. Every choice we make matters. Even the small ones.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Mom (And Dad)

Today my Dad called me by my mother's first name. He quickly corrected himself. I reminded him that was the second time he'd done that in the past few weeks, and jokingly asked if I was starting to remind him of her. Dad told me that he thinks of her so often, and he was worried he was going crazy, because if he nods off in the evening watching television, he sometimes wakes up talking to her. Then he realizes no one is there. He said it makes him feel silly.

I told him he shouldn't feel silly, and that maybe Mom was there with him, having a conversation while he slept.

It made me feel sad.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Saturday, July 7, 2012

HELL YES!!!

Something interesting happened last night. For the second time in a few weeks now, I spoke my mind to someone, and said some things that have been stewing inside me for a long, long time. My mother-in-law Cher, happened to be at my house when this occured (she is NOT the person to whom this conversation was directed). She suggested I just relax and not say anything I may regret. But I wanted to say these things. I NEEDED to say these things. When we discussed it later in the evening, she and my husband said something about me being angry. That's when I had my first ephiphany for the weekend.

I realized when I had said these things, I wasn't angry. When I had the big talk with my husband a few weeks ago, I wasn't angry. I realized I was angry about these things at some point or points in the past, I just kept it all inside me and let it eat away at my body, my mind, and my sanity like a fast spreading cancer. I'm speaking up now, about things I was angry about a long time ago. And it feels really good.

Two nights ago, before I said my peace, I was talking with another person who is involved in the story. She told me she wanted desperately to speak up to this person. In fact, the person gave her a golden opportunity to do so, saying something like "What do YOU think about this situation? Do you agree with everyone else?" The person said they wanted to scream "HELL YES!! at the top of their lungs, but instead replied with a shrug of her shoulders.

Every counselor I've ever been to, including Kate, feels we learn these types of behaviors as a child. Today, I got a reminder of just how I learned them. Thus, bringing on my second ephiphany of the weekend. I was talking to my Dad on the telephone, and decided I was going to tell him about speaking my mind last night. It was a situation that concerned him as well, and I thought he might want to hear what I had to say. I actually thought he'd be proud of me for saying it. Instead, he said "I don't want to hear this, don't tell me anymore!" and he hung up on me. Hmmmm.....I guess supressing my feelings and my anger and not saying what I feel are behaviors I've known my whole life. I learned them from him. It's how I was raised. Well, it's not how I plan to do things anymore. This doesn't mean I'm going to be mean, or hateful, or hurtful to people. It means I'm learning to speak the truth about how I feel. Instead of supressing, I'm learning to speak up about what's on my mind, and not let it eat away at me anymore. Instead of shrugging my shoulders, and then getting anxiety induced chest pains, from now on I'm going to scream, at the top of my lungs, "HELL YES!"

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Freedom

Happy 4th of July to all.

My kids left on Monday, for a visit to see their Aunt Kitty in South Florida. It's very strange to be without them. Everything is different. I'm realizing that most decisions I make during a day, concern them.

Can I go out for a drink after work? Sure. No one to pick up.
Do I need to hurry? No. No one is home.
Do I need to pick up something for dinner? No! You ate snacks at the restaurant, and no one else at home will eat dinner.
Does July 4th need to be a laundry day? No. There's hardly any laundry. It can wait til the weekend.

It's an interesting example of how kids change your life. Even at 12 and 14, I have to consider them when making most any decision. I'm enjoying the freedom, but I know I will be ready to get back to my routine in a few days, and I'll be missing them like crazy.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

I'll Be The Judge Of That

I remember when I was going through my first divorce. I had spent four grueling years playing detective, catching my husband cheat on me multiple times. I was caught up in so many lies, I literally didn't know what the truth was. I cried my heart out at night. I made up stories to cover for my husband in the event I was finally able to "fix" the problem, and make this whole sordid mess go away. I went to counseling, I begged, I pleaded, and I finally conceded that the marriage was over.

So one day at work, a former employee, Amy, had come in to the office for a visit, and was asking my coworker Marjorie, how everyone was doing. When Amy found out David and I were in the process of a divorce, she told Marjorie that disgusted her. She said "That's pathetic! They should have tried to work it out". For a long time, that upset me so badly, I could think of nothing else. I wanted to track Amy down, and explain to her what I'd been through. I wanted her to understand that I DID try to fix my marriage! I DID try to get David to stop cheating and lying, and pointing shot guns at me in the dark! I was desperate for Amy's understanding about my decision. I do not exaggerate when I tell you it took me months, even years to stop worrying about that.

That was then, this is now.

I still find myself seeking approval from people. I'll ask people if I said the right thing to someone else. If my text sounded okay. If a conversation or a decision was the right one. Of course this is my deep rooted insecurity. No longer believing in myself. Not trusting that I'm capable of making the right choices in my life.

But as uncertain as I am about a lot of things, I will never again allow people who have no idea what I've been through, to judge me and make me feel bad. I don't owe the "Amy's" of the world an explanation. I don't owe ANYONE an explanation.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Quotes I Like

“Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change. Invariably they are both disappointed.”
― Albert Einstein

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Reflections

It's a pretty good day today, despite the fact we currently have no running water in the house. I'm hoping that problem will be fixed by this afternoon.

I feel happy again this Sunday. Relieved. As always, the things I can not control worry me, but much less than they sometimes have. I feel hopeful.

I found out this week that Kitty will be coming for a visit in a few weeks. I'm extremely excited about that, and will be planning a birthday party for her while she is here. My kids will board a plane and fly down there together for a whole week in July! I can't believe they are old enough to fly by themselves. I've never been away from them that long, and I know I will miss them like crazy, but they will have a trip they will always remember.

My dad has to go in the hospital for a couple of nights. He's going to be having a heart procedure. The doctors expect it to be simple, but at 82, of course I'm a little bit worried. A lot of pressure falls on me when my dad is incapacitated. There's really no one else but me to get him where he needs to be, care for him, and make decisions for him. That's stressful to me. This procedure, and his gall bladder surgery were minor. I sometimes think what if something major happens? How will I work full time, take care of my kids and my home, and care for him? I just have to trust that it can work, and cross that bridge if and when I get to it.

So, I'm living in today, and today is a good day.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

This Has Got To Go

I was reading an interesting article the other day. A woman was talking about how organized she was at work, yet her home was in total disarray. Clutter everywhere. She couldn't understand how she could be so organized in one area, but not the other. The person who answered her question said that she put more value on the person she was at work, and less value on the person she was at home. I can't tell you how closely I can relate to that.

We've lived in our house for 9 years this summer. You accumulate a lot of stuff in 9 years; especially with two kids. Closets are out of control. Drawers are overflowing. Cabinets and counters are cluttered with "stuff". For a person who has lived their adult life fighting to be in control, this is one area where I've lost all control.

I simply can't take it anymore.

A few weeks ago, I started the process of taking my life back. This urge to declutter and regain control at home started then. I believe I even wrote an entry about it. Since then, I have worked on one small space at a time. One day I emptied the pantry where I keep all my canned goods. I cleaned it, threw out old items, and restocked with everything in it's place. This week I pulled my son up to his bedroom and we completely emptied his closet. We threw away trash, and we bagged up clothes and toys to give to charity, and even found a few items to sell on ebay. Next was a counter in my kitchen that was ridiculously cluttered. Again, I just took everything off, cleaned the area and only replaced with a few items. Today we had our old weather beaten front door replaced with a beautiful new energy efficient one.

With each small area I clean and organize, I feel more and more in control. I feel more and more "together". My life is coming together one piece at a time. I feel happy for the first time in a very long time. I feel like I'm actually making changes. I'm controlling that which I CAN control, and letting go of all the things I CAN'T.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

It's A Good Day


In my journal entry dated April 26, 2012, titled "My Prayer", I was low. I was confused. I was in such a turmoil. What a difference a few weeks makes! I know now that the biggest factor causing this confusion, was unfinished business I needed to attend to with my husband. Words I wanted and needed to say to him, thoughts I needed to express, that were bottled up in me like an agitated bottle of champagne, ready to blow at any moment.

Since our talk a few weeks ago, I have felt like the weight of the world has been lifted from my shoulders. This freedom has allowed me to think more clearly in other aspects of my life as well. In fact, I feel like I'm able to think clearly about just about everything right now. When something is weighing that heavily on your heart and your mind, it consumes you. Well, it consumes me anyway. I was so focused on it that I was having distorted thinking about everything else.

Being married to an alcoholic is damn hard. It's the reason I started writing this journal. A lot of really, really bad things have happened to us both as a result of this disease. A lot of bad decisions, a lot of tears, a lot of resentment, a lot of anger, and a lot of things that I now realize, just can not be taken back or fixed. I made the decision to stay in this marriage for the past 20 years, thinking I could fix it. I know now, all I could do was hold on for dear life and ride out the waves as best as I could. I don't regret that decision. My husband is a wonderful father and a good provider. There have been good times too. But over time, all that water under the bridge changes things. It changes the dynamic of the relationship. It changes people's feelings. An acknowledgement of that fact, and freedom to move forward with my life was what I needed. I feel like I finally figured out, then actually practiced "accepting the things I cannot change, and changing the things I could".

Kate is ready to start weaning me from frequent counseling sessions. I'm going to start seeing her once a month for awhile, and then maybe every 3 months, just to keep myself focused and on track. I don't want to slip back into old ways of thinking; particularly if something happens that is out of my control, or upsetting to me. Breaking away from Kate is scary to me, but I feel I'm ready to let go a little.

So on this Father's Day morning, I am happy. I feel light. I feel hopeful, and I'm very thankful for my family. I'm thankful for my own father, and I'm thankful for my husband, who has given me the two most beautiful children I could ever imagine, and been such a wonderful father to them.



Saturday, June 16, 2012

Detach Or Go Crazy

Detachment is one of the keys to overcoming codependence. We've discussed it many times in this blog. Before I compose today's entry, I will remind everyone again, the definition of the term:

First, let's discuss what detachment isn't. Detachment is not a cold, hostile withdrawal; a resigned, despairing acceptance of anything life and people throw our way; a robotic walk through life oblivious to, and totally unaffected by people and problems; a Pollyanna-like ignorant bliss; a shirking of our true responsibilities to ourselves and others; a severing of our relationships. Nor is it a removal of our love and concern, although sometimes these ways of detaching might be the best we can do, for the moment.

Ideally, detaching is releasing or detaching from, a person or problem. We mentally, emotionally, and sometimes physically disengage ourselves from unhealthy and frequently painful entanglements with another person's life and responsibilities, and from problems we cannot solve, according to a handout, entitled "Detachment" that has been passed around Al-Anon groups for years.

Detaching does not mean we don't care. It means we learn to love, care, and be involved without going crazy.
-Melody Beattie, "Codependent No More"

Detaching oneself is one of the hardest things a person who loves an addict can do. One of my most faithful readers has had to learn to do this over the past year or two. It didn't happen overnight. It was a gradual process. But I do believe it's happened. Alcoholism is claiming the sister of my friend, and it's grip is so tight on her, my friend is expecting the worst. It's hard to sit there and say the words "I fully expect my sister to die soon", particularly when they come out of your mouth without tears, without panic, without much emotition at all. But after years of tears, panic, and emotion, and trying to help someone who doesn't want to be helped, after years of worrying about a person, and trying to think of what you might say to help them "see the light", you finally know you must "detach or go crazy". That is what my friend has had to do.

I wish the best for everyone. The children involved, the parents involved, the sister involved. Alcoholism is a terrible, terrible beast, and I hate it with every bit of my heart and soul.

Monday, June 11, 2012



Future Beauty

Beautiful Friends

African Beauty

Beautiful Champion

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Ten Beautiful Women



Beautiful Mother

Ten Beautiful Women



Native American Beauty
What a smile!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Ten Beautiful Women


Voluptuous Beauty

Ten Beautiful Woman



Beauty With Wisdom



Friday, June 8, 2012

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ten Beautiful Women


I've mentioned before, that I am often captivated by certain faces. Today I encountered two beautiful young girls. They were sisters, but not biological sisters. They were Chinese girls, both adopted by a white American woman. I was thinking how beauty is not confined to one look, one hair color, skin color, age, or size. Beauty comes in so many packages, so tonight I will start a ten part series featuring beautiful women.





Sunday, June 3, 2012

Turn, Turn, Turn

Earlier this week I talked about so many people in my life who were experiencing changes. As human beings we are often resistant to change. Some of us, more so than others. I work with a person who is virtually paralyzed by even the slightest change. It reminded me of the scripture from Ecclesiastes 3, that was read at my son's 8th grade ceremony. Whether you are a religious person or not, you've heard these verses many, many times in your life. The Byrds even wrote a song about them. But take just a few minutes right now and really read them. Really think about each one. I'll bet there's at least one that pertains to your path right now. If there's one that speaks to you, please leave a comment saying which one. You don't need to say why; just tell us which one. Change is a part of life.

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

A time to be born and a time to die,
A time to plant and a time to uproot,
A time to kill and a time to heal,
A time to tear down and a time to build,
A time to weep and a time to laugh,
A time to mourn and a time to dance,
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
A time to search and a time to give up,
A time to keep and a time to throw away,
A time to tear and a time to mend,
A time to be silent and a time to speak,
A time to love and a time to hate,
A time for war and a time for peace.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Fog Is Lifting

It's funny, but ever since my husband and I had our talk last Saturday, I've hardly had any racing thoughts or swirling in my brain. No anxiety attacks, very little crazy, distorted thinking. I wish now we had talked months ago.

I'm still not sure where my path will take me in the coming weeks and months, but for now I feel good. I feel content and happy. Sometimes saying what's on your mind can be very freeing; especially when the person you speak it to says they agree with you. Suddenly all the anxiety and worry that I experienced, dreading the conversation, is lifted.

It's amazing how much clearer I can see, as the fog in my head and heart is beginning to lift.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Turn And Face The Strange Changes

It seems nearly every woman in my life is going through a series of life changes right now. Jobs, kids, cancer, romance, losing old family friends, moving. Just lots of changes. I wish peace to all of us. Change can be scary; it can be exciting. I hope we all end up on the sunny side, and will continue to learn and grow in a positive way.








Monday, May 28, 2012

Searching

Happy Memorial Day to you all.

It's been a long week. A strange week. I'm not exactly sure how I feel today. Kind of like I'm in a dream, maybe.

Work was busy, as it always is this particular week of the year. On Wednesday, my son concluded his middle school journey, and had his 8th grade graduation. It was very nice, and I'm happy to say I only got misty eyed a couple of times. No inconsolable sobbing, like his 5th grade graduation. He's become such a wonderful young man. The principal of the school went on and on to me about how special he is, and how happy she was to really get to know him during the recent 8th grade trip to Chicago. I'm looking forward to his high school years.

On Friday, I sat with my friend Miss Pamela for a couple of hours while she received some fluids at the cancer center. It was a humbling experience to be in that treatment area, where so many people are so sick, and battling for their lives. Even though she's very sick right now, my heart tells me Miss Pamela is going to be fine one day soon. This battle has taken a toll on her, and totally disrupted her life, but she's a warrior, and I just feel like she's going to beat this, and be back to normal before you know it. My only regret is that it took this treatment for us to be able to be still and quiet, and spend a couple of hours together talking. I'm gonna need to work on that.

I've had periods of really distorted thinking this weekend, and periods of very clear, calm thinking.

The distorted periods are so ridiculous, I can't even write about them. But as Kate says, at least I realize they are distorted now, and can try (at least somewhat) to work around them.

During one of the very clear thinking periods, I had a long discussion with my husband concerning the state of our union. It was long overdue. Overdue, in fact, since my November 3, 2011 entry titled "How About Now". Right now, I can't write much about the details of this conversation, but I feel like I was finally able to say a lot of things that I'd been wanting and needing to say to him for a long time. Afterward, I felt like an elephant had finally risen from it's long time seat on my chest, and it was a great relief. I'm not sure if I said the right things, or the wrong things, but I must have said the right ones, because my husband told me he couldn't dispute anything I said, and that he was in agreement with me. He said these thoughts were all thoughts he, himself had thought, he just never could have or would have put them into words. Afterward, I felt like he was as relieved as I was. We'd finally quit ignoring the elephant in the room, who I now believe may have been seated on his chest, as well.

As often happens with me, my exuberance immediately following this conversation, quickly took a nasty turn. Anxiety over what happens next. Fear about making the wrong decisions. I don't think I trust myself enough to believe in my decisions, no matter how well thought out they are. And believe me, this one was VERY WELL thought out.

So right now, I am searching for peace of mind. I am searching for reassurance. I am searching for affirmation. I am searching for security. I am searching for acceptance. I am searching for peace. I will just be glad when a day comes that I can finally quit searching, but not seeing. When I can quit searching all together, and just start living!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Dear Young Scarlet

I'm very excited to have another "Letter to 20 Year Old Self". This one is from faithful reader, Scarlet. Thanks for sharing, Scarlet!


Dear Scarlet:

Young Scarlet, you’re twenty years old, and after just two years in college, you’re ready to take the world by storm. You’ll do it, but not as soon as you would like. Be patient, and listen to older, wiser Scarlet give some advice to you.

First of all, you’re not going to become a country star or a rock star – let’s just get that out of the way right now. Sure, these are harsh words for a young girl to hear but they’re true and you need to hear them. No matter how hard you practice, and no matter how many music and voice lessons you take, you’re just not going to be a country or rock star. But don’t let this discourage you. Keep on practicing, and keep on singing with as many different people that you can, because it will pay off. Even though you won’t become a big music star, you will still live out your dream of having your own band and playing on stage in front of crowds of people. A few times, you will even get paid. And one more thing - don’t automatically say “no” when you are asked to sing at church, because they will be the most fulfilling times that you will ever sing a note. Remember that the Lord gave you’re your musical talent and your voice, and you need to “use it or lose it.”

Second, you’re going to learn that things don’t matter. In the summer of 1992, you’re going to realize this. It will be a harsh life lesson, but you need to learn it, and it will make an impact on the rest of your life. Designer labels and expensive things – things you once thought were important – will be a thing of the past. Well, with the exception of your love for Prada purses. I’ll let you keep that one. But you’ll finally learn you’re your family and your friends are what matters most in life. And speaking of the summer of 1992, you won’t realize it at first – it will take almost twenty years but you will eventually realize why the Lord gave you a second chance in that wreck. It won’t be until 2011 when the Lord reveals to you that He gave you the second chance to work for Him in the area of keeping churches safe. But until then, keep on studying your Bible and praying for guidance, and go back to college and learn all you can about anything you can. Then you’ll figure it all out.

Third, don’t get tired of being a good person. Some times you’ll feel like some of your friends take you for granted for being “old faithful”. But just think – some of those friends need an “old faithful” in their lives and that’s your job. Your grandma and grandpa and mom and dad were good people, and you just inherited it from them. You’re only twenty now, and too young to think of things like this, but being a good person will probably be your legacy in life. How cool is that?

Fourth, speaking of “old faithful”, that’s what you are going to be in your jobs. You’ll stay at a job you really don’t like for six years, but you’ve got to pay your dues. You really won’t like it, but it will be easy money. Then you’ll get what I like to call your real job. You’ll really become “old faithful” at this gig – you’ll eventually retire from that company. Yeah, yeah, I know you’re laughing now, but when you see what all that company will do for you – pay for your college degrees, teach you how to be an effective and respected leader, and most of all, it will mold you into a person that people can count on. You don’t really think that’s important right now, but you’ll learn that eventually.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Quotes I Like

"This is going to be the most awesome day! Even if there's a freakin' Zombie Apocalypse, it's still going to be a great day!"
-My wonderful, beautiful 12 year old daughter

Saturday, May 19, 2012

There Was An Old Lady...

For some reason, going to the nail salon always proves to be interesting to me. Maybe it's because I'm forced to sit still for a little while, and I'm able to observe the things other people are doing. Anyway, today was no different. While I was having my nails done I noticed an older lady who came in to get a pedicure. She made the comment that she was 74 years old. As often happens to me, I started thinking, "Well, that's me before you know it! Yesterday I was 28, today I'm 48, and tomorrow I'll be 74. It's just a blink away, really". Kenny, the guy who does my nails started asking me some questions, so I got distracted for a bit. Then the next thing I knew, another old lady was walking over toward the chair to begin her pedicure. A younger woman helped her get seated, then helped her remove her shoes and knee high stockings. She looked a bit older than the first lady, but in all honesty, not that much older. My Dad's next door neighbor who works at the shop was assigned to do her pedicure. Then, the woman who had helped her with her shoes, told the nail tech that the lady was 93 years old. This instantly became intriguing to me, and my mind began to race. Physically, the two ladies looked very close in age. The older woman was dressed nicer than the younger, and was quite prim and proper. I could see some difference in agility, and after listening to them talk to each other for quite awhile, I noticed the older of the two ladies seemed to be a bit less alert than the young thing sitting next to her.

I started thinking, if I'm healthy enough to get out of the house at 93, or if I'm still alive, I hope I'll feel like putting on my cute little outfit and going for a pedi. Then I thought, what will be important to me at 74? What will be important to me at 93? I seriously doubt that the things I think and worry about today will matter much by then. But when will I lose the desires I have now? When will I decide it just doesn't matter? Will it happen in 5 years? 10? 20? Who knows? I decided to listen to the two ladies' conversation. Complete strangers, getting pedicures. They talked about their children and grandchildren, and that was really about it. No worries about lovers. No worries about their weight. No worries about their jobs. Just what their children and grandchildren were doing.

Life is short. I don't know if I'll live to be 93, or even 74. Hell, I don't know if I'll live to be 50. I guess none of us do. But I do know that however long I live, I want to keep growing. I want to keep learning. Maybe by that point in my life I will have found contentment. Maybe I'll be able to relax. In fact, maybe we should all be writing letters to our 74 year old selves, instead of our 20 year old selves; it's too late to help those kids. But it's not too late for our future selves.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Crazy, But That's How It Goes

I'm not sure why, but last night I had a dream that I had walked up on the scene where Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Randy Rhodes was killed. The accident occurred in March, 1982, when Rhodes was persuaded to take a ride in a plane piloted by the tour bus driver. The pilot decided to "buzz" the tour bus where Ozzy was sleeping. The wing clipped the bus, tearing it apart, and the plane crashed into a nearby home.

The dream scene was quite vivid. It was early in the morning, the sun was just coming up, and there was dew all over the grass. A light fog covered the field. In the dream I saw the debris, the smoke, and everyone was walking around crying and in shock, but I couldn't hear them. I could only hear soft music playing. I was there, but removed from the scene. They were in slow motion, but I was not. I felt unusually calm, like I had read the story in complete detail several times, and already knew what had happened.

I don't know what made me dream this. I had not seen anything about a plane crash, Randy Rhodes, or Ozzy during the day. It was just one of those strange things that happens.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

P.S.

Our series of letters to our 20 year old selves evoked a great deal of emotion in many of us. Some people told me they really struggled with what to write. One person who is not a reader of Detach, told me they had been thinking about this for days, and had thought of many things they would say to their young self, but all of it was so devastating, they could barely stand to think about it.

I think it's interesting to think of the hard lessons learned in life, and how we wish we knew then, what we know now. What might we have done differently? Oh how much pain and heartache we might have saved ourselves.

As for me, I think I took the challenge too lightly. I've written so many serious thoughts about myself in this journal, I just couldn't bear to write them all again.

I'll move away from this series, but in the coming days, if anyone has thoughts they'd like to add, please feel free to send them. Thanks to everyone who shared their letters.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dear Young Kitty

My 20 year old self…you mean I am not still 20?
I hate to tell you 20 year old self (20yos) but you will always use fear as a self motivator.

I will tell you to not spend all of your time in the past or the future…but you are not going to listen.
The passions that you hold as a 20yos is something you will fight hard to hang on to. The things you want will come your way, and you will get paid; understand there is a price for expanding or contracting your creativity & freedom; you will learn about your naivety and strength.

Kitty, I know you have so many questions and are eager to begin your journey. You are finishing college and are madly in love with a man seven years your senior. You have so much to learn about how to have healthy relationships! He will help you discover many things, but I will be proud of you when you determine that he is not the partner you can spend your life with. But for the letter, 20yos, have more sex!

You want to get far from the life you have lived, and as fast as you can. You know you have nothing to lose, and you could easily settle back into the life you see around you. You continue to develop a vision and you begin on your journey. You board a fast bound train; doing as much as possible, every day…I remember your 20yos; 3 jobs while in college; you always find a way.
Your on a fast bound train and you do not allow any permanent interruptions to our vision. Your stomach hurts when you think about how the path chosen leaves other paths untraveled? Try to learn how to relax now; it will be hard to learn this later, it is a consequence of the fast bound train.

20yos, try to grasp the thought that there is not a magic pot of gold or final destination on the journey, but that the acquisition of peace and happiness is what you will ultimately desire. You do not have to prove you are worthy. Peace of mind is as or more valuable than all that you are fighting for. The game is long, pace yourself.

So Kitty got on a fast bound train. She didn’t really understand where she was going. Out the window she can see lovely terrain but the train moves very fast and it is hard to comprehend, it blurs together.

She found true love – something she always expected at 20. She would have never guessed that at 20 she had already met the man that she would end up marrying, 10 years later.

If I could have told 20yos that the train tracks on which she will travel have been laid by the Lord, would her spirit have spent less time worried and scared during the next 20 years of her life?

Kitty, please hear my plea, take time to “be” in your life. You are ok; don’t be so hard on yourself. You will continue to develop into a good person but you must always be aware of your emotions. Try to use your head much more than your heart for decisions. Life will be challenging even when it is good. Your pathway is a good one; continue to believe in yourself…it is a good thing you don’t know how hard it really is. Stay as far away from alcohol and drugs as you can; the destruction does not discriminate.

Work hard, do things that make you uncomfortable, expand your horizons, and don’t whine. Do not underestimate the power of choices and destiny and lack of control. Don’t get lazy.