Wednesday, November 28, 2018
I can't sleep.
The house is quiet, to the point that I cannot even hear any of the boys (Hubs included) snoring. Outside it's calm. The raging winds of last night are gone.
It's absolutely eerie, the silence is sort of deafening. You can hear nothing. Just your own breathing and thoughts.
That is what has had me awake for over an hour now. My thoughts.
I need to sleep. Tomorrow is the end of this mini-staycation that has refreshed my spirit and renewed my very soul.
And yet, I cannot sleep.
I hope sorting out the thoughts raging in my mind will help me close my eyes and rest for a bit. I've tried meditating, and imagining myself in my favorite places. Nothing is working tonight. Or I guess I should say this morning.
I'm struggling with people. In general.
The lack of respect and caring for others is completely wearing me out. The need to constantly monitor my own thoughts and words for fear of offending or upsetting the apple cart of another person, when there is little to no consideration for my thoughts and feelings is exhausting.
I'm tired of group think. I'm tired of feel the way I want you to feel or you are a bad person. I'm simply worn out.
I'm tired of "do gooders" and back stabbers. And lately it feels like that is the world that I am completely submerged in. Maybe it is the one we are all submerged in. I know what is bothering me tonight. I received a couple of emails and a comment yesterday that really wore me out. I haven't been able to shake them. They need a response, yet I am weary and I don't want to lift that sword and deal with that battle again. I don't have the emotional energy left.
I've been expending far too much emotional energy this year. I've lifted others up, when those that I've needed haven't been there for me. I worry too much about stomping on another's feelings, yet struggle to speak the words when they do that to me. Simply because I am not always strong enough to deflect their reactions without owning them. I end up absorbing the energy that ultimately causes me sleepless nights and pain.
This year has brought too much of that. To the point that locking myself away is starting to sound like a viable option. It's been a very long time since I have felt the urge to run. To hide.
I'm searching for my happy place. I'm looking for somewhere or something that will bring back balance. Because somewhere, somehow I've lost it. Not even just a little bit. A lot.
I've been on a journey. I'm trying to sit quietly and hear the directions being given. Yet there is so much background static, that I am struggling to focus. I can't see the path, it's blocked. And I am not sure what is blocking it.
I'm starting to feel invisible, where I most need to be seen. I am fairly sure I am allowing that to happen. Out of fear, maybe. Frustration, possibly.
I'm strong. Emotionally, mentally, and physically I have fought some hard battles. I feel I have won them all, I'm still here able to type them out. And yet at times I feel that I am my own worst enemy. My heart does not ever want to cause another person hurt or grief. I allow myself to be used and abused by others, often to protect them from feeling the same way they make me feel.
Yet, as I lay there this morning in the silence, my mind wandering all over. I realized that it is by far not a "me" problem. It is a humanity problem. There are so many people in the world today that want everyone to think and feel the way they want them to. So many people are literally shouting what they want and what will make them happy, yet they won't sit in the silence and listen to what other's have a right to want and need. To hear and feel with their hearts.
Too often anymore I am listening to sharp words, the criticism when you don't think and feel the same way. An unwillingness to truly listen, because your way is "right" and they are only doing it in someone's best interest. My question is always, whose best interest?
I fear I am awake at this hour, sorting through these thoughts because I need to take a stand. And I simply don't know if I am ready. I know what's right, I have been listening and learning for quite a long time. It is a pathway that I can see very clearly. But is it a journey that I am emotionally ready to take?
My father crossed over this year. He started the next part of his journey. In my worry about making other's uncomfortable or inconvenienced I shoved a lot of that grief and hurt and loss down into the deepest part of who I am. I haven't let it show, I've dealt with it silently and sometimes alone, because I know that others pain is just as acute as mine, that it is just as real, that each of us has to meet it on our own terms. I know too many that have suffered great losses this year and that healing is not an overnight process.
So much of it feels that it is coming home, like a cauldron deep inside is bubbling up. I've allowed things to happen to me and ridden the wave, just hoping to stay afloat. I haven't practiced self love or self care. Instead feeling that it was selfish and wrong to put myself first.
Afraid to speak up and let my own voice, feelings and emotions be heard.
I think I am standing at the edge of something far more powerful than I ever imagined. I don't feel that it will lead me away from my loved ones, in fact I feel it will draw me closer. I don't feel like it will harm me. Yet I feel that it is going to require far more strength and self-love than I have ever been able to muster.
I have had three different people, that do not know me, in the past 5 months tell me that I am strong, that I come from a long line of strong women and that it's time for me to step into the light and stop hiding who I am. To come to the front of the line and stop standing in the shadows.
Is that what I have been doing? Have I been hiding in the shadows because it doesn't take as much energy? Have I stopped being true to who I am to blend in? To simply be accepted?
I don't know.
Yet I know that a new day is dawning, literally and figuratively. I am finding that I need to be loved, accepted and respected for who I am. That being the person other's want and expect me to be is simply not working for me.
I'm tired of being taken for granted and I'm very tired of being invisible. And in far too many ways that is where I am at in life right now, and I'm not okay with it.
I don't know where this journey is going to take me.
I know there are people I am leaving behind. I know there are things that I am no longer interested in. I know that I am refusing to be a door mat or stepping stone. I completely believe in lifting others up, but I will no longer do it at the expense of myself. It's a journey we take together or not at all.
There will be casualties in this battle for me.
Sunday, November 11, 2018
It's been an emotional day.
I want to believe that this year and all the loss and changes haven't beaten me. Some days I believe it. Most... I just put on a smile and pretend.
The 2:30 am wake up call from work did not help matters. On top of being emotional, my sleep got interrupted. Luckily, sweet Hubs knows that building inside and out and was able to help me deal with it. I also realized for the first time in over a decade I'm in a building that I don't know.
I wasn't looking forward to taking Dad flowers. I'm used to calling him on Veteran's day. I'm used to calling and chatting, asking where he was going to go and get his free meals. I hope they are serving something special in Heaven. As I knelt before that cold stone, my head resting on top, tears running down my face. I felt all the pain wash over me again. I doubt it will ever get easier. Hours later, I want to go back and sit there. I want to feel the imaginary hug that felt so real as I knelt there.
Hubs was talking to another man. So much older than my Daddy even got to be. He was sitting a few rows over, on a small folding chair. He was wrapped in grief, his tears flowing freely and his shoulder shaking in that deep sorrow that you never fully understand until it comes into your life. I am not sure who he was crying for, I saw a woman's name on the cross as I walked past, quickly needing to not absorb his pain.
Trying to deal with my own. The coldness of the day, matched the wall I keep putting up of my own. I took a picture of my sweet Hubs kneeling beside that cold cross. A picture of my two veteran's. I love it, no... I hate it!! I wanted the picture to be like the one I love so much of the two of them sitting out front smoking their contraband (even though no one liked them doing it) laughing and telling jokes. I can still hear Daddy's broken words telling Hubs "you full of shit". He struggled with many words... that was not one of them.
After leaving Dad and the grieving man behind, we headed across the river to pay respects to Hubs brother. He served his country so honorably. He served in 5 major battles in WWII, he served his country and the expense of himself. Hubs says that he never spoke of it. The horror and pain simply too much.
A gloomy cold afternoon spent celebrating my own vet, eased my heart, but not enough. I feel as though the wall that I keep building to block out the pain is getting higher and colder. I am trying to tear it down. I'm not sure I'm doing very well at it. I am struggling to be open to other's pain. To their grief, I feel like I don't have the ability to bring anymore into my own heart.
I'm drowning in it this year.
We spent the evening inside. It's cold and dreary. Losing ourselves in the Smithsonian channel. Watching history unfold, showing us things that we have lost over time. Things forgotten, parts of the past that were not pretty, right, or even human wrapped up in some of the brightest moments of our country. I'm finding it to be engrossing and distracting. It's giving me things to think about that are more reflective than something needing my reaction.
As it played on tonight my fingers stitched on my project. I am pouring as much love into it as I can. Each stitch is revealing the beauty of the design. I hope I can complete it in time.
There are many more veteran's in my life. People that are deeply important and a part of my everyday world and people that simply dance in and out. I am so thankful for what each has given. I am also thankful for the recognition that seems to be spreading like wildfire. Sweet Hubs is from that era of Vietnam that wasn't thanked - ever. They were blamed for something they had no control in. Yet to hear so many people, old and more importantly young, reaching out their hands and saying thank you for your service. It makes my heart soar! Veteran's have all signed a blank check, to the American people, knowing full well it could be payable with their very lives.
Yet they did it anyway. They deserve our love, respect and gratitude. Even if the war was unpopular, they have done what their country asked. They have all served as the first line of defense in protecting the freedoms we hold dear. If you don't think that is powerful, spend an hour or so at a National Military Cemetery. I come from a line that has served this country since it's inception. I am thankful for them all... I am proud of all of my veteran's and thank them for their service.
p.s. don't forget to thank them while they are still here if you can. That cold, hard stone was so painful...
Saturday, November 10, 2018
I'm wondering if Hubs is right, he keeps saying it is going to be a really brutal winter. It's been a long time since I remember snow on the ground before Thanksgiving. But this year has been an odd one all along. We didn't get spring until well after summer had started and fall has been doing an odd dance with summer, neither one taking the lead and now it appears that winter is planning to cut in early.
I guess it goes well with a year full of heart ache, loss and turmoil. It feels that this has been the longest year. It started bitter, it's so hard to believe we have started the first holiday season since Dad passed. I am not even sure what lies ahead, this is new and uncharted territory. There are days that I find I miss him beyond comprehension and other days I am sure that I can pick up the phone and hear his voice.
Walking my boys this morning, watching the sun rise slowly behind the brilliant colored leaves hanging on for dear life to the trees, everything dusted with snow flakes, I was feeling a bit reflective.
Over the course of the past few months so much has changed. I've left my MX Y behind. So many memories, so many friends. I truly put so much into the Downtown Y. It was like leaving a family. There was a beautiful party and ironically a day dedicated to me by a congressman. Seems it will live forever as my day in some storage place in Washington DC. My home is filled with beautiful plants gifts from them and my life is full of memories and joy from my time there.
I've returned back to where my Y career inadvertently started. Before Hubs even became Hubs, I volunteered at South City with him. I was filling some serious voids in my life. I was new to the area, I didn't know anyone, I was recovering from the lowest my life had ever gotten. My health was almost destroyed, I couldn't be understood when I talked, and I found a place to heal and start being human again.
When I was volunteering doing odd jobs, playing Mrs. Clause, painting walls and murals, during that time I had no idea what the future would hold. I didn't intend to find a career, I didn't intend to find family, friends, and a place to call my own.
Fast forward... I am settling back into the very place I started. Most days I don't find a moment to stop for lunch. Most days are very long. Part of me is working so hard because that was Hubs' original Y home, I want to take care of his memories and honor them. Part of me is working to give back what was given to me. I'm not sure when that realization happened.
I have had to take some hard steps, have conversations I wasn't quite ready for. During this time I have laughed and cried. I have felt confident and completely overwhelmed. I have set up an office that is completely designed to be functional - yet comforting. Not just for myself, but for my team. A sanctuary of sorts. I knew there would be conversations that would be difficult, that there would be moments when a cup of coffee and a willingness to listen would be just what someone would need. And I knew that there would be times that someone might be me.
I am learning my new family. I am learning that maybe it isn't so terrible to be in a Y with kiddo's. As I've been blessed to watch their smiling faces through things like a Pumpkin Splash and a Halloween parade through the offices with the little kiddo's in their costumes. I'm learning that the teens are searching for a place to belong and we will solve that soon. Or at least we will try. Seems to me that teens have been searching for that since time began.
Somewhere in the midst of all of that, I am still trying to have a life. I haven't been very successful. I'm trying. Dinners are rushed affairs - all too often at a restaurant surrounded by people we don't know, mediocre food - that loving hands have not touched. To be followed by an early bed time because Hubs and I are exhausted.
We are trying to balance it. We've taken in a few shows. We've enjoyed a few fires and hung out in the cul de sac with the neighbors enjoying the the aftermath of the subdivision Halloween parade. We've even managed a few motorcycle rides. Slowly life is returning to some semblance of normal.
Today, we will enjoy the crazy weather with a bit our own crazy. We'll tidy the house, go out and celebrate veteran's day a bit early - I want to be sure to celebrate and thank my veteran, maybe even do a bit of shopping. The snow sure is bringing home the fact that the holidays are creeping up super fast, that will be a bit wonky for a ton of reasons this year also.
It's odd, as I got older I thought things would become more routine. I thought that the bits would move into a settled journey, kind of like the night follows day over and over. I don't know if it is normal to feel like that isn't how the journey is going. I wonder if I created that image from far too many episodes of cheesy old black and white television shows. Where mom wore heels and pearls as she went about her daily chores of waiting on the family and doing little things to make them feel loved.
I hear my sweet hubs downstairs, he was cleaning out the fireplace and I hear the wood being stacked and the flame of the propane torch that he always lights it with. Hubs doesn't do anything small, maybe that is what I love the most about him. He loves completely and does the sweetest things to make people happy. Me in particular....
I have so much swirling in my mind lately, and I know that is a sign that I need to take a few more moments to simply write. I've missed writing, but as you can see it's been a bit busy. Now I am going to sit in my comfy blue chair, enjoy my beautiful fire and maybe work on the Christmas presents that I am determined to complete this year.
Then its a day with the Hubs!
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