Monday, February 25, 2013

I Won't Give Up On Us

Sometimes a little perspective is what we need. Right?

I have been reading into everything Gentleman Jack says or doesn't say/does or doesn't do since we had our falling out. Everytime he didn't say, "I love you" first, my heart would break. Then I'd just get mad. How dare he withhold love from me. I didn't do ANYTHING wrong!

In fact, I was still very angry that he took my weekend away. He made it all about him when all I wanted was some peace.

I knew he was depressed but I was also angry because his depression is due to circumstances that he put himself in. I felt like I was being punished for being kind or being angry. I couldn't win at all. I saw glimpses of the man I love at my grandfather's funeral but after I went back home, I felt like things were deteriorating. Quickly.

Even when I was with him last week, I kept hearing the following phrase in my head,

"What you feel the world is withholding from you, you are withholding from the world."

I read that somewhere years ago and it's shown up in several books that I've read since. It's no easy pill to swallow - you mean I'm to blame for this lack of love that I'm feeling?!? - but when you think about it, it creates amazing relief - you mean I have the power to change this?!

Indeed I did have the power but I kept blaming him. I couldn't get over my frustration, my irritation at being completely helpless, the fact that I was talking sense with someone who wasn't thinking clearly.

I kept looking for signs and listening for clues on how to let it go. Everything pointed me in the direction of nurturing myself (thanks y'all),  but not only that. I also kept hearing that I should allow others their paths. I shouldn't act as though my path is so golden. It only works for me. That doesn't always mean it's right for someone else.

I kept blaming him for disregarding my feelings until I realized that it was actually ME who was disregarding my feelings by not sharing them with him. I kept them to myself so that I wouldn't damage things any further.

I also spent some time venting to a girlfriend. My goodness, us girls really need each other, don't we? She is the Gentleman Jack in her relationship. She helped me to understand a little better when she gave me the phrase she'd been hearing in her head:

"We only accept as much love as we think we deserve."


He didn't feel like he deserved much at all. I could finally see that.

That night, I realized I was coming down with a cold (as is my norm after an emotional trauma) so I took an antihistamine before bed. I typically don't take drugs because they affect me so easily. Sure enough, by the time GJ called me, I was completely out of it.

THAT is when I decided to share my feelings. THAT is when I pointed out how frustrated I was that he was still angry when I felt like I should be angry too.

I don't even recall what he said. I know he was even angrier because he thought I was trying to force him past his own anger. At least that's sort of what I recall.

Maybe talking to a depressed person is like talking to a drunk person. And maybe when I'm drugged up on antihistamines, I make the most sense to a depressed person.

All that I know is... after that night, something has shifted. I feel like we're back to our old selves again. He still needs to work on his stuff. And you all know I still need to work on mine. But it feels like the anger is gone.

I stopped withholding love and it feels like he did too.

Now, I want to wrap my arms around him in person again. We haven't made a plan as to when that will happen but I look forward to being with my man.

He needs to know that I'm not giving up. He may not feel like he deserves my love right now but I'm not going anywhere anytime soon.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Who Brings Baggage to a Funeral? This girl.

When my first grandparent, my mother's father, died in 2004, I was very pregnant with my youngest daughter. I brought my toddler with me to his funeral and my husband stayed at home.

Less than a year later, my mother's mother died. Again, I attended with my children. In that short period of time, I'd given birth and my marriage was struggling. I'd also found out that during my grandfather's funeral, when I was pregnant, my husband was out on a date with his lover.

Two years later, my father died. I'd been separated from my husband for nearly 2 years and was falling in love with someone else. We'd planned a weekend away, my new love and I, but I had to back out due to my father's funeral. The day I returned home from the funeral, he broke up with me.

The most ironic part of that story was that my ex-husband attended my father's funeral and stood by my side. He doesn't like when I cry, so that was hard for him, but he was there. Despite it all, he was there.

Well, let's just say that I was subconsciously carrying all of this baggage as I went into this week preparing for my grandfather's funeral. My father's mother had passed nearly 4 years ago, right when I was starting to date Gentleman Jack. I recall sitting at her funeral, surrounded by family, and feeling supported by him too. I was hoping he'd be there for me, a few days ago, when I laid my last remaining grandparent to rest... but it appeared his depression would take precedence over my need for support.

***

When I arrived at GJ's house the night before the funeral, it was obvious that I wasn't welcome. All of the little things he does to make sure I'm comfortable and spoiled... weren't done. He didn't even greet me. His kids did. He just said hi.

Ok, point taken. He's pissed. Well I was pissed too.

Over the course of the evening, he invited me to sit with him. He didn't want to talk, he expressly shared, but he did want me near him. By the time we went to bed, I was "near him" but still felt very far away.

My nerves were shot. I'd been shaking uncontrollably and not sleeping well for 3 days at that point. Apparently, I was shaking all night. I also woke up at 3:30 am (the witching hour for panic attacks, in my experience). I tried to be quiet about it but I couldn't stop crying. He finally reached out to me and pulled me into his arms. Once there, the shakes stopped and I was able to sleep.

The next morning, I wasn't even sure if he was planning to attend the funeral. When I finally asked, he said, "I am here to support you, all day if you need me. You tell me what you need."

THAT'S the man I wanted to see.

And he did. He stood by me all day. After the funeral, he sat with me while I cried, reminisced and missed my grandfather. He took me and my daughters to lunch. He napped with me. He hugged me over and over. He didn't want me to go home. He held me close and kissed me goodbye.

But he's still not with me 100%. I can just tell.

And I'm still very baffled at his fragility. The fact that it was only 2 hours that I refused to respond to him, out of my own desire for peace, and in that time, he was convinced I'd given up on him, that my love was gone, that he was worthless and doomed.

As much as I'd love to grab him by the shoulders and shake the sense into him, he isn't seeing any sense. As much as I'd love to knock him in the head and convince him that my love isn't that shallow, he isn't hearing it. As much as I'd love to be not nearly as violent as those last two sentences and show him his beauty, his value, his greatness, if he isn't feeling it, all that I'm doing is making him feel worse for not living up to what I see in him.

I cannot win.

Everyone that I've shared this with (which isn't many) have all said the same thing. Your wonderfully supportive comments, emails and texts, have all said the same thing.

Take care of me.

As soon as I can get life back to some sort of normal, I will do better. I will not be so shaky. I will not be so exhausted. I'm starting with little things.... like just listening when he speaks instead of arguing. Arguing with a depressed person is like arguing with a drunk person. They absolutely aren't seeing clearly.

I'm still unsure about anything except:

That man loves me, desperately.

I love him.

We make each other lighter, smile more, feel treasured.

And this is not him.

Other than that, time will tell. If I don't take care of me, time will tell sooner than later.

I appreciate thoughts and prayers. I love you all so much.

T

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Depressed Man






I saw this quote a few weeks ago and it struck a chord deep within me.

I feel like I see people suffering all over the place. Except for those who seem like they aren't. It's those that I'm envious of.

Somehow I'm caught in the middle of those who are suffering deeply, terribly, painfully and those who seemingly have it all figured out.

***

I'm still very resentful that my weekend away was sabotaged by life's reality. And part of that reality is a very depressed man in my life.

I wanted to be away, enjoying my time, without obligation. He made it all about him.

Yes, I know he felt like I "abandoned" him by being non-responsive. He felt as if he were struggling and I didn't care. In fact, I DID care but didn't feel emotionally capable of doing anything about it. I was trying to spare the peace I'd found in my retreat. I was trying to block everything out.

We finally talked last night and he is still very hurt and angry. He still feels as if it's easy for me to shut him out. I couldn't explain clearly enough for him to understand that EVERYONE AROUND ME DEPENDS ON ME... and I just needed a break. No intention to hurt him or anyone. No intention to ignore him because he hurt my feelings. No intention of spite. I just wanted to be left alone.

That scares him... that I want to be left alone. I tried to tell him that as much as I feel like I give, to everyone else, including him, I have to spare something for myself. Of course, he agrees with me and said that I could have very well asked him to offer me some distance, some peace. I did that and it broke him. Broke him down so much that he pulled down all reminders of me and very nearly threw them all into a fire pit.

He says that by the time I asked to be left alone, it was too late. He'd already been emotionally wrecked for hours. Why is it my fault that he's emotionally wrecked? I was only doing something for ME.

I'm tired. I have a funeral to attend. More driving to do. More people to hold up.

He keeps saying that he's not sure about us. I'm not sure either.

We love each other. We both know that we love each other desperately. But as long as he's reaching for me from a state of depression, and as long as every decision he makes is based on a depressed state of lack, of not being good enough, as long as he sees the road ahead as difficult and overwhelming and most likely not going to get any better, I feel like nothing I say or do is making a difference at all. I feel like what I think or do or say doesn't matter. Even though he feels like EVERYTHING I do or say matters, like it's the only good in his life at all.

It is a heavy weight to carry along with everything else. I really need him to help lighten the load. He is my best friend, my rock, my strong armed lover who adores me and tries so hard to do right by me. He wants to do better. He wants to do more. He wants it sooo much. And I can't do it for him. I can't do it. He knows that.

In looking over my blog archives, I see I wrote about his depression in late 2010. In that post, I wrote:

"He finally told me that I should always speak my mind, no matter if he agrees with me or not. He said I should always look out for myself first, no matter who doesn't agree with it."

It was the following week when he asked if we should take a break because he was so down.

I don't know what the answer is. If I'm in a relationship with a depressed person, it is going to affect me. The sad part of it is, I feel like every relationship I've been in has left me dealing with a depressed man. I don't think there are life manuals for this.

Maybe I should write one.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Weekend Away

I finally planned and took a weekend away, just me, joyously alone, to one of my favorite retreats. I'd asked several people if they'd like to join me, including Gentleman Jack, and no one was able to get away. Honestly, that was perfectly fine with me. I just put it out there because so many were questioning my need to escape alone.

Part of my co-dependency is feeling uneasy if the person I travel with isn't into the same things I'm into. I can say the same about concerts and movies. If I'm the only one excited about it, I'd much rather go alone. I actually have more of a blast that way. Believe it or not, I really enjoy my own company.

So I happily drove the distance listening to the radio stations I wanted to listen to. Listening to complete silence if I chose to. Talking to myself if I wanted. Taking long, slow deep breaths at the beauty of the landscapes.

Then the phone rang.

My grandfather, the last remaining paternal unit in my life, had passed away.

I felt sad but some relief knowing that he was finally joining his bride, who had passed almost 4 years ago. The difficult part was that I would have to tell my daughters. My daughters and their great-grandfather have grown close these past few years. They ADORE him and he can't get enough of them. It has been a pleasure to drive them back to Louisiana to spend time with him. They asked to spend time with him. And he always asked for them. I actually drove from GJ's house one weekend, back to Dallas to pick up the girls, and back to Louisiana - all in one day - just so they could have more time with him. This was 2 weeks ago when his health took a sudden downturn.

When we were last there, my children relished their moments with him. My oldest daughter just sat with him, her hand on his bed, with tears in her eyes. I knew they were going to be devastated when I told them he was gone.

In the meanwhile, I'm trying to enjoy my weekend alone, peaceful and full of fresh air, long walks, a few special treats (new wine, fudge, seafood dinner, hot tub on the deck). I know that I will go back to a storm of family drama. There are questions about the will and he and my grandmother's belongings. My dad's sister is the only remaining family and since my dad is gone, she has been handling things herself. My great-aunts are upset with her, they are talking about avoiding the funeral, getting lawyers....

Me? I just wanted a moment of peace, just a day, where I could meditate alongside a clear spring and be anonymous so that no one would ask anything of me.

Peace


I reached out to Gentleman Jack...

I think he wants to be there for me. He's been handling Papa's failing health and my emotions so well. But here we are, 2 weeks since we last saw each other, and I'm on a trip far away from him. It makes him nervous that I'm alone. I think it makes him nervous that I enjoy being alone. I just needed a small bit of support for me and my family and he took it the wrong way, said the wrong thing, hurt my feelings.

After speaking to him, my frustration at being a burden to anyone kicked in and I told him never mind. I'd figure something else out. I was so upset about it that I put my phone away. I don't want to talk. I don't want to discuss it. I don't want to feel like I'm putting anyone out.

That was 5 hours ago. He has completely blown my phone up with calls and texts. I've reassured him, let him know that I'm okay. I've told him that I just need to enjoy the rest of today. I need to relish in a nice evening. A MOMENT OF PEACE. He's not handling it well.

Sadly, I'm reminded of how Soldier felt so scared and lost when my focus shifted from him to burying my father. I attended my dad's funeral and lost a boyfriend in the same weekend.

I'm so frustrated. I've written about nothing but how busy my life is. How crazy I feel. How I long for stillness.  Quiet. No responsibility.

I'm still sad that I have no father, no grandfathers... and the one man I want to lean on is losing it, afraid, unable to hold some faith for me. I don't want to reach out and help him to feel the love that I still have. This is when I need him to just know it. I don't have the strength to hold anyone up today. And I don't want to. If I'm being selfish, then... I am selfish.

This is why I wrote that I feel as if I can lean on or trust or depend on no one but myself.

All I wanted was a weekend away, alone, at peace.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Comparison is the thief of joy




All in the spirit of clearing out the negative, I've realized that I've been pretty green for a while. Green as in envious. Envious as in downright resentful.

I have to remember that I'm an anomaly. Truly I am.

I do love fitness but I don't have the time to - nor is my body up to the task of - training for triathlons anymore. I see friends doing triathlons, runs, or cycling events and I feel lazy and sluggish. I see friends dedicate themselves to Crossfit, Barre, Turbo Fire, Insanity, P90X or even yoga and I feel jealous. Hell, I've said that I would work out for 30 minutes every day but can barely squeeze that in. My job has left me very little energy when added to the list of other things I actually do accomplish every day. I really have to cut myself a break and do what I can, when I can. I'm not in bad shape but I just may not live up to some sort of idealized version of what I could look like if I had the time. I just don't. I also have to remember that the people I know who are that dedicated to their fitness have either no children and/or a partner to help out. Again, I just don't.

I do love healthy eating but I can't even recall the last time I cooked a meal at home. A meal from scratch with healthy and fresh (not frozen) ingredients. I have recipes saved and lists of things I'd like to buy. But that also entails having the money to purchase the awesome foods that my body needs - especially since my doctor has banned wheat, dairy, potatoes and rice. I know that there are lots of other options but they're not as cheap as the already cooked chicken at the store and a quick, already store-made salad. And oh I'm so sick of salad. I feel like I'm doing a disservice to both my body and my children's bodies because I'm not offering the whole food sustenance that we deserve. I get home and throw something together while still in work clothes and achy feet in high heels. I just want to sit down and relax and have an healthy and wholesome meal like I see my friends post on Facebook and Instagram. I want to experiment. I want to try new things. I want to feel like I'm giving my body what it needs. I'm lucky to actually eat, half the time. So much to do... I need to just be more mindful when I do have to grab something fast. And I need to realize that I'm doing the best that I can.

I see so many couple friends with their spouses working out together, going out together, doing things together. Or even girlfriends with other friends. I don't feel like I have any really close friends right now. I have nothing to give, really. And if a friend does want to spend time with me, I'd rather say, "No thank you. This is one evening that I can actually sit at home and not do a damn thing. I'd really love the lazy, peace and quiet instead of trying to have a conversation where I don't feel like I'm complaining about how busy I am." I don't even want to hear someone else tell me about their day because I'll feel like it's something else I have to give my attention to. Even with Gentleman Jack, I have nothing to give at the end of the day. I don't even feel like talking. I just want to be still... and quiet. I'm so thankful that he understands, even if it does lead him to feel a bit disconnected from me.

I love my job. I have a totally kick ass job that many people envy. I even think I'm good at what I do (though I'm continually challenging myself to learn new things). Even still, between the time I'm at work and my commute to and from, it takes nearly 11 hours out of my day. To a person with a spouse, or a person with no children, maybe that wouldn't be a big deal, but I really want to be around more for my girls. I feel guilty that my job demands so much of me because I can't balance it out with the rest of my life. So many in my career are doing more events - networking, speaking, advancing their career - and I find I'm envious of that because I can't. I just can't always get a babysitter or be at certain things, sometimes twice or three times a week on top of working hours. I give all that I can and I need to learn to be happy with that. No matter what this career demands.

I feel like I'm fit... but not nearly as fit as others I know.

I feel like I'm healthy.... but not nearly as healthy as others I know.

I feel like I have a great man in my life... but I so rarely get to see him.

I feel like I have lots of friends... but I can't recall the last girls' night out I allowed myself to attend.

I love my job... but 11 hours + away is too much. I may have to find something else closer to home. My girls will only need me around more and more as they reach teen-hood.

I'm tired. So tired and so busy. This time in my life is like when I went back to college and all of my other friends were having babies or enjoying being single and I was married, trying to pay off debt, and working my ass off in school and work so that my life would be amazing.

I'm an anomaly because I'm not married or living with someone to help me. I don't have two incomes to help with the bills. There is no other adult around to help with the kids or housework. I have a few short weekends out of the month where I can spend time with the man I love. We don't get to work out together or pop out to dinner.... even when we do have time together. We have kids to take care of or not enough money to do anything.

I don't mean to bitch. Ok, yeah I do. Sometimes, life feels like it's beating me up. I know there are things I can do to change things.... and part of that is looking at what I DO have instead of what everyone else has.

I just needed to put it down on paper (or computer screen) and admit to myself that my comparisons to everyone else's lives only makes mine look lacking and less than. And that's just not the truth of things at all.

The truth is, there is no one else I know who's life is like mine. There is no one else I know who is doing what I'm doing, how I'm doing it. Who has the same expectations as I do. Who has the same situation as I do.

Comparison... just isn't helping things at all. Time to take a closer look at me, my life, who, what and where I want to be. The best, most grandest version of me that I can be... not an "almost" version of anyone else.

It's a work in progress.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Clearing Out of Old, Harmful Beliefs

I started this post a few weeks ago and never finished it...

I mentioned a few posts back that I was in the process of "clearing things out". I believe that good is coming to us all the time. If we're not feeling it or sensing it, then we are not allowing it. Which basically means we're blocking it in some way. My goal, this year, is to continue clearing out the blocks to my awareness of love, good, and joy.

In the spirit of clearing things out, I am taking moments in my morning and evening to meditate and pray and listen. As things come to me, I acknowledge them and then release them for healing. I noticed, this past week, two deep beliefs that I've carried for some time:

I am always going to have to take care of myself.

And

I am not worth sacrificing for.

Now, these beliefs have "served" me in some way these past several years. After all, I felt as if I was very alone and frightened at the end of my marriage. Heck, even during my marriage, I came to the sad realization that I would always have to take care of myself... in all sorts of ways. I think my mom helped with that belief. She always stowed away money. She always told me that men were assholes and could't be trusted. When you hear that enough, I guess it becomes the voice you carry around into adulthood.

I am not worth sacrificing for. Yeah, that one comes from way back too. From wanting my boyfriend-then-husband to defend me to his parents. From having a husband who was gone all of the time. To dating a soldier who always hoped that I would move to wherever *his* career took him. Now I'm dating a man who claims to hate this town I live in. He says he will never - ever - consider moving here and of course, I'm not all that surprised because I carry this deep belief that even if he did, he'd resent me for it. After all, I'm not worth making any sort of sacrifice for.

I guess it's no surprise for me to say that I've not had a moment of free time to finish all of the posts in my head. This one though? This one has been sticking with me. Allow me to continue...

I find that I have difficulty understanding my worth when it comes to other people. Obviously I understand my OWN worth, when it comes to me. After all, I know that I can provide for myself and take care of myself and not really have to rely on anyone. But when someone tries to explain to me that they CAN be relied upon, that I can relax and allow them to nurture or care for me, I then fall back to my other core belief... and feel like no, no, I don't want to be a bother to anyone. I don't want anyone to resent that they have to give up something to care for or nurture me.

This is something I need to work on. Obviously.

They say awareness is the first step. Correct?

I may be sitting with this for a little while. Do you have any thoughts or insights on this? Do any of you feel like this? Is this more co-dependency talking?

I'm asking you, dear readers and fellow over-thinkers, to be my therapy as I clear out these cobwebs and allow some light in. (or is that too much?)