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Archive for the ‘Alone’ Category

Into The Unknown

There are numerous women in my life that fill numerous roles and I’ve had a carefully crafted organization system in place for years that keeps each in their zone.

However……

They have started to move about the cabin freely without me turning off the seat belt sign, and to be completely honest, I’m not liking it.

I’m a big fan of clear cut lines and rules. This wasn’t always the case, but over the last decade or so it’s become helpful for dealing with my anxieties and insecurities. I like to know what to expect and from whom I can expect it.

In my attempt to “take control” of the direction my life is going in, I somehow overturned all the boxes, lost the labels, and shook up the etch a sketch road map.

I am excited about the future and the possibilities, but at the same time I’m feeling unmoored. My love life is completely up in the air. There is a big “we’ll see” over my relationship status. My “flirtationship” has been on the fritz like a wonky radio signal I lose just about the time I make out the lyrics of my favorite song. My female friends have morphed into my family, and the few I’m leaving behind in Ohio feel like an impending death in that family. Ohio is “only” 1000 miles from Oklahoma, but when you live on a strict budget that may as well be on the moon. My soon-to-be roommate has been my friend for almost 30 years and we couldn’t be more opposite on 99% of our opinions and I fear our new arrangement will cause issues there. (I’m mouthy and opinionated on a good day.) The women that have been friends I flirt with from a safe distance will no longer be at a distance and that worries me a lot because I’m all flirt and no intention with all of them so I have to pull on my big girl panties and draw some clearer lines there. I’m going to be moving closer to certain people I’ve been able to easily put in my rear-view mirror because of the distance. I want to keep them there, but I’m not terribly adept at being the asshole when I should be. For the first time in 11 years I’ll be able to rebuild a relationship with a young woman that, though born to another mother, was my daughter from the moment she took her first breath. After falling out with her biological mother she was kept from me as a child, but now as an adult I’m not sure where I fit into her life and that is an unpaved road that leaves me feeling like I need a GPS and a seeing eye dog.

It’s all so messy. It’s a lot of unknowns. It’s a lot of insecurities. It’s a lot of building, rebuilding, reevaluating, reconstructing, and self-reflection. I say I’m patient, but in truth I’m not when it comes to myself. I want all the answers and I want them now.

The thing they forget to mention to kids who are in a hurry to grow up is at no time in your adult life do you get the key to the library that holds the book that has all the answers. You don’t even get the cliff notes. Adulting is more like a self-guided study on theoretical physics just after having grasped 6th grade science and math.

Also; Packing sucks and if you can pay someone to do it for you I highly recommend it. Unfortunately I’m flying solo on that as well.

New Beginnings

My life has been change after change after change; some chosen, some I fell into, others forced onto me. The upcoming changes in my life are a combination of all 3. I’ve been waiting to see where my partner was going to take her next steps and holding off making any choices until then. Unfortunately, as 50 creeps up on me, I’m feeling the pressure to find my next step faster than she is making decisions.

After seeing my daughter marry a man she loves and seeing so many of my friends finding the person they want to grow old with I knew it was time for me to decide for myself what comes next. The most important thing to me was to end my self-imposed isolation. Step one: find someone to share a home with; friend or lover didn’t matter, but I’ve fortunately found a friend of 3 decades to share a home with while I sort out the remainder.

I’m okay being single, more okay than I thought I’d be. I have visions of walking with my chihuahua strapped to my chest (Don’t judge. She’s old.) and my friend’s dog on a leash and exploring the back roads in Oklahoma. I’ll be a short drive from my hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. I’ll be not far from my little girl until she decides where she would like to settle for good. I’ll be near my best friend. I’ll have my own space and no one imposing on me what they think I should be doing with my life. For the first time in over 20 years I’ll be free to be me without anyone I have to try to keep happy, no one I have to give up part of me to please.

That sounds crazy for someone my age, but honestly my “when I grow up” dream was always to be a wife and mother. My goal now is to figure out how to combine that dream with being my authentic self. After so long my “authentic self” is somewhat of a mystery. There are clues, bits and pieces that feel real. I get to spend the next little while sorting through what is me, what is the me I became to please others; to keep them happy, what parts fit the 50 year old me that is ready to settle into what I hope will be my happily ever after.

Also I have 30 years of dating under my belt that will have hopefully taught me something about choosing better, demanding better for myself, not settling for living half a life. I want that for myself and for my partner. I want to live a life, single or not, that is full of passion, learning, experiences, art, and comfort. I want to learn new things and try new things. I’d like a partner that wants the same. I want to dance and sing (badly unfortunately) and learn to be playful and relaxed. I want to love someone who comes home happy to see me and truly shares themselves with me. I want someone who doesn’t make me feel I can’t share everything with them. I want realness and openness and honesty, with myself first and then, hopefully, with the partner I’ll share my life with.

Where I end up in life doesn’t really matter to me as much as who I end up being. I want to be a light in the life of those who love me. I want to be authentic in everything I do and support others in doing the same. There’s a lot of work ahead to get to where I want to end up, but I have some amazing people in my life that support and love me through change after change. I see the kind of person I want to be and the kind of person I want to share my life with in these amazing women I know and love. To know they exist makes the unknown journey ahead of me less frightening.

Stay tuned to see what I discover in the months and years ahead. Hopefully that will include some great writing as well.

In Love and Light and Laughter,

Monique P

Link

Is it Karma?

The attached link at the bottom says nearly perfectly what makes sense to me. I believe one of the reasons I feel so stuck is needing to break free from the guilt and feeling of “I deserve this shit” that weighs me down. I created this life and now I have to find a way to make it better, but instead of making it better I keep letting it beat me up because I put so much bad out there in the past a part of me feels it’s justified. And the people in the world around me just reinforce that narrative with their negativity towards me. I’m deemed stupid because I’m overweight. I’m deemed untrustworthy because over a decade ago I broke the law. I’m deemed worthless because, due to previously mentioned law breaking, I don’t have a large income. My entire life I’ve found my desire, my energy, my passion in the connections in my life. Whether it was my daughter, my partner, my job, my friends, my grandma, or even people who only knew me from being out in the gay community. Those pieces of energy each person or opportunity gave to me were life fuel to my chaotic emotions and brain. It gave me direction and drive.

It possibly started before my major screw ups actually. I had a partner that struggled with addiction and mental illness and to my detriment and to the detriment of most of my other connections I allowed her to feed off me until I was left pretty broken emotionally and not real well mentally. That’s when the anxiety started. That’s when I started feeling desperate to find something, anything to tie someone to me, no matter the consequences. I needed to be “refueled.” 15 years later it’s only gotten worse, not better. For a short while I found a stable place to land, but the connection was weak, forced even. Staying would have been a disservice to her, but I left in the worst way possible and added another notch to my chain of negative karma.

And here I am. Stuck. I make lists of things needing to be done and say ok we we will make 2 small changes a day. Unpack a box, take curtains I’ll never use again to goodwill, write a scene, call my best friend and actually hear her voice, write a letter, take a walk, etc.

I step out of my bedroom into my cluttered kitchen, look at my disaster of a livingroom, and immediately feel defeated. It’s bigger than me and I just can’t find it in me to face it alone. My heart rate goes up, my hands tremble and forcing myself to take another step in any direction other that  back to my room brings me to tears. So I go back to my room and take a nap. Again.

I start to write and I think wow this is such a great idea and then the thought passes through me that sending what I write into the world opens me up for verbal beatings and rejection and I’m not scared, I’m petrified. I’m paralyzed to the point that if it feels good enough to make it into a book it will be weeks or months before I pick it up again.

I keep searching for a connection that will make me feel like I have the strength, but theres a disconnect between my self imposed bubble and the one that holds everyone else. Connection has been missing from my life for so long I have slowly lost all the energy I had gotten from being a part of something, a part of so many lives and peer groups, and now I’ve grown afraid to try to reach out because of the constant rejection. It’s so hard to explain to someone who has never been in my head or heart or body; even harder to explain to someone who has never faced real anxiety, depression, or adversity.

I adore my internet followers and friends and I do feed off there happiness and celebrations. I’ve narrowed my connections on my personal pages to people who bring some light into my life. Dropping probably 2/3 of my “friends.” I don’t allow a sense of obligation keep me in touch with negative people.

All this is just starting to click for me sadly, but it gives me a why or a cause. My job now is to turn it around; work to make progress towards positive personal connections and put some good energy out into the world. Find a way to look for beauty and things that make me happy or passionate about life again. Mostly importantly I have to find a way to make small steps in progress without allowing my anxiety send me into flight mode. Nothing is overnight,  but one step at a time. One day at a time. One foot in front of the other. Being patient with myself is another place I falter and if I’m not going to have a team around me anymore I’ll have to he my own cheerleader. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Monique P

https://www.one-mind-one-energy.com/law-of-cause-and-effect.html

Midlife Crisis?

As a person who has battled depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember; sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between depressive episodes and other negative mood traits. Bad just feels bad. Sometimes, however, feeling bad feels like a weight on your chest. You can pretend it’s not there; hide it from those around you, but all you can think about is finding a way to rid yourself of its suffocating effects.

I thought I was just being perimenopausal. I’m that age. Mood swings, hot flashes, yadda yadda yadda. I felt worn out and blamed that on my inability to sleep when my body can’t seem to decide if it’s hot or cold, or most often on fire followed by freezing. My daughter has moved out of the house. My dearest pets are showing their age. All reasons that can explain away my lack of enthusiasm for getting out of bed each day.

Some days I get a spark of “I can take on the world,” usually followed by posts and blogs about the power of positivity and making big changes and being true to myself. (See previous posts.)

In the last few months I’ve discovered I’m more often finding reasons to not participate in the world outside my door. I’m looking at the future with resignation that my best years are behind me. I think of my age and believe I’ve passed the point where I should have my shit together and even attempting to get there now would be a waste of time. I feel the aches and pains of a 47 year old body and it reminds me that it only gets worse from here.

I’ve been considering making efforts to change my occupation, but then I convince myself no one wants a middle aged woman who is trying to start from the bottom.

I list all the “shoulds”:

I SHOULD own a home.

I SHOULD be married.

I SHOULD have a career I enjoy.

I SHOULD be driving a newer car.

I SHOULD have gotten healthier before it was too late.

I SHOULD have traveled more.

I SHOULD feel settled into my life.

I SHOULD be better at being an adult.

I can go nearly a week without leaving my house, without bathing, without changing clothes, without having a single vegetable, without brushing my hair or my teeth, without cleaning a single dish, without spending more than the time it takes to nuke a frozen burrito out of my bed, or without sleeping or staying awake more than a few hours at a time. I can do all this and KNOW I need to do something different, but lack the ability to walk past my bedroom without crawling right back under the blankets.

I lie to people about things I’m accomplishing or things I’ve been doing in all my spare time. I lie to myself and say, “Tomorrow I’ll start [fill in the blank].” I might even believe it when I think it. My gung-ho attitude lasts until my next nap which isn’t far off.

I keep thinking certainly I won’t go another 30 or more years and it not get better than this, then immediately think the best has already came and gone and I wasted it on stupid youthful pursuits and bad decisions.

One moment I think I should just cut ties with my partner, who will leave eventually anyway, and move on to whatever comes next. The next moment I think I’ve dedicated a decade of my life to this person and why would I invest 10 years in someone I love only to wash my hands of her.

There are moments I believe she knows me better than anyone shortly followed by moments where I truly believe she doesn’t even see me.

There are moments of gratitude for the genuine friends I have made in my life and many more moments where I feel completely alone.

There seems to be a change on the horizon, but will it pass by during one of the five naps I take in a day?

Will this pass or am I as stuck as I feel? Is this normal? Is normal actually a thing?

My track record of poor choices isn’t exactly inspirational when it comes to convincing myself to pull myself up by the bootstraps and make things happen. So, for now, I’m going to stay under the blankets with my books and my furbabies and hope this is a phase and, like the cold weather outside, will pass without my intervention.

I just don’t have it in me to do more than survive it right now. I’m choosing to believe surviving it is enough for today.

 

 

To Write Love On Her Arms

I just finished a movie called To Write Love on Her Arms and I have to tell you it touched me more than almost any movie I can remember.

Let me start by saying I do not struggle with drug or alcohol addiction. I am not bi-polar. I am not a cutter. I am not suicidal.

I am also not religious and for me this was not a story about any god or religion.

What I am is a person who battles depression and anxiety. I am a person who has struggled in life, at times, to find a reason for waking up another day. I am a person who has felt lost within herself. I am a person who believes in hope. I am a person who KNOWS beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I NEED other people in my life for me to be okay. No matter what anyone believes about themselves, we all do.

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To Write Love On Her Arms is the true story of a young lady named Renee Yohe. It all started with a blog post by her friend Jamie who, after meeting her and helping her detox, found her story to be encouraging. He wasn’t encouraged because she had already triumphed, but because she was damaged yet still not broken. She was beyond help in the eyes of most of the world but surrounded by a small group of people who loved her enough to help her put her life back together; even if they had to keep gluing the shards of her hope over and over again.

Sometimes that’s all you need in life; that person or those persons who stick. The ones who see your scars, visible or not, self-inflicted or not, and don’t flinch. The ones who love you when you feel unlovable. The ones who hope for you when you feel hopeless. The ones who see you plain as day when you feel completely lost. Everyone needs those people. EVERYONE.

There have been days when the war being waged in me felt like it could rip me to shreds. I can only thank my own fear of being controlled, by persons or substances, that I didn’t use drugs and alcohol to escape to some place away from myself.

Renee’s story reminded me just how much I depend on my people. My best friend, my internet friends, and my chosen family are all intricate stitches in the fabric of my being. When my edges are frayed I just turn to any one of them and their kindness and love and acceptance weaves the hope back in until I’m whole again. For me; that love and that hope are my religion, my higher power. I turn to these things like a flower turns it’s face to the sun.

Renee-Yohe

Some might look upon this young woman’s face and wonder how could a young life be so bad or so difficult that addiction and pain feel better than merely existing. But I get it. Sometimes just waking up to exist another day is the monster beneath the bed, the unknown thing you fear the most. Perhaps it’s true that “it’s never as bad as you imagine it will be,” but then again maybe that’s the lie we tell ourselves to get out of the bed and step foot in front of the beast waiting to devour us. Until it’s your bed, your feet, your monster, you don’t know for sure.

For many of us the thing that gets us past the monster, the fear, is the person or persons waiting outside the door for us. Our children, our spouses, our families, and our true friends give us the courage to hope that our exposed limb won’t be snatched. Not today at least. Trying to find that courage when there’s no one waiting on the other side of your fear, whose mere existence in your life is the reward for getting there, is damn near impossible.

https://twloha.com was founded by Jamie after the overwhelming response to Renee’s story showed him just how many people were in desperate need of someone in their corner. Because honestly the only thing worse than hating yourself, hurting yourself, being afraid, and suffering from mental illness of any kind is doing it all alone. There’s enough people on this big ball we all live on that no one should have to do it all alone.

My hope is that even just one of you will read or watch Renee’s story, now that I’ve told you about it, and you will think of someone who needs to know they aren’t alone in life, and you will SHOW them you are there for them; you will find time in your busy life to help someone hold their pieces together.

And if you are a person who needs to connect to someone who sees you through your own fog; who needs someone to hand you the hope and love you can’t quite grasp on your own; who needs someone to hold the pieces in place as you glue them back together for maybe the hundredth time; who needs a reason to face the monsters that lurk around the corners and behind your eyes…I beg of you…reach out.

I promise you that someone doesn’t have to have walked in your shoes to be exactly who you need. They only need to be let inside your walls. No one can be your person if you don’t allow them to be. Surround yourself with people who want to be there for you and then let them.

Have hope. Be brave. As Renee said, “The stars are always there but we miss them in the dirt and clouds. We miss them in the storms. Tell them to remember hope. We have hope.”

See the blog post that started the To Write Love On Her Arms movement here: https://twloha.com/learn/story/

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