This isn’t a Relationship!

This isn’t a Relationship!

 

I have been away for a bit from this blog. It’s been a rocky time. I thought when my guy and I got back together we would create something better by adding to what we had and moving forward in bliss. Needless to say that didn’t happen.

We hit a very painful point in our relationship. We had a very destructive fight fueled by jealousy and insecurities on my part and deception and self-righteousness on his part. We sank very low emotionally, isolated for several days, and struggled to connect. It was a dark time.

About a week later we came back together but I chose not to discuss the fight for about 4 weeks. We/I needed time to allow it to diffuse.

Once we did sit down to talk about it, our perceptions were very different about what happened that night. I began to realize we both had to accept and see and try to understand what each of us had experienced. And this began a process for me of realizing I haven’t a clue how to do this relationship. This came as a complete surprise to me!! I’ve been “studying” how to be a good if not great partner for years. I’ve read the books and listened to lectures and have put into practice all of my wonderful skills, which are of course amazing! Yeah, not so much. Talk about humbling.

I realized some things about myself. Whenever there is an issue I always thought it best to talk about it and come to a solution. What I’ve come to understand about this needI have is that it is very selfish and self -serving. You see, because of my history I have carried this belief, “if I talk it all out then I won’t be surprised. I’ll be safe”. The problem with this was that I wasn’t taking into account my guy and his needs. It was all about me. It looked good, I am communicating, but the motivation was not in the right place.

This has led me to see the functional relationship skills have been tools I use, at times, to placate my fears and insecurities. I am realizing this is what I need to focus on, me, my shit.

Woven through my relationship has been this driving force to feel loved, safe, secure, wanted, valued, all “normal” feelings, just not his job to make me feel. It’s my job to feel those feelings and come into the relationship with them. My guy does not need to seeme. I need to be seen. I need to live large, seeing my value and worth and he won’t be able to miss me.

I have felt small, invisible and have lived in my own shadows. I have approached life and relationships and especially this one minimizing my existence. I am very grateful and lucky to have my guy in my life. He is perfect for me at this moment. Who he is, allows me to learn how to be a greater, more secure me. I have to fight my way out of my own shadow and live in my light. And I am attempting to do this each day by choosing life differently. I know it’s about choosing happiness, success, laughter, joy in every moment. I know it is about crying away feelings of lack and loss from my past. I know it is finding out what makes me happy instead of expecting someone to make me happy. I know it is praying, meditating, going to a movie, getting together with a friend, and walking on the beach and anything else to step into my own skin.

So, here we are, my guy and me defining what works for us. We live across the street from each other at the moment. We talk every day, but we don’t necessarily see each other every day, (that’s more what he needs and one of those things that forces me to grow, yuck). We haven’t a plan for the future, (again a need of his and AFGO for me), we are unfolding. And I am learning to allow life to happen and realize I am safe because I have me.

I see now that all my planning and talking and promises were all there for me to feel secure. But for me it was a false sense of security. I need to have security from within. I spend a lot more time alone and I like it. I am taking time to make a life for myself while being in a relationship, which is a different experience for me.

This may not fall into the relationship parameters that I have learned, dreamed of or hoped for but it is a relationship that continues to challenge me to grow and find myself. It may not be a traditionally defined relationship, but it’s ours. I am so grateful for this man in my life. I do love him so.

Be The Change

Be the Change

 

Be the change you want to see in the world-Mahatma Gandhi

 

I have been examining myself in some different areas, praying, reading, and performing affirmations. I have been looking to process some feelings of fear and doubt and turn it into faith.

My last blog talked about fear, my feelings related to my ex and my hope there could be a change. Well, there has been a change. My ex, the absolute love of my life, asked me to spend the rest of our lives together. I was in total shock as I had reached a point where I had closed the door on the possibility of reconciliation. I had joined POF, a dating site, had gone on a date. I was forcing myself to go out and practice the art of moving on, attempting to shift my focus so I could start a new life.

Then he asked to talk. My ex, I guess now my guy had never expressed verbally a desire to spend his life with me. There was never the verbal commitment in all the years we were together. When he asked me to talk, he admitted he was never fully committed previously, and expressed his desire to spend his life with me. I said yes.

I need to take a few steps back. About 2 months ago I began reading a book, upon my mother’s suggestion, called When the Man in Your Life Can’t Commitby Dr. David Hawkins. It talked about many different aspects of commitment, some related to societal pressures/roles, many spiritual/biblical stories and defined some basic commitment strategies. It allowed me to understand my guy in a different light, have compassion for him and see that it’s not just him that may have difficulties committing. It also allowed me to look at my commitment issues especially where vulnerability is at stake. I realized I am a flight risk, emotionally and physically, when I become hurt or feel afraid.

I initially began reading this book so I could not make the same mistakes with my next partner. Perhaps it could help me recognize the “signs” that were present, the ones I might have missed, in my “love is blind“ phase in the past. I continued to read the book after we reunited to understand what aspects Dr. Hawkins was suggesting needed to be present to have a truly committed relationship. Dr. Hawkins gave various components to commitment, dedication to each other’s welfare, responsibility to each other, tolerance of life’s storms, and others. I feel these suggestions are a great foundational tool to use as a reminder of what I need to show I am committed.

Back to my “yes” moment. I suppose after my guy expressed his desire to spend his life with me, I thought I would feel an overwhelming sense of joy. I had gotten an amazing gift, my guy, whom had filled my heart, wanted to create a life with me. It was an answer to my prayers, emotional work, my pain, and my growth.  But what I was left with was fear. Again this nagging anxiety, overwhelming panic, that I would be hurt again, abandoned, disappointed. I have begun to feel if I can’t rectify this feeling of doom, I may lose him due to sabotage of my own doing. I wanted to sprint toward sorting out every issue, to feel safe and secure. I needed to realize I am in a marathon and need to breathe.

I began to pray more, do more affirmations, and share with my guy my fears, to show my most vulnerable self. Still, this fear had taken up house in the center of my chest. Then, I stopped doing and began to listen. I listened to my inside voice from deep within.

I realized all I needed to do is be the person in this relationship that I wanted in return. I needed to show him love and trust, unconditional love. I needed to be in the moment and not obsess about what will happen tomorrow, later, or what happened in the past. I needed to find faith, believe in the process and us and take a risk. As I have stated in previous blogs, I understand love will hurt. I need to be willing to practice vulnerability, compassion, trust, joy, everything, so I can receive all that there is to receive.

As I have started to be the change I want to see in this relationship, I am being blessed with the rewards of feeling desired and wanted, loved. I am learning to own my fear, sink into it and not run from it. I am learning to find its origin and breathe past it and come back to the moment. I am realizing I am my foundation, my own security. In the past 9 months, since the original split, I have grown, gained strength and confidence in myself. I am seeing myself, my accomplishments and I understand I want this man to walk beside me and me along side him. Join each other on our walk through life.

I was getting ready for work today and realized I was feeling something deep inside, almost like a giggle gurgling within. I quieted my mind, felt for a moment and then it came to me. It’s joy. Not yet coming to the surface, lying beneath, brewing. It’s joy based on me, my foundation, my friendships, my family, my accomplishments and confidences gained. It’s joy that my Love is in my life. It will come to the surface when I’m ready to feel it fully. I’m just telling myself, keep being the change you want to see.

Where’s the Wizard When You Need Him?

Where’s the Wizard When You Need Him?

 

I was thinking the other day, trying to remember the first time I felt afraid. I had two images pop into my head. The first was when I was young, under 10. We were living in a small town in upstate NY and it was a time where you could wonder down the street and play at the neighbor’s house all day and no one worried about your safety. My older brother and I were playing at a friend’s house, it was getting towards dinner time, but we were having too much fun to adhere to the time set to go home. My mother had a fierce whistle, one that could be heard from our house down the street and it was our summons to come home. That day, still entrenched in our fun, we didn’t hear the whistle and my mother had to come find us at our friends and she was not happy. I felt fear that day of the consequences that would ensue when we got home.

The other time was when my older brother and I had taken golf clubs up to the local baseball field to hit some golf balls just for fun. On one of my back swings I caught him square on the cheekbone and the blood starting gushing. We ran home, me in total fear of what would happen to me for being so careless even though it was an accident.

I don’t recall the “punishments” of either memory or if there even were any. I just remember feeling afraid of disappointing my parents, letting them down and knowing I had made a mistake in both scenarios.

Fear is such a strong motivator. I can recall in life being asked if I did or said something and my immediate response is to want to deny, deny, deny. I didn’t want to be caught, was afraid of the consequences and would attempt to avoid at any cost. Of course this is not a way of living for me and have learned that I need to be honest. It’s that fight or flight instinct that kicks in and wants to dictate an initial response. If there is trouble let me get away from it. And that trouble can take various forms: losing a job, anger from a partner or friend, rejection, etc. Fear can also stop you in your tracks. People avoid situations and experiences because they are afraid to try. Individuals can be paralyzed by fear.

I’ve learned to have a working relationship with fear. When I feel afraid, I generally force myself to go towards the situation, action, or person that is initiating the fear. You see I don’t want anything to control me, so I push. I feel if I let an emotion stop me then I lose the opportunity to grow and change, intellectually and emotionally.

Lately though, I have felt my cowardly lion force its presence front and center.

My upbringing did not offer a lot of stability and security. I have spent years working to overcome my insecurities, my limiting beliefs, and my hurt, to work to find confidence, happiness and security. It’s an ongoing process that I accept as a journey through life. I’m ok with that most days.

What I have found though, in my needing to face the disruption that occurred in my life with the change of my significant relationship is I had created a safety dome around my life, an illusion, maybe a dream of safety. I had based my security partly on being in a relationship, knowing that no matter what came my way I had a partner who would walk with me. Better or worse, MY heart was committed.

When this crumbled, I had to face my immediate fear of survival. It motivated me, as fear can do, to be sure I could provide for my family and create a secure and stable home on my own. I put my head down, so to speak, worked and have created a financial cushion of safety for my children and myself. Job well done me.

So, why am I still afraid? I began to see, being vulnerable was again a challenge. I wanted to remain in control of my experiences, and of the people around me so I could avoid being devastated again. I would examine each scenario, action, non-action, and conversation and would attach definition so I could feel safe.

Still, trying to create the dome, and still it was an illusion.

I’m remembering the words I have told countless friends, my daughter, my self, over and over again. If you are going to love, you will feel hurt. It’s a song for goodness sake!! LOVE HURTS!

As I continue to go day to day, I recognize how afraid I am. First, doing life without a partner is challenging for me. Yes, I can do it. Have been doing it, and doing it well. But my desire is to share life with someone. I like waking up next to the one I love. Starting a new day. I even like seeing them start their new day, so much ahead to experience and share. Possibilities.

I realized though, fear/anxiety was permeating my life in a totally new way. Even where I had made great accomplishments I was unable to attach the confidence I thought I would attain having reached various goals. Fear was prevalent, on a daily basis so I began to look at what I was afraid of. Here it is.

I am afraid to risk my heart again. Truly put myself out there, open and vulnerable, knowing I can be hurt. I understand I must open up my heart so wide that the risk/return can have the potential to be great. But I watch myself from the outside, and see where I hold back. I have become so timid. I fear rejection, disappointment.

I am afraid I won’t be seen. If I don’t have someone next to me, where I am my most vulnerable, do I exist? And by this I mean, we share our most tender parts with our partners in life. We allow ourselves to be most vulnerable, this is what builds that intimate love connection that is special between two people. It’s a commitment expressing I will see your most vulnerable self and love you, no matter what. There is comfort and security in that sharing, in that deep relationship. So if I don’t have that in my life, no one to share that with, do I exist on that level?

I am afraid no one will see my worth and want to invest in me. I have friends tell me I need to see my own value first. Trust me, I think I’m a great package. I have my faults, I’m ok with them and I know I work to be a better person every day. My fear is my time will run out and I won’t have the opportunity for someone to value, love and cherish me.

Now I wish I could interject the long pause that has just happened, to keep myself honest with all of you reading this, as this is my greatest fear that is consuming me as of late.

I am afraid this man that I have loved, what feels like a lifetime in my heart, will not take the chance that is necessary for us to begin again. I am afraid, fear will win and he will stay locked in his illusions and fears and I will not take the risks and if I do they won’t be enough. I’m afraid this love we share will stay below the surface and not have the chance to bloom. I’m afraid this man was my chance at a deep love that got intersected too soon and now is lost in a fog.

My Self Proclaimed Mission If I Choose to Accept It

My Self Proclaimed Mission If I Choose to Accept It

 

I have been contemplating this issue: can you teach someone how to love you? There has been information, far more researched than I have done, about learning your partner’s love language. Other information regarding, loving yourself so you can express this to your partner is another valid point of view. So I am venturing into this area, can I teach someone to love me?

Listen, I’m not talking about “getting” someone to love me, I believe that feeling must exist first before moving forward. But, can I have the self-awareness, clarity, patience and the teaching abilities required to accomplish this task?

I have hesitated writing this blog because I don’t want it to come off as bashing the male gender. So here is my disclaimer, I LOVE men!! I like their energy, enjoy their humor and company. Often choose to be in their company over same sex gatherings.

Having said this, I am acutely aware of the differences that are so apparent between the sexes. Again, I feel the need for a disclaimer, (political correctness and all), not all men are the way I may describe them. Not all women are the way I may generalize them. But, c’mon people, books have been written, Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. There are innate differences. I have come face to face with this often recently and I began to wonder, with some mad super hero skills could I bridge the gap. Would it be worth the effort?

So let me begin with a bit of honesty and believe me, this is tough to share being I want approval and acceptance. I have made a commitment to myself, in this blog, to be honest. So here it goes. I am venturing into the waters, perhaps physically and intellectually shallow, albeit deeper emotionally, (ok, now I’m just avoiding stating this), revisiting a relationship with my ex. Yes, the one that left for another woman. Yes, the love of my life. Yes, the one that has been a main focus of this blog and the one I have been attempting to recreate the exorcism as seen performed by Linda Blair, spinning my head around and spewing the symbolic pain and hurt from my soul. Yes, that guy.

I have wandered around the emotional, relationship desert and realized I love him. My heart and feelings had not lessened in the depth of love that existed for him. I kept trying to expel him from my life and heart and continued to feel he, at this moment, is my choice. He remains, the love of my life. I have prayed for god to changed his heart and actions or change mine. So, the two of us are faced with the opportunity to see where this relationship may go.

There have been many gifts this breakup has afforded me. I have realized I made his life, my life. I melted comfortably into his needs, desires, wishes and dreams. Time away has allowed me to see my dreams and my need to have MY life, separate of his. I have also learned compassion, empathy and understanding are all wonderful things to offer my partner. I also see where I need to lay down clearer base line needs, perhaps rules, for this relationship or any other I may venture into.

We had a recent conversation where I was talking about feelings, (not his strength), and he said, “You know I’m not good at these type of conversations”. I said I understand but they need to happen, perhaps in small doses, but in order for us to be successful they will have to happen often. I spent a few more moments talking about feelings and then said, I heard the emotional timer go off. He’d done a good 5 minutes of intense conversation and we could move on to a more neutral topic like sports.

So I have had 8 almost 9 months to move my emotional self to a different space, one more confident with myself. Perhaps understanding what I need/want in a relationship. Even figuring out what I want my life to look like separate from a partner. I’ve come to enjoy my time alone. I have learned how to fill my heart and soul to some extent. I am still finding those activities, both recreational and business focused that are building a stronger me, more secure and confident me.

So I am attempting to create a different relationship reality than I have had previously. My ex, (we haven’t established he’s my guy so the label remains the EX), is a typical guy (ok folks, remember the disclaimer). He loves sports, doesn’t really want to talk about feelings, wants to keep things comfortable and focused on him and ultimately wants me to know he loves me without really having to say it or show it too effusively.

Can he learn? Can I? In fairness, I am as different to him as he is too me. I just perceive myself to be the emotional superior in this relationship and I think he would agree (I mean he would, after the planets align and Ireland win the 2018 World Cup), but he would. I know I have the capacity to see him and his needs and in fairness to him I see changes he is willing to make and is making.

I know honest communication is key. No more can I tip toe around issues that need to be brought to light. And no, he won’t bring them up. He’s that kind of guy. Yet, he has been willing to listen and participate in some honest conversations about where we need to start from, finding new directions.

I’m not without faults and I definitely have my own learning curve, which I attempt to keep in check. I want to be successful at this relationship thing. I hope it’s with this man. He still gives me butterflies. When he is open and lets me in, there is nothing better. I am cautiously optimistic. I’m hopeful. I’m also keeping my options open until he is able to claim I’m the one. I need that from whomever I partner with.

I know I deserve to be someone’s priority. I know that person needs to take the same measure of risk I’m willing to take. I’m willing to risk my heart, what is your bet?

In Whom Do I Trust?

In Whom Do I Trust?

 

In my last writing I talked a bit about faith and hope. I have been juggling my thoughts as to where do I put my faith or trust. When my break up happened, I came face to face with many of my fears and insecurities. Financially I wondered if I could go from splitting life expenses to carrying the load by myself. My reaction was to put my head down, face the issue and do what needed to be done. I worked more, saved, got another job and made it happen.

As far as my confidence when it came to my esteem, who I am, I felt fear as well. I am in the second half of my life and not sure if who I am is attractive to anyone. Do I have sex appeal? (okay, I’m cute, fit, but not 20 or even 30), do I have anything interesting to say?, what are my endearing qualities?

What I began to recognize was fear was a large part of my life. This looming feeling was directing, or at least a driving presence in my life. It became apparent to me that I needed to find faith. I needed to find a way to believe in something or someone so I could build confidence in myself and in my life.

So where do I find faith?? I am not a religious person. My relationship with the God that I was brought up knowing is nonexistent. That God I found to be judgmental, damning, punishing and not based in love. It has not been a relationship that I fostered and honestly abandoned years ago.

I attempted the “new age” thought of universal love, collective energy as a guiding force. I must say this never really stuck for me either. It wasn’t tangible enough for me. I didn’t know how to ask for help or direction from a nebulous “thing”.

So, I’ve been going through life, feeling if I did the best I could, good things would come my way. If I do good, good will happen basically was my thought. The problem with this is I do my best and sometimes not so great things still can happen. And in truth, the not great things began to get interpreted as me not doing life perfect, which is impossible, and yet I used this to beat my self up emotionally.

I realized I needed a new plan.

I recently returned from Ireland and on that trip a wonderful lady gave me a cross and a prayer book. They were intended for a client of mine who is going through a rough physical time but we haven’t connected so I still have both in my possession.

I remembered being told there was a specific prayer in the pamphlet that could be read and would be very powerful. I searched and couldn’t find the prayer but came upon this:

Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your Holy Will, which is Love and Mercy itself.

I began to hold the cross and read this prayer every day. I liked the thought of not despairing, no more dark moments. I didn’t want to become despondent due to fear and uncertainties, I always want to be moving forward. I like submitting myself to Love and Mercy that exists within me. This prayer feels like it allows me to believe in me. To believe in my ability to give myself a break, not judge, know I am doing my best. To have a knowing I will find my way through life, past the fear.

I was talking to my mom the other day and I was expressing how I am doing well financially, making the solo decisions that need to be made, sorting out my life after my break up and still I couldn’t find the confidence I felt should exist when achieving success. I still felt such strong feelings of being afraid. Some of this fear was still based in my past, something I need to let go of. Part of the fear is of the unknown, I don’t want to be surprised. Want to have all the bases covered so nothing bad can happen. Then I realized I won’t find joy and experience all that life has to offer if I am unwilling to take risks. Risks are necessary in life! Well, my life. The saying, “no risk, no reward”, is true right?

So, by finding faith, faith in myself, through this prayer that I will be led through life with love and mercy was a gift. I forget so quickly to allow myself to be human, feel, take chances, fail and be merciful with myself. Fear may always be a presence in my life, perhaps something I just need to acknowledge, and continue to move through.

I believe my confidence will grow as I find my way through experiences I may have done with someone before, to now doing solo.

Fear seems to arise for me when I am not trusting. Perhaps I put my trust in people who weren’t trust worthy. Maybe they are just human and I need to extend mercy.

For now, I am trusting faith. A belief in love and mercy, which exists in me.

Navigating Anew

Navigating Anew

 

Hi my friends. I haven’t written in a while as I have not felt very inspired and truthfully was going through a bit of a dark place. It has been a challenge at moments to hold onto hope that there actually is a light at the end of this tunnel.

This morning I was walking back from the mailbox and looked up at the sky, extended my arms to open to the day, possibilities and for a moment I felt true, deep in my soul happiness. I have felt this before, but not for at least 6 months. It is a glimpse at the light that exists even when it is dark and I am unable to find my way towards it. Today, I know it is there and have renewed hope to build on. I will be happy again.

So here I am back at it, whether anyone is out there with me or not. I am going to share some of my recent experiences and realizations. I mentioned that I have ventured into the dating world. Perhaps a better way to explain is to say I’ve dipped a toe into the dating pond. I have found it laden with leeches, over run by frogs, murky, smelly and ultimately an unpleasant experience.

What I am finding in my very brief venture out there, (this is admittedly limited knowledge due to limited experience), is people lie, want to only have sex, push hard for the end result and did I include lie. It is a tough world to go out and date and I feel ill equipped to be successful. I have tried to approach this from a couple different angles.

The first was let me just have fun and play, fool around. The truth is, this has never been me. I like being with one person, devoting my time, focus, love and energy in one specific direction to have the most success possible. So I’m really not sure why I thought this was a good idea or even one that would work for me. But I stated it as my mission. Oh and the other glitch in this “approach” is I can’t fool around. It has never left me feeling good about myself (whether guilt from religious upbringing, values instilled in me or my own moral compass), I always wake up with regret and feel I have done something wrong. I end up having to do so much work to get my esteem back to a healthy place it never seems worth the effort of the act. And still, I thought let me try this.

Fooling around, being an adult, sharing a sexual experience is fun. It just isn’t for me. For all the reasons previously stated and another aspect I realized and need to accept about myself is I like the sexual act to be surrounded by love. I just do. So, I nix this little experiment and feel lucky that I have learned something about myself. I need to honor this truth and move on from here. I told my mom I will be going to an adult store and buying myself a little friend, wink, wink.

So next part of the experiment of dating, (because it does feel like a science project, will it blow up? Will it even work? What will happen?), going out and sharing a dinner, movie or other activity where you get to know someone slowly. As I have stated in a previous blog I’m a single mom, I work a lot and I have little time. If I actually get to know someone slowly I will have one foot in the grave! I understand it takes time to get to know someone, I have every other weekend where I don’t have my daughter and the occasional sleepover she may have with a friend. That’s it!! I need to be on the getting to know someone fast track. I just don’t have time for this shit.

And I’m going to address something here. I have been told I need to learn to like being alone. I need to learn how to be by myself, enjoy me. Get good at it. F==K that!!

I’m on my own, every day. I make decisions about my life, my children’s lives, my house, my career, everything. There is no other human here doing this with me. I am learning how to navigate things I did as a couple to now doing it alone. I do go to dinner alone, a movie by myself. I am trying new activities, even in my limited time. I’m good. I want a partnership. I like being a part of a partnership. What I won’t do is accept just anyone to fill that spot. That would not work for me.

Back to my fast track dating, getting to know someone has also brought about its challenges and opportunities for emotional growth. I’m a sharer. I don’t really feel the need to hold back. I don’t lie about my age, my history, or my feelings. As my therapist says, “Holly, you’re transparent and you believe others will be too”. I guess this is true. I’m very accepting, forgiving, and extremely loving. I can see the best in others. Look for the best, as I know it is there in most people.  I get excited when I do meet someone I like. I WANT to know them. Pick up cues as to whether they really want to know me. It’s a fun dance. The swaying and texting and two stepping and chatting. It’s fun, the process of learning about someone new.

And here comes my life lesson. I can go too fast. I realize I can confuse my own excitement with a real connection or a connection that could develop into a relationship. I also have learned my ability to be honest, my comfort with my feelings and my ability to share them, and my true desire to connect with people is a gift. I am finding it is not usual for people, men in this instance, to feel as though they are heard or seen by a partner. Listen I know I put on my best self when I am dating. I set up my A game. There will be cracks in time showing my limits, faults or shortcomings. We all have them. I completely accept this about myself and I know and accept this about others. We are all just trying to do our best. What I found though is in my dating men find my approach different. Truth is, I’m a guys gal. Like sports but still have a certain sex appeal. I’m not demanding, pretty laid back.

Then why haven’t I found the next partner? My match? Well what I am also realizing is I can find compatibility, companionship, caring and even a love and still it is not the connection, the love connection I want to feel. I have been lucky enough to be loved greatly and to have loved greatly. I am hoping I can feel that again. There is so much that is swirling around trying to make it all come together in a relationship. Is there chemistry, is there trust, communication, shared interests, laughter, fun and ultimately love.

My venturing out into the dating world has come to a halt for the moment. I am processing feelings from being out there, well not out but I may have let my feet soak for a bit in the pond. I do need to go slow and trust myself, trust I will know when I have met the person I want to try again with. Starting new is challenging. It’s so scary and unfamiliar. I’m thinking I need to try a different approach. I’m slowing down, listening to my internal cues, honoring what I want first and valuing those who cross my path for what they do bring to my life. I did feel happy today so I do know there is hope.

The Eye of The Storm

The Eye of The Storm

 

I am venturing into the dating world. Well, I was strongly encouraged by my brother to “get out there” and by this he meant join a dating site. I have never been on a dating site, never really needed to before this time in my life. After venturing into the dating site world I’m not sure I ever need to go there again.

I did a bit of research as to the cheapest sites, the easiest to join with the least amount of commitment and what each site offered, (actual dates, sex, or companionship). I put up a basic profile, feeling very un-invested. I immediately started receiving winks and nods and messages and holy shit!! I have a bit of a completion nature so as I saw these messages popping up I thought I should not be rude and I needed to at least respond if not to just politely decline. That’s when I found out they wanted my credit card or I couldn’t answer the messages and the dings kept coming and I suddenly felt completely overwhelmed and decided best for me to just delete my profile and accept online dating was not for me.

Plan B: A guy whom my path had crossed over the years with casual hellos, asked me to dinner after my break up and I felt it was too early for me to date even if just for dinner. He was recently “passing by” on FB and said the dinner offer was still available and I immediately said yes before I could change my mind. There you go my brother, I am out there!

My time to go out is limited as I am a single mom and my daughter goes to her dad’s every other weekend. So this gentleman and I went out a couple times during a single weekend, a movie, dinner, and my house to hang out. It was more comfortable than I imagined it would be and I had a good time. Until…the beginning of the storm.

You see I am not a dater. Never have been. There is a running joke about lesbians, they meet go on a date and move in together. I have tended to lean in this direction of dating. My history has been when I have met someone, they become my focus and I build a relationship with them. I have never played the field in my “adult” life. In wanting to perhaps do things differently to try and get a different result, I thought I would date for a while at this time, go slow and see where I land.

This concept was in complete opposition of what this gentleman wanted and blew away my whole lesbian theory because he was all in and wanted to be in a committed relationship with me.

After some discussions, me acknowledging us needing/wanting different things right now, him apologizing for moving so fast, I stated I thought it best we stay friends instead of pursuing something romantic. We have since met for drinks and I enjoy his company, and he has again stated he would like to date and I have politely declined, as my position hasn’t changed.

Plan C: How about just sex. I know I am still working to get over my ex and not ready for a whole relationship. I am a vibrant woman with “needs/desires” and one of my best friends said, the best way to get over someone is to get under someone. So hell, let’s go for a ride. Needless to say, this is not for me. I am a heart girl; I invest (as stated earlier, meet, pursue, end in a relationship, duh Holly, did you not remember?), so this was definitely not the way to go.

Plan D: Date. Work. Parent. Friends. Not necessarily in that order or frequency.

So, here I am in the midst of my latest adventure (putting a positive spin on it today), of dating, working, parenting and I am acutely aware of how off balance I feel. What I have realized is my life was very busy when I was with my ex but we had created a center, a home base so to speak. This home base provided a security, a respite from all the craziness whirling around me, the cyclone of life that existed. I found comfort with him, in him and would come back to our center, our home when I needed to recharge.

My life is no less crazy, perhaps even more. I work more, balance parenting on my own, visit with friends, date, self analyze, run in circles, and do it over and over, round and round.

And he is not here.

This past weekend I was sorting out some feelings. A current situation providing me the opportunity to visit a past wound that needs to heal. What I realized was I need to be my own center, my haven in the midst of the cyclone that is going around me. I needed to throw my ex into the whirling that exists and exit him from my home base, my eye of the storm. I need to plant my feet on the ground and allow the people and situations to spin around me, observing them but not being thrown off balance. This is a new challenge. I am meditating, (Which is totally not my thing because it requires me to sit and be quiet with myself. I’m up to 2 mins), I am drawing a Tao card to provide guidance for my day, I am exercising, and I am working to be my haven.

My brother gave me another tool, this one a bit more useful than the dating site suggestion. He told me to put my name on one side of a paper and others on the opposite side. Under my name I was to list what I do for me and on the other side what I do for others. He stated I needed to see if there was an imbalance, and if there was, it wasn’t good to be imbalanced in favor of others. This is an amazing exercise that I continue to give a lot of thought. As I started listing under my name, I came up with 2 things I do solely for myself, and I wasn’t willing to list showering, brushing my teeth or things of that nature. TWO things. How can I possibly be my haven, my rock, my comfort, and my home if I am not attending to me?! I am searching for other experiences, activities or groups I can participate in that feed my soul, and connect me more to myself.

So my friends, here I am. A lone woman, standing in the center of my cyclone, planting my feet, learning how to care for and comfort myself. I’m learning to observe my life (wisdom from my mom), with out being emotionally shaken by it all the time (not yet successful with this concept, still a lot of tears).

I am grateful for the storm though, it is teaching me so much as are the people and their emotions that are whirling around. It’s helping me practice compassion, boundaries, indifference and love. I am feeling the swift wind and I get smacked a bit by the debris from time to time but I’m still standing and I’m standing alone.

The Art of Deception

The Art of Deception

 

The definition of deceive is to mislead or falsely persuade. Deception is then the action of deceiving. As I continue to grow away from the ending of my last relationship, I actively look at myself, my actions and behaviors, in the past and present, so I may evolve and change. I am the only person I have control over and constantly must bring the focus back on myself and look for ways to make my life what I would like it to be.

Needless to say, I have observed A LOT! and heard from friends, family and strangers a whole basket full of “what I should do or be doing”. I believe all meant with great intentions and sometimes I’m sure just to get me to stop talking about the pain and sadness.

In all this information gathering I have come to some conclusions I’d like to share. I was deceived in my relationship. It certainly is an act that destroys trust. It would seem the trust lost would be between the two people, and for me this was true, but I also lost trust in myself. I didn’t understand how I could not know where we were heading. How did I not see this coming? I was happy. I thought we both were.

As a result, I have come to recognize I don’t trust my judgments or observations. I find myself second guessing and looking for confirmation from books, videos, friends, my therapist and my mother. I want to be sure I’m not going to make the same mistakes that will lead me down a similar path of pain, disappointment and heartbreak. I have blamed my ex, at least in my mind, for this destruction of confidence in my choices. That lasted about a good 10 minutes until I had to be honest with myself and take a closer look at me.

Recently there was an event my ex was involved with that was the culmination of years of work and relationship building. This event was a beginning to a dream we had planned and researched and spent a lot of years together focusing on. It was our future. I wasn’t included in the event, which may sound perfectly normal, except my ex and I run in the same circles with the same people. I see him on a regular basis. We are friendly and loving toward each other, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am a kind person and have always exited relationships with kindness and love.

So back to this situation, I was hurt. Well actually devastated to not be included. It may not be our dream any longer, and still I wanted to celebrate with him. I wanted to be there and cheer him on because I know how hard he has worked. I am so happy for him and I wanted to be a part of the excitement. Being left out by him specifically hurt me badly.

Through this pain I began to realize something very important for me. This wasn’t pretty to face but, I was the deceiver. I have continued to deceive myself, falsely persuade me. I have in my grieving of this relationship, created illusions and falsehoods. I have misled my heart down a path with my thoughts, beliefs, my unwillingness to face the truth and with my actions. I established a story that wasn’t true and validated it by twisting what was real, deceiving. Perhaps it was to give myself hope. I’m sure to salve the pain and loneliness. In some instances I know it was to help me feel I am not lacking and to alleviate me of blame for the ending of this relationship.

The reasons are insignificant. The reality is I need to be willing to stop telling myself lies. My ex told me he lied because he didn’t want to hurt me. I lied to myself because ultimately I wanted to stop hurting. So how do I stop this madness??

I have come to understand I need to accept what is. I need to see what IS right now. I can no longer look to see the potential in him, or anyone else that may cross my path. I need to be willing to observe and acknowledge the behaviors and actions that are right now. I need to find the courage to stop giving myself false hope and do things in my life that will give me real hope.

I need to create new dreams for myself. I need to find ways to inspire my heart and find a way to “sing” and hear music again. I need to make the choice to be happy again in a new way, each day and sometimes, moment to moment. I have to be willing to allow new experiences and people into my life and trust myself to “see” them for what or who they are.

I won’t deny I’m still hurting. I thought it was decreasing and this situation knocked me on my ass. But in part, in large part, it was my own doing. My fantasies got shattered. My illusions were brought to light. I need to be willing to face life with my eyes and heart open. I need to see truth as it is and not what I want it to be.

When I pause, look around me, take in the day, the sounds, the smells, the people, I do find hope.

I know I will feel deep love again. I know I have deep love in my life now with family and friends. I will learn to trust myself again. I’ve been willing to forgive others that have deceived me, I believe it’s time I forgive myself.

It’s okay, I’m still learning.

Parenting 3.OHH!

Parenting 3.OHH!

I have been writing primarily about my relationship with a partner. I want to share my thoughts, my experiences regarding the most wonderful, exhausting, happy, challenging, and rewarding relationships of my life. It’s the ones I have with my three children.

I always wanted to be a parent. I was married for 7 years before we planned and tried for our first child. I was so excited! I didn’t like being pregnant. I was sick for a large part of it. Tired most of the time and I didn’t care for the changes in my body. I did love knowing these little creatures were growing inside of me though and I so looked forward to their arrivals.

My son entered this world healthy, beautiful and so loved. I remember feeling so afraid to take him home from the hospital. I honestly thought the hospital staff had lost their minds trusting me with this baby. When we brought him home we just looked and him and each other and I thought, “What do I do now?” Thankfully babies are resilient and he survived those early years of me learning how to care for a baby.

I had experience, had cared for my younger siblings, but there was something different about caring for my own children. I guess feeling there was no safety net, no backup. I needed to figure out how I wanted to raise this child, who I wanted to be in his life. I definitely wanted to bring some of the lessons I had learned from my upbringing and certainly wanted to change other experiences my parents had imparted. I wanted to be better. I think that’s a common thought when we look at where we have come from. “I’ll do it different. I won’t make those mistakes”. And some mistakes I copied and I have made a bunch of brand new ones. I wanted to be my best for each of them. Listen to what they needed as individuals. Sometimes I was listening better than at other times. There has been a huge learning curve.

This little guy started this path, this walk in life, and this parenting experience, which has provided so many opportunities to grow and change. I often feel the daily, yearly, and let me be honest; sometimes the moment-to-moment experience of parenting has felt like a thrilling roller coaster ride and scary haunted house combination. Turning corners not knowing what to expect combined with the exhilarating twists and turns.

It’s a very fortunate thing that a child’s love is so forgiving. I have needed to face some of my less attractive personality traits and have chosen to be better, do better. One in particular is selfishness. My history had moments where I accepted responsibility for people and situations well before I was old enough to really know what I was doing. This developed for me some baggage, as we so commonly call it these days. My children have allowed me to see this side of me that has been very selfish in nature in regard to them. I said no or passed on things when I wish I had said yes. It took me time to see my flaw, accept being tired and say yes to them anyway. It is the kind of parent I want to be and it is what they deserve.

Another example of a change I needed to face was my anger/frustration when my children were younger, especially my daughter, and how I validated spanking as a disciplinary tool. I am speaking from where I have walked and needed to change, not on the moral issue of spanking or not spanking. I realized I was hitting my child when I was frustrated or angry because they were not acting in the way I needed/wanted them to act. I had to face my demons of feeling as though I had no control, which in reality I didn’t, and find another way to discipline my daughter in particular.

I had to implement a more responsible and respectful tactic to her outbursts and “sass”, instead of meeting it with a mirrored response. I found I sometimes needed to walk away, and it didn’t represent a win/loss situation between the two of us. We both won because the situation was immediately diffused and halted. I also recognized that my daughter needed to be heard, and her frustration was not with me, it was with life. If I could ask her to please not be disrespectful and that I was willing to listen, eventually she came around, every time. I needed to be the parent. DUH, right?? This came from my daughter in particular, to present me with the opportunity to see this aspect of myself, and I was able to choose something different and more effective for the two of us. It ultimately came down to me really seeing her, her needs and not wanting her to be alone with any of it.

Another wonderful challenge has been to adjust my parenting to each individual child. I like a plan. It offers me a sense of control, consistency, organization and direction. (Listen, I’m a work in progress, give me a break). I have needed to become much more flexible. I have needed to understand that each of these individuals are exactly that, an INDIVIDUALS. Their rhythms, sleep habits, personalities, needs, desires, dreams, thoughts are very different and deserve and need to be responded to differently. This is a challenge! Like I said I like a plan. “You’re angry, here’s what we are going to do”. NO! One way to parent all my kids was not going to work. It has pushed me to learn new tactics, communication styles, new activities, new thoughts, new everything. As long as I was willing to change, there were opportunities to learn. And sadly for them, but lucky for their future mental health therapists, I wasn’t always willing. I have had to look at my level of commitment, honestly, and I have had to face I have failed my children, often. In my failures though, I have had the opportunity to make a different decision. To once again look at my behaviors honestly, and choose to learn and change. And truly, isn’t that what any relationship provides us? If we are willing to see our shortcomings and learn how to do it differently for those we care about, opportunities for us to change are infinite.

I have needed to make choices on an ongoing basis about who I have wanted to be as a parent.

The love of a child is so great and needs to be cherished. I am blessed to have these relationships in my life. They have loved me despite my flaws, shared with me, challenged me and continue to amaze me with their kind hearts and the wisdom they carry. Hopefully I can take a little credit.

My Father’s Example

This is a difficult blog to write. I never want to hurt anyone and I try to always see my part, my responsibility in situations. So with a very sad and heavy heart I write this, my truth.

I am grieving. I am trying so hard to make sense of how a relationship that I devoted my attention and dedication to working to “get right” can come to an end. I am looking from every angle, and I DO see where I could have done things differently, been better than I was, found more of me, honored more of me, held My Ex to a higher standard, for me. But why didn’t I?

My 13 year old daughter has been affected by this loss as well. She found a book of poems by Rupi Kaur called Milk and Honey. They spoke to her, not necessarily specifically related to this situation, but assisted her with her process, and she shared with me this poem.

 

Every time you

Tell your daughter

You yell at her

Out of love

You teach her to confuse

Anger with kindness

Which seems like a good idea

Til she grows up to

Trust men who hurt her

Cause they look so much

Like you

 

-to fathers with daughters   by Rupi Kaur

 

As I was lying in bed tonight, feeling sadness and grief, I began to think of this poem and my father and what did he teach me about how I should be treated.

Before I go on it is important for me to say I love my father dearly. I still see him at times through my younger eyes, him as a volunteer firefighter and him as a hero. I see him as smart, and capable as he provided for our family through many resources like a garden, making maple syrup, hunting, building, steady job and much more. I really respect the man he was. Sadly I don’t know much about the man he is today because I have chosen to be less invested for my own reasons.

As much as I have always admired him, I have also come to see he wasn’t able to be the father that I needed to feel nurtured, loved, valued, or important.

I am reading that poem and wondering if I haven’t carried out its exact meaning? Did I carry out the teachings I learned to my current situations? Have the men I’ve loved, did My Ex, “look” like my father?

I remember vividly sitting in the TV room with my father as a child watching a movie and he, at the end was moved to tears. This had a powerful impact on me. This man who seemed to have a difficult time being vulnerable, connected, could now feel deeply.

Fast forward to my life now. My Ex would share music, stories of sport figures, (30 for 30’s galore, that’s an ESPN documentary show for those who don’t know), news from his home in Ireland, his history and all would touch him deeply and move him many times to tears. His heart is true and pure and I would in turn be moved by his passion.

One of the reasons he left, the main reason he left, is his confusion about passion, or the lack there of in our relationship from his perspective. Love and companionship overflowed, passion remained dormant for him.

So I ask, have I created in my present what existed in my past? Did my father “teach” me to accept what is in my present? Seeing a passionate display but not the ability to connect passionately seems to be the common thread.

I often joined my father gathering sap to later turn to syrup. Stood beside him in the garden, picking the vegetables that had grown. I would ride into work with him so I could be with him, near him. I wanted to have a relationship with him and be close to him and I understood it needed to be on his terms. He didn’t participate in what interested me. I joined him.

I loved being with my Ex. It made me very happy to help at his work, go to the pub to watch sports, head to the driving range and attempt golf, ultimately be with him. I truly enjoyed him, his friendship and the companionship. I believe he wanted me there with him as well.

But as I stated earlier I have looked at what I could have done differently in this relationship so a different result could have occurred. Did I have a life of my own? I did ask My Ex to join me for a movie or other activity and he would often opt out. Was I just creating the same experience that I had learned with my father? Did my father teach me how to have a man treat me? Did I learn I needed to join a partner and not hold them to the same standard?

And please, don’t hear this as blame. My life. My choices. Still I am working with the information I have been given. My father was in many ways back then, as I stated, my hero. Today I see him as a man. I understand he has done the best he can with the examples he was given and the information he has gathered in his life. But what did I learn?

In truth, I’m attempting to sort this out. I want to create a different story than the one I have been telling in my life so far in partnering relationships. I believe I have to continue to examine my actions, my thoughts, so I can disconnect from what I have known, to create a new path directed by new information and new behaviors. I know I have to start by asking the questions. I’m not sure I have the clear answers yet or if I do, I’m not yet willing to see. Each day I am surrendering my desire to fix me, so I can be open to new information, new plans of action, to new love, to a new start.

I love my father, so very much. I love My Ex, very much.

I want a different poem. I want a different knowing.