Tag Archives: hope

A new year- thoughts on the future

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dark-winter-night-image,1366x768,54916I picked up a book that I had started reading a few months ago and put down and this is the quote that jumped out at me:

 

“So whatever you do, just do it, without expecting anyone’s help. Don’t spoil your effort by seeking for shelter. Protect your-self and grow upright to the sky; that is all.” Shunryu Suzuki- Not always so

 

It was like slap in the face…the good kind. After I got over the hurt from two years ago, I wanted to escape and after that I wanted someone to fill the hole in my heart. I have been on the spiritual path and through enough therapy to know that this is my work to do but the illusion that another person could help and heal that emptiness is so seductive.

I was certain that I was leaving this town as soon as I could. That this place was nothing more than a lay over to heal my wounds and then move on to the promised land…wherever that might be. But it didn’t happen that way, not because there were not opportunities or because I didn’t try (tip to Portland) but my heart would not buy it.

Then I embarked on the dating distraction. This was highly entertaining but there came a moment when I realized that  I was not willing to risk anything so I stopped pretending. And then I met someone. Of course being me it had to be the most complicated and impossible person to be with. I came to realize slowing that was a large part of the attraction. Don’t get me wrong he had lots of other wonderful qualities but the nature of the whole situation suited my melancholy nature far too well. And in the end it proved to be the impossible situation I was seeking. Minus two points for walking into fire knowingly.

I know your thinking (she’s at it again rambling about god knows what again) but when I read that quote this morning and it was like something broke loose inside me. All this time I have wanted to survive, over come, forget, start over but I never loved myself enough to protect myself.  I put up walls and shut people out but that was only to avoid pain it was not to protect myself.

When I think about how I would begin to do that it seems hard. I am in danger from no one but myself and in many ways it is harder to counter than someone hitting me. My boss complimented me the other day and I shifted the credit to my team and she said “Amanda, take a little credit for your work.” It is so engrained to see myself as pass-able at best that I’m not sure where to begin pause the voices in my head, to protect myself from me.

But…I am going to try. Try to love my life because its mine, just the way it is. This holiday season was particularly hard, mostly because I didn’t make the effort to lie for other people’s comfort. When they asked if I was alone I said yes. When they asked if I was seeing my family I said no. When they asked if I was okay/ happy I mostly told the truth and said I didn’t know. If I had lied they would have gone on their blissful holiday way for the most part. But by telling the truth it gave me the opportunity to look at my feelings and choices. It hurt but it was honest.

As I go forward into this new year, I hope to be kinder and more forgiving to myself. I think it is a lesson I will be learning my whole life: how to love me.

 

 

too grown up- thoughts about being rational

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So it’s late and I’m writing. A sure sign that my head is too full.  I’m not sure I know how to have fun. Not that I don’t laugh or enjoy people’s company but somewhere along the way I got too scared to trust “good” things. Like life or karma or something was just waiting in the wings to bite me in the ass the moment I let my guard dowhatchingn. And the funny thing about self-fulfilling prophecies is that sooner or later you’re right.

I got very good about weighing the odds and making the “right” choices. There is a part of me that almost wishes I could go back and re-do my 20’s knowing that I would be fine. But my life didn’t set me up to know things like that. I only knew that it was on me, to make it or to fail. I believed I could do it but I never dared to dream of anything more, bigger than what I could hold with my own two hands.

There was a moment when I let myself think like that. And for a while it was inspiring and I was bold. And then it changed. Like a house of cards the years of “you will fail” that I had managed to hold at bay by graduating from college, getting and keeping a job, finding someone to love; suddenly none of that mattered. It was like ten years of life amounted to one epic disaster called me. No amount of careful planning, determination or restraint had saved me.

I wonder now why I “seemingly” wasted my time being so good? I’m really not trying to build myself up. I was that kid who didn’t miss a day of school and did all their homework. I didn’t drink before twenty-one and didn’t have serious relationship until after college. I lived my life trying to make as few waves as possible, to do things the “right” way. I know that all of these ideas were/are well rooted in the instability of my childhood and my own fears about being noticed and not measuring up.

But now as an adult I look back and wish I could tell myself that it wouldn’t have mattered if I had missed a day or two of school. If  I had attended even one party in college. If I had a fling or two. But I do not know how to be that person. I do not know how to not look at what “could” happen given my choices. I envy those people who just feel like doing something and they do. I’m not saying that I want to become a care free hedonist. But it would be nice to not have to think all the time.

So I dance and I let my friends con me into stuff I would never do on my own, in the hopes that one day it won’t be quiet so scary to just go with something and not know how it will all turn out. To lay some little piece of myself in the hands of fate willingly.

 

Thoughts on the Holidays

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So life…it’s the holiday season for me. I always want to love this time of year but for the past few years it has been hard not to see all the changes and differences in my life. My family does not do big get togethers. In fact Thanksgiving usually marks the beginning of my father’s “I hate Christmas/ this season in general,” story that I have had to listen to every year.

I last year I just wanted it to pass by but this year I find myself needing a little holiday cheer. I’m not going to lie and say I don’t have my own issues about the holidays. It is hard to listen to other people tell their happy stories and know that more than likely that will not be me. But I’m working on making my life what I want it to be instead.

I spent Thanksgiving with my friends and the weekend with my sister and her family. It was really wonderful. There was no drama, not fighting and I even clocked a few new good memories. Christmas is harder though. I can’t really remember a good one while I was married. We always went to see his family because he didn’t like/ was uncomfortable with mine.  And I have a hard time crashing someone else’s Christmas.  When I was child it was a special day for families (nuclear) and I don’t have one of those. Just me and the cats.

I’ll put up my tree sometimes this week and the boys (cats) will begin the yearly camp out.  I’ll burn candles that make the house smell nice and I’m sure a few batches of cookies as well. But all these things are just things. I miss singing carols with my sister. I miss baking with my mom. I miss having someone to share things with. I know that in part the distance is my choice. But I would rather have an empty Christmas than one that is filled with fighting and guilt.

So I’m off to find my own holiday. Don’t know if I’ll be successful but I’m going to give it a shot.

perspective: changing sides of me

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Have you ever looked at yourself and been unsure of the person looking back at you? I find myself in such a state, it’s not bad parse but it is very different from the rest of my life.

I am a person who doesn’t really do labels of most kinds but I realize that this rule -like so many others- was only applied to the people outside of my head. For a long time I wanted to be the “good daughter” I’m not sure I even realized how far that one went until I didn’t want to do that any more. I wanted to be a “good student,” in HS and college. I never sassed my teachers and always did my homework.

I have tried and will continue to be a “good friend” though I know I get too caught up in my own stuff sometimes. When I was married  I desperately wanted to be a “good wife.” And I became another person to try to pull it off. I knew that I was a “good teacher, bad writer and someone who loved to sing and make art.”

But now precious few of these way of identifying myself feel real or wanted. And the terms I find myself thinking in feel different; sometimes comforting and others threatening. So many of the labels I had hurt to try to retain. I know there is something taking that space but I don’t know what it is. There are so many things I could do and I could be. And I know that the “you must have a purpose” part of me would love to just latch on to anything to keep from being a void. But that is where I am.

I have met a lot of interesting people lately that have caused me to think of myself in different lights and for that I am grateful. I have a strong inclination that the person I used to be is fading away. I am uncertain of the person I am becoming but I trust change. Some seeds take fire to sprout.

 

Ponderings: the moment between

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It has been a while. In fact I have seriously contemplated taking down my blog b/c of lack of motivation to write about anything of real substance or meaning. Not that those things are not happening but I know that when I do not write-journals or anything- I am avoiding my thoughts and feelings.

I find something interesting and flashy: a project, new dedication to my job ect and intentionally forget about the rest. It is hard for me to define what it is that I am running from other than failure in general.  I am a person who perseveres, who survives but I wonder often, “at the cost of what?” What I mean is that for every choice we make we say yes or no to something. And I have the increasing feeling that the more I “survive” the less I really live. To live one has to be willing to fail, to try and inevitably lose sometimes. To survive one must only breath and keep going. I know that this is a mellow-dramatic and perhaps overly dark assessment of things but it is how my heart feels.

My latest distraction has been “trying” to date. Please pause for a moment while I laugh at myself. Though I did learn a few interesting things about myself, my nature and dating in your 30’s; most of what I learned was that my heart is not in it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m an adrenalin and pheromone junkie like everyone else on that planet but the moment that I was at risk, I had to give anything, I shut it down. And that is just unfair to good people with different intentions.

So here I am smack in the middle of self assessment again. There is a part of me that feels like I should go back to counseling. There is a part of me that will not do that and there is another part of me that wonders when I will love/believe in myself enough to know I can make it and cut myself a break. But that feels very hard.

It is hard to look at the people I love in and out of my family and wonder if I only get the chance I lost. If I really don’t want kids or if I’m so scared they’ll be like me that I will not do that to my nonexistent spawn. I am so sick of listening to the same stories in my head but I don’t know how to change them. I’m so tired of being Alice giving very good advice and seldom following it.

What is the point to this self-pity rant you ask? That is if you are still reading. I’m in the moment between breaths. My old life is finally out of my lungs and I am happy for that. But I have no idea what the intake of new air will bring. So I hold my breath foolishly like a child, knowing that my body will make me breathe again, just like it made me live again.

I wish I were wiser and less afraid. I wish I had more compassion for my heart and what if feels. I wish I could accept that if I never fall in love again, get a “better” job or leave the state of Georgia that I will be fine, that I could even be happy, but I don’t believe it.

There is some deep place in me that keeps shouting it’s not good enough, it’s not safe enough and I am running out of time. The perspective part of me knows that most of what I just wrote is total BS. I have done amazing things and will do more and those accomplishments are mine. Many of them I did without the benefit of the life experiences that I have now and make me even better than before. But my heart doesn’t hear any of that. It only hurts when I don’t expect it, like tonight.

I know that my life will work itself out and I will be okay with it again. But it feels like it has been a long time since I felt that way. In January I will have lived here for two years and been divorced for one. It feels like such little progress, though I know the precious ground I have earned. I fear the first real steps on my own, I only see land mines hidden beneath the flowers of possibility.

What happens in the moment

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I went to a dance party at the studio where I take Latin classes tonight. I always get a little anxious beforehand, mostly b/c it is my nature to be so. Tonight there was a small group, all people I knew from my classes. I did not expect to find how warm and funny everyone was. I don’t mean to imply that they are not that way usually but I am not usually open to letting that in.

I have noticed over the past month or so that in my own small ways I am seeking out opportunities to let people back into my life. And not in a passive, they come they go kind of way, but in a way that asks me to offer something in return- vulnerability.

When I first came to Valdosta almost two years ago my life as a knew it had just fallen to pieces at my feet. It took the better part of that first year to remember how to breathe and live again. Once I was on the path of  rejoining the living I knew I had to start doing things for my own happiness,  to maintain my grip on the now. So I took up dance.

Never having danced before I walked into the studio across the street and decided that I would learn something new. It was difficult for a long time to feel like I was making progress and not handicapping my partners. But with the encouragement of my classmates and teachers I stuck with it even when I wanted to just give up and cry. I know that may sound a bit childish or over the top but I’m not sure you can understand how hard it is to re-start your life unless you have had to go through it. After that pain is gone you are left with questions about yourself and the choices you made, the things that happened to you. It makes everything a raw patch, so what would normally be nothing on an average day feels like you are being stabbed. And then if your me, you wonder things like ” why the h*** did you put yourself out there in the fist place?”

But I digress b/c I didn’t give up and tonight I could see it. I know that I am easily flustered but I didn’t care. I kept the apologizing to a shocking minimum and laughed a lot. In fact my teacher said “you are so fun.” I like that the light I feel in my life is finally starting to show through.  I know that I have done a lot of work to get here and there is still much to be done. But I would be remiss if I did not mention these interesting, generous group of people who have helped me to remember that my life is wonderful, silly and still going forward.

So I would like to take this small moment to thank them: Hanna- it is a blessing to have someone who has walked in your shoes,  Alvero- for not letting me give up, Chester- for making me practice one more time to know that I can do it, Will- for making me look you in the eyes, Tiffany- for a big heart so generously given, Ananda- for your smile and conversations, Gloriana- for you patience and sweetness. Thank you all so much. Weather you knew it or not you helped me to find my way back to me and for that I am so grateful.

Passion and Play: getting out there

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I started taking Latin dance classes about 3-4 months ago at the studio across from my apartment complex here in Valdosta. There were a lot of reason’s that pushed me towards doing something besides work for 8hrs a day every day. I needed the social interaction, the exercise but more than those things I needed to have fun and remember that I was alive.

So I started taking Salsa and Bachata. Though they have similar moves they could not be more different in attitude and music. Salsa is technical, fast and athletic. Bachata is slower (though it can be fast), has more styling for the women and is very sexy. Normally I would have shied away from the latter but I didn’t quit know what I was getting into at first and then I was hooked on it so I just have to deal with my issues. Which is why I love my dance classes so much. It gives me a safe place to learn to trust people and myself again and realize that I can be sexy and it’s not the end of the world.

I know that may sound strange to some of you but I was raised very conservatively and spoken and not it was very clear that if you enjoyed being attractive or getting attention that you were a bad person. Even in college I avoided situations were I would be noticed. I didn’t hate myself but based on a lot of other stuff I thought that it was batter to watch and choose who saw me than run into the limelight and have toe pay the price of being seen.

So now I find myself here…a 30 something, divorced, who is so ready to be over the “shy girl” thing but I”m not. If anything the tumultuous end of my marriage left me feeling even more insecure about myself. So I jumped, I had never taken a dance class before in my life. I was not a social dancer in high school or college. I learned the fox trot for my wedding off a DVD and that was the extent of it. And I am so glad that I did.

Not only do I love dancing b/c it challenges me mentally and physically. I love that there is a place I go and laugh, cheer and get frustrated with myself twice a week. I have off days and forget that I’m learning and I am so grateful to my classmates and teachers who don’t let me give up and encourage me to keep going.

I have not been moved up into the intermediate/advanced versions of both of the dances that I am taking. I would by no means says that I am as good as my class mates (all of them have been dancing for a while) but I am better than I used to be. And I’m still challenging myself and not settling for okay. Like to-night, we were supposed to work on some styling while we did our moves. I didn’t quiet get to the styling so I have assigned myself homework to get comfortable with it so when I go to class on Wednesday I have a better chance of at least giving it a go with a partner.

To that end of getting better and challenging myself; I have agreed to go with some classmates to Jacksonville to visit another studio and go to their dance part on Saturday. I am actually a bit scared but that is b/c I don’t trust myself. I know that I have the basic stuff down and I should have a little confidence in what I can do. I am hoping to have the chance to get to know my classmates a little better and have some fun. I thought that it was important to write about this now as opposed to post b/c I don’t often celibate those moments when I have done something brave and good for me. I usually shrug and think something like “well you should have been doing that all along,” quickly followed by “it all going to go bad,” never giving myself the recognition that I was unhappy with my life and did something about it. I said I wanted to do something besides work and I am. I wanted to meet people and try to make some friendships here I have the opportunity to do so.

I’m not saying it will all be roses. I will at the very least have blistered feet and a nice chunk of humble pie. But I also might have a new friend and realize that all my hard work has amounted to something. Something that I love to do. So here’s me standing on the edge totally jumping.