Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Out, OUT, damn thought

Geesh, where is Stewart Smalley when I need him?

Getting control over the finances is getting easier by the day. Getting control over the housework is just a matter of self-discipline and time management (thanks, Concerta!). Getting control over the monkey mind chatter in my head is proving the hardest slog of all. The same soundtrack has been running in there for DECADES. The Greek chorus knows the tunes by heart, and sings them all day long.

"No one else has a house as gross as yours!"
"If people really knew what you thought, they would not go NEAR you!"
"You don't need something else to fail at."
"If we had been boys, he never would have left"
"You are just not good enough"
"You are just not good enough"
"Everyone else can do this - what is WRONG WITH YOU?"
"You should not be doing x, you should be doing y"
repeat x 40 years or so

Hateful little tune, isn't it? I used to spend a lot of time blaming the people who said those things to me in the first place, but aye, here's the rub - who decided they were right? Who decided the things they said deserved to be remembered and added to the soundtrack in the first place?

Me. That's who. So there is no point in assigning blame, or being angry at the people who said those things to me. I am the one who gave them credence, and a place to stick their words. That being said, if I started the soundtrack, surely I can be the one to shut it off? In theory, this must be correct. In practice, it's nigh on impossible. But I try.

Awareness is an important first step, and one that is at least improving. When I catch myself beating myself bloody over something, I do push the pause button now, and I do change the soundtrack. And it *is* helping, albeit slowly. I don't know why people have said such harsh things to me. But I know that I don't have to listen to them for one more second.

God bless my pastor, who gave SUCH a wonderful and helpful sermon this weekend. God does love me. He CHOSE me. He is the one I should listen to, turn to, focus on. And that has entered the soundtrack too. Or at least I am trying. And I believe God grades on the curve.

What will it be like, when my monkey mind does learn a new song? I look forward to that day. I really do. It's not about shutting anyone up, or getting back at those who told me I couldn't, wouldn't, shouldn't. It is all about me. This is totally about me learning to sit with myself, to accept goodness, search for joy, and gratefully take it all in.

I quote the Waifs: "Take it in, take it all in. This is a day that will not come again. Take it in, take it all in. This is the day, and it's here for the living."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful for Thanksgiving

So, yeah. The holidays still make me a little sad. I miss being married. I do. Sometimes I even miss being married to the man I was married to. Before he lost himself, and lost his way, and lost us. But -- to quote his favorite phrase, "the reality is...." (and how ironic is THAT?) that I am not married anymore.

But you know what? I am still thankful. I am! I am thankful for the many messages of support God, the universe, Mother Earth, Love, has given me since the day Mr. Hate left. I am thankful for every day I get to tell my children "good night" or "I love you!" and I don't have to phone them to do it, because they are right here. I am thankful that I have a warm bed to sleep in, and food on the my plate, and people who really, really love me. Maybe not the same people who were willing to sit in my home and eat my food three years ago, but people who love me, just as I am.

I am thankful for the new muscles I am flexing, the new strength I have found, the things I have let go of, and the things I am learning to let go of. I am thankful for the new boundaries I have found, and the old boundaries I have broken through. I am thankful.

And, like Red.....I hope.

Thank you.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Engaging vs enabling

My new favorite phrase, delivered by the smartest woman I know: If someone is crazy all by themselves, you don't have to help them by engaging in their crazy with them.

What, is that fifteen words, maybe? I'll let you count while I rave on. My life was literally CHANGED by that sentence. I have been struggling with how to not engage with Mr. Hate without enabling him to continue to treat me so poorly. And there it is. If I am just matter of fact and make my point and then get outta there, I have done my job. His reaction, his batshit, his rewrite of history is none of my business. And if I have enough anecdotal or historical evidence to support a theory that his crazy is gonna be all over something, I don't have to say anything at all. And that does not equal enabling. It is self-protection, and it is an action. It is the active choice not to act, not to do the dance that we have done for years, for eons, to death, because I choose not to do that dance anymore. Of course he needs me to yell, to send hateful emails, to do all the things I would have done in the past. If he can demonize me, than he can rationalize to himself what he has done. If I am crisp, professional, and follow through in a completely rational manner, his crazy will no doubt go on a rage, but that is his issue, and not mine.

SOMEbody got her $20 out of HER copay today, for true.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Nice one, God!

Had to go to the Social Security Administration office today, to file the final "change of name" form. I thought I would be more excited about it, but really - that is one depressing office. I am glad SS exists, but man, those are some hard luck cases you see in there. I actually recognized someone I knew, and discovered that the SS waiting area is one of those areas where you don't say hello. (joining "gynocologist" "colonoscopy" and "therapist office").

I waited for my number to be called, and approached the desk. The woman spoke about four words to me, took my form, and did not look up again as she looked over my form and entered whatever magic words were necessary to erase the past 20 years of Elliott-ness and restore me to my former, single self. "Okay. Here you go. 24 to 48 hours for processing." No smile, no "good luck" - nothing.

On the heels of that pleasant altercation, I left feeling a little less jaunty than when I arrived. But I smiled as a warmish breeze blew, warm for November anyway, and I took a deep breath and kept going.

And then. Oh, and then. I got in the car, and the VERY first song that came on was "The Cave" by Mumford and Sons.

"And I'll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I'll know my name as it's called again."

Nice one God. And thanks for the messages, the almost constant messages, that I am going to come out of this just fine.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Oh, I am struggling with anger today! Red-faced, bile in my spleen anger. Where to put it? I know everything you know about anger. I am the one carrying the boiling pot in my bare hands, twisting in the wind, suffering the effects of the stomach acid. I KNOW. And yet I seethe on.

How DO you just put anger down? Is it enough to throw six trays of ice in the tub, punch and kick at the wii fit screen until exhausted, cry, scream, what??? When is it really gone? It seems to me that anger is rather an endless pool. Just when I think I have fumed all I can, a fresh wave descends.

Certainly I know the balm of the tincture of time....things that enraged me in high school, say, don't bother me at all now. But there are other things. Oh, yes there are. Things that ALWAYS push my buttons, make me furious. What to do with those? Examine the button - check. Come up with strategies - check. Use force when necessary - check. Self-care - check.

Perhaps my entire supposition here is off: surely anger will occur in life, and perhaps it is best to just feel it when it happens, without hurting innocent bystanders, of course, and then step away. I think maybe it's the "step away" that I am struggling with, isn't it?

Still, right now I would LOVE to wreak actual, painful, hideous revenge on someone. Make them CRAWL. Ugh. Hardly the peace-loving demeanor I strive for. What do you know? My seamy underbelly revealed in all it's horrid splendor. I want the universe to make damn sure that he feels the pain he is visiting on others. FEELS IT. Gross.

I don't want this. I want to forgive, to be able to move on. But I have to admit, right now, if I had some magic powers at my disposal, the shit would be raining down on him so hard, he would need a hat. A big one.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Scarlet woman!

So. Maybe I flirted today. Okay, so I totally did. With some random guy at the supermarket. Don't even know why I did it, really. I just sort of struck up a conversation with this man because I liked his shirt, and next thing you knew we were chatting away, and maybe I was smiling, and laughing, and he was sending signals, and maybe it was okay with me.

And then it was over, because someone was coming in to the parking lot, and he had to move, and then I was already in my car, and so that was it.

It was SO WEIRD though. See, I wasn't much of a flirt when I was married, because, well - I WAS MARRIED. But now I am not. So. See.... well, you know. I could have a story now. A "we met in the parking lot" story. I am not looking to meet someone -- not at all. Not at all ready to get anywhere near a date. But "500 Days of Summer" was on yesterday, and she has that whole speech about how she was in a diner and this guy asked about the book she was reading and now they were married, and it stuck in my head, I guess. So I told some random guy in a parking lot that I liked his shirt. And he smiled at me and chatted back. Which made me feel somehow encouraged. Like maybe sometime, someone will speak to me in a diner.

And I will have a new story to tell.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Time Management

Oh, it's fun to have ADD! Isn't it? While there are many challenges, there are supposed to be many blessings as well. The literature will say adults with ADD are more creative, have great ideas, can multi-task, yadda yadda yadda - I can't help but feel they say these things to make us feel better. I quote Alanis: "It's like rain, on your wedding day..."

I have another day free, not being on the work schedule until the afternoon today. And like home owners around the world, everywhere my eye falls I see something that needs doing. But where to begin? Yes I make lists, Yes, I follow Flylady, (www.flylady.net) albeit loosely, and have a host of other structures in place to help me. But where to begin? I look around and already feel overwhelmed -- another hallmark of ADD. The Greek chorus splits on this one. Half of them stand to the side and twist their togas in frustration whilst chanting "JUST START" at me, whilst the other half is dancing in glee singing "we knew she couldn't do it!" Gotta send them to the Middle East to work on peace solutions or something.....

But starting is important, and start I shall. I love the feeling of getting things done, don't you? That feeling when I am lying in bed at the end of the day and know that the house/town/planet is maybe just a little better off than it was in the morning, because I was good at being me that day. I managed my time, got things done, was a big ol' grownup, and didn't mess it up, just for that one day.

Maybe just for today, that will be enough. I will be enough. Maybe just for today I will not spend my time before sleep berating myself for the coulda/shoulda/wouldas, but will make the choice to celebrate what was finished, or at least worked on, and give myself a pass on those things left undone for one more day. None of it is life threatening, after all.

Could it be I am finally going easier on myself?

Stay tuned!