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NO! I like being single. I love it. I love not wrapping my days around someone else's mood. I love choosing the activity, the meal, the work, the TV program (or not). I love the input pouring into my earphones and not have to be interrupted or complained to. I am like a newly unleashed adolescent who doesn't have to listen to anyone. The freedom is excruciatingly enticing. It's great that you don't drink anymore, that you are keeping fit and working and ...find a different reason to keep it up. Remember, there was a lot wrong with our marriage.
It's 6am. I'm scared. I have a presentation today at 1pm and I'm not close to seeing a completed project. The sphere of material keeps expanding, I'm not able to focus on a legitimate segment. This nervousness, this fear which I always label awful is the very feeling I need to reframe and start enjoying. This is the zest of life...this is the challenge, the discomfort zone, the butterflies of performance, the go for it attitude, the nothing ventured nothing gained acknowledgement. It's the same as showing an art piece or submitting a poem or biking to the top.
Response to Suicide: Your tag name "Facadetragedy" gives me pause. Maybe you are using a literary ploy of creating suspense and are staging a dramatic plot. Or maybe you are in distress. Please call 800-273-8255. It's the National Suicide Prevention number. These people are compassionate, helpful and dedicated to helping you. Depression calls for reaching out, grasping on to new ideas to stop the downward spiral. It takes "a village" to look out for one another. Isolation is deadly. More negative thinking is deadly too. Step out of the cave you are in. Get some fresh ideas. Call.
Writing documents the feeling. I think getting the energy away from my heart and into my head to form words is therapeutic for me. It's not a total escape from emotions, but a relocated place to process it. Grief extends itself into new territory: I put Dad's dog in a cage and sent this noble, loyal, gentle animal to Jeff in California. Dad is dead, so I don't feel much pain around him. But Bella looked so sad and bewildered, which is haunting me now. I have to have faith that God is overseeing all and will make it OK.
Yuck. I've got to go back and sort through Dad's possessions and fight with my sister and pretend that everything is fine...just to get it over with. Not fine: she made up a story to justify denying me my first pick of valuables. A story only she remembers. Bullshit. But we carry on because there is no alternative. This really sucks. I so want it to be over, yet I think she is enjoying the process, gathering more stuff and having a respite from her life in Charlotte. We are not friends anymore. The relationship is hollow; I'm sad.
What happens when your sister hates you but won't admit it because it interferes with her Christian self image? I don't trust what she is saying to me. Her actions, her inaction, her selfishness, her scheming, gossiping. No. I do not accept that "she loves me and will never give up trying to retrieve what was lost." Just words. Just easy to say garbage. Show me some action. Make a gesture that will convey a sense of giving; that you can think beyond yourself. That will be my "true north" when it comes to this relationship. Show me something. Anything.
It's 4 in the morning. I should be sleeping. This 100 words is a great time filler. It's like the morning pages; the 20 minutes of writing non stop to satisfy some odd discipline. Like you're a good person if you do it. Like you've at least accomplished this little goal you set for yourself. It's like putting one more brick on the wall of the house you're custom making. One day you'll have it complete and to your liking. Paragraphs build pages, pages build chapters, chapters build books, books tell a life story. Life is an art. Document it.
I love Art Therapy! I sobbed as I spoke and drew straight pencil lines around a big sheet of paper. I told Therapist about the fighting with my sister over Dad's stuff and about being accused of lying. I retold our unproductive conversations, the listing of negative characteristics she labeled me with. Tears splattered all over the page. No flowing paint this week-No! Today I needed pencil and a ruler and precision. I said, "I just want to close the door on this relationship." And I did. I drew a door with a Picasso cubed face in the window.
This is not depression. This is exhaustion fog. This is relationship ripping. Depletion. Depletion of energy, good will, any will to keep going. It is grief stricken paralysis, battle fatigue, mental anguish overload. Shock and horror; the anticipation of what will be the next emotionally loaded decision we have to make together? The reason it is not depression is that there is a sliver of hope for the future. She is leaving today. Optimism and spaciousness will resume when I can feel relief from her presence. I will mentally shut the door on this devastating betrayal by my ex sister.
"Lean In." This is a new book and a new movement helping women NOT back away from dreams. Sandberg has identified and defined and focused on that one little element that is missing in women's lives: BALLS. The testosterone to bring it forward, raise your hand, risk for gain, not be afraid of success. She says (paraphrased) women have already proved they are smart and disciplined and it is known that they have skills that are helpful in leadership positions. But women make a decision early on to accommodate family life. Women need to change corporations to accommodate healthy lives.
I'm in touch via facebook with an old boyfriend. The Jewish one, who after two years together and a discussion of marriage said, "OK, we can get engaged, but don't tell my mother." That was the beginning of the end. So last night, following my motto of Tell the Truth, I said, "it's been a tough time for me. Briefly: I'm getting divorced, lost my job, Dad died and my sister and I are sorting out Dad's things and fighting." Here, let me sum it up for you: I'm the most pathetic person on earth. The truth is the truth.
Looking at a picture of Bella, my deceased Dadís dog. My past husband is the photographer, sharing my concerns for her well-being. She looks forlorn, as if to say, ďWhatís going to happen? "Is this my home?" and "Who will abandon me next?Ē Of course, these are my thoughts projected onto her. The truth is that life fucking sucks sometimes. Nothing you can do about it. Just breathe and cope, breathe and cope and tell the truth. Say what you feel. Be your authentic self. Remember, no one promised you a rose garden. I like that phrase.
I was going to take 4 days and sit. Just sit. Watch my mind as it wanders over the puddles of the past; see if it dreams of the future, wait for an emotion to inform me of my subconscious inner world. But I didn't. I've instead, immersed myself in the katcha of life: flittering around my space, rearranging pictures, streamlining and organizing paperwork, making to-do lists. I can't slow down right now. On a positive note: I am continually conscious of this priviledge: having time, having good food, having privacy, having hot water for an evening soaking bath.
Watching my own mental process this morning, dealing with the fear of not knowing where I was going: Collect more data. Study the map more, check it out on the iphone. It wasn't getting me closer to the destination. So, out of the hotel room and onto the street. Nervous! I relied on the friendliness and kindness of those I asked for help. I couldn't have made it without help from these strangers. They were like little angels placed on the street to help me find my way to my destination. All is well. I'm back to hotel/home; happy.
Fantastic meeting today with person from Open Art Studio in Chicago. It's so fun to click with someone of the same mind. Here O.A.S. is putting forth their philosophy about how everyone is their own expert in their own healing, growing process and I have slowly made the discovery that the less I do to instruct in therapy the better. I want tho take their course! It's in synch with my course. So, right away, I think, yikes, I have to switch gears, quit AT, and get into OAS. Friend says, "You can take both!" So right on.
Went to a Jungian Conference today in Chicago. Love Chicago. Jungian group not so much. Topic was supposed to be about the Healing Power of Art. I think the topic sort of got addressed but maybe was over my head. We covered symbol, but not how it heals, we covered Jung's review of Ulysses-in depth, how it is meaningless, thus, destructively, we make meaning from it. Covered art therapy, the process, covered films and whether the viewing counts as witnessing, or offers cathartic release. It was all very cerebral. Seemed like beating a dead horse with analytic academic inspection.
This is the paralysis where depression starts. A growing list of things I'm supposed to get done, due dates approaching, avoidance and anxiety about changes coming in a few relationships that are very painful, and the need to self sooth. So I say to myself, "It's ok. You can sit here in your "easy chair" for another hour, until you feel centered; you've been busy lately, you deserve just an hour (or so) to yourself. It's ok." The clock ticks the hours by and now it's dusk. Another day has gone by. I didn't start the list yet. Paralysis builds.
The back burner it a wonderful place to stash the dreams that once fueled my buoyancy. Big dreams, full of anticipation like undulating bold stripes of a flag waving their energy from high. And the crushing weight of the unknown. The unknown is an abyss to progress. Also, there is the heaviness of the dual necessities of creating the service or product AND having to make money for self support. Ever present is the easy chair. It beckons whenever the weight overwhelms the buoyancy. The easychair faces the hallway to the back burner. Project shelved, life is easy and conventional.
I will think of my Dad today and honor his attribute of tenacity. I admire that he looked forward to challenges and had a positive attitude about them. He greeted them with confidence and willingness to understand, keep at it, solve it. He role modeled for me the mindset of not giving up because the challenge was too tough. He didn't take to the Easy-chair and let the energy die. He didn't let the problem surmount his will to fight. He kept on thinking, processing, attempting, learning, pursuing. He never quit. He had a silent, calm devotion to winning.
There's that line again. The thinning line that shows up between boredom and being overwhelmed. I once learned the definition of this malady. It came in the form of a diagnosis, a labeled chink in my mental health. Now I can't remember it. Here is what it's like living on the line: On each side is a steep decline, getting steeper by the hour. On one side is emptiness, caused by not doing the work. It wreaks of loneliness and disconnection. On the other side are overwhelming performance demands and challenges to confidence. The well worn line is procrastination. Chink.
You are not my friend. I even wish I wasnít your sister. For too many years, I've elevated you beyond your realm. You've come down from your pedestal. No, correction, I finally whacked the pedestal from under your feet and now that you are my same height, same as any human, you donít look the same. You have all kinds of flaws that I never saw before. Maybe it will take years to accept you as a mere human. I thought my total positive regard for you was love. It might have been something else. What was it?
My divorcing you is not with disregard for you. It's done with feeling and effort, with precision and attention and hope. It's done with care and love. Please compare this and absorb these things into your equation of the balance of our lives. These same considerations could not have been declared by you as you turned away from me to attend to someone else. All is forgiven now, but my course is set and I am walking down a new path. My balance is only dependent on me walking my path. I won't sacrifice it in trying to accommodate you.
Once again, Iíve benefited by my art therapy. Several weeks ago, I bought outrageously cheap tickets to CA because itís been over a year since I visited friends and family. So I planned the trip to align with my sonís birthday. Since then, Iíve had more anxiety than excitement about the trip. It shows me I am not a free woman. Past husband thinks this is a step toward getting back together. My plans are contingent on his reactions. Will he handle it? Reality has set in, due to art holding the space open for examination.
I did it! I followed through! I completed the assignment an hour before I had to leave for class. Such a good feeling to be packing up the project, collecting all the papers and tools I need well ahead of schedule. NO anxiety. I felt brilliant, like a together student, a student with skills; I have what it takes to succeed. (This has never happened to me before, so I'm relishing the experience and the rewards so it will carry me towards more experiences like these.) I found the follow through energy that I have been missing my whole life.
Ok, being a wellness coach, I apply the principals on myself: How did I do it? I mucked through the dread. I became aware of my tendency to want to run off (literally) when faced with details that I didn't know how to do. NO! I said. Just do it. Estimate a price for each of the 100 items. It was painfully tedious. I hated every minute, but I kept going. I observed how I wanted to crumble when facing a dreaded task. I admit, it was child like. I got a sense of breakthrough newness each time I persevered.
I get to decide. According to my comfort level; my tolerance, my passion, letting myself be influenced by another's beliefs or actions. I get to decide what is right for me. I am the master of the little circle of space that surrounds my feet, my place in the world. I control the atmosphere and the happiness climate in that space. I decide the time zone, the rules, the pace, the activities in that little space. I have the privilege of deciding my goals, to following my passion, taking risks, choosing to where to focus my energies. Powerful LITTLE circle.
My sister's opinion of me matters more than anyone else's at this time in my life. With my parents gone and with past husband and son out of my sphere, it's her approval and love that seems to loom over my parade; like watching the skies for clouds. Really? It's like I'm still 4 years old and I haven't mitigated her influence yet. High time. So interesting that I was able to adjust my energies in marriage to match my husband's level of effort, but I have never thought to dial down my engagement level to match my sister's disregard.
You don't matter anymore. Your opinion of me is like an ant's thought. No influence. Your petty fashion judgements are like a little girl's preoccupation with ruffles and Easter hats. In fact, I'm holding this characterization of you steadfast in my mind. The Easter bonneted, white gloved, girlish image of you; the "Church Lady" of SNL. This is me shrinking you in order to release myself of this sisterly bind that has plagued me over the years. This relationship has been poisoned by harsh judgements, neglect, power struggles, and competition. I declare the whole experience of it null and void.
She always has an agenda. Her random sentences or inquiries feigning interest in me are part of a strategy. She is leading to a subject she has already thought about from every angle. No matter my answer A or B, she has prepared her response, complete with a giggle and a smile to disrupt my attention into thinking this is a casual conversation. These are my wary warnings. I've grown up with her for 60 years. I have been outwitted many a time. But until now I had never bothered to analyze her cunning. She is devious bordering on malicious.
I throw up my hands, I have to leave the premises in disgust. We have another disagreement about the number of paintings each of us is taking; about her claim to one of them that we have not yet considered. She says (for the third time in a month) that she feels attacked, complete with hands brought to her sheltered chest. I say, "Sis, I'm not going to hurt you. I'm not threatening you, I'm not attacking you, I'm not swearing at you, or raising my voice. Don't you think your language is a bit strong?" Not to mention insulting!
The real deal: my sister, has a super protected self image. She considers herself a God-fearing, sweet souled, salt of the earth, wonderful person. EXCEPT WHEN SHE IS WITH ME! I'm the one that punches holes into her self image. She can't stand it. My new awareness of her default response is helpful: She is accusatory, saying "you are attacking me" (in response to any anger.) Then, when I am cognizant of her strategy and confront the accusation, she says, "You hurt my feelings!" Translation: You are not upholding my pedestal position. You are wrong and bad. Hmmm. Gotcha.
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