Category Archives: Change

Speak.

I love my new therapist. For those of you who are in therapy, I highly suggest switching therapists at least every 3 years. A lot of growth and discovery can happen in three years when you’re committed but after that time, it is necessary to have someone else’s strategies, if for no other reason than to shake you out of your comfort zone. I have reluctantly changed therapists three times (and by therapists, I mean the 3 good ones I’ve had). This time, I took a year off and then finally realized that it was time to bite the bullet and “start over.” That is why it took me so long to see someone else – I just could not bear the thought of rehashing my entire life for someone new. I even thought it may be unhealthy for me to do so. Not so! She has an entirely new approach and expertise in areas I didn’t even realize would be relevant for me, such as post traumatic stress. I’ve learned extremely valuable lessons from each of my therapists – but there’s something different about the one I have now. She questions me, which means she’s really listening. She challenges my thinking, which means she’s not afraid to call me on my shit – who doesn’t need to be called on their shit!? NO ONE. The most important thing she has done so far, though, is to validate me in very specific and important ways.

I have come to a place where I tell “my story” as if I’m reading from a script to anyone who will listen. I almost don’t even thing about the events of my life, I just explain them and then ask, “Why am I not over it?” I didn’t have my records transferred to my new therapist because I wanted to start anew, and this was a wise choice. As I am explaining matter-of-factly the huge decision my parents made when I was 15 that I’ve always said forever changed my life, she stopped me and reminded me, “You realize that a decision means they had a choice, don’t you?” My immediate response was “Well, they didn’t really have a choice… my dad would have lost his job if…” She stopped me. “What may or may not have happened with your dad’s job is part of what they had to weigh when making the decision. But regardless of the factors that played into their decision, it was still a choice.” I was somewhat speechless and shocked that I’d never actually believed it was, which had allowed me to pity them and feel guilty for being angry at their decision for so many years. I had to think about it for a few weeks before I could make sense of it. And it seems so simple, doesn’t it?

I started to realize how often my parents, and my entire family for that matter, present scenarios to me as if another choice other than the one they are choosing is just not possible. In fact, every one of these circumstances absolutely do involve the option of a more respectful, less hurtful choice. So, I started to ponder the concept of choice in general. This realization has freed me in a way 200 more therapy sessions of hearing myself talk never ever could have. I’ve told that particular story my therapist heard at least 20 times to various people in my life, therapists and friends alike. Every time I have presented it as a tough situation for my parents in which they had no other choice. Just changing the beginning of the story will now change the way I tell the rest of it. This particular epiphany is quite monumental.

Since I have decided that this new therapy journey I’ve just embarked upon will be the one that heals me apart from my family as well, I have been pushing myself to challenge my self-talk. And, what do you know? I do it too. I make decisions and remain in circumstances as if another choice is simply not an option. “I hate my job but I can’t do anything about it because I have to stay here so my husband has the freedom to change jobs as he wishes because he’s hated his job longer than I have and our benefits are with my job.” Now, it may seem noble of me to make that decision. But I’ve been making that decision A LOT, practically for our entire marriage. I just figured out part of the reason I have such resentment for my husband – because of CHOICES that I have made. It is a choice for me to stay in my job. I have potential that far outreach my day-to-day “duties” and yet I accept that doing anything but collecting that paycheck and those benefits is “impossible.” It’s not impossible. The resentment plays in when I don’t see my husband actively applying himself to looking for a new job as I feel he should. So, he doesn’t spend every waking hour looking for a new job – the longer he spends procrastinating the longer I have to stay in my job, and you see how the tension in my house remains fairly high. What I really need to do is to make a different choice.

A wise friend once told me that taking care of yourself is the most important thing you can do, because if you don’t do that, you can’t take care of anyone else. I used to think that was selfish way of thinking – and the reason I felt that was a selfish way to think is in part because I have been surrounded by people who did not take care of themselves my entire life. I was also taught that any attempt to take care of self was, in fact, selfish. I am still being taught that looking out for myself is selfish.

And, here we arrive at the title of this post. This weekend, my parents were to come to town – for their usual 24 hour visit. The details of what occurred aren’t really relevant. My parents made another hurtful and extremely selfish decision. Considering many recent events in my and my sister’s lives, we were both extra bothered by this decision. My sister has always been the peace maker and regardless of how upset she is, she will never stand up and say why. I usually don’t either, but I’ve been closer and closer to the end of my rope in the last two years and I finally couldn’t take it any more. I refuse to enable their behavior, and that is a choice that I’ve been making for my entire life now – mostly subconsciously but now that I realize there are other choices, I’m going to start making them. I called my mother and explained to her that her decision had caused unnecessary confusion, energy, and hurt. I was respectful, calm, and very direct. I am not normally direct. 10 minutes after I got of the phone with my mom, my dad called. I let it go to voicemail because I knew exactly what had happened in the last 10 minutes. My mom called my dad and told him that I was mean. My dad called me to “punish” me. His voicemail essentially said that he didn’t like my “attitude” and that I could call him if I wanted to discuss the situation. Let’s be clear… by “discuss” he meant lecture. I was not interested in being lectured, so I made a choice to save myself the pain that would have come from taking his verbal abuse in that moment. The voicemail was enough.

So, blogger friends, this is a giant step in the right direction for me. I like this study on the power of choice. I like the perspective it’s given me. The realization that my parents have had a choice in how they treated me and still treat me gives me the freedom to take back the power of my own choices. And I choose not to sit by and let their choices affect my daily life any longer. It will be and has been a long journey, but I am getting there. The first step was today, when I made the choice to SPEAK. And I think I’ll be doing that much more often.


My brother: Chapter 3: ME.

That phone conversation sent me into the dark place… that place where I go when I feel emotionally trapped.  I’ve been to that place oh so many times over the years.  I’ve lived there for months at a time.  I don’t go there very often any more, but when I do, I go with a new awareness that makes the pain deeper, and therefore shorter lasting.  There was nothing I could say… nothing.  Anything I said would have made me look like the ass hole.  I couldn’t believe the tone in his voice, the matter-of-fact way with which he spoke… the absolute void-of-emotion conversation we were having.  He was leaving to go back across the ocean in less than 24 hours… no desire to see your sister who is one of the greatest people you’ve ever known???  No NEED to see her and hug her and say thank you, I love you, one more time?  No.  Nothing but a slight obligatory tone indicative of a family member who is obligated to appease another family member just by showing up when is expected.  And then my mind started spinning…

Of course he was acting distant to me now that he’d come home and my parents were completely and amazingly supportive of his situation.  He’d called them and told them and given them a few days to think it over before he called back to tell them he was coming home to marry Rachel.  I finally spoke to my mother about it and her word-for-word comments were these,”I mean, what are we supposed to do, but be supportive?  We can make a big deal about it and worry about what everyone will think, or we can just accept that this is what it is and love them and be the supportive parents that they need us to be right now.  It could be a lot worse.”

Pause still for shock and awe.

My jaw nearly fell off my face.  After a few seconds of speechlessness, I managed to tell her how proud I was for her and how right she was.  I told her I was proud of her three times.  She acted surprised… and finally said, “Well, ya know, we’ve been through a lot, Ellie, and we aren’t going to be the kind of parents that aren’t there for our children.  I can’t tell you what some of my cousins went through with their families and the lack of support they received.  We’re just not going to do that.”  She talked a little bit more but I tuned her out… I told her I was proud of her for the last time and we said goodbye.

I shared this apparent awakening with an old friend and was able to laugh about how I feel that I have a right to take credit for some of that obvious emotional growth and development that has occurred in my parents… I like to think I broke them in with my bi-racial marriage and all.  They ignored my husband’s existence for 2 years and lectured me about how they’d burn in hell before they had black grand-babies… they told me at the age of 25 that I had no “idea” what I was doing and that I “better stop it now” before it’s “too late.”  Doesn’t take a genius to figure out what they meant by “too late.”  They never reacted well to any situation I found myself in.  They were never supportive of me in my darkest hours when I needed them the most.  As proud as I was of them for the way they were handling this situation, their ease and acceptance just dug the knife they planted in my heart many years ago in just a little bit deeper.  That is a pain that is profound and very energy consuming to cover up when they are around.

So, here was my brother, home and spending time with my mom and dad who completely and almost immediately embraced him and the girl they once said they could not stand.  They surrounded him with the love and support he needed almost immediately, as he said they would.  He told me, “they don’t have a choice, they’ll love her and be supportive of her because our family is amazing and that’s what families do.”  It has taken me years of therapy to realize that they very much do have a choice when it comes to what kind of parents they choose to be.  I am finally beginning to understand this. Parents always have a choice as to how they will react to their children.  Herein lies the “ME” part of this chapter.

In my frustration, I tried calling my parents, no answer.  I tried calling my sister, no answer.  I just could not bring myself to seek comfort from my husband, who had the knowledge to offer the most compassion, but lacks a general ability to actually show compassion, which presents an obvious problem. But, I decided to tell him anyway because quite frankly, he was the only one who knew the history and sometimes I just can’t be bothered explaining it all, nor do I want everyone in my life to know the drama that is my family.  I explained to my husband that I was feeling hurt by the entire situation on multiple levels:  hurt that my brother was showing no interest or even care about whether or not he saw me before he left the country, hurt that my parents had shown him such support and love when I never have been able to receive that from them. I told him that if it were not for me and all of the things I “put them through,” this would never be.  His response did not shock me… he told me “Don’t even take it there, Ellie.  Don’t even take it there. This isn’t about you or your parents…”  I stopped him and calmly explained that the situation involves me because of the bond I have with my brother.  I explained that I am allowed and should be granted full permission in my own house to feel things as I need to feel them as I adjust to the situation.  I explained that he must understand my shock and awe at my parents behavior considering that I had received such opposite behavior from them on multiple occasions in my life.  Certainly, he could understand that?? Apparently not. So, I told the blog. ūüėČ

They finally came by; it was after their dinner reservations, around 9pm.  I’d just put my son to bed.  As soon as I saw him, all the anger and hurt I’d been feeling all day naturally disappeared.  I hugged him and told him to please keep in touch once he was back home.  I’m a bit of an over protective sister at this point and I do recognize that I have some adjusting to do, but who wouldn’t?  


Reformation

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted and there are far too many reasons to explain why. ¬†Ultimately, I am finding that blogging is getting harder instead of easier. ¬†I realized that while I started this blog as an attempt to try and explore myself and write my own story, that instead I ended up writing the story of my marriage. ¬†Which, I will never understand, has been easier. ¬†The story of my bipolar marriage is not a fun one to tell, I struggle every day with what my love for my husband means and what his love for me means. ¬†I struggle with the concept of a soul mate… whether mine really does exist out there. ¬†I struggle with the lack of solid support in my life, I struggle with strength of self. ¬†I struggle with the idea that I have settled for a life less than what I imagined it should be. ¬†A very good friend remarked that having an oppressive marriage feels at times like your life is being stolen away from you, day by day, hour by hour. ¬†I’ve felt that way.

But.

In the beginning of my blog journey, I wanted to to explore myself. ¬†I wanted to tell my stories. ¬†I didn’t want to harp and hound my marital circumstances. ¬†I don’t think they will change, regardless of what drastic measures do or do not happen. ¬†I don’t think my marriage is ever going to change. ¬†I think this is the life I chose for myself and am still choosing to live in for the moment and so that I need to make the most of it. ¬†I don’t mean this quite as cliche as it sounds. ¬†It just is. ¬†I’ve not accepted¬†inexcusable¬†behavior, nor will I fight for myself any less. ¬†I am a different, stronger person than I was when I met my husband and that is irreversible.

For now, I need to stop focusing on what I can’t change. ¬†I need to focus on what I can change. ¬†The blog was titled “the colors of me” because I wanted to tell my stories. ¬†I have so many stories to tell. ¬†Telling them will no doubt bring me closer to myself. ¬†I need to be there, I need to understand what makes my heart beat before I go blaming someone else for not making it beat stronger. ¬†My strength needs to come from within.

I have come a long way in my search for understanding. ¬†I’m still young and I have a long life ahead of me. ¬†I also have a past that is filled with family secrets, denial, shame, fear,¬†hypocrisy, tragedy, and abuse. ¬†I need to write these stories down. ¬†I’ve told them… many times… to many friends and therapists. ¬†I don’t think I’ve ever told them to myself… so I’m going to make a promise to myself to start telling myself these stories in an effort to get to know myself through them. ¬†They are ugly stories, but they are necessary truths that I must embrace.


Stars aligning – insanity stirring.

This is my horoscope today.  Lately, they have been way, way too accurate.  But, this one today has put me in quite a state.

“After months or even years of going back and forth in a relationship, you will reach a major turning point and a revelation. Sometimes things come to an abrupt ending, while other times they just slowly fade away. Certain truths are starting to become too obvious to ignore — so you will have to stop ignoring them. Until you see things as they truly are, you can’t move forward and give your full attention to someone who is much more deserving of your time.”


Lethal Compassion

My drives to work in the morning have become quite productive. ¬†This morning, once again, I was reflecting on Neil Gaiman’s words, particularly these: “They don’t teach you how to walk away from someone you don’t love any longer. They don’t teach you how to know what’s going on in someone else’s mind.” ¬†My compassion for others has always been one of my favorite attributes – and I am starting to understand why every single thing has to have a boundary, even this. ¬†I know that my husband is not an abusive person and that he has a pure and kind heart. ¬†I, therefore, know and understand that when he says things to me that crush my soul, he doesn’t do it with malice. ¬†But, he still does it, and that is the point.

This weekend I went to my neighbor’s house for her birthday party. ¬†It was great – more fun than I have had in quite some time. ¬†It was the kind of fun I used to have all the time in college – except very different because the conversations had were much more mature, lol. ¬†I had so much fun – and in the middle of the fun and conversations I realized that I am barely really living my life. ¬†I struggle so much with anxiety now that I forget how easy it used to be for me to meet and get to know new people. ¬†These aren’t your average people I was hanging with – these are people that are real and so much themselves that you can’t help but to be yourself just to try and honor their fearlessness. ¬†Sigh, isn’t that only something those of us who are afraid to really be ourselves say? ¬†Anyway, on to my point…

I got home late, very late. ¬†I was feeling so peaceful and happy that I had given myself that time to relax and have fun, because I rarely let myself do so. ¬†I crawled into my bed with a smile on my face, leaned over in an attempt to cuddle with the husband to let him know I was home. ¬†I knew he wasn’t sleeping, and he wasn’t moving either. ¬†It didn’t take long for the sickening feeling to come over me – the feeling I get when I realize he is unhappy with me for some truly obnoxious and ridiculous reason. ¬†I wanted to be sure he actually was alive, so I said, “Are you okay?” ¬†I got no response, but the tension began to spread in the silent return. ¬†This time, I was determined not to let him ruin that wonderful, warm feeling I had so I just put my ear plugs in and went back to sleep. ¬†I didn’t even want to hear what¬†ridiculous¬†things he was saying because they weren’t going to be nice things and I didn’t deserve to hear them. ¬†He did answer me, finally, emphatically, with: “Are you fucking kidding me? Do you think that just because you are next door that you can stay out as late as you want?” ¬†And, with that, I fell asleep. ¬†It felt very good to just tune him out and not internalize the accusation and react to him for the moment.

The next morning I tried explaining to him that he could have expressed his frustration to me in many ways other than the way he ultimately chose to. ¬†I explained the same thing I have explained a million times to him (and by a million I mean nearly every time I go “out” and I push the limits of unexpressed rules that he apparently has for me, such as a curfew), that it really is all about communication and the way we speak to each other. ¬†I told him how hurt and uncomfortable it makes me feel when he talks to me in that tone for that reason. ¬†In the nicest way I’ve ever described it to him, I told him that he is better than this controlling person he sounds like when he accuses me of doing something wrong when all I’ve done is stay out a little later than usual and let myself socialize in an adult world for a change.

He sounds like a controlling ass hole, does he not?? ¬†Well, he’s really not! ¬†He is simply a product of his upbringing, which happens to have taken place in a part of the world that is largely patriarchal even today (and, more so that here in the good ole’ U.S.A. which I do realize is quite patriarchal still as well.) ¬†I have watched his mother and father interact and it is clear that even today, in 2012, there are definite and defined limits on his mother’s actions. ¬†She may be feisty and rebellious at times, and by that I mean, she may have an opinion and express that opinion, but she is ultimately guided and willingly follows the standards of submissiveness that she has existed in for her entire life. ¬†Now, my husband has explained to me that this is not true in any sense. ¬†Because he doesn’t see it. ¬†And how could he? ¬†It is perfectly normal to him. ¬†He has never shown interest in exploring the roots of the kind of behavior he exhibits in these circumstances. ¬†So, the story goes that because I am compassionate and I know his heart is kind and pure, I look beyond it, forgive him, accept that he is never “sorry” for how badly he makes me feel during these moments. ¬†Which brings me to the title of original title this post, which was “The Subtle, Confusing, Innocence of Emotional Abuse.” ¬†You can see why I changed it.

Just saying the word “abuse” feels very taboo and foreign and uncomfortable to me, because it is almost always followed, in my head at least, with the word “victim.” ¬†I don’t want to be anybody’s victim, I don’t want to play the victim, I don’t want to¬†over-exaggerate¬†my circumstances, I don’t want to accuse. ¬†My husband is not a monster and he really is one of the most kind-hearted people I’ve ever met. ¬†I keep trying to figure out if he’s always been this controlling or if he’s changed over the years as circumstances have hardened his heart. ¬†I’ve thought he’s been depressed now for over a year, and I chalk his behavior up to that a lot and I do understand his recent frustration with life. ¬†But, our marriage has had many problems that stem from our fundamental differences for quite some time. ¬†This is one of the main reasons it is so hard for me to use the word “abuse” when talking about my marriage or my husband, because I know he doesn’t treat me this way with malice. ¬†However, by it’s definition, emotional abuse is “any behavior that is designed to control and subjugate another human being through the use of fear, humiliation, and verbal assaults.” ¬†This is a fairly basic definition, found on a random college counseling website that I don’t live anywhere near. ¬†Google sure is handy. ¬†I liked this definition, though, because of this comment, “Emotional abuse is like brain washing in that it systematically wears away at the victim‚Äôs self-confidence, sense of self-worth, trust in their own perceptions, and self-concept.”

Now, listen as I explain away the absolute fact that this is what is happening in my marriage. ¬†I have blatantly pointed out to my husband that what he is doing qualifies as emotional abuse, and, naturally, he scoffs and says things like, “Please!” Or “Wow, really? ¬†This is unbelievable.” ¬†Or, my personal favorite, “So if you think I am abusing you, why don’t you just leave?” ¬†The more I weed through the problems of our marriage and my contributions to our utter lack of healthy communication patterns, the more I come to realize that in this case, my compassion has started to hurt rather than help me. ¬†I understand why he thinks it is okay to belittle and disrespect me on a regular basis. ¬†This does not mean I have to accept it. ¬†Accepting it includes letting it happen. ¬†Letting it happen includes letting it go, moving on with our daily lives as if nothing is wrong because it’s just easier that way. ¬†I have tried explaining the way he makes me feel many, many times. ¬†I have tried every perspective that you can imagine. ¬†The only thing that works, sometimes, is when I ask him to put himself in my shoes and “Would you like it if I said that to you?” ¬†In the end, whether he says he is sorry or not, the root of the problem is never truly addressed and thus, the cycle continues. ¬†Thus, his insistence that all of our problems are due to my “creation of problems that don’t exist (more emotional abuse).” ¬†A good friend recently reminded me of a quote that says something along the lines of, “before you diagnose yourself with any kind of disorder or mental illness, be sure that you aren’t just surrounded by ass holes first.”

I actually would prefer to be married to my husband for the rest of my life. ¬†I just need him to love himself enough to make some transformations so that he can be the person I know he wants to be, so that we can have the kind of marriage we both deserve. ¬†I thought, as I always do, that I could actually be unaffected by his temper tantrum. ¬†It had no logic, was cruel, I didn’t deserve it, so why give it a thought? ¬†Why try and explain myself? ¬†I just end up sounding guilty and I was not guilty of anything – I was literally next door with people he knows just as well as I do! ¬†Despite this understanding, I did somehow still end up defending myself as well. ¬†” know it was late, but I was having fun….” ¬†I am an adult – I am fairly far into adulthood… certainly far enough to make decisions for myself. ¬†The fact that I even had to have that kind of a conversation and thought process is really the core reason why I feel so heartbroken and disturbed at the end of these little battles. ¬†Because, they are battles within my husband that I am trying to fight for him. ¬† And I will never win.

This is just one small example of the way things typically go in my house. ¬†The sad and excruciating part of this is that the rest of the day, we actually got along just fine. ¬†I assumed that he had calmed down and reason had returned to him with sleep. ¬†I also assumed that he knew what I said was right and recognized his mistake in treating me like his 16 year old child. ¬†So, later that night when he tried to snuggle up to me, I asked him if he felt bad for the way he had spoken to me. ¬†Yes, I totally ruined the “moment” but this was NOT my intention! ¬†I fully expected him to say, “Yes, I do.” ¬†And, herein lies MY neurosis. ¬†I didn’t expect an apology, he sucks at them. ¬†I figured at the very least he’d ACKNOWLEDGE how dreadful he was to me. ¬†But, alas, he did not. ¬†He actually ended up emphasizing his point that as a wife and a mother, I should not “behave that way.” ¬†It’s quite hilarious when you think about it – because one could conclude that as a wife and a mother, he intends for me never to socialize (even with the neighbors), drink alcohol socially, meet new people, invest in new friendships, and of course never stay out past 12? 1? 2am? ¬†And the reason for this is because of… what people will say about me? ¬†Him? ¬†Because I’d love to know who the hell would agree with him that my “behavior” was inappropriate. ¬†If I was bar-hopping every night and standing on a corner, eh, yeah, I can see how that may cross the motherly/wifely line. ¬†For the love of GOD, I was NEXT DOOR. ¬†(That maybe the title of my book, just sayin’.)

So, when no acknowledgement of any wrong doing occurred, I shut down. ¬†I couldn’t believe it. ¬†He couldn’t believe it either… so, he blurted out, “This relationship is going nowhere with you.” ¬†Isn’t that lovely? ¬†Again, he implies that due to my complete and utter psychosis, “this relationship” is going nowhere. ¬†“This relationship” can’t go anywhere unless we are both committed to its survival. ¬†Survival. ¬†I am completely okay with it sometimes just being about surviving as a couple. ¬†It is like life… sometimes we really do just “survive.” ¬†I have been “surviving” now for a long, long time. ¬†I don’t want to do that anymore. ¬†I want to thrive. ¬†I want my son to see me as free and happy as I was in the midst of all that fun on Saturday night, the way I am when it is just him and I, laughing and playing and living the magical¬†moments¬†of life together. ¬† Maybe I ruined the moment my husband was in desperate need of at that time. ¬†But, as I told him later that night, it’s pretty essential that we start asking ourselves the hard questions at this juncture, because I’m sick of the merry-go-round. ¬†It is fine for us to have a difference in opinion about what is and is not appropriate “behavior” for me as a mother and a wife. ¬†It is not okay for him to shame me for not following his definition. ¬†It is not okay for him to do this once… and he has done it many, many times.

As things become more and more clear to me, I realize that I have a decision to make. ¬†He won’t go to therapy. ¬†The pattern won’t change on it’s own. ¬†I can’t be our therapist. ¬†I can’t save our marriage. ¬†Our problems are fixable. ¬†This is what breaks my heart… I am a fighter! ¬†I don’t like giving up on people, especially people who I love and believe in. ¬†However, I realize now that it is not in my power to change him and that my compassion for him and the way he was raised can only take me so far. ¬†Trying to understand and explain away his abusive behavior is only hurting me. ¬†It is only a matter of time before my son starts to learn the same patterns that my husband learned throughout his childhood. ¬†And, I just can’t let that happen.

It’s been fairly dark inside my head this week as we have barely spoken anything other than necessary words to one another. ¬†I think we are both sad, and as usual the saddest part to me is that he is waiting for me to “get over it” while I am waiting for him to give me things he will never be able to give me. ¬†I don’t know what will happen, how this one will turn out… if I will feel it is necessary to go back into denial or not for awhile. ¬†But, I know that I just wrote this blog and that the fear of what lies beyond the “what if we don’t make it” thoughts are becoming less and less overwhelming. ¬†I know that my son gives me incredible strength and a will to live and keep fighting this fight that is unparalleled. ¬† I know that no matter what happens, I will be fine. ¬†Better than fine. ¬†I will thrive. ¬†ūüôā


Epiphany

‚ÄúI’ve been making a list of the things they don’t teach you at school. They don’t teach you how to love somebody. They don’t teach you how to be famous. They don’t teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don’t teach you how to walk away from someone you don’t love any longer. They don’t teach you how to know what’s going on in someone else’s mind. They don’t teach you what to say to someone who’s dying. They don’t teach you anything worth knowing.‚Ä̬†¬†– Neil Gaiman

It’s no secret why this struck me. ¬†I’m fairly passionate about education and in particular the list of things that we aren’t taught. ¬†This quote stayed with me through the night last night. ¬†I also thought about it on the way to work this morning while listening to my Adele cd, given to me by my husband. ¬†I thought of my imaginary life… the one that I’d have lived if my college sweetheart had chosen me. ¬†I thought of the post he wrote on his most recent anniversary to his wife. ¬†“These have been the best years of my life.”

I don’t think I feel any differently. ¬†The years I’ve spent with my husband have been the best years of my life. ¬†I think it is possible to say such a thing, and still imagine better years. ¬†I thought at this point in my life things would be more defined. ¬†Thanks to my friend Walt Disney, I really believed that love and marriage and even friendship was pretty cut and dry. ¬†You care, you love, you marry, you’re happy. ¬†Life isn’t that simple. ¬†I’d like to start this new year off with a mission to accept the grey areas in my life. ¬†I think it may help my marriage. ¬†I want to be okay with wondering how my life would’ve been “if only” because the more life I live, the more I realize that nothing is as it seems. ¬†Nothing.

I have thus decided that this grey sea I swim in is not all that bad, and certainly not abnormal. ¬†I think I’ll start embracing the unknown parts of myself with this new understanding. ¬†Am I head over heals in love with my life and happy and 100% sure about every area of my life? ¬†Is anyone? ¬†I think my latest “key to life” revelation is that life is a series of in-between moments and it’s up to us to make the best of them.

Happy New Year!


Fears.

I have decided to list them.  So I can get over them.  It is high time I kick this blog in the ass.

#1.  People will judge me and label be as an unappreciative, close minded person and wife.  (I am not, by the way.)

#2.  I will be wrong sometimes, and I will sound like a fool.  (I will, and it will be fine)

#3. ¬†People will think I am crazy. ¬†(Hard when you’ve been told in many ways by the people closest to you that you are… when you clearly aren’t. ¬†And, by clearly, I mean… well you’ll find out)

#4. ¬†My marriage will survive this and I will regret things I’ll say in this blog. ¬†(I don’t believe in the cliche that you should never say anything you’ll regret. ¬†That’s bullshit. ¬†We say things we regret all¬†the time.)

#5. ¬†My marriage won’t survive and this blog will haunt me! ¬†(I am easily haunted)

#6. ¬†My marriage will remain stagnant and I will be writing this blog for the rest of my life. ¬†(No…. I WON’T.)

#7. ¬†No one will read it. ¬†(So what? ¬†It’s for me, not for you… well… that’s not true the entire thing started b/c I know there are plenty of angry bitches out there just like me!)

#8. ¬†I will get stronger. ¬†(The stronger I get, the more sense life makes. ¬†The more sense life makes, the more happiness I know I can have… the more I know I can have… the more I want.)

#9. ¬†I will look like a coward who just can’t leave. ¬†(He really is a wonderful man. ¬†I am just utterly unsatisfied and unwilling to accept his lack of interest in growing with me. ¬†I just want to be loved in little ways and big ways and all the time. ¬†I want to feel loved.)

#10. ¬†I fear that I am truly 50% of the problem. ¬†I know I am part of the problem, but I’m wildly convinced that after all my therapy and self-help, I must only be 20% of the problem now. ¬†That 30% cost me a pretty penny. ¬†And, they really are quite pretty when you really look or photograph them. ¬†ūüėČ

That is enough fear.  Time to write.


The Key To Life

I think I’ve got it!¬† It’s a simple concept but oh so difficult to accomplish – and definitely takes a lifetime to achieve.

KNOW YOURSELF.

This has to be it.  Everything else is truly just circumstance.  Circumstances that you choose to take advantage of or not, but circumstances nonetheless.  The only way to truly live life to its fullest intention is to understand how you relate to others.  In this realization, you free yourself from limitation and everything that leads to limitation: guilt, shame, hypocrisy, etc..  The closer I come to understanding who I am, how I came to be the person I am today Рthe faster I move in the direction of becoming who I want to be.  I understand that my actions and reactions are primarily emotionally driven.  That knowledge allows me to step out of my emotional self, and begin observing myself from an intellectually constructive angle.  Does it make sense that I am so angry?  Where is this anger coming from?  How else could I show my anger?  What emotions or thoughts am I having that are mere results of my anger?  Does this anger ultimately offer insight into who I am?  The older I get the more I am able to actually pause long enough to answer most of these questions.  In doing so, I become closer to the person I see in the mirror when my mirror is clear.

I want more out of my life.  These days my anger is mostly about wanting more.  I have to figure out how much more Рwhy I want more Рand how I can find the motivation to get more.

I’ll keep you posted.¬† ūüôā


Index Schmindex

Who created the BMI Index? ¬†I’d love to know. ¬†There’s nothing like a good sit down with your doc… except for the moment when she slides the BMI index across her desk and starts highlighting shit. ¬†I’ve tried to keep it together pretty well this last week… etc. ¬†I’ve been doing amazingly well. ¬†Despite being paranoid that someone is mad at me allll the time (more on that neurosis later), I’ve been at the top of my game. ¬†Willing to accept that my ¬†marriage isn’t what I thought it would be, what I dreamed it would be… but that it is what it is. ¬†I have to exist in it as it is, for now anyway. ¬†There are lots of reasons I “have to” and they’re pretty obvious. ¬†Financially it would be impossible to “create a new life” for myself. ¬†And even if I could… I’m still not convinced I’d be better off in that imaginary life. ¬†Of course now it seems simpler and less of a struggle. ¬†I could just feel whatever I feel and not have to explain every intricate detail of why I feel that way when I feel that way. ¬†I wouldn’t have to present mini-dissertations on every thought I have and where it came from. ¬†I could just exist. ¬†Happily. ¬†I wouldn’t be told by someone who claims he loves me that I’m getting too comfortable in the job that I love. ¬†I wouldn’t be told by my husband, while explaining the previous statement, that he “just meant” that “I’d rather tell people that my wife is a lawyer, or a psychiatrist.” ¬†Sometimes I’m amazed at the shit I swallow. ¬†It makes me angry and frustrated… and those words are¬†miniature¬†compared to how I really feel. ¬†I digress.

The BMI Index. ¬†I’d just love to meet the bastard who came up with those numbers. ¬†I won’t go into the details of where I fall – but I can tell you that my “ideal weight” will never be reached. ¬†And saying to me, “Now I know it seems like an impossible goal… BUT…” ¬†isn’t comforting. ¬†I know you’re a doctor and you’re supposed to tell me to watch my weight – but pointing out just where I fall on the ole’ index and reminding me, verbatim, that I’m in the “overweight” category is taking to a little too far, don’tchya think? ¬†Plus, I just got done telling you that there is literally no time, and literally no money for a gym membership and radical health diet – so excuse me if I ask for a B-R-E-A-K break. ¬†I’d be happy if I lost about 15 pounds – and most people I know feel the same way. ¬†But this chic wants me to lose 35 pounds so I can look like I did in high school. ¬†Nice as that would be – it’s actually not humanly possible for me right now b/c I don’t SLEEP at a gym. ¬†And I happen to have the kind of metabolism and body structure that will gain weight if I am not CONSTANTLY exercising and eating lettuce. ¬†Screw that – who does that? ¬†Not me. ¬†And not anyone I know.

So I have to thank the BMI for this most recent mental disturbance… because it has brought pretty much every insecurity that I have been having over the last year, right to the surface! ¬†I just went in for a yearly pap – and I came out with a nervous breakdown. ¬†Who knew the lady doc had so much power. ¬†First, she asked me why I wasn’t on birth control. ¬†“Because… (hahaha??) my husband and I pretty much don’t have sex anymore.” ¬†Yeah… okay so you’re sorry to hear that. ¬†Thanks? ¬†“Is it because of your libido? ¬†Or because of everything you’ve told me about how things are going…??” ¬†Can’t you answer that yourself? ¬†So, the thing is I really do like this doctor who was asking me all these questions. ¬†And I was great at my answers… stating the obvious at times and other times sincerely stating things like, “Well, I’ve just come so far emotionally over the last few years and my husband doesn’t seem to be as comfortable as I am with the newer, stronger me.” ¬†Ha! ¬†It’s true… right? ¬†I’m newer, and stronger. ¬†I have worked amazingly hard to get to where I am today. ¬†And where am I? ¬†Sitting across from my lady doc coming apart just a little bit with every question she asks. ¬†Yes, there are some major life changes that have contributed to the difficulties that my husband and I have had. ¬†Yes, it’s a libido issue – I don’t want to have sex. ¬†Ever. ¬†And yes, I guess those lubricants can help… on the rare occasion that I do feel sorry enough for my husband to give into him. ¬†It’s not that I don’t enjoy it once it’s started… but the desire and the interest to get it started is non-existent.

He thinks I don’t love him anymore. ¬† So sometimes I wonder if I do. ¬†Sometimes I ask myself, what the hell there is to love. ¬†I don’t feel emotionally supported. ¬†I don’t feel strengthened… nurtured… admired. ¬†I don’t feel anything I think I’m supposed to feel in a marriage. ¬†I just feel trapped – in many ways, for many reasons. ¬†I trapped myself – emotionally – years ago. ¬†And I’m just trying to think myself into acceptance and lower expectations. ¬†It’s not really working. ¬†He says I can’t let anything go. ¬†But how do I let it go when it’s in my face all the time? ¬†He ALWAYS wants to have sex. ¬†“Doesn’t it make you feel good that I want you all the time?” ¬†My response? ¬†“You are a man. ¬†Seriously? ¬†I breathe… that pretty much is all you need to be horny.” ¬†He thinks that’s harsh – and maybe it is. ¬†But he’s not exactly interested in doing what I’ve asked him to do to help me be more interested. ¬†I know that men connect physically rather than emotionally – or so the story goes. ¬†I don’t entirely buy it. ¬†Women connect physically as well – but not without some freakin’ effort. ¬†I’m always supposed to meet him halfway – have sex with him. ¬†But he never has to meet me halfway – take me on a date every blue moon – dress up!!! ¬†Tell me to dress up! ¬†Surprise me! ¬†Get me a card for no reason. ¬†Tell me I’m beautiful! ¬†Ask me for advice! ¬†Aren’t these normal things that couples do?

No wonder I have such good “other man” dreams. ¬†I’m pretty much as low as I get now – tears are stock piled and I can’t breathe out of my nose. ¬†It’s okay. ¬†I’m used to his place. ¬†I feel somewhat comfortable here – and I’m okay with letting myself cry it out. ¬†It’s necessary. ¬†Especially when the hope for change is nearly nonexistent. ¬†He’ll never change. ¬†He’s firm in who he is and he’s always been that way. ¬†It’s me that’s changed. ¬†I don’t want what he has to offer anymore and he isn’t willing to give me what I need. ¬†It just doesn’t add up anymore. ¬†But here we are existing and trying to make the best of it. ¬†I wonder how long and how much harder we will try. ¬†I wonder if it’s the effort that matters, and not the end result. ¬†Of course there’s no such thing as a happy marriage — err…. a perfect marriage. ¬†I just want some basic needs met. ¬†That’s all. ¬†Just for him to say the right thing at least some of the time. ¬† And when he doesn’t? ¬†I just want him to be able to say, “I said the wrong thing. ¬†I’m sorry.” ¬†Show some vulnerability for god’s sake.

I think it’s time for bed. ¬†Man, I could use a good escape dream tonight! ¬†Summoning the other man dreams lol. ¬†ūüôā