Sunday, April 25, 2010

random morning thoughts

love waking up to an open window, spring breeze freshening the air in my bedroom and birds chirping outside

love when that peaceful scene is suddenly punctuated by a dog howling outside, reminds me of my former beagle, Bailey

thinking that this is kind of like doing Julia Cameron's morning pages

the sound of children waking in the other room is joyful...and funny when the other sound I hear is the nerf gun being loaded and shot

sometimes mornings are lonely

sometimes mornings are peaceful and full of promise and gratitude

i love the twilight time when I am just awaking form a restful sleep, reality and dreams are still fuzzed together and the time is kind of in a holding pattern

i think it is cute that my son has given me a stuffed animal to sleep with.  it started when he was much younger and i finally told him that his stuffed dog was HIS responsibility - i.e. not my fault if you forget to take him to preschool.  he countered by "giving" me another one of his animals and telling me, "Mommy, This dog is YOUR responsibility!"  Years later The second Dog reappears from time to time in my room, with my son telling me that the pup misses me and wants to sleep with me,  so cute.

hee hee - i am sitting in my bed and listening to the sounds of my kiddo and his friend (who slept over) giggling at morning cartoons.  i know they are still snuggled on the couch where they slept.  i could get up and get them breakfast but I like just knowing they are there enjoying the morning too.

i love sleeping in a bed with freshly clean sheets, great pillows and my down comforter with it's new hotel-like white cotton duvet cover.

i miss waking up next to a man that i love

this day is full of promise - i wonder what it will bring

and that is a good thought to end on!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Where should I be?

I had a conversation about where I am today versus where I think I should be.   It has been four years since my divorce was finalized.  It has been five years since I filed for divorce and felt like my marriage was really over.  It has been a year and a half since my ex-husband committed suicide.   I have come a long way but I think that I should be "farther along" than I am. 

The weird thing is that I am proud of how far I have come.  I got through the crisis of divorce and landed firmly on my feet.  I worked to re-create a healthy life for me and my son.  I worked through issues in therapy and did not become bitter.  Despite being lied to and manipulated by the man I loved, I did not stop trusting people.  I still believe that most people are good and honest.

My conversation today was about why I still felt stuck.  I was asked to consider if I had stopped moving forward.  If maybe I had reclaimed my life but had not re-started it yet.  That was an interesting perspective.  I do feel like I am in a holding pattern.  I am in the midst of a life that was supposed to be different.  I thought I would have a husband to help me raise and nurture and enjoy my child.  I thought I would have a second baby.  I thought I would have been out of my "starter" house by now.  I thought I would be working part-time enabling me to have a better balance of work and family.  I thought I would have more money coming into the household.

But that is not my reality.  I work full time in a job that requires some evenings and weekends.  I manage a household by myself.  I do not have as much money saved as I should.  I do not have a significant other.  Most of my life revolves around my son.  I do not have a lot of time for me.

But when I talk about it like that it sounds all pity-party-ish.  Other than the fact that I am a single parent, don't most of those statements apply to every parent I know?  And I berate myself for not appreciating all I have...all the positives in my life.  For not saying it like this:  I have a job that is more than work - it is a calling that has great meaning for me.  I have a job that requires flexibility but also gives me flexibility to meet some of the demands of raising my son.  I live within my means.  I am as financially secure as I think I can be at this point in my life.  I own my home and live in a safe neighborhood.  I have a son who I love and who loves me.  I have a wonderful network of friends and family.

So - does it all depend on your point of view?  Does it come down to looking at the glass as half full versus half empty?

I think it comes down to the fact that we as humans can have conflicting feelings at the same time.  I can be thankful to have a wonderful son, but still be stressed about raising him by myself.  I can be grateful for owning my home but still overwhelmed by all of the work that comes with it.  I can enjoy my job, but still wish I had more time at home.  I can be a strong, self-sufficient woman but still wish I had a significant other to share my life with.

I think there is some validity to the fact that I have not re-started my life.  I have continued the life I started with my husband.  Am I gaining something by staying in this spot - some secondary gain as us social workers like to say?

So the question that looms is HOW do I "re-start" my life?  Guess I have some thinking to do!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

when function and feeling cannot co-exist

There is a cabinet in my basement work room area. It is very sturdy, functional and well placed. Today I ripped off the wooden doors with my bare hands and proceeded to take it off the wall screw by screw, sometimes ripping them out of the wall with sheer force. That functional cabinet is now on my tree lawn waiting to be picked up by trash mongers or the garbage truck, whoever gets it first.

You may ask why would I get rid of such a seemingly functional part of my house. Because for five years it has stood as a reminder of the past. But I kept it because it was functional. And I hated it every time I looked at it.

The cabinet did nothing wrong.

When I first found out my now-ex husband cheated on me he explained it as "meaningless" and "promised" that it was over. I tried to him, in our marriage, in the ability to work it out. If both parties are true and honest and committed, marriages can survive infidelity. But this was not our case. The cheating continued and I ended our marriage.

So what does this have to do with the cabinet?

When I first found out that the affairs had not "stopped" (which I suspected) I also found out that one of them was an actual ongoing long term "relationship." At one point I threatened my ex and said he had better tell me everything. Of course I learned that I would never find out "everything." But I did learn more.

And so the cabinet enters the picture.

He told me to go downstairs and open the cabinet and on the right hand side of the bottom shelf I would find some things. Turned out to be a framed picture of her and her daughter as well as a bunch of cards and letters. Made me sick.

The items have been gone for some time. But the cabinet remained. And I have not been able to separate emotion from function no matter how hard I tried. So today I took control.

The cabinet is now out with the trash. And I feel much better.

unexpected soul nourishment

Sometimes you find what you need at the most unexpected time in an unexpected place.  My last post talked about my struggle for finding something to feed my soul.  It is often true that the harder you try to find what you are looking for, the harder it IS to find.

On my way home from a fun trip to see my sister and family (with a great 2 day trip to Chicago thrown in) I was tired and dreading the return to reality.  My son had been crying about leaving his cousins (always a very painful thing to witness such raw, sad emotions) but had settled in for the five hour drive and was concentrating on his Nintendo game.  By the time we reached the half way point I was really dragging so decided to switch from my CD to the radio, expecting to find a mediocre station that would likely fade out as soon as a good song came on.  But instead I found an unexpected treasure:  a replay of Casey Kasem's American Top 40 countdown from this week in 1984.  For those of you old enough to remember this classic weekly replay of hits, you might remember the "hits from coast to coast" melody or the "long distance dedications."

 Immediately I was transported to a different era.  This week in 1984 I was a freshman in high school, struggling with advanced algebra, loving my other subjects, completely "IN LOVE" with my boyfriend who was a senior at a neighboring high school, shopping for a prom dress and getting ready for summer!  The music was so fun to listen to.  I was singing loudly (much to my son's dismay) and just laughing in between songs.  Alan Parson's Project, Queen (Lady Gaga), Tracey Ullman (They don't know), Thompson Twins, Kool and the Gang, Willie Nelson & Julio Ilglesias (To all the Girls I've Loved Before - which reminded me some songs should remain in the past!!!), Rick Springfield, Weird Al (Eat it), The Bangles, Journey.....mmmmmmm....good times.

What I realized as I was driving down the dark turnpike, was that MUSIC has always fed my soul.  I KNOW this, but I keep forgetting.  I was raised in a musical household with my mom a former college music major and band director.  We grew up watching Sound of Music and singing in church choir.  I was in choir and band throughout high school.  I loved listening to the radio, albums (my first was Billy Joel Glass Houses) then cassettes then CD's and now my iPod.  I remember hanging out with friends making mix tapes in college.  Music was always around me.

But, as with many things, I forget about music.  I turn on the TV to watch the news or some other thing to pass the time.  I hear SpongeBob SquarePants in the background when I am fixing dinner.  But what I realized on this car trip was how much music can affect my mood.  Music instantly transports my mind to another place where I do not worry or obsess or question.  There are a few songs or artists that I no longer listen to because they are too tied to a sad or painful time in my life, but most just bring a sense of joy or strength or empowerment or just plain fun.

So - in contrast to U2's well known song...maybe I HAVE found a little bit of what I'm looking for.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

What feeds your soul?

It is Easter morning.  The sun is shining.  I am sitting on my couch by an open window feeling the cool breeze coming in and freshening up the house, which is still stale from months of winter.  What I need is to find that thing that will freshen ME up.  Yes, I know I could take a shower and that would help, but I am talking about my soul.  I have been struggling with many things over the last few months but today it hit me that what I am really looking for is something to feed my soul.

My soul feels empty right now.  The things that used to energize me aren't doing it right now.  Some of my friendships have changed.  The hobbies I enjoy feel like chores.  The joy I find in my career has been eclipsed by an overwhelming amount of work.  I could go on, but it just sounds like blah, blah, blah in my head.

I have faced some incredible challenges in my life, but I have always tried to maintain a positive attitude and focus on the things that are good and wonderful in my life.  I am frustrated that I am not able to do that right now.  I resemble those commercials that say "depression hurts."  [Yes, I do deal with depression on an ongoing basis and it has reared it's ugly head again]  I desperately want to find joy and appreciate the little things but no matter how hard I WANT it, I am not doing it.  Instead I find myself doing destructive things like over-sleeping, over-eating, isolating myself or just not doing anything at all.

Right now I can think of a number of things I appreciate:  my home, the sound of birds chirping outside, my son playing in the family room, the home-cooked breakfast I made for us this morning, being on vacation for a week.  But my SOUL still feel like it is missing something.

How do you figure out what feeds your soul?