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memories, associations, and deja who?

I have a LOT of time to think during my commute.  This morning I was watching my thoughts and my emotions as they swirled about, playing with and against each other.  There was nothing concrete; it was all very nebulous.  I noted that thoughts and emotions are completely different animals, so it’s almost futile to even attempt to manage or  understand them in the same manner.  Thoughts can be concrete and follow reason, so they can be grasped, given the effort.  Emotions,  however, are entirely different.  They are a form of data that requires a completely different translator.  The same rules of analysis don’t apply.

I’ve been wondering why certain emotions are surfacing.  Logically, there is little to no reason for anything but giddy happiness.  Life is so GOODMY life is so good!  Yet these emotions are surfacing and overtaking me.  Just when I think I’m all sorted out, grounded, steady, solid — BAM, tears are streaming from my face and my heart feels as though it’s clenched by an iron fist.

For some reason, I thought of PTSD.  It’s not reserved for battle scarred war heroes, you know.  Not that I want to assign another disorder to the list of labels already attached to me, but the words themselves –post, trauma, stress– align well with the emotional experience that I’m trying to describe.  I also thought of memories and associations.  So many associations stir fragments of memories that evoke buried emotions.  A song, the color of the sky, a turn in the road, the sound of a voice –so many random things in any given day can stir something up.

Memories are things of the past, and the experiences are over.  Any traumas and stresses were overcome, because they are in the past.  I am here.  I am healthy.  I am strong.  So why and how can an associated memory bring me to my knees and knock the wind from me and rob me of my now?  As I was pondering this, I wondered in terms of PTSD.  Maybe at the time I couldn’t actually process or deal with whatever it was.  Maybe survival was the only thing that I had the bandwidth for (and may the gods and my departed dad forgive my overabundant use of stranded prepositions).  Maybe, when caught up in the fray of whatever drama I was caught up in, all I could do was stay afloat and suppress rather than address the emotions and stresses du jour.  So maybe, because I’m no longer in sheer survival mode, the associations that stir memories release those emotions as though they are fresh.  BAM!  Ouch!  Me no likey.

I wanted to write these thoughts down, and I thought I’d entitle this post, “memories and associations” — it has a certain flair.  But it also rings a bell (hello?  how many things are endless repeats in this blog?), and so it happens that I’ve written at length about memories and associations before.  I re-read that post and thought, oh shit.  More tears.  I really needed more tears.

So here I am again.  I wish I knew a healthy way to address the emotions that overtake me.  I wish I knew how to pick and choose which emotions could overtake me.  I’d love to keep the giddy highs and dismiss the dark lows.  I bet it’s possible.  I just need to find the right decoder ring.

Posted in depression, ego, me, mental health. Tagged with , , , , , , .

talking myself down from that tree

Stage I.  Darkness

I’ve had an epiphany of sorts regarding depression. Maybe it’s best not to make a global statement here and I will simply qualify this conclusion as a description of my own particular depression.

The state of being depressed is the inability to feel, see, hear, remember or understand love.  When I say love, I mean all love.  The love that others have for me, the love that I have for others, and the love I have for myself.  In short, a love eclipse.  Complete and utter darkness.

In the moments when I am stuck there, it’s almost impossible to imagine being elsewhere, because at those times there IS no elsewhere.  It’s a lost land.  Another world. Breaking free from that place is almost unfathomable. During those moments of darkness,my thoughts drift to the conclusion that life (in this form) is pointless and empty, and being gone would mean no longer feeling the desolation of the absence of love.  Add to that the vile voice from without, sneering the words “you are unlovable”.  At the same time, I yearn for loving arms to hold me, without judgment over my ridiculous display of ego, while my tears release the poison that somehow got stuck inside me.  Clearly (now that I am collecting my thoughts), the yearning for the external expression of loving kindness is to thwart those acrid words, proving that I am, in fact, lovable.  So yes, I feel the need for an outside source to envelop me, accept me, and let me be me, while I flush the icky stuff out.  Also at the same time, I am tempted to flee and sequester myself from humanity altogether.  I want to hide somewhere alone, curled up in fetal position, and weep until I am strong enough to emerge.  Meanwhile, another part of my brain also derides me for this despicable self absorptive indulgence.  I am well aware that in this place, my ego is running wild, an untamed beast.  I am also fully aware that, logically, reasonably, the balance of positive things in my life so far outweighs any measly negatives, that in reality there is absolutely no shortage of love in my life, and it’s almost inconceivable that I would or could ever get to such a place of despair.  I don’t want to feel like this.  Ever.  And yet I do.

It’s perplexing.  It’s embarrassing.

I got stuck there for a little while yesterday.  I felt it coming on the day before, and tried to power through it with various thoughts and reasonings.  I even went so far as to try the prescription my doctor gave me when I tried to describe this phenomenon of getting stuck once in a while.   In all fairness, the pill did help a little.  I could feel that I had taken something, and I could feel it maybe keep the wave at bay, but it didn’t keep it from hitting.  In fact, I felt disoriented the next morning, and that could be due, in part, to the effects of the medication.  At any rate, the eclipse happened.  I knew it was coming and I didn’t know how to diffuse it.  Bam.

Stage II.  Anger

I come out of it when I get some sleep and rest, and distance myself with a little time, but I noticed this morning that, although the darkness and despair is gone, something else lingers.  It’s like a constipation of the brain.  I’m nearly full up, blocked up, and have barely any margin for throughput, so the slightest inconveniences or irks or frustrations push me to the ragged edge where I feel like I’m gonna blow, and I just want to explode somehow, or smash something, break something, do something, anything, to get this detritus OUT of me.  It manifests as anger.  I start dredging up thoughts of other frustrations or experiences, etc etc etc, and think about how awful so and so was, and how horrible such and such was, then immediately turn it back on myself, because ultimately, I’m the one who made the choices that put me in the situations that resulted in the various unpleasant outcomes.  So then I chastise myself for my poor choices, for wafting through life with my idealistic notions that all people are good and nice and honest and loving and kind, and everyone deserves a chance because who am I to think that I am better than someone, or that someone is unworthy of me –rather than exercise a little bit of common sense and self respect to protect my heart and my soul, for God’s sake.  Ohhhhhh, I’ve already been down this thought path before, and established that I am The Fool.  I may yet come out of this diatribe emotionally intact.  So.  Anger.  Because I am not at liberty to break or smash things, I manifest with tears.  I must be quite the vision, should passersby glance in my car as I’m driving to or from work.  Sobbing, otherwise attractive woman behind the wheel.

Stage III.  Back in the Saddle

I’m glad that I took the time to try to capture these thoughts.  Well intentioned friends and family members may point out that I don’t love myself (enough, not necessarily at all), or don’t respect myself (enough, not necessarily at all), or that I don’t treat myself as though I am complete or whole.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  It’s a whole helluva lot easier to see things from another perspective when you’re on the outside.  I don’t know.  This blog is testimony to my emotional struggles.  I should probably take some time to write about the joys and wins, but I’m generally too busy enjoying and living those days and moments to bother documenting them.  Writing out and working through my struggles helps me get back to my normal self.  I suppose it’s true to say that when I am caught up in a dark place, of course I’m not whole, of course I’m not complete, of course I’m not self-loving, of course I’m not self-respectful.  Which causes which?  If I were whole, etc, would I ever get caught in that dark place?  Or am I whole, except when I get caught in that dark place?

The mere fact that I felt it coming leads me to think that with proper and rigorous vigilance, I could thwart it.  And if that’s the case, maybe I don’t have depression at all.  Maybe I just have an untrained, untamed mind.  And if’n that’s the case, well I’munna beat that thang into submission.

Posted in depression, ego, me. Tagged with , , , .

the emperor’s new clothes

Being the vain creature that I am, I like best the photos in which I look lovely.  It makes perfect sense.  If I feel as though I look good, I might actually feel good.  Why is self-esteem such a strange beast for so many?  From our earliest days we are bombarded with images and ideas of what is pleasing and acceptable, and God help us if we don’t measure up to whatever standards are presented.  All that aside, it’s always been somewhat interesting, the disparity between how people see themselves and how others may see them.  This could hold true for more than just face value.  Ha ha.  Face value.  I slay myself sometimes.  What I mean to say is that the view  we have of ourselves, be it our emotional element, our mental element, our spiritual element, or our physical element, may vary widely from the view others hold as they perceive us.

Recently my mother expressed interest in updating her profile photo on Facebook.  She imagined that she must look so much better now than she did last year, as she’s lost quite a lot of weight since then.  Last year my sisters and I ditched our families and responsibilities for a weekend and descended upon our mom’s lair to celebrate her birthday.  We had a wonderful grown up girls time together, and even subjected our poor mother to endure a photo shoot in which we, the artists, applied makeup, arranged hair, advised wardrobe and took photos.  It was a time to treasure, in so many ways.  It was the first time we’ve  had a photo taken together.  Ever.  We were being girly.  My mother is NOT girly.  We would giggle when we’d notice her peeking at her reflection when she passed a window or a mirror.  She would scoff and grumble, but secretly we could tell that she was tickled by what she saw.  We all looked so beautiful, and not one of us under the age of forty.

glamour girls

I always see my sisters as beautiful, regardless of makeup, hairdo, or wardrobe.  They are eternal to me, locked in my heart as silken beauties with intelligence and abilities that span the cosmos.  We are KIM GIRLS!!  But I know with certainty that they don’t see themselves as the radiant beauties and paragons of humanity that I see.  I wish they did, because THEY ARE!!!

This year, while visiting my mother, I took a quick photo and showed it to her.  She was dismayed, to say the least.  The face she saw in the photo clearly did not match the visage she imagined.  I love the photo, though.  I love it because it’s a facet of our reality.  In this photo, I see, almost for the first time, our resemblance.  For most of my life, much of this resemblance has been masked by the prominence of my Korean heritage, but in this photo, it is very clear that we are cut from the same cloth.  This is a reflection of our everyday selves.  Unpolished.  Untamed.  These are the faces of a mother and daughter, 25 years apart in age.  She is 75 and I am 50.

peas in a pod

We both look dramatically different from the earlier photo.  We’ve gone from Vanity Fair to Mother Earth News.  Regardless of what I actually look like, I still prefer to imagine myself in a similar light as I see my sisters — timeless exquisite beauties.  And so it is, that I continue to wear the emperor’s new clothes.  But I’m not so vain that I won’t share a picture like this, that is more likely a representation of reality than any of the other pictures I share.  I can look at a picture like this and see a different kind of beauty.  I can see that I am my mother’s child.  She is, and always has been, beautiful to me.  A glamour girl like her own (and only) sister?  No.  A winner of any sort of popularity contest?  No.  An old hag in her own estimation.  But to me?  She is and always has been indomitable.  A pioneer spirit who can make something from almost nothing.  A tenacious survivor.  These are all beautiful traits that I am happy to inherit, should Providence be so inclined.

Posted in ego, family, me, mental health. Tagged with , .

on second thought

I’m glad that I wrote about exploitation the other day.  It helped me process thoughts more productively.

Exploitation suggests an offender –the one exploiting, and a victim –the one exploited.  It absolves, somewhat, the one exploited from the responsibility of the situation.  Not that I am advocating transferring responsibility for a situation to someone, anyone, or anything other than myself….

Now that some thoughts have had a chance to mill about outside of the coulda woulda shoulda trap, I’ve finally been able to get somewhere.  Now I can and do reclaim responsibility for all of it.  Maybe I was a victim, maybe not.  Well, that man on the train had no right to invade my space, and that Iranian dude had no right to amuse himself with me in the manner that he did…    ….and that ex boyfriend really had no right to do me while I was asleep.  Had I woken up and gotten involved, well hello, that would be a different matter altogether (what’s better than barely waking and reaching for the one you love, and moving together in union and harmony in a semi conscious state?  How sexy and amazing is that?!), but I did not (wake up or respond in any way), and he proceeded, so yeah, he had no right to do that.  I was curious, truth be told.  Curious as to whether he would proceed or not.  It was a test, I suppose, and he failed….    Anyway.  I am not a victim.  I don’t know why or even how some things happen the way they do.  I am no longer hungry for an explanation for any of it.  I’ve decided to let it all go.  It’s something from the past, and the minute that it became history, it lost its power over me.  I don’t know why it took me almost 25  years to figure that out, though.

I’m learning the value of the now.  The only moment for which I have complete control is the moment that I’m experiencing now.  Now!  I am who I am.  I am who I choose to be.  I am who I want to be.  I can draw from the wisdom that has accumulated through the years and the experiences of other times, and I can choose to let all of the experiences be just that.  Wisdom.  Nothing else.  They can’t bring me down.  They aren’t an anchor, holding me down or holding me back.  I don’t want to be sad.  I don’t want to be angry.  I don’t want to be depressed.  I don’t want to be gloomy.  I don’t want to be hurt.  I have no desire for vengeance.  Besides all that, I’m a firm believer that good things come, always, always, always, somehow, from the ashes and anguish and sorrows and tears.  Always, good things come.  So in addition to that certainty, I now have this revelation, this added bonus, this wellspring of effervescent joy.  This is my moment, my life, this time that I am breathing, this instant.  This is mine!  This is my life!  I’m not going to be duped into allowing the past to steal my present.  No more!! And I’m not going to let the future steal my present either.  While I may have some input as to what my future holds, there is absolutely nothing that is certain.  Nothing except for the now.  My now.  My present.  This is what I have.  It’s all that any of  us has.  I’m claiming it.  Owning it.  It’s MINE!  This is life!  THIS.  IS.  LIFE.

brown eyed girl

I am exactly who, what, and how I want to be in this very moment.  I am good!  I am kind!  I am loving!  I am gentle!  I am strong!  I am smart!  I am capable!  I am resourceful!  I am responsible!  I am lovely!  I am fun!  I am creative!  I am happy!  I am healthy!  I am joyful!  I am alive!

Hello world.  It’s me.

Me!

Posted in confessions, depression, ego, health, love, me, mental health, philosophy/religion, thankfulness. Tagged with , , , , , , .

some catchy title about coming to terms with past events

My nature yearns for understanding. Explanation. If I can understand something, if there is an explanation –for some thing, any thing, most things, I can make peace with whatever it is, and let it go or let it be.  At times I encounter things for which reason escapes me.  Experiences that I can’t explain.  Choices that confound me.  And just because something seems inexplicable, doesn’t mean that it is.  It means only that I haven’t yet acquired the wisdom or perspective to understand.  When I was a child, I spoke as a child, understood as a child, thought as a child…

Also, time is a great healer.  Time and a peaceful disposition.

Occasionally thoughts and memories are stirred, and I am drawn to ponder once more these inexplicable things.

Nobody makes it through life unscathed.

lost in my mind

Recently, the concept of exploitation has surfaced in my mind as an explanation of sorts for certain life events.  It’s by no means a complete or satisfying explanation, but it’s the beginning of a channel of thought that might lead to a deeper understanding.  Exploitation suggests an offender –the one exploiting, and a victim –the one exploited.  It absolves, somewhat, the one exploited from the responsibility of the situation.  Not that I am advocating transferring responsibility for a situation to someone, anyone, or anything other than myself.  The thing is, if I’m caught up in the self-blame game, or the coulda shoulda woulda cycle, I spin around and around and never get past that.  Understanding is never achieved, and I can’t put the matter to rest.

I don’t know what draws or compels one to exploit another.   Oh, I suppose things like power, control, greed, and self-serving attitudes fuel such things.  I still fail to understand the draw of such things, other than to feebly attempt to fill some deep seated emptiness, insecurity, or fear.

Anyway.

Once, on a night train in Southern Italy, packed like sardines with other travelers, my friend and I were molested by an Italian man.  Or rather, by his feet.  It was hot and late, and we hadn’t paid for sleeping quarters, so we all dozed in our seats, facing each other with our feet stretched out before us.  It seems like there may have been 8 or 10 people in each booth, 4 or 5 on each side of the booth, facing each other.  The locals slipped off their shoes and put their feet up, and it seemed the normal thing to do in such circumstances.  Budget travelers trying to minimize the discomfort of a long night time train ride.  At some point in time, the man sitting opposite me started to slowly move his toes and probe.  My friend squirmed and glared at him, but I tried not to move.  Her squirming and glaring may have made him stop advancing the foot that was planted in front of her, I don’t know, but he kept on with the foot planted in front of me. I wanted to scream at him to stop, but I didn’t.  I was afraid of making a scene in front of all those foreigners.  He kept on, and I was afraid to look at him, but I occasionally caught a glimpse of him out of the corner of my half closed eyes.  He seemed sinister.  Perhaps I detected a smirk of sorts, as if he dared me to make him stop.  I didn’t move.  I held my breath and pretended to sleep.  I didn’t know what to do.  I don’t remember when he finally stopped.

I suppose the topic of rape prompted this train of inquiry.  What defines such a thing?  The lack of consent?  Does not fighting back or raising a scene mean consent?  Does not actively or overtly objecting mean consent?

Another experience involved an Iranian man.  He was charming, gregarious, and smooth talking.  We were neighbors and met when I moved into an apartment after breaking off a long term relationship with a decent guy.  Now that I am writing about this, I recall he told me he was Italian.  People were more accepting of Italians than Iranians, he later told me, so he generally presented himself as Italian.  Somehow, and to this day I cannot explain how events transpired, I ended up being a sex partner to him.  I never wanted it.  I never consented.  Yet I did what he told me to do.  Why?  I DON’T KNOW.  I would lie in my bed at night and he would do his thing.  MY bed!  Why was he even in my house?  I would lie there like a sack of flour.  Not one bit of interaction.  I would think to myself, how can he possibly enjoy this?  It’s completely one sided and not the least bit interactive.  There was no embracing, no kissing, no motion other than him getting himself off in me.  I can feel my face wrenched in a grimace as I write this, perplexed and disgusted on many levels, to this day.  That wasn’t the extent of it.  He would stand in front of me and tell me to drop to my knees and blow him, and I would.  I did what he told me to do, and it continued for some time.  I don’t know how it happened.  I don’t know why I did it.  Once he brought a friend over.  The General.  They brought a Persian meal of some sort and we dined, then he left.  Where did the other guy go?  Why did he leave?  When would he be back?  They had some flurried conversation in Farsi and he left The General with me.  A stout man in his 60s, I’m guessing, who spoke no English, and used to be a general, back in the old country.  I don’t know.  We were sitting on the couch and I attempted to make conversation.    Apparently he had some background in sports medicine or physical therapy and he picked up one of my arms and began to massage it.  I don’t know how much time passed, but somehow I ended up in my underwear on my bed, being massaged.  It was a bit like an out of body experience in which I looked down and saw a big old Iranian man working his hands over my nearly naked body, working his way towards my nether regions.  How did my clothes come off?  How did I end up in my bedroom, on my bed, nearly naked?  I saw myself and my tattered underwear.  I had this ratty tatty bra that I was trying to get a few more wears out of, and it had a big tear across one of the cups.  It was embarrassing for it to be exposed like that.  Nobody ever saw it, because it was underwear.  But seeing myself in my tattered underwear in front of a stranger prodded my brain into a better state of clarity and I snapped back to reality, jumped up and made him leave.  I’m glad he left.  He could easily have forced himself further.  That was my wake-up call, as if whatever fog or spell I was under lifted, and after that I was able to form a plan to get the hell out of that situation.  There is a lot more to that story, in which I realized that I wasn’t at all safe, but the mere fact that they thought I was a stupid woman gave me the buffer I needed to get myself to safety.  I played dumb after that, more or less, then moved several towns away, in the dead of night, without a trace.  Understandably, I have a general prejudice and phobia toward Middle Eastern men (I have some very dear Middle Eastern friends, so it’s not a universal prejudice).

These aren’t the only events or experiences in my collection.  There are more, and I am only one person.  One gentle, nice, intelligent, and even strong person.  How many other people have tales like these to tell?  Of all the spoken experiences out there, how many more remain unspoken?  I suspect the number is staggering.  I would venture a guess that more than half of all people have an experience of similar proportion with which they can identify or relate.

So.

Was that rape? I don’t know.  Exploitation?  I think so.  I didn’t want any of those situations.  They are a part of my life, part of my collection of experiences, part of my history.  Have I come to terms with these things?  No.  Because I don’t understand how or why they happened.  I’m not the kind of person who lets things like that happen.  Yet I did.  Why?  How?

I DON’T KNOW.

Was it okay?  No.

Am I okay?  Yes.  But I still don’t understand.

Posted in chapters of my life, me, men, mental health, sorrow. Tagged with , , .

bring it

I’ve decided to let the anxiety go. Rather, there are so many positive things to think about.  I consider the various close calls I’ve had in life, yet here I am.  I am a mother to two fine youngsters.   A mother!  It was my life’s dream, and it came true for me.  I have a small circle of friends, dear and well loved.  Untold wealth!  I have a profession, as much of a head scratcher as that may be.  I provide well for my family and our needs are met.  We live in a beautiful, peaceful place, surrounded by trees.  We have everything that we could possibly need.  I have the particular love of a good and fine man.  I am especially blessed at this time in my life.  I have more vigor and hope and joy now than I’ve ever had before.

So this is what I have to say about turning fifty.

Bring it!

bring it

Posted in chapters of my life, me. Tagged with , , , .

suck it fifty

SUCK IT, FIFTY!

I’ve been struggling with anxiety over the milestone looming on my horizon.  It’s taken many forms, and has been mostly low grade, but mounting.  I thought for a moment that with such a milestone I should do something memorable or have something memorable to show for it.  I don’t know.  The last time I bought myself something ridiculously expensive as a milestone memento, it was stolen.   Not that that will completely take the wind out of the sails for any future extravagances, but it does leave some tarnish on the idea.  Anyway.  I have been feeling like I should go somewhere special, or buy something special, or do something special.  But I’m at such a loss.  I haven’t had any time to make any plans, as far as the notion of a getaway goes.  Where would I go, and what would I do?  Logistics.  God knows I need a break (ummm, I did just take a week and cruise to Mexico with my kids and all told, fifteen family members, and it was so wonderful to spend time with family, and it was so wonderful to feel and breathe warm ocean air and hear the sound of waves lapping against the boat, hour upon hour upon hour, and  yes, that was amazing, but of course I will throw in a but…   ….but in order to take any time off I have to complete all the work that I would have to do for the week that I’m away, which means, really, no break from work at all…  whine, whine, whine) and a rest and I don’t know what.  I need something.  I’ve been struggling with the changing tides of my work for some time now.  There’s little to no respite on the immediate horizon, as far as that goes.  Some of the bigger projects will work themselves out in the next few months.  Or rather, I have to finish them, and they will be a thing of the past, after which I might be able to steer myself toward a more manageable workload.  The immediate forecast is bleak, and there is so much pressure, beyond that which I place upon myself.  I am famous for demanding great expectations of myself, so this present workload predicament is taking its toll.  Blah, blah, blah.  I am so weary of complaints.  My own.  My kids’.  Anybody’s.  I have almost no threshold remaining.  I’ve been uncharacteristically irritable, off and on.  Weary.  I know that if I could somehow get enough rest, I’d be FINE.

Almost 29 years of indentured servitude, little to no sunlight, and countless hours of commuting are taking their toll...

Anyway.  I’m not one for pomp and circumstance.  I don’t want a party, and GOD FORBID, a surprise party.  I don’t want to be the center of attention.  I don’t want lavish gifts.  I don’t know what I want for that day.  The kids have visitation with their dad that weekend, and they are oblivious to life events, milestones, and things of that nature.  I suppose that’s my fault, since I haven’t actually taught them to be aware of such things.  I wouldn’t mind doing something special with my sisters, but we are out of time for planning any sort of get together.  Logistics again.  The sweetest thing I can imagine is having a nice meal with my loved ones.  And so it is settled.  My friend will prepare a lovely meal, and we will hang out as a sweet circle of three –my friend, my honey,and I–for the evening, in the comfort of my home.  Simple.  Sweet.  Perfect.  That is all I want.  Bliss.

I hope the 50s are the new 40s, because the 40s were mostly all right...

And as for turning fifty?  I am having a hard time wrapping my head around that number.  It seems like it’s a number that represents something that I just can’t quite put my finger on.   Age?  As if I was supposed to have accomplished something remarkable by now?  Or I should be at some other, more arrived, state of self by now?  Shouldn’t I have life figured out by now?  Shouldn’t I know how to handle stress?  Shouldn’t I know how to manage my children?  Shouldn’t I be cool, calm, and collected?  Well, externally I am all of those.  Internally?  I’m cool, I suppose.  Or maybe tepid.  I’m calm.  I’m collected in a scattered way.  I’m just weary.  Worn.  I went through my list of Facebook friends and pared it down to mostly family.  I could have just shut it completely down, but I do like seeing pictures of my family.  I am actually pleasantly surprised at the feeling of liberation that this small task accomplished.  Inability to keep up with the news feed has been frustrating, and I don’t need any additional source of frustration in my life.

I don't think I wanna be FIFTY. I'm not ready for this!

What would I have imagined for myself by this stage of life?  Happily married?  Kids healthy, grown, and making their own way in life?  Comfortably situated in some career?  Maybe those are all just projections from my early adulthood.  Time has marched on and things are as they are.  My life is not all those things, but my life is beautiful!

Looks like trouble! I still have some oomph left in me...

I don’t feel as though I’m emotionally ready to be fifty.  I feel as though I am only just now getting my momentum, only just now settling in to simply living.  I feel as though I’m only just now getting started in life.  I suppose that realization brings with it a little bit of panic.  Fifty years have gone by and I surely don’t have fifty years left.  I want to be able to live joyfully, to let all unpleasant things slide from me, never taking hold.  I don’t want to allow negative thoughts to crowd my mind.  I want to be comfortable in my skin and in my mind.  I am a rock, standing firm on the ocean shore, while waves crash around me.  They can’t hurt me.  I stand solidly, and let them fall at my feet.  I feel them and I let them go.  I breathe in.  I breathe out.  I keep on loving.  And so I live.

Wrinkles are emerging, but at least they are the smiley happy eye wrinkles...

I have this set of selfies in a photo album called “Fifty Shades of… …Sue” that I’m planning to post on my FB wall next Saturday. My suck it fifty declaration. My sense of humor isn’t always evident, but these are the thoughts that have been milling about in my mind in the past weeks and days while I’ve taken those pictures. All this anxiety. So to offset that, a collection of serendipitously lovely images. Hey, there’s another pretty one. Let’s post that. Really, then, it’s an unveiled invitation for others to say, my goodness, you don’t look anywhere near FIFTY! I have no shame.

Posted in bellyaching, chapters of my life, ego, me, work. Tagged with , .

be here now

Be here now, no other place to be
Or just sit there dreaming of how life would be
If we were somewhere better
Somewhere far away from all all worries
Well, here we are

well, here we are

You are the love of my life

Be here now, no other place to be
All the doubts that linger, just set them free
And let good things happen
And let the future come into each moment
Like a rising sun

You are the love of my life
You are the love of my life
Yeah, you know you are

Sun comes up and we start again
Sun comes up and we start again
Sun comes up and we start again
Sun comes up and we start again
Sun comes up and we start again
Sun comes up and we start again

And it’s all new today
All we have to say
Is be here now

Be here now, no other place to be
This whole world keeps changing, come change with me
Everything that’s happened, all that’s yet to come
Is here inside this moment, it’s the only one

You are the love of my life
You are the love of my life
Yeah, you know you are

sun comes up and we start again

Sun comes up and we start again
Sun comes up and we start again
Sun comes up and we start again
Sun comes up and we start again
Sun comes up and we start again
Sun comes up and we start again

It’s all new today
All we have to say
Is be here now

Listen!

Mason Jennings, Be Here Now

…happy….

Unexpected, and fully embraced.  I didn’t fall into this with reckless abandon.  It began with simple friendship, no agenda, no expectations, no machinations.  There is no stress.  No drama.  Just a simple and sweet fit. Comfort.  Freedom.  Peace.  Communication.  Harmony.

Smooth.  Like honey.

Maybe this is the beginning of happily ever after.  I hope so.  Either way, we’re living in the moment (when we have a moment) and for the moment, and the moment is sweet.

I’ve been smiling since the day we met.

…in retrospect…

I have actually already tried to self sabotage this budding relationship.  I almost didn’t believe anything could be so simple, so easy, so effortless, so comfortable.  I looked for reasons to doubt myself, reasons to doubt him, reasons to doubt the ability to have a relationship at all.  My bestie, thank God for her voice of reason, told me to STOP LOOKING FOR REASONS TO FAIL, FOR GOD’S SAKE!!  After due diligence, of course.  She, along with my sisters and all of my friends who are most dear, will always counsel me to be careful with my heart and keep my eyes open.

I don’t want to throw away the possibility of something beautiful, out of fear over the past and all the various relational paths I’ve traversed.  I aim to let  hope prevail.

…this man…

He is kind.  He is gentle.  He is moderate.  He is stable.  He is thoughtful.  He listens.  He is communicative.  He is helpful.  He is fun.  He is funny.  He is smart.  He is hard working.  He is steady.  He is friendly.  He is  his children’s hero.  He is good at what he does.  He is careful with his words.  He doesn’t put others down.  He doesn’t speak harshly of anyone or anything.  He looks for positive and constructive things to say.  He says what he means and means what he says.  He is dependable.  He is reliable.  He is calm.  He is strong.  He is a man of his word.  He shows up.  He’s where he says he’ll be when he says he’ll be there.  He is appreciative.  He is humble.  He is honest.  He is respectful.  He is respectable.  He is courteous.  He is loving.  He is thankful.  He is good.

…we fit…

We are good together.  We are in tune with each other.  It’s a beautiful thing.  I am grateful for the individual journeys that brought us to the place where our paths intersected, here, now.  A lifetime doesn’t seem long enough to do the things that we want to do together.  There are so many joys and experiences we want to share.

Let good things happen.  Let the future come into each moment like a rising sun.

Be here now.

I love him.  He loves me.

We are here, now.

Posted in love, me, men, relationships, thankfulness. Tagged with , , , , , , , , .

up close and personal

up close and personal

Today has been one of those days that catches me off guard.  One of those days in which I fall apart, draw some conclusions, then realize that I’m mood cycling again and that it’s very likely attributed to shifting hormones.  This happened two months ago.  I remember.  I took some antidepressants for a short while and snapped out of it.  Thankfully, this time, the insanity only had its grip on me for part of a day, and I came to my senses in the early afternoon.

Shaking my head…   Seriously.  Shaking.  My.  Head.  You’d think I’d remember, when I start thinking along ridiculously extreme emotional lines, that my thoughts are traversing ridiculously emotional pathways, and that I’m being ridiculously emotional and these thoughts have little to no bearing on real life.

However.  There are some thoughts that surface when I’m in that state that might warrant exploration.

I seem to tend towards thoughts of fear, insecurity, and uncertainty when I get caught up in a hormone induced storm.  It’s truly ridiculous, and if I had my wits about me, I’d know that!  Alas, such is not the nature of storms.

I’ve been thinking quite a lot over the past several months about truth and walls.  I’ve been formulating some theories about the hidden heart of man.  This likely applies to mankind, not just men, and it may well apply to me, but for now I will just say that it is based upon observations of men, gathered over many years.  It goes like this.  The theory is that one can learn quite a lot about the true heart of a man by the way he sleeps.  Yep.  I’m that creepy.  Watching men while they sleep.  And I don’t have all THAT many data points to consider, but I have given this some thought.  I think that when one is sleeping, their defenses are down, and they present themselves in a more honest light. Because they aren’t presenting themselves at all.  They aren’t staged.  They are revealing a glimpse of their true selves.  In retrospect, I’ve not known many men whose sleeping selves are a match of their waking selves, and, alas, even that doesn’t a fit necessarily make.  Awake, one man might be a man among men, strong, powerful, confident, dominant.  Asleep, that same man may be terrified, and actually swat at me if I reach out and touch him.  Defensive.  Afraid.  Lost.  Awake, one man might be gracious and noble, well spoken, measured, open, and confident.  Asleep, that same man may be selfish, frightened, insecure.  His form is minimized and still.  Hiding.  Afraid.  Unreceptive to my touch.  Awake, one man might be all bravado, macho, and confident.  Another man among men.  Big guy.  Tough guy.  Strong guy.  Asleep, he may be an angel.  If I reach out to touch him, he smiles and opens his arms and pulls me close.  All defenses down, he is full of love.  Giving.  Appreciative.  Receptive.  He may never know that he revealed that part of himself, because he was asleep.  And when awake, he hides behind his carefully constructed walls.  I feel sad for all of these men, because they are conflicted.  Awake or asleep, their fears rob them of the beauty and fullness of life.  Imagine the peace and joy that one would know, if one were not conflicted!  And I cannot be with a conflicted man.  I just cannot.

I think that my own sleeping self is likely a fair representation of my awakened self.  Apart from the ultra sexy CPAP breathing apparatus, I think that if a man were to reach out and touch me in the night, that I would respond by moving toward him.  If he were awake, and watching me sleep, and stroked my hair or my face as I slept, I think I would likely smile.  If he were to try to pull me close, I would shut off the CPAP and bury myself in his arms.  I don’t curl up to take as little space as possible when I sleep.  I don’t try to disappear.  I don’t toss and turn.  I position myself on my side, with my CPAP mask in the least obtrusive and least noisy position possible, and drift quickly off to sleep.  I find peace, and I find rest.

I’ve been thinking of writing this post for quite some time!  I had wanted to pose the notion about Mr. RightForMe.  That his sleeping self would align with his waking self.  That awake he would be kind and gracious and manly and secure, and asleep he would be kind and loving and strong and at peace.  If I reach out to touch him, he may not wake, but he moves closer to me, and some part of our bodies connect.  If he reaches out to touch me, I move myself closer to him, and some part of our bodies connect.  I like to think that awake or asleep, we are comfortable and secure with each other and with ourselves.  I like to think that neither one of us is afraid of love, and neither one of us is afraid to love.  And even if we do have carefully constructed walls, we let each other in.

The problem with the hormonal storms is that while I’m under their twisted spell, I tend to despair and think that nobody would or could ever truly love me, know me, or  understand me, and that it’s completely and absolutely impossible.  That being because I can’t recognize myself when I’m spinning through that cyclone, so how could I possibly expect that of another?  I’m glad those moments are few and far between, but I surely wish that they wouldn’t take me by surprise, each and every time.

Seriously.  Each. And. Every. Time.

It helps, believe it or not, to write these things down.  I scour through my blog when I find myself struggling, and I find posts like this that remind me that this happens.  Sometimes that’s all it takes to snap me out.  Then I can shake it off with gusto, the way a dog shakes the water from its body.

Alrighty then.

Onward!

Posted in love, me, men. Tagged with , , , .

presence and life

I can’t sleep. This happens so much.  I fall asleep easily, but invariably I’ll open my eyes, only to find that two hours have passed. I generally don’t panic on the first awakening, because there is still time to capture some rest in the next few hours before I have to jump into the new day.  I usually drift back to sleep, only to find myself awake again in another two hours.  I look at the time, shake my head, and say to myself, “Really?”  I lie there and wonder why my thoughts are spinning.  I try to will myself back to sleep. There is time. At least a little, anyway.  I’ll open my eyes, hoping to learn that I’d drifted off, but see that in fact, time is slipping away, and all that time was lost in the spin.  That is where the anxiety sets in.  Should I get up and make some soothing tea?  Should I make an appointment to see my doctor? Should I meditate?  Oh, wait. Spinning thoughts. Not the easiest thing to do, that.  I’ve almost never been able to meditate.

Today, amidst my spinning thoughts, I was pondering love in the bigger picture. Thinking of past experiences and emotions, of all the ways and times I’ve put my love out there.  Always I’ve loved.  I can’t find it now, but I know I’ve written about an epiphany I’ve had regarding being in love, and how, for all the love I’ve loved, I’ve never truly been in love.  I remember how that surprised me.  But always I’ve loved. I know that doesn’t make much sense, but it’s true.

The extending thought, then, is how will I recognize it, when it presents itself?  The answer is that there is nothing to recognize.  It will just be, because it has always been.  No questions. Only a sense of comfort and peace. A feeling of home.  A fit.

He kneels tentatively before her, glass slipper in hand.  He doesn’t know what she knows. It’s up to her to raise the courage to let him see.  This is my moment, she whispers in her head and her heart, and she realizes she has been holding her breath, looking at the top of this prince’s head as he kneels at her feet.  She knows it will fit.  It’s her slipper, after all.  She knows it fits.  She slides her foot in, and he slowly lifts his face.  He looks into her eyes.  He sees.

The bigger picture.  Recognizing love that’s always been.  Always, because love is in me, and has always been in me.  I have loved from forever.  My heart has always loved, someone, somewhere.

I stumbled across some words written in the sand on an Australian beach, years ago, and these words surfaced in my morning thoughts.  Someone.  Somewhere.

someone somewhere

“Someone somewhere dreams of your smile, and finds your presence and life worthwhile, so when you are lonely remember it’s true, someone somewhere is thinking of you.”

I am that someone.  I have always been here.

I left some of my own thoughts in the sand that day.

hope

dream

love

laugh

forgive

live

Posted in love, me. Tagged with , , , .