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Iím going to say it. Each time I visit the Queenhive Facebook page (new group) and it looks like nothing is happening, it makes me happy. That is wrong. Iíll say that too. Iíve already tried to put that growth thing out there. Now I see it as, ďI know better than you.Ē And, I could justify it, too. I had a masterís degree to prove it. I know stuff! But the degree is really bullshit. It authorizes bullshit. Now, Iím staying out of otherís way. Iím letting people be themselves, change themselves.
Therapy was traumatic today. I took last weekís bright collage and amidst the mountain shaped cutouts I had glued to the white background, this time I started with black watercolor pencil making a very dark cloud. This, as I told her about my sonís addiction to internet; how it has misshaped his life, his thoughts, his reality. And how, now, I feel myself to be the enabler. In the 3 years of her therapy, she has laughed and cried along with me. This time her face was stern, perturbed? She said, ďHow did you not know this would happen?Ē
I cried all the way through La La Land, the way you can when you go alone and arenít seated by anyone. It was an impossibly charming movie about the effervescence of dreams. How powerful they are in shaping a life, how necessary they are to the people who influence the world. How strong they are in propelling action. And yet life says you have to choose. You canít have it all- no one has that much good karma. Thus heartbreak is always a part of the developmental process. Love, heartbreak. Life is as treacherous as it is glorious.
My morning: searched through a box of discarded wires to find the match to a formerly discarded phone. I faced down Google Docs (was dumbfounded) Later I was frustrated that the replacement head I had purchased for the electric toothbrush did not fit the base. Finally, before leaving for work I had to erase the messages off my over-full voice mailbox. F-ing technology! In contrast, Iím reading ďThe Trials of the EarthĒ and the main character, Mary, would have finished the dress she started the night before, made 80 biscuits for their boarders, plus 15 fruit pies. Accomplishment!
I have a little sister complex. Because of counseling, I can feel my over reaction in response to an over reach by any woman near my age that implies (or I project that) she needs to correct me. I can hear advice from anyone else. Menó blowhards; young women, older womenówho the hell cares? but I get hooked on a competitive, petty, who do you think you are mode while feeling, shitóshe knows better and thinks I donít know anything. Itís all baggage. I have to step back, feel the feelings and Do Not Act. Chill Out!
I guess it had to happen. Jeff and I attempted and failed at talking numbers. $$$, big significant numbers that represent who is giving what and for how long. I brought it up because itís time. His bank account is growing and mine continues to shrink. I wonít go into his stuff here. Just mine. There I was poking the bear -read: angry, emotional, defensive manówith predictable results. In MY living room. I left to room and said ďyou win,Ē because I donít want to live with his anger. But now Iím mad. Itís unfair.
Later, my emotions seem to be swelling instead of diminishing. Iíve gotten into poor me (sad), and poor misunderstood me (self righteous), and accusatory: heís using my motherhood instincts against me. Iím mad at myself for throwing in the towel and letting his eruption control my behavior. (old school) and (self preservation) I did nothing wrong. I didnít even ask too much and even if I did, itís just a number. Negotiable. Boundaries! Iím slinking around like the old days of life with Ex. And Ex2. And Mom. What happened to my solo, bliss filled life?
Iím scared. It feels like Iíve been treading water for days, waiting for a ship to rescue me. There is no ship. There is just a thread of hope that I cling to. An now I have to prepare for the worst case scenario. Mind you, this is all playing out in my head. There is nothing I can pin this anxiety on. Just an awareness that maybe I should be doing something more, or different or better. Maybe itís stagnation? I havenít risked anything in months, just getting by, catching my breath. Watching and waiting. Ugh!
I traveled to Washington DC with a friend whom I met seven years ago at work. It was for a conference; Psychology Networking. Was it a new view of her, or a change in her? She was reticent. She seemed fearful to express her views on the conference segments she heard. She was untrusting of my opinions in navigating the subway system; needing to ask strangers and dismissing me. I accommodated her desires to see highlights of the city, since I had been there just the year before. She was not appreciative. I think she is muted by antidepressants; emotions stymied.
My mind wonít let go of this feeling. This sinking feeling; a mild shame. Is this the phenomena known as fraudism? Iíve boldly stepped out of my comfort zone- teaching children and adults drawing, painting and mixed media. I have a background in these things. I have an interest in the arts and in people. I have the studio and the supplies. Should be enough, I say. But my feelings belie me. My after school art of plaster wrapping was a disaster. My adult student wants me to critique and guide her. My teaching strategy is to help people practice.
Iím good at hiding my distress, especially from myself. I have a certain way of being which is stable and optimistic; not necessarily cheery, but holding the belief that anything can happen and it could be as much for the good as for the bad. The inner norm might be tested and still, out of habit, my functioning is the same. Not so today. Itís the 6th day of cold, wet weather, too miserable to appreciate. I left work early just to give myself a lift. I lit candles in the fireplace. Itís time for wine. Time for self nurturing.
A minute to be grateful for this past weekend. Noko from Japan and Yoshi, her daughter from now Texas, came to Detroit on business but wanted to stop and see me. I decided to invite them to stay with me for 2 nights. I did have one meltdownósorry Son! óbut other than that meals and planning and prior planning was well worth the effort. They were easy to accommodate and we had many laughs together. It was a review for us about how we appreciate each other and our history and connection. It reopened a door in my heart.
In 2008, I came to Michigan from California because my aging parents were here. I told my then husband that his accompanying me was optional. He came anyway. In 2012, my social work job was going south. My Dad, 86, was diagnoses with lung cancer. I read the writing on the wall, and it spelled D O O M. My default coping strategy kicked in óread- busyness. I applied to WSU for a masters in Art therapy. My sister, the capital R capital N came up from NC, and explained this as ďher gift to dad-but I could help, too.Ē
My niece left me a phone message. She said, very sadly, that she had to put her dog down. I thought about how old that dog must have been. The message appeared on what I thought was a dysfunctional answering machine in the ďcold roomĒ which I donít use in the winter. Itís spring now, thus I discovered the blinking red dot. I have no idea how long ago the message was left. I only know it was a Wednesday at 7:00pm. All of this to sayÖI did not call her back. I donít trust her motives.
Iím leaning toward losing a friendship. We met at work 7 years ago. Three years ago I quit that place. Amy and I have traveled together for a few conferences. Sheís a kind person. Not that fun. Now she has a boyfriend, so all her spare time is taken. That leaves little time for us to keep a bond. The last time we traveled together, we had challenges on the subway routes. I detected ageism; as if I were incapable of navigation. It hurt. Also I could see I was cast in my familiar ďlittle sisterĒ role. Her choices mattered.
Iíve written before about the pretend life in which marriage had never been invented. Now, I want to take it one step further. What if world wide, the culture just accepted romantic love for the bizarre and beautiful experience it is. And, didnít feel like they had to do something about it, like change their entire lives, like make a vow to announce their love would be permanent, though everyone knows is a fiction. What if everyone just assumed that romantic love was a temporary flight of fancy, for however long it lasts and understand its impermanence? Ah, much better.
Today I learned a word that underscored my estrangement with my sister. The word is perfidious. The thesaurus says: treacherous, duplicitous, deceitful, disloyal, faithless, unfaithful, traitorous, treasonous, false, false-hearted, double-dealing, two-faced, Janus-faced, untrustworthy. Bam! Need I say more? This is my sister. Maybe just a bit more: manipulative. I accept her for who she is. Iíve let go of the story and the drama (thatís forgiveness, right?) But who would invite more of that into their life? Not me! The door is closed. Locked. There is a window. Sometimes I wonder about the real good-bye.
Uugghh! Gut punch to the stomach. You learn about people as you live with them. What Iíve learned this week has made me achingly sad. My son accused me of constantly poking him. He said this in an extremely agitated state. His agitation with me spoke more emphatically. Disdain. Contempt. Hatred? That I have pushed him into a corner, and I still pick at him. My version? Iíve offered him the best room of the house and I continue to show enjoyment of his company, by sharing a few daily sentences. Love vs hate. Adult vs child. Perspective is everything.
Learned: Joe wants me to be quiet and not bother him unless heís in the mood to talk. Adult women should be seen and not heard. Joe will receive food if itís available without acknowledging it as an offering. Joe will stay here until asked to leave. Joe will take up my space, use the pretty sun room for his private space and expect it to remain his private space, if allowed. Joe has two temperaments: one that is mild, thoughtful and gracious while he simmers and nourishes his grievances; preparing for his next explosive, self righteous, unfounded lashing out.
Today my mind made an enemy out of a friend. My emotions got highjacked and I let all the stereotypes I didnít know I had, flood and corrupt my clear path of equanimity. A Trump supporter! In my store! Iíve known Steve since we were lovers in our twenties. We reunited through FB, got caught up on the major events of life and we bi-annually meet and talk about books art and music. I know him as a decent ant compassionate guy. And now a selfish, hoarder of wealth chanting the republican ďIíve got mine, go get your own.Ē
I killed a great tree yesterday. A wide and towering Oak. And, it was an impulsive move on my part. My neighborís tree service offered me a deal and I took it. I even paid $3k to have it destroyed It had an injury and it dripped sap continuously. Eventually the tree, which hovered over my roof would start to lose limbs. So I justified it. But I feel sad and guilty. The empty, bright space that fills the formerly dark, mighty stripe shouts at me. My impulsiveness makes me feel callused. I should have hugged it, said good bye.
Three days ago, Chris said she was going to her oncologist and hoping for good news. I expressed my acknowledgement of her fortitude and courage. I havenít heard from her. Yesterday my neighbor Seth told me the news that his wifeís four tumors have doubled in size. I am sad. I cried for the first time in months this week. I also thought nostalgically about my former husband. I hadnít let myself revisit the good times or his good qualities. It was a bittersweet remembrance. Sadness is part of life. Iím taking time now to feel.
A woman, Sarah, comes into my shop for a watercolor lesson. She says sheís nurturing herself. Sheís learning to reach outside her comfort zone and find activities outside her family sphere. This, btw, is my reason for having a store. She talks; tells me many amazing things her counselor has helped her with. Her entire family was thrust into counseling because her son said the S word. The man has help change the dynamics of their family so that each could fully express themselves. I asked for the manís name. My next path? Good things happen through listening to others.
I paid my insurance bill. Finally. I hate insurance with a passion. If I didnít pay house, business, health, car insurance I could save a fortune. In one year, Iíd have $5K with which to handle my own catastrophes. And each year Iíd add another $5K. I call every year and try to negotiate a better deal. This year, I called around. I spoke with at least 5 insurance guys. All nice, all told me the same thing; $1000 is the right rate. I buckled only because it was weighing heavily on my mind. and thatís what most would do.
I went to pickle ball clinic again today. Itís probably my 5th time. It thrills me. Each 1st and 3rd Saturday, I wake up to an early alarm, so I can enjoy coffee and then go. The students are all fun loving seniors-the adventurous type-like the drummers. My kind of crowd. I still havenít stayed and played an actual game. Next time, I promise myself. Iím anticipating that by next winter, Iíll have a sport to keep me in shape and some new friends to play with. I am thankful that Iím an athlete.
To my republican friend, your viewpoints, by my logic, are WRONG. To your bigoted comments about Muslims wanting to take over the worldÖI would say: Holocaust. Doesnít the act of lumping huge categories of people together as one entity, deny individual integrity? Need another example? One particular group is causing mayhem to victims world over. That big, lumped group is called ďmenĒ. No you say, Iím not one of those wife beaters, Iím not holding a gun to another persons head in war or in crime. And yet most of all violent acts are performed by men. Get it?
Blaming. The scourge of humankind, the major reason for divorce, the cause of ongoing feuds. Simply put, when most people are unhappy or dissatisfied, their emotional energy seeks a target. And the target is usually the closest person to them. Is this a modeled behavior we learn? Is this an innate quest to deflect painful self accountability? Why not just walk away? Perhaps the inability to escape circumstances due to partnerships, obligations, age factors plays a role in blaming. Coming to the conclusion that Iíd be happy if I wasnít with you is a misstep in logic + habitual self denial.
I have to redefine success on my own terms. Is it success if I enjoy each day at work? If I feel content with my established 5 hour a day job? If Iím somewhat gratified in my purpose? If Iím challenged to keep trying something new? Meeting new people in the process? Keeping hope alive? Is it success if Iím always learning new art techniques? or business tips? Is it success if Iím not crying for money, not technically worried about it and clearly have enough? Who cares if my business model will not grow? I got what I want.
Iím 65 in August. Never, at any age, did I keep a number in the forefront of my mind. But now itís like a chime ringing several times a day. You are 65. Iím slowly learning or trying to learn to accept my age. I run across the street with some speed to avoid cars and I say, ďYou are 65.Ē meaning: others are watching an old lady. I think about moving my store to a better location, and I say, ďYou are 65Ē meaning: give up. Often, meeting a person, I say, ďYou are 65Ē meaning: you are nobody.
I am very happy. The happiness feels like it comes from within. A general satisfaction with life. I think I have resiliency. Or, I got my fatherís genes for being buoyant and even tempered and itís finally become apparent. It took age to reveal itself. Age, because it doesnít make sense anymore to compare ones self to anyone else (did it ever?), lack of hormones which cause so much emotional hijacking (was that a survival mechanism? Maybe as a mother protecting an infant? A bit of over kill there.) Also, resoluteness in discovering the final horizon. Itís time to relax.
The Tip Jar