Sunday, April 30, 2017

You Are Never Really Alone Unless You Want To Be

Here I sit on a rainy Sunday morning, with my coffee in hand and winning a week long battle with my bronchitis.  Did I tell you I have the best doctor.  She knows my condition so well now after two years of treating me, that she just calls in an antibiotic when I tell her my symptoms.  Like the old days.  I really appreciate that she respects my time is as precious as hers.  Having to leave work when I'm sick is bad enough, but having to take time off to see my doctor is worse.  And nanny guilt is the worse guilt.  They aren't our kids, but we treat them like they are, and we feel just as guilty when we can't take care of them as the parents would.  After all, how many times did I take care of my own kids when I was sick? I almost always had some help from a husband or my mom when that happened.  So rarely.  But in any case with only one day left of my antibiotics I'm feeling much better. 

I'm not sure there must be something in the air.  Are we in a retrograde?  My life feels like it's in a holding pattern.  Have you ever felt that?  That things were chugging along pretty well.  No scary ups or downs just pretty even plodding along.  Not a rut exactly, but if a rut a comfortable one.  Now I'm a worry wort, so obviously I'm on the look out for what is going to happen to rock my boat. 

I feel pretty confident in my abilities to keep my job or find another one if something unforeseen happens, so I don't think it's work.  And I'm pretty good at sticking to a budget although I am having buyers remorse from my recent Ipad purchase.  Not because I don't LOVE it, but because I never feel I'm deserving of expensive things.   In fact the only time I don't feel guilty spending money these days is at the grocery store.  So I don't think it's financial.  That leaves the pillar of love and relationships.  You know they say that you never have all three pillars in line.  That if your successful in your career and relationships you have money issues.  And if you are secure in your debts and relationships its a job concern.  I can't remember a time in my life where I was happy in all three aspects at the same time.  And when torn between say a long distance romance or my job, well I'm going to pick my job every time. 

And while there is still no one special in my life I can truly call my own, my heart does soften occasionally, well always, for Mr. Hopeful when he gets in that mood of his.  That mood I've come to call 'the roller coaster'.  It usually starts off slow, when he's been alone too long without any family or friends around to boost his ego or make him feel special enough.  Then it builds into a mutual reminiscing of the past both specific and general of what 'could have been' or the mistakes we made.  Then when it reaches the top its a free for all of emotional ups and downs as he tries to wrestle with his heart, mind and conscience.  Most of the time this is filled with promises to see me that he will cancel when his mind wins.  Until finally it stops and all is calm until the next ride.  I go along for the ride because I love him.  But I also have some earlier experience with this ride.

My first husband who was also an alcoholic at that time in our lives, was the same way.  Up and down.  In my twenties it was sometimes exciting, always a worry, and eventually why we spit up.  Couldn't raise our son in an environment of drugs and booze and when I say he was a functioning drunk, let me amend that after we left, he clinically drank himself to death, at 24, and was zapped back to life at an ER.   He's 10,000 days sober now, and I couldn't be happier for his life outcome. 

Last night I was watching The 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, on HBO Now or Go or whatever it's called when you have HBO.  So you can pause it and watch what you want when you want.  I was going to watch all by myself when I get a mysterious text from my third ex husband Mr. Selfish asking if I'd seen it yet. Crazy.  So he kept me company as I watched some of our favorite old bands get inducted.  Yes and ELO were the ones that hit the hardest and we found ourselves reminiscing in a comfortable merry-go-round kind of way and both of us missing Darth Vader, my second husband, very much.  And the times we had as kids in high school together cruising to ELO and Rush in the Green Dragon.  Darth's car.  Then out of the blue Mr. Hopeful shows up and I can't wait to share with him Rush inducting Yes into the Hall as well,  but by the time Pearl Jam came up that was more about Mr. Hopeful's times, than Mr. Selfish.  And then Mr. Practical shows up and I'm sharing the same Yes moments with him, in a Tilt-A-Whirl stream of data that makes his head spin.  So maybe this is the the universe or Fates little push to show me that its the relationship pillar that is going to rock my boat.  But the jokes on her.  All of them are ex's and you can't go back.  So for me, while I'm very comfortable FINALLY reminiscing about the past and not letting it depress me or make me feel guilty or not know why it makes me sad, I wonder if they are. 

I think because they all care about me and don't want to hurt me or wish me any ill will they are afraid that I'll get hurt if they have too much fun on the ride, or get too serious about it.  So rather than explore any real feelings because you can't change your life anyway, right?  They don't.  And I try not to either, because I don't want to lead them on or hurt them either.  Sometimes I think people who aren't happy alone, or who are in happy relationships can't understand it when someone is actually happy and quite fulfilled alone.  I don't think I would be without my adult children, or the wee ones I nanny for.  But I am truly happy and doing well.  So far.  Alone.  But last night felt pretty good to be so popular all at once.  And reminded me that I'm never really alone unless I want to be. 


Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Balls In Your Court

I was hoping to write today, but the blank page of my blog this morning seems daunting.  Perhaps I'll still be able to edit.  I'll start there after I accomplish something on this page.  Something worth reading about feelings.  Feelings suck.  It's why I try not to feel them.  HA.  Of course that road never really works with me.  I'm one of the most caring people you'll ever meet, but sometimes there are situations in my life where it's better if I try not to feel.  Or at least try not to express what I'm feeling.  Which goes against my nature.  I was taught to express my emotions and not keep them bottled up inside.  But life has taught me that many times you have to do just that to survive.  As humans its better if we don't act on every emotion we feel, because the consequences could be disastrous.  

Of course I'm sure you already know that, as you've probably acted on emotions that you shouldn't have and the end result wasn't perhaps what you'd expected.  So having learned that lesson, countless times in the past, here I sit.  Wondering if I should act or not.  Knowing I shouldn't and believing I wont are very different levels.  This is a test.  Truth be told I like tests, and life, at least my life, has been full of them. 

If I told you my life story you might think I failed on most of my tests, but I don't see it that way.  I think I'm right where I should be.  And I've always felt that way, no matter where I was in my life.  Each time I married or divorced, I felt it was the right thing to do at the time.  Its funny how some people will comment on my marriages with "Well I married for life."  So did I.  Every time.  But see life is the test.  It throws you curve balls and demands that you react to them.  You can't ignore your life.  Even if you try that's a decision.  And keeps the ball rolling.  Or as my friend and constant temptation, Mr. Hopeful would say, "The balls in their court now."  How true for every relationship in your life.  Every moment of meeting and point of departure its always about the ball being in someone's court. 

But you know, if we all believe that once we serve that ball, then it's the other persons turn to respond, and we wait...
and wait...
and sometimes wait....
and maybe wait too long...
and maybe try to serve many balls to get their attention....
When we finally get a response it's too late.

And our hearts and minds may have already moved on.  Already judged you not worthy of our time or continued attempts at being involved in your lives.  Or including you in ours.  You see when you lose me as a friend you lose everything attached to me too.  Because I'm very good at disappearing if I really want to be gone from your life, I'll just walk away and you'll never hear from me again.  You might forever live in a part of my mind and heart that I keep locked away, in a box or an envelope or an iron bound chest, but locked away you'll be.  For my preservation.  For my well being.  Because you see, I can't afford to care about you if you don't care back.  I have no more time in my life for fake people or people that only want to use me when they need a lift and are oblivious to my times of darkness. 

No, for me it's always been better to make a clean break.  Be called heartless or shallow, fickle or a slut, than to endure relationships where I do all the work.  All the attempts to keep us close and bombard you with many unreturned serves.  I, the anxious one, the mountains out of mole hill woman, have learned to stop trying.  To just let everyone go and see who can't stay away.  I've never had the strength of character to do that before.  I always chased, sometimes even heartbroken I found a way to chase what I thought I wanted, or what I knew I wanted.  But hiding my emotions has never been easy for me, and it never will be.  And in the end, I guess, I have to be ok with that.  Because I've discovered I'd rather feel something.  Than nothing.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

It's The Sins We Do In Secret That Are The Worst

Welcome to my last day of vacation or what is more commonly known as Easter.  What a relaxing vacation it has been, and I can tell I needed some time to just be me, in my little space in the world, doing what I want to do, when I want to do it, and not having to answer to anyone except myself.

Sometimes being an adult isn't hard.  Sometimes it's exactly what we deserve.  This time of year is always a bit more difficult because it's the time mom died.  Easter came early that year.  And my life forever changed when she died.  I think she'd be proud of who I am now, but I know she wouldn't be proud of who I was when I was grieving her death.  I made a lot of mistakes then, out of fear and loneliness and utter despair in my grieving.  Destroyed more than one friendship when  I starting drinking too much once the numbness wore off.  And trying to hide my fears in a bravado of going out and getting further in debt.  Eventually I allowed a married man who I thought was a good friend, take advantage of my vulnerability, and instead of thinking about how his wife might feel, I allowed myself to be treated in a way that I didn't deserve.  But you see I wanted to feel something.  I was still numb.  And the love of my life was strangely absent having found the love of his life he was on a road to marriage and kids that now he . . .well that's his story isn't it?  That's his right to say how he's feeling and he does, to me, as often as I let him.  Grief at losing all we love and cherish can make us try to do stupid things.  Sometimes it can make us feel like cheating with someone we know or a complete stranger will make us feel better about ourselves, or make us feel  something.  But it's a trap.  And not for the first time, in the decades I've know him, I turned him down. 

At first his offer to come and see him, I'm assuming on his dime, made me feel something.  It was that spark of love and excitement that he used to give me when he looked into my eyes.  It was that hopeful little girl of ten or eleven that still believes her prince will come.  It was that sigh or relief that maybe this time he means it.  Maybe this time he really wants to choose me.  (that was Freudian....that last sentence.  Hugely so I'll leave it.  but what I meant to say, was:  Maybe this time he really will chose me. )  But fortunately for me, even at the late hour with little sleep and after a day of good times with friends; I still found the strong willed woman I know my mother raised, to say no.  Somehow, no matter how my heart feels, or what it may think it wants, I found the strength to say, "No.  That's not what this is about."  Because it isn't.  He doesn't want me or love me, he wants to use me again, to make himself feel better about his wife cheating on him.  Again. 

I can't say much for other peoples love lives.  Well, that's not entirely true.  I can say a lot but it might not mean anything to anyone but me.  And it might  not be true, because we can only guess at others lives even with the information they give us.   But I can speak to what I've lived.  And while I believe in giving loved ones a second chance, there comes a time after repeated betrayal, where we have to have a line that has been crossed.  A straw that breaks the camels back, if you will.  And the amount of self respect speaks to where that line is.  In times when I have hated myself that line was so blurred that it didn't even really exist.  But now in my life, where I've started to really heal from the rapes and the poor choices in partners, (for me, not for the ones they actually are happy with now), and the guilt at the mistakes I've made or the people I've hurt, even if they don't know I've hurt them.  It's the sins we do in secret that are the worse.  Even now, when I like myself much more than I used to, I found myself tempted by his offer.  And I'm not proud of that.  But I am proud that I refused.  Lets just say a larger part of me is proud.  There is a part of me, that is curled up in a ball in the back of my brain, holding herself and hoping that it all goes away, while she wants to run into his arms.  But, see she's young and hopeful and believes the lies of the heart he's telling.  She doesn't think about the reality of life or situations, or families broken apart.  Hell, she's the part of me that still misses her mom and doesn't believe she can do it alone.  She's the little girl I promised in the "Letter to My Twelve Year Old Self" that I would protect and never let feel hurt again.  And she's the one that usually runs headlong into that hurt.

Not today, dear one.  I will save you from yourself.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

It's PJ's Sunday!

Are you like me? Do you work hard all year and when it's time for vacation you get sick?  That happens to me a lot.  But, so far, not this year.  Not sure how I am going to fill up all the time, and that's the best feeling in the world.

No schedules to keep, no trains to catch, no errands that all have to be done in a small two day weekend.  Just well earned time to do what ever I want.  And I live in Chicago so the possibilities are endless.  And I can skip the weekend crush of people and go downtown to shop on a weekday.  Like the 'women who lunch' do.  Maybe I'll even lunch. 

Of course I have some specific things I'm getting done just because it's convenient.  Like a check up with my doctor and coloring my hair.  (pictures will follow)  Spring cleaning and going out for walks instead of playing at the park with the little ones.  And a Murder Tour of Chicago showing some of the major spots where some of the major players in the field of serial killing did their deeds.  Like H.H. Holmes (The Devil in the White City) and the Killer Clown John Wayne Gacy.  There is a separate tour that covers all the mob murders like St. Valentines Day Massacre.  But I booked this one for two reasons.  One First Daughter and her friend love true crime stories and I loved the Devil in the White City book and took the 1893 Worlds Fair Tour last summer for my birthday.  It was so interesting to see the outside and inside of the beautiful buildings that were built before that famous Worlds Fair, and see some that had survived the great Chicago Fire.  This tour will fill in some of the blanks of that one and focus specifically on H.H. Holmes and his murder house.  (pictures will follow)

Initially I was very disappointed that my First Daughter and her friend were not coming for the tour and Easter weekend.  I miss her.  And I was stuck with these two tickets I didn't want to go to waste.  They don't refund.  But I managed to sell them to a friend and her husband who will be coming with me.  So I still get to go and not alone.  Which is always better for me.  I hate to do things alone.  Actually I should clarify that.  I hate to do things alone in public.  That sounds strange doesn't it?

I mean if you enjoy your own company, and I say I do.  Then why wouldn't I enjoy my own company among company?  Doesn't make sense does it?  I mean I know I can fake being an extrovert, I have some qualities, but for the most part I am an introvert.  Or as I quoted a few blogs ago and many times before an ambivert.  A person who has parts of both.  So this vacation, without First Daughter, will be interesting to see how much I actually do get out. 

I'm hoping I at least go for a walk everyday.  And I'm already trying to figure out how to justify staying in bed with my tech toys all day.  Maybe just one day in my PJs all day is warranted.   What better attire to write in, than your PJs.  Here's to day two of vacation, which I proclaim to be PJ's Sunday.  Take the PJ's Sunday Challenge and don't get dressed. 


Sunday, April 2, 2017

A New Reflection

They say soul mates aren't really the loves of your life, but rather a mirror that holds up a part of who you are, and reflects it back.  There are many reasons for this unique meeting and you will find your soul mates throughout life are quite different from each other but they all reflect a vision of you.  I've never had much luck bringing my soul mates together because they are usually extreme versions of myself.  For example I am friends with my introvert side, my reckless party girl side, my hopeless romantic side, my rape survivor side, my neglected in childhood side, my geeky side.  I'd give you their nicknames but I think it's fun to guess. 

Well, I connected with an acquaintance yesterday, who over the last year has slowly become a friend, and who yesterday called ME, HER  soul mate.  And she's not wrong.  She's young enough to be my daughter and yet nothing like my daughter.  Except in the speed in which she can speak.  We discovered that we can both talk a bloody blue stream, and still not only understand what each other had said while we spoke but continue to discuss topics we both talked over.  It occurred to me that watching us talk or listening to us would play very well on film or stage.  What an original odd couple indeed.  However this trait is certainly not an advantage in any of my personal relationships as I'm sure it's not with her either.  Guess why we met?  Probably for both of us to see two things, 1. that we're not crazy or alone. and 2. how to help each other get better about not talking over, except with each other of course.  :D

Soul mates are not there to show only negative things, and of course we have one, at least, other fantastic saving grace, that is similar.  Our sense of humor.  How refreshing to find someone where I don't have to say, "just kidding" after a joke or explain it.  Rather, she not only laughed but followed up.  Excellent.  I may have found my first real friend beyond acquaintance, here in Chicago. 

We have some serious things in common, abuse, and failed relationships.  Painful emotions of where I am decades past her in some of my reflections and she decades past me in others.   I don't know if you can ever rate the severity of any rape or say one is more horrific than the other but as a rape victim I can say my experiences in it I believe to be much less severe than hers.  And I am amazed at her ability to be strong and discuss painful memories with me, and know she was in a safe place.

I look for that in all my relationships, friends, lovers, and whatever is in-between.  If can't tell a friend anything and still be loved as a friend, what's the point in telling them anything?  What's the point in going beyond acquaintance?  Over the years I've had to admit to myself that friends I considered family were really no more than friends or acquaintances after all.  Having to come to these realizations, was not only painful but typical in my life.  And I'm so sick of it.  I'm sick of picking the wrong people to be close to.  People that disappear.  I know nothing is forever, and I know that distance makes it hard.  But I have a best friend that's been my loyal best friend for over twenty years, and She of Little Combat Boots lives many miles from me.  I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I don't feel like I'm making the wrong choice with Miss Soul.  I think she fits in with my very best long distance soul mates, but I think she's here to help me learn how to 'live' in Chicago.  Not just exist.  The acquaintances I have here have taught me that.  Now it's time to really experience what my city has to offer and not just when friends come to see me.  I'm excited that I had such a good time out with all the people, and we didn't go down town and still complained about the shoppers ahead of us in almost every situation.  It felt good to hear her complain as I would and did.  I felt like everyone that met us must have assumed she was my daughter.  Which of course made me think of First Daughter even more and be super excited for her visit in two weeks.

I guess it's time to try to admit that I'm happy in my single life, and while this blog was started many years ago as a way to try and heal a broken heart, I'm happy it's becoming more of a journal about trying to live.