Saturday, November 21, 2009

Drop by drop

"Writing a journal means that facing your ocean, you are afraid to swim across it, so you attempt to drink it drop by drop."~George Sand

I've been watching the second season of HBO's In Treatment on demand and decided that there is an art to listening I had never noticed before and I wonder if maybe the only way to have access to that type of listening is to pay for it. I'm not being snarky here. It's just that no one I know listens the way the therapist on the show listens to his patients--with such care, such attention to detail, and such compassion. It is truly an art and something I would like to learn to do better, and have done better in regards to me.


For the past couple of weeks I have been on an eating binge. I eat everything in sight--leftover Baby Ruth bars from Halloween, chips, pretzels--you name it and I eat it. I go to bed at night with a container of extra strength tropical fruit TUMS by my nightstand and chew those up like skittles to combat the indigestion brought on by these feeding frenzies, then I wake up the next day and do it all over again. I am never filled up. I am never filled up.


There is an angel tree filled with requests by children at the grocery store where I shop. The other day I stood there and read the little wishes and I almost started crying because I wanted to scoop them all up and be the person who filled all those wishes but I know my husband would flip out if I did such a thing. Instead I think I will take an angel every time I go and fill that wish from now until Christmas. I have been blessed with much and it makes me happy to share--especially with children who remind me to be ever hopeful of just about everything.


Weekends get a little stressful around here. I want a break from the same old, same old and want to be free to do what I want to do and yet my adult children seem only to think of my life in terms of what I can do for them. It's all so predictable and annoying and I do not know of a way to complain about it that gets my point across for more than 5 minutes. I do not want to be that parent who wishes her children would just hurry up and leave but I find myself becoming her more and more--especially on the weekends. It's a fight to keep my newly found serenity and it worries me that I feel serenity most strongly when I am by myself.


I have hated running the past two weeks. It's a struggle to get myself out the door, not because I hate being outside but because I dread running the same paths and hearing the same music. I started to think about how many miles I have run in the last 21 weeks of religious exercise and it feels like a million. I am running up and down streets and around cul de sacs--like a lab rat stuck in a maze. So I'm thinking about changing up my scenery by going somewhere new. And I bought some new sneakers to have something new and shiny to motivate me not to give up. You should hear the pep talks I give myself each morning. This is what I say: "You can't give up. You have to keep trying. Remember how good you feel afterwards. Don't be that person who can't stick to things for more than just a short while." This is a dangerous time for me. I always know when I am about to take a little break from exercising that will last 6 months or more and I am determined not to let that happen. I'll keep you posted.


I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving. I've got pies to bake and a turkey to cook correctly so that I don't give my family food poisoning. This is always a worry of my husband's even though no one has ever gotten food poisoning from food I have prepared in over 20 years. Still, each year I get cautioned that I must prepare the turkey correctly. This year he has also suggested that perhaps instead of potentially poisoning everyone with turkey, maybe I should just make meatloaf and mashed potatoes instead. It promises to be another interesting holiday in my corner of the world.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

the easy kill

Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

On the day of my birthday, I did not get a call from my parents. I kept checking the phone thinking I would miss their call when I went out for a run, when I stepped out to get the mail, while I was in the kitchen unloading the dishwasher. I was watching TV in bed that night with my phone beside me, and I decided I needed to check the recent call list one last time just to make sure I didn't miss their call, but there was no listing with their name and number beside it. There was no missing call. It was in that moment that I was able to step out of myself and see how pathetic the whole situation was. I see myself waiting for the call. I see myself accepting no call will come.

I like to think about life as a journey of lessons learned, so I tried to figure out what the lesson of this could be. Was it that the world did not end just because I did not get a call from them on the one day of the year that is mine? Was it that a phone call, or lack thereof, should not be mistaken for love or lack thereof? Was the lesson that expectations of others are futile--even the simplest of things--because expectations inevitably lead to disappointments? Who knows. I'm sure I don't.

I tried to imagine the thought process that went into them not calling me because it is important that I understand why. Did they make a conscious choice to let the day pass without a word to me or did I slip their mind altogether? I will not lie: neither choice feels acceptable. Understanding eludes me.

A pattern of mine that I've been trying to break is the one where I lock all the unacceptable things inside my head where I tell myself not to think about them. It's a safety mechanism of mine that I've taken up because people have not always been careful of my heart and I know I'll be unwaveringly vigilant. I've learned, though, that the feelings tied to all the unacceptable things do not go away just because I choose not think about them.

Instead, I've been trying to deal with the feelings as they come--to honor the feelings, good and bad, that come from my journey. I used to think it was best to lock everything bad away because I was afraid thinking those thoughts would kill me, but they didn't. In case you haven't noticed, I can be quite theatrical at times. I thought the feelings would paralyze me and render me unable to move forward. But then I stopped being afraid to feel my own emotions, and learned I am stronger than I think I am. Hidden, unexamined, unfelt feelings are more poisonous than allowing myself to feel them. I can cry the sadness out of me and then move on.

For most of my adult life, I have felt somewhat disconnected from people, and I think the roots of this disconnection go all the way back to my beginning. There was a lack of nurturing I experienced--not in any way connected to having food, clothing, and shelter--that left me feeling apart from the rest of the world. I find this difficult to explain. It's like being on the outside looking in all the time. It's needing to watch other families and relationships to learn what it's like to behave like a normal family/person because it doesn't come naturally. It's guarding your heart always, because that is what makes you feel safe in this world.

When something happens to remind me where I come from, I feel stuck and angry and sad all at once. I have to sit in those emotions and feel them and they feel awful. I think if only I was a better person--THEN I'm sure they would have remembered to call me--which is ridiculous. I don't want to have to be better to be remembered. I just want to be who I am.

Sometimes I feel so alone in this world--that my ties to the people I love are so tenuous--that if severed--I would simply float away, telling myself not to look back, because I would know instinctively that those on the ground would not be looking up to see where I might be going.

I have been mourning the relationship I have with my parents for most of my life. It feels like this: I have everything except what they did not give me, and what they did not give me is everything I'll ever want.


*This happened a number of weeks ago and I wrote this immediately afterwards, however, I wasn't really able to post it until now because I felt so horrible. I'm pretty much over it now. Time heals what reason cannot.