Friday, December 31, 2010

What do I want to do in 2011?

If I’d asked myself one year ago what I wanted to do in 2010, I’m sure my answer would not have been “leave my husband, move in with my parents, fail to find a job that will enable me to move out and be independent again, and meanwhile, brutally clobber the very fragile remnants of my self confidence by way of repeated failures at online dating.” 

As I look back on the year behind me, however, I feel that is a pretty fair summation of what I’ve actually accomplished.  With the exception of my kids, who now are thriving in ways that would not have been possible during my failing marriage, I feel like I haven’t done very many things right this year.

So, what do I want to do in 2011?

I think I only have one item on my list of important things to accomplish this year, honestly.  I want to learn to love somebody I have never even learned to like: Myself. 

I’ve wanted to find love for so long now that I realize I’ve found myself looking for it everywhere except for where I’m supposed to find it.  I’ve looked for it in a disastrous marriage, I’ve looked for it on the Internet, I’ve looked for it in church, I’ve looked for it in my family and my friends and my kids and my dog and in every possible place that I may find someone or something who will validate me and tell me that I am lovable.  But I have neglected to look within myself, where the pain of self discovery and growth is inevitable.  I also haven’t made the decision to focus on giving love to those people around me who have already given it to me—my family, my friends, and my kids.  This is the year I want to teach myself to give love instead of looking to get love, and in that giving, I hope I will find some things to like about myself, or maybe even love about myself. 

I know there is a more confident version of me hidden somewhere deep inside, but I don’t know how to find her anymore, and right now, I really need her.  I think she’s simply been beaten down by years of struggling to save a failing marriage and is now so focused on her circumstances as a single mom that she doesn’t know how to emerge from her cocoon.  She went in there with a purpose, to develop into a butterfly that is bursting to break free.  But right now, when I look inside hoping to find her, all I see is a mushy caterpillar that is only half baked and nowhere near ready to fly.  I think that part of the trick in finding her again is to regain the confidence that she is actually there, and she still just needs a little more time and nurture before she can break forth.  It’s that person who I want to find this year.  I want to give her the chance to unfold her wings. 

That person…she’s confident, capable, and strong.   She isn’t afraid of hard work and knows that she will be an asset to any employer who is willing to give her chance.  She won’t allow her interactions with men to define her sense of self worth, particularly when those men are complete strangers who are only going to waltz through her life in a blink of time, because they don’t have the right to take her self confidence with them when they wander off in search of a better looking piece of ass or whatever it is that they’re looking for.  She can readily move past that because she knows she deserves better.  She loves her kids with every fiber of her being and will do whatever it takes to become the independent, self-supporting, single mother of two that they deserve as a role model in life.  When she looks into the mirror, she won’t pick apart every physical feature she sees and declare it a failure, a flaw, not worthy of love.  She knows that there is beauty in her soul to compensate for her visible imperfections.  She is also not afraid of independence.  She is ready to cut the few remaining ties that are holding her to a marriage relationship which has been toxic for many years, and then enjoy the time she has to be with herself for a while.  She doesn’t need a relationship with a man to function as her security blanket.  She is confident in who she is.  She’s a woman, a mom, a daughter, a sister, a friend, an employee; a coffee drinker, a book reader, a beach comber, a dog lover, a writer, a college graduate, a divorced thirtysomething with so much depth of love in her soul that she’s not quite sure what to do with herself when she can’t pour that love into a romantic relationship. 

She’s inside of me, that person; I’ve seen her before, at different times in my life, and I have to say that there were a few times when even I was impressed with what she was capable of.  But right now, she’s cowering in fear beneath the bruised layers of her crippled self esteem, and she needs some gentle coaxing to slowly draw her out.  I think that the best way I can help her is by putting my focus on loving those people who are already right here in front of me, right now, starting with the one who is looking back at me in the mirror.  For the year 2011, my mission is to find her and give her the love that she deserves. 

And when 2011 draws to a close and I begin to wonder what I want to do in 2012, I hope that there will be a happier, more confident version of me asking the question.  

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mistletoe: A Family Tradition

The concept of holiday traditions has been weighing heavily on my mind lately.  The weekend after Thanksgiving is the weekend I have always set aside to pull out the Christmas tree and all of its associated paraphernalia, and I usually plan for that weekend to be devoted to the cause and look forward to it with anticipation.  Putting up Christmas decorations is always my favorite part of the season.  This year, however, the thought of decorating for Christmas didn’t even occur to me until the day after Thanksgiving.  We had a very hectic week preceding the turkey feast, complete with out-of-town visitors, an electrical fire, and two family members with various stages of nauseous stomach.  And finally, on Black Friday, it occurred to me that I hadn’t even begun to consider what I wanted to do about my holiday decorations.  Most of them were storage, and all of them would have to be put up here in my mom’s house, or not at all.  Somehow, the finality of my divorce suddenly felt more real when I recognized that I would not have my own home to decorate this year, or a husband to decorate it with, for the first time in over a decade.

It was this recognition that was the catalyst for a sudden battle with holiday loneliness.  I’m not coupled off with anyone for the first time in many years, and am not going to be, and that sobering reality on top of the thought of doing my traditional holiday decorating under the magnifying glass of my mother’s control issues gave me a near onset of nauseous stomach.  But my kids started getting excited about pulling out the Christmas decorations as soon as they saw Santa on TV at the Thanksgiving day parade, and I wanted to continue the traditions that are so familiar to them.  I had just never considered how very emotional and lonely it would be for me to face the task. 

Finally, this afternoon, I trudged over to the storage unit to conquer the challenge of unearthing a few favorite decorations, my kids’ holiday books and movies, and some ornaments for the tree.  I had thought that it would be easier for me to do that by myself, but since the kids were getting antsy and needed to get out of the house, I decided to make it a family event and bring them along. 

They were so excited to go to the storage unit and dig through all of the treasures stored there (unaware that 80% of those “treasures” consist of really fun stuff like kitchen utensils, old crafting supplies, and my favorite coffee pot).  As I started to pull out the bins that held our holiday decorations and saw my kids’ faces light up with excitement, I was suddenly glad that they were with me.  It was striking to me that this felt like an odd sort of tradition, to be dragging Christmas decorations out of the remnants of my shattered marriage, but my kids didn’t see it that way.  They were excited to kick off the holiday season and their enthusiasm was not at all lessened by the thoughts of the life we used to share with their father.

I dug through each of the holiday bins in turn, trying to decide what was worthy of displaying this year and what would stay neatly tucked away in storage.  The item that struck me the most, oddly enough, was one I’d forgotten about and was not looking for: mistletoe.  A fake sprig of silvery green leaves that I remembered purchasing a couple of years ago in an effort to try to stir up some affection in what was left of my marriage.  When I opened the bag and saw the mistletoe inside, I thought immediately of my ex-husband and of my recent failures in the world of dating, and I had to fight violently against a forceful surge of tears.  I don’t have anyone to kiss under the mistletoe, and I decided it would only exacerbate my loneliness, so I closed the bag and replaced it bitterly.

As we continued sorting through the rest of the decorations, I thought again about that mistletoe and how hurt I’d been when it had failed me.  I had hoped that its prominent position hanging in the doorway between the kitchen and living room would help remind my husband that I was craving affection, but it hadn’t worked.  We didn’t do any more kissing in the presence of mistletoe than we had done without it.  It had felt like a sad sort of failure to me, I remembered, and then I pushed the thought away again before it could consume me in negativity. 

Finally, as I was replacing the now half-empty bins that had been sorted through, I stopped for a minute to notice my children’s joy.  I enjoyed the sound of their little footsteps pounding up and down the hallway as I handed them things to bring to the door of the storage building, and I listened to their excited chatter over the various items we’d found.  And then I thought of the mistletoe again.  It had been my kids who had used it the most, not my husband or me.  I suddenly remembered the many nights in that kitchen when I simply could not cook because one or both of my kids would insist on standing under the mistletoe to collect their kisses.  And mistletoe was a serious rule not to be broken; no matter how busy I was or what I was doing, I HAD to stop for them if they stood under the mistletoe, and they knew it.  And because their constant demand for kisses represented the strongest force of love that was flowing through our home at that time, I allowed them to insist on it as much as they wanted.  They did so often, and with giggles, and it always breathed a much needed rush of life and love into my then-barren heart. 

Upon recalling that memory, I reached up and pulled down the bin that held the rejected mistletoe.  I took it back out of its bag, walked down the hall to my kids, and held it over my head.  “Hey, kids, do you remember this?”  And then I got down on my knees, closed my eyes, and collected wee kisses and giggles from my children.

Right now, that mistletoe is hanging in my room in my mom’s home, in a place where I can enjoy it with my kids any time I want to this season.  I don’t have a husband this year, and that’s okay.  I don’t want one.  I don’t have a boyfriend either, and I probably won’t even have a date for a holiday party.  But that’s all perfectly fine.  What I really want most of all is love, and that, I already have so much of, more than I know what to do with.  And that is what the mistletoe will be for me this year: Instead of it being a forlorn reminder of what I’ve lost, or have yet to find, it’s a token of what I already have.  I have a family, and I have love. 

And already, my kids have both enjoyed abusing their privilege to interrupt Mommy by grinning at me from under the mistletoe.  I couldn’t be more proud of them.  

Friday, October 1, 2010


I had a great conversation with a good friend of mine last night about the recent escapades of my dating life.  I’ve been pretty amazed at the dishonesty and cowardliness that I’m coming across, and it’s so frustrating that I am all but ready to enter a convent.  (Problem there…I’m not Catholic, but that’s another story.)  In any case, one of the things she was encouraging me to do was to rewrite my online dating profile and lay out a few simple rules for the guys who read it.  She emphasized that men like rules.  Rules keep things simple and straightforward for them, and everyone knows that women in general do not have a reputation for simplifying things.  So I started thinking about the rules I would want to put into place, and really, I think it all boils down to one very simple and basic request for all the men of the single dating world.


For example, if you’re the guy I met who couldn’t stop flirting with me, who spent hours upon hours talking to me on the phone every night, and who shortly after meeting me had a death in the family and needed to take a break from dating, yet decided to stay in touch with me anyway and let me think that you were still interested…and then you got involved with someone else in the meantime, tell me.  Just TELL me.  Don’t post it on Facebook like a chicken shit and wait for me to see it so you won’t have to say anything to me yourself.  I’m not a fragile creature who will fall apart if you move on with your life; I just want to know the truth, so I don’t end up feeling like an idiot.  This comes down to respect and honesty, and I don’t think that is a lot to ask.

And, if you’re the guy who spent weeks getting to know me online before we decided to meet, who told me repeatedly how much you loved my honesty and that you thought I was amazing and you were really hoping things worked out for us, yet for whatever reason you changed your mind after actually meeting me face to face…again, tell me.  You truly have no excuse for this one, because I even gave you an easy out and said that “if the person you met is not the person you were expecting, that’s okay, it happens, I won’t mind, just say so.”  Yes, you have to actually SAY so.  You should not hide out and avoid my emails in the hopes that I will get the hint.  That is the kind of behavior that should be left behind in high school.  Instead, please strap on your balls and speak up.  Again, this is not a lot to ask.  This is the kind of common courtesy that you would want afforded to you, and it is simply cruel and hurtful not to extend it to others.   

Both of these men treated me very differently, but they both had one thing in common.  They were both cowards who didn’t know how to speak up when faced with a complicated dose of reality.  I am not the kind of person who can tolerate this level of emotional immaturity, so I am glad I was able to cut my losses early in the game in both cases and move on.  Still, it hurts to be treated with such disrespect, and moreover, I am incredibly tired of disrespect.  I lived with it for 12 years in my marriage and I will not willingly expose myself to it any longer. 

While I’m at it, if you happen to be in the online dating game, here are a few other moves you should avoid—and yes, these things really happened to me.  You can’t make this stuff up.
  1. When you contact a woman and she responds politely that she is not interested, do not accuse her of lying.
  2. When a woman you just met asks you why you don’t have any pictures on your profile, this is not necessarily the best time to discuss your ex-wife’s meth addiction.  It doesn’t make you look better to readily admit that you were once married to a junkie.  They call it TMI for a reason. 
  3. Your first email to a woman you find attractive should not include a request to steal some kisses.  That is sleazy, not sexy.  There is a huge difference.  

My therapist has reassured me that I am the kind of person who is very real, and that it’s likely that other people are intimidated by that, particularly after crossing the barrier from the virtual world into the face-to-face one.  He said I’m not making bad choices about the kind of guys I’m taking interest in, but am merely running into people who are very immature, time after time.  And he believes that immaturity like this is common in the male world, and it just takes some time to find the person who will treat you with love and respect and dignity instead of being a cowardly jerk.

I believe he's right.  One day, I will find someone who will treat me with respect and courtesy and dignity, who will realize how much I have to offer and won't want to let me go.  That person will know how to wear his big boy pants and act like a grown-up.  That person could turn out to be the love of my life.  I just haven't met him yet.   

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Several days ago, I got a phone call from an old high school friend, one of the very few I have kept in touch with over the years.  She asked if I was going to the high school thing.  Thing?  What thing?  No one told me about a thing.  And when she explained that it was our 20-year reunion, and she gave me the event information so I could find it on Facebook, I told her I’d have to think about it and call her back.

Honestly, I have avoided staying in touch with most of the people I went to high school with, but not because I dislike them as people.  It was mostly because of the emotions that I associate with that time of my life, and I wasn’t sure if being around people who reminded me of all those insecurities was a good choice for me.  For many years, I could not handle the mere idea of talking to anyone I knew from that time in my life; I’d left it all behind, moved on to other things.  But I had eventually contacted a couple of close friends who I had missed over the years, and now, I realized I was again at a crossroads.  It’s my 20-year high school reunion, and it’s happening about ten minutes away from where I currently live.  Do I choose to go, hold my head high, and not worry about what others think of me?  Or do I choose to stay home, avoid the possibility of feeling insecure and out of place, but also avoid the possibility of having fun and reconnecting with people who I would honestly like to talk to?

I chose to go.

I walked into the bar last night, knowing by way of text messaging that my close friend had already arrived, and immediately started scanning the room for her face.  I felt somewhat out of place walking in there alone.  But almost immediately, I saw a cluster of familiarity in the center of the room; faces I could not put with names, but faces I knew.  And pretty soon I was greeting and recognizing old friends as if it had been merely a few weeks since graduation instead of 20 years.

I had a drink, started making conversation, and began to relax.  I told my story a few times; I’m separated, and thanks for the sympathy, but I’m actually really happy now; I have two kids, I have employment issues, but I’m honestly better off than I’ve been in years.  And none of it bothered me.  I wasn’t trying to impress people with what I’ve done with my life, so it was easy to avoid feeling inferior.  I don’t need to compare myself to them or what they’ve done.  But after a while, I found myself in a cluster of happily married women chattering about how great it was that they’d finally found the perfect guy, and my drink was long since empty by then, and I had nothing positive to add to the conversation at that point, so I slowly retreated back to the bar and sat down quietly. 

I sat in an almost contemplative silence for a few minutes, as contemplative as you can get in the middle of a noisy bar.  I thought about the last time I’d seen most of these people, at age 18, and all of the major events in my life from then until now flashed before me, as though the last 20 years of my life were a mere glimpse.  I was sober and perfectly capable of driving, and I was starting to feel withdrawn, and I really thought about leaving.  I didn’t want to be there if it was going to leave me feeling depressed.

I checked my watch.  It was only 8:30.

Again, I had a choice.  I could choose to stay, have fun, go talk to people, and make the best of having an evening out without the kids; or I could choose to feel sorry for myself, go home, and mope. 

I chose to stay.  But I’ll be honest; at that point, I ordered another drink.  Sometimes, even the best of choices need a little nudge in the right direction. 

In both of those choices, as in many other times in my life, I realized that I was much better off deciding to be happy than allowing myself to sink into gloom and remorse.  True, overall, I am very happy with the choices I have made in my life, including the choice to leave my marriage and start over; but I still have a long way to go in rebuilding my life, and at times it’s easy to allow that positive decision to carry a negative weight by dwelling on the things I don’t have right now.  What I do have, however, is peace.  I have happiness.  I have freedom.  I have two beautiful children.  I have friends and family who love me; I am surrounded by love, I know this.  And while I don’t have my own house to live in, or a job I love, or a husband, or any number of things, they don’t define who I am, because I choose not to let them.  I am not defined by my circumstances in life.  As one of my friends told me last night, “don’t choose things that make you sad.  Choose to be happy.”  She was absolutely right.  Happiness is a choice, not a circumstance. 

And when I came home, the first thing I did was creep quietly upstairs and kiss those two beautiful choices of mine who were dozing silently on their pillows.  Those are the two best choices I ever made.  For their sake as well as mine, as many times as the choice presents itself to me every day, I choose to be happy.  

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Group Therapy

After I left my husband early this year, one of the first items on my agenda was to seek counseling for myself and for my son, to help us both heal from the trauma we had just been through.  That will forever remain on my list of Good Decisions I've Made, because it has helped both of us to successfully navigate a very difficult time of change.

My counselor is getting to know me and learn what makes me tick.  He's learning the things that are patterns in my life and helping me find ways to avoid repeating those patterns.  And, he often has good advice, and sometimes, I take it.

One of the things he has been encouraging me to do for the last several weeks is to check out a divorce support group.  I feel by now like I no longer need the benefits that group therapy has to offer; after all, I have a group of friends, and I trust them, and isn't that good enough?  Apparently, not quite, at least from his perspective.

"It will be good for you to get out and meet people," he says. 

"You will be able to grow in ways you can't accomplish on your own," he says. 

"It's a good, safe environment for healing," he says. 

I listen and nod, but internally, I resist, because I really don't want to go sit in a group of divorced strangers and talk about my life and my problems.  Besides...I'm kinda over that whole "I left my idiot husband" phase by now.  Right?

But, he keeps mentioning it, and I keep using the excuse that I work in the evenings so I really can't attend evening meetings, until this week when my work computer crashed and I had to take a few unwanted nights off.  I realized that the group he has recommended to me was meeting last night, and I really had no excuse to continue avoiding it, and I thought it wouldn't hurt to try it...just once.  "What have I got to lose?"  I thought.  "It doesn't cost any money, just a little time, and if I hate it I never have to go back." 

So I find my way to this Presbyterian church that is about 20 miles south of here because my therapist says the group that meets there is large and it would be a good place for me.  I sit through the presentation where the group leader welcomes all the newcomers.  He mentions that occasionally people have come to the meeting in spite of the fact that it's held in a church, and I hope I'm being discreet as I nod my head.  (I have such an aversion to churches right now that it's almost like trying to put the same poles from two magnets together; the force driving them apart is impossible to overcome.)  And I watch the video presentation, the first in a series that will be shown over the next ten weeks, and there is some really useful information in that video, and it's not overtly religious, so I'm feeling okay about being there; but then I realize that the video series is based on a book.  I'm thinking I'd rather be home reading the book than sitting in this room in this church.

Then, we break out into small groups for discussion, and I'm in the newcomers group.  Newcomers always go to the newcomers group until they've been attending for a while, and then they get a permanent group.  I'm not thinking I will ever need a permanent group.  But there are a lot of newcomers there, and I soon find myself seated in a circle with about 18 sullen women and 2 men. 

Then, the discussion begins.  This is where we go around the circle and talk about who we are and how we ended up here, if we want to.  I'm about in the middle of the circle so several people share their divorce horror stories before me.  The first woman chokes out about a sentence or two, and then she breaks down into tears, and out comes the tissue box.  And immediately my heart lurches in sympathy for her, because I know too well the pain that goes with heartache, and watching her suffer leaves me on the verge of tears too. 

One by one, the women in the circle take their turn, and I sit in shock as I listen to some of the stories they tell.  Six years of separation and brutal legal battles and they still aren't divorced?  He left her after 26 years for an old girlfriend and she never saw it coming?  That woman has an infant and a three year old and no idea how to support herself?  How tragic...and my heart truly aches for each of these women.  I want to get up and hug them all. 

And then, it's my turn, which I've kind of been dreading, because I realize that most of these women are actually still in love with their ex-husbands, some in spite of many years of pain and struggle.  And I try to gloss over my story quickly because it does not seem important when there are people surrounding me who are still in pain over the loss of someone they truly loved.  Besides, I feel kind of calloused when I tell the truth:  "Um, we separated several months ago, but we're both okay with it, and I'm moving on now, and I'm just trying to manage the perspective of being a single mom and figuring out how to support myself and my kids."  I have no tears, no story of lost love to tell (at least not one that relates to my marriage), and no real remorse any longer over the disintegration of the life I once had.  I'm happy now.  I'm content.  And I feel kind of guilty about that when I look around this circle at all the soggy tissues and streaked faces and hunched down shoulders.  Am I supposed to suffer for the next six years over this?  Am I missing out on something by not letting the grief and sorrow drag on all the way through my son's elementary education?  I sure hope not!  Because if that's what divorce is supposed to be, then I am definitely doing it wrong. 

I left that night with a feeling of accomplishment, though.  I got something that I needed out of the evening, which was a sense of where I am and of how group therapy could benefit me.  Mostly, it is a place for me to go and feel better about how far I have come with the struggles and challenges of my circumstances in life.  I have dealt with all of the same emotions that those women are suffering from now, at different times and in different ways, and I have worked my way through each phase, allowing myself to experience and sort out those feelings before moving on to the next wave of emotion.  And today, when my ex-husband called me to whine about the way he feels, I was able to tell him quite simply that I have been there, too; I lived through that place while I was still married to him, and tried to do something about it.  And now, I have moved on, and let go, and I'm finally happy, and I hope he gets to that place too. 

By the way, did I mention that they were selling the book from that video series?  I bought it...because while the topic sounds like it will be helpful to me, I doubt I will ever go back to that group.  I'll be happier sitting at home and reading the book.

Friday, September 3, 2010

My rock

The last couple of days have found me focusing my attention on healing my heart.  It's not because I feel like I lost my chance at the greatest guy in the whole wide world, because that obviously could not be further from the truth.  It's because I fell for this guy pretty hard and pretty quickly, at a time when he was going through some very intense life challenges, and I reached out to help him because I am a sensitive person who doesn't want to leave someone alone during such a traumatic time.  And in that process, I ended up giving away too much of my heart to someone who didn't appreciate or respect it, and I found out that I had been used and taken advantage of.  That hurts.  The fact that I had such strong feelings for someone so selfish and immature and dishonest hurts.  The fact that he was pursuing someone else while I was reaching out to him and he didn't even have the courage to tell me really hurts.  The fact that I wanted the intense emotional connection we shared to continue, and yet he chose to sever it despite how much of my heart I gave him...that hurts.

But now, I have the benefit of finality and closure.  The story is over, and as I once read, "true love stories never have endings."  And now that I know what the ending looks like and I can take some time to heal and put it behind me, I am finding that it still works for me to listen to my heart as I pursue the things which bring me peace and happiness.  Today, what my hurting heart told me was that I needed to go to the beach.  The weather didn't seem great for it, and I didn't have very much time to spend there, but I knew, just knew, that I needed to go there today.

So while both of the kids were at school this afternoon, I took my dog and drove to the closest beach.  I started walking her along the shore and let myself relax into the calming surge of the waves across my feet and the sounds and smells of the ocean.  As I walked along, I felt the familiarity of hurt and loneliness swelling inside my heart; I have lived with those emotions for far too long, and they started to spill out of me in the form of tears, as they so often do.

And then, as I walked and thought and sought for that peaceful place within my soul, I suddenly spotted a rock lying in the sand, in the perfect shape of a heart.  That's it, up there in that picture.  On the sand, though, the shape of it was even more clearly defined, and I took a picture of it as I found it in the sand but I can't upload that picture from my mobile phone to my computer.  You'll just have to trust me, it looked even more perfect in the wet sand.  But instead of making me feel depressed or hurt, that little heart that I found gave me hope.  It was like a reminder that love is something that exists no matter where we are, or what we're doing, or how people choose to treat us.  Love is something that we can find when we least expect it, whether we are looking for it or not.  And one of my favorite songs was suddenly in my head as I stood and marveled at this perfect little heart that was left there for me to find when I needed it most.

I picked it up, then put it back down and walked away from it, thinking that it would be a good thing to leave for someone else.  But when I walked by again later and it was still there, I decided it was meant for me and I should keep it.  It is a reminder of what my heart can be when it heals again; not perfect, and not something that everyone will appreciate when they find it, but still strong and solid and just right for the person who comes across it at the right time, and wants to do the right thing to take care of it.

Broken hearts do heal with time; this much, I know.  And the sorrow that I feel right now over what seems like a loss will turn out to be a blessing to me in the end, because it will help refine me and strengthen me as a person and leave me more receptive to finding the love that was meant for me, when I'm ready to find it.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The search for self

I have been working hard lately on refocusing my attention away from others around me and what they need, and back towards myself and taking care of what I need.  While that may sound selfish on the surface, and it does to me even as I write it, I find that it is an important exercise for me because it helps me to find the balance between taking care of others and taking care of myself.  In my life, far too often, I tend to direct my energy outwards, be it towards my children, my friends, my family, or any other relationships; and again, far too often, my own needs become ignored in that process.  For a long time I was able to blame my husband for not providing for me—he was simply an easy scapegoat.  But now, as a single mom, I am learning more acutely that I am entirely responsible for myself, and any relationship I may have in the future needs to complement me as a balanced individual rather than completing a version of me that is not whole. 

To that end, I have been spending less of my energy lately in reaching out to others, even towards those people whom I dearly love.  Nevertheless, being a mom, the needs of my children can never go ignored, and I am still required to put a lot of energy into meeting their ever-evolving demands for attention, love, and overall maintenance.  But when I take the time to turn my attention back towards myself, I recognize that the part of me which has evolved spiritually over the past several years has been neglected for too long, and I think that is where I need to direct my energy in order to start feeling more balanced.  I no longer have any affiliation with any particular church, and although I have tried to explore different churches and faiths, I find that I have developed a strong aversion to any form of organized religion.  I think that comes from the push I felt for years to conform to the faith I used to follow.  I was constantly being told what I should think and should believe, and now I feel suffocated by that type of rhetoric and simply want to walk the other way as soon as I suspect that it may be looming on the horizon.  On that note, I recognize that I will need to follow some form of independent spirituality rather than a church environment, at least until I feel like I have more clarity about what I want to pursue and what I want my children to grow up with.  

One thing I have wanted to try for a while is meditation.  Several friends have suggested that I try it, and although I have been interested in it for a while, I felt like I didn’t quite know what meditation meant or how to begin.  I also didn’t quite see it as a spiritual process, but more as a way to clear the mind of clutter.  This week, though, I felt a strong desire to explore the concept more thoroughly, and this morning I found myself reading this article and then trying in my own way to follow the direction it gave me.  It was actually a very positive experience for me; I felt strangely relaxed and invigorated afterwards, and I was able to draw upon the imagery from that brief meditation session throughout the day to help prevent myself from being swayed by too much emotion.  I want to learn more about the process of meditation and hope to practice it some more.  Tomorrow I plan to take a trip to the local bookstore and see if they have any books on the topic that I can’t resist.  (Alone, without the kids!  That is always such a treat for me.)

I also stumbled across this website as I was searching for more information on meditation, and I was pretty surprised at the wide variety of topics that it covers.  What struck me the most when I read the main page was all of those categories listed on the left that encompass what could be considered major life changes.  I realized that I have been through many of those things myself in the past year, and still have more yet to undergo--a pretty wide variety of topics, from adopting a pet or getting divorced to moving into a new home or finding a new job.  It was kind of surprising to recognize how many of those major changes I have been through, and how my kids are I are thriving in spite of it all, as best as we possibly can under the circumstances.  It also allowed me to cut myself a little bit of slack about not having accomplished all that I wish I had by now; there are only so many things a person can do at one time.  And there is also information on that site about spirituality that I hope will be helpful as I continue to search for ways to complete that part of myself.  

In any case, I find that it benefits me and my kids to learn more about how to take care of myself, so that there is more of me to give to my children and my other relationships.  I have discovered many things over the past few years that helped me work my way through some major life changes and brought more of a sense of balance to my life, including books, music, writing, friends, long walks with my dog, and afternoons at the beach.  I see this search for spiritual balance as one more way of completing the picture of who I am and who I want to become, and I anticipate that it will be a long road with a lot of things for me to learn along the way; I’m kind of excited about that. 

And incidentally, I feel like this blog is doing a terrible job of saying what I want to say, but I'm going to post it anyway because I can.  

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Letting go

This is a concept that has been weighing heavily on my mind lately.  I have spent a lot of time this week talking to a friend of mine who is in an abusive and dangerous marriage.  I’ve been listening to her and offering my advice, support, and love, in part because I truly do love her and care about her, and in part because I can relate so closely to what she’s going through.

I nod along with all of her arguments.  “It’s my fault.  If only I had done such and such differently.”  “I don’t want to live like this, but I don’t want to leave him either.  What if I leave and he won’t take me back?”  “He will be devastated if I leave.  I can’t stand the thought of hurting him like that.”  “I just love him so much.  Why does it have to hurt to love him like this?” 

And meanwhile, as she sits at the computer reaching out for help through her pain and her tears, her husband is outside in the family van, staying awake all night on adult web sites where he can immerse himself in his virtual life. 

My heart aches for her, because I understand all too well what it’s like to feel like you are trapped by way of circumstance.  I understand how it feels when your heart is telling you something that is entirely contrary to what your head is telling you.  I understand the heartache, the conflict, the loyalty, the guilt, and the hopelessness.  And after living in pain and misery and fear until I had finally had enough, I decided to make change happen for myself instead of waiting for my marriage to change for me, and in that decision I learned one of the greatest lessons of all.  I learned that sometimes, when the only choices that lay before us are equally wrought with pain, we have to choose the one that forces us to let go of something that once was and move on to something yet unseen. 

Our lives are not intended to be defined by our relationships.  The relationships we have with others should complete us, allow us to thrive, help us to experience love and joy and friendship and laughter.  When a relationship fails to enhance us, but instead leaves us empty, searching for something that does not exist within its bounds, it is time to let go.  Yes, it hurts, often excruciatingly so.  It can be frightening, overwhelming, confusing, devastating, and very, incredibly lonely.  But all of those things can heal with time.  And when the only two choices that remain are the pain of holding on or the pain of letting go, it’s time to let go.  It is in that process of letting go that we find the salve of time and love and peace that heals us from within, and we discover that life beyond our immediate circumstances can not only exist, but it can be so much better than anything we had ever imagined.

You can’t know that better side when you are desperately holding on to a wilting rose that once was beautiful but is now not much more than a thorn-covered stem.  Before the wounds pricked by those thorns can begin to heal, you have to let go.  

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Six Months and One Week

Tomorrow, August 9th, it will be exactly six months since I packed up my belongings, my kids, and my dog, and left my husband.  The adjective that will probably always best describe my memories of that day is “scary.”  I was scared of how my husband would react, I was scared of how to accomplish the things I had to do to become independent with my two kids, I was scared about how my kids were going to handle the transition, and I was scared about not knowing what life had in store for me.  But most importantly, I was tired of being scared of my husband, and of not knowing who was going to walk through the door at the end of the day.  I knew that would never change if I stayed with him.  The only hope I had of not being scared any longer was to face my fears of the unknown and try to overcome them, without him. 

At that time, I filed separation papers, primarily because the state I moved to would not let me file divorce papers under their legislation until I had lived here for six months.  However, if they had let me file for divorce right away, I still don’t know that I would have.  The idea of initiating something so final when I had just crossed the threshold into my new life was too… scary.  I thought then that six months would be a good waiting period for me to be sure that was what I really wanted for my life.  Now, I am absolutely certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I do not want to live with that man ever again.  He is working on himself and making a lot of positive change, but I’ll just say that at least one of every five conversations I have with him serve as a perfect reminder of why I left him and why I will never go back. 

So, after August 17th, when my son is back in school, I will be back at the courthouse to file final papers and continue moving on with my life.  That leaves me with only one week of my kids’ summer vacation, and in addition to the fun I am planning for them, I have a major goal of my own to meet this week.  I am finally going to finish rewriting my resume.  I started working on it a few months ago, got a draft ready, brought it to a career counselor, and realized that not only did it need to be completely redone, but also that I was not yet emotionally ready for the process of looking for a new job.  It was a step across that threshold into my new life that I was not able to handle at that time, earlier this summer.  I struggled a lot to figure out what was holding me back, what was making it so difficult for me; it’s just a job, after all, and I do already have one.  I just needed a new one.  And now, after lots of introspection, emotional healing, and counseling, I have finally found the place in myself that is ready to take on the challenge of leaving my at-home job for something that will support me as a single parent.  It’s still scary, and it’s still overwhelming, when I look at the whole picture all at once.  But, when I remember to slow down and take it in baby steps, I find myself slowly, carefully, steadily moving forward, like a toddling infant taking its initial tentative steps.  Each step takes a lot of energy and thought and concentration, but with each unsteady wobble, the young toddler gains confidence; and before you know it, that little toddler is a preschooler showing off her favorite dance moves, or a second grader showing you something exciting that he just read. 

I'm getting there, albeit in baby steps, but at least I am able to handle them now.  And, because my brother has decided that he needs to update his resume too, we set a common goal to have them both finished by this weekend so that we celebrate by going to the Gravenstein Apple Fair together.  It's something we have talked about doing together for the last few years but the timing has never been right for us to go.  He's my best friend, and my kids love him, and it will be a very fun and well deserved Saturday for both of us.  But first, I have more work to do on my resume, a few sentences at a steps.  But just think, in one week, it will be done!  I can do this in one week.  And after that, there will be more baby steps for me to take, and I hope that the places they take me will be more exciting than they are scary.  

Monday, August 2, 2010


The concept of friendship has been on my mind a lot lately, and I have been trying to formulate thoughts about it that would make a decent blog.  But what is there to say?  I love my friends, and I try to be as good of a friend to them as they are to me. 

But today, after a long talk with one of my very best friends ever, I understand a little bit more about what friendship is.  I was frustrated and confused about how to handle something personal that I’m dealing with, and my friend was there to listen.  I could whine, cry, grumble, complain, pout, sniffle, and kvetch about my problems, and she just listened, and understood.  My frustration was important to her because she cares about me.  And just by having someone who loves me enough to listen to me vent my frustrations, I felt better about my ability to deal with them. 

That’s what friendship really is.  It’s being there for each other in the happy times and in the sorrowful times.  It’s supporting each other though frustration, grief, depression, confusion, and any difficulty that may arise in life with advice, compassion, laughter, silence, or whatever is most needful at the moment.  It’s understanding, empathy, and patience.  It’s a feeling of safety in knowing that what you need to whine about will be met with a listening ear and not considered insignificant or simply brushed off with a short command to “get over it.”  It’s something I never had in my marriage, and something I have long envied in the marriage relationships of others around me.  It’s the gateway that leads to love. 

In order to have a true friend, you also need to be one.  Friendship is about give and take, because we all have times when we need to receive more than we are able to give, and true friends are the ones who don’t give up on you during those times when you feel like you are nothing more than a sieve into which others pour love and compassion with little in return for themselves.  I have been exceptionally blessed in my life by wonderful friends who have helped me through some very dark and difficult times, and I hope I can extend the same to them when they need it. 

I could spend hours finding and posting hundreds of quotes on friendship, but right now, this is the one that most closely expresses my heart about what a friend is: 

"Two may talk together under the same roof for many years, yet never really meet; and two others at first speech are old friends."  Mary Catherwood

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Love them anyway.

My kids have been trying to kill each other for about a week.  It started when we were out of town visiting friends last weekend, and I let them eat whatever they wanted because we weren’t at home and I had to relinquish control over my son’s specific dietary restrictions a bit.  (Oh, and Monica, if you are reading this...of course I miss you more than I miss your keg, but I really miss your keg.  *sniff*)  I could tell almost immediately that his relaxed diet was impacting his behavior, but ever since, I haven’t been able to get the mellow child I love to move back in.  He has been replaced with the evil twin, the one who menaces, hits, bites, taunts his sister, flails his limbs about in random patterns, doesn’t listen to anything I say, and is overall so rowdy and rambunctious that a couple of days ago, I nearly hoped that a band of gypsies would show up at my door offering money in exchange for children.  No reasonable offer would have been refused.  (By that time, his sister was right in the trenches with him, because bad behavior breeds more bad behavior.  I was ready to sell them both.) 

Then, today, it finally occurred to me that there is one thing I haven’t tried to get the wild wildebeests to start acting like graceful gazelles.  I had been so busy taking things away, making threats, and removing privileges that I had neglected to consider what was most likely at the root of the behavior.  I have been preoccupied with my own worries lately and not investing in them as much as I could; possibly all my kids needed was some love and attention from me to make them lovable again.  Ironically enough, the time when children often need to be loved the most is usually when they deserve to be loved the least.  This is not to say that children don’t deserve unconditional love; they just know how to work the nerves of their parents to see if that love can be tested to the end that it no longer exists.  Fortunately, for most parents, that is never possible.

Tonight, I wrapped my kids up in lots of hugs and kisses, way more than I have given them for a while.  I spent time talking to them and snuggled up to read with them instead of doing the things that I wanted to do for myself.  I laughed with my son while I had him trapped in a big embrace and promised I would not let go until he was at least 48 years old.  I listened to my daughter singing one of her spontaneous improvisational songs, and realized how much I still love to hear her singing randomly about whatever she happens to be thinking of at the moment.  She has been making up songs like that since she learned to talk, but one day I know that sweet, small sound will no longer grace my presence.  I still cherish it.  And finally, I realized that for all they do to try to send me to an early grave, they give me such an abundance of love and joy in return that all I have to do is shift my focus and I can recognize again how much I love them.

Giving love when we don't feel it, when we have to reach deep within ourselves to find it, is often the most challenging task of parenting, and of life in general.  But it is also one of the most important and rewarding skills we can develop.  I started learning how to do it when I first got married; I learned more about it when I became a mother; and I have ample opportunity now to practice it as a friend, daughter, sister, ex-wife, and still, a parent.  It takes effort to step back and think of what we can give instead of trying to get what we want for ourselves.  But when we get outside of our own comfort zone enough to do something for someone who may not deserve it at that moment, I believe we have finally started to discover what love truly is.  

Monday, July 26, 2010


A friend of mine recently posted the following quote on Facebook: 

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.  If you want to be happy, practice compassion.  ~Dalai Lama

The word “compassion” has been weighing heavily on my mind lately.  What is it, and how do we practice it?  Wikipedia defines “compassion” in the following terms:  Compassion (from Latin: "co-suffering") is a virtue —one in which the emotional capacities of empathy and sympathy (for the suffering of others) are regarded as a part of love itself, and a cornerstone of greater social interconnectedness and humanism —foundational to the highest principles in philosophy, society, and personhood.

What touched me the most in that definition is to realize that our ability to practice true compassion is dependent upon our ability to love.  You cannot operate one without the other.  I have been thinking of compassion in terms of care and concern, of putting myself in another’s shoes, of trying to understand the pain and sorrow of others; but none of those things are possible without love.  Love is the foundation upon which true compassion is built.  And it is love that affords us the opportunity to help others in their times of need, no matter what the cost to ourselves.  Love and compassion are the opposite of selfishness and greed.  They allow us to give without regard for what we may receive in turn, but only with a desire to help make the burden of others a little easier to bear. 

Christianity as a whole talks an awful lot about love.  They talk about how God loves us, the love He gave in the sacrifice of His son, and our responsibility to love one another.  Yet, although it is easy to find a Christian who claims to understand love, it is often difficult to find those Christians who know how to practice it.  It is not until someone finds themselves in a place to truly need love and compassion given to them that they will learn who is able to practice it truly, regardless of religious labels or professed belief systems. 

It is hard to put all of my varied thoughts on this topic into words, and to that end, I spent a little time today reading quotes about compassion.  I have copied below some of those that were the most meaningful to me.   

The best practical advice I can give to the present generation is to practice the virtue which the Christians call love.  ~Bertrand Russell

Never look down on anybody unless you're helping him up.  ~Jesse Jackson

The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway.  ~Henry Boye

Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone,
Kindness in another's trouble,
Courage in your own.
~Adam Lindsay Gordon

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong.  Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.  ~George Washington Carver

You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Love thy neighbor, and if it requires that you bend your understanding of the truth, the Truth will understand.  ~Robert Brault

Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something and has lost something.  ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

I expect to pass through life but once.  If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.  ~William Penn

Never miss an opportunity to make others happy, even if you have to leave them alone in order to do it.  ~Author Unknown

If you step on people in this life, you're going to come back as a cockroach.  ~Willie Davis

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cutting the umbilical cord

When a baby is born, there is no question about whether or not to cut the cord.  The only issue that may arise is who gets to hold the scissors, but the eventuality is the same:  The baby will be separated from the placenta and begin to grow on its own, into an independent person.

Sometimes, there are things in our lives that can be likened to that umbilical cord, an attachment to something we no longer need but have grown comfortable with, and the idea of separating from it can be a difficult one.  I went through such an experience recently with my faith.

Many years ago, when I was searching for answers about God and about life, I began studying with a Biblical research ministry.  At the time, it was a very good place for me to be.  I needed love, comfort, and stability in my life, and what I was offered there provided all of this and more for me.  I felt very much at home there spiritually and had no desire to explore elsewhere.  Eventually, I met my husband by way of circulating within this group of people, and thus was the foundation of our life together.  It was Biblical, and we agreed on everything Biblically because we were following the same teachings, and it was wonderful to feel like I finally had something right.  I couldn't screw this up because it wasn't about me, it was about God, and He is always perfect.  It was unfortunate to me that so many people would not see the truth as I knew it, but I was willing to accept that they were simply ignorant and was thankful that at least I had all the right answers.  There were some things that were difficult for me to accept, however, but I was taught that I must lay those things aside, because the Bible was right and I was wrong, and I must simply accept that there is only one absolute truth.  I did that, mostly, but some of those internal struggles never really went away.  They simply went dormant.

It wasn't until many years later in life, when some serious challenges arose in my marriage, that I began to consider the possibility that I didn't actually have all the answers.  In fact, all I had was more questions.  At that point, I started to think that there could be more than one right answer in life, and that people who had different ideas from my own could still be good people with successful lives.  In truth, I was both relieved and terrified to discover this; relieved because I no longer had to feel conflicted about wanting to accept others as they are, and terrified because it meant that the entire foundation upon which I had built my life and my marriage was about to crumble.

That happened about three years ago.  Since then, I have forced myself to stay active with the same ministry, the one that I began to follow roughly 18 years ago, but I have felt more and more like it is something that no longer fits me.  I can understand what they teach, and the basic premise of Christianity that supports it is part of who I am naturally, but I am no longer comfortable accepting the idea that there is only one way to get to all the right answers.  Truthfully, I haven't felt that it was the right place for me for quite some time, but I held on, comfortable with the protection given to me by that placental sac, afraid to let go and begin to grow on my own.  After all, what if they have been right all along?  What if it is the only way to live successfully?  What if I really do cut myself off from God's blessings if I walk away?  What would happen to me and to my children if I make the wrong choice?

Until recently, though, I did not feel I had the option to walk away.  I separated from my husband six months ago, and while I was with him I continued to wear my Bible face on Sundays and attend fellowship meetings with him.  I kept telling myself that it wasn't doing me any harm, after all, and besides, there was already so much strife and conflict in my marriage.  The only thin thread left holding it all together was the fact that, at least in theory, we shared the same beliefs about God and the Bible.

The reasons I ultimately left him had little to do with our spiritual differences, but after I moved away with the children, I felt obligated to continue my affiliation with the ministry, because I am the caregiver for his children, and that was the only thing we had always agreed on about how they should be raised.  I didn't want to take the children away from everything familiar to them all at once, and truthfully, I didn't want to do that to myself either.  I craved the comfort of knowing that there was one place I could go, just one, where things were still as they had always been, and I could feel safe in that familiar environment, like the comfort of a mother's womb.  And yet, if you imagine what a baby looks like in its mother's womb just before birth, there isn't much comfort left in it.  It is a cramped place, and the mother is growing more and more uncomfortable, and the two simply need to separate from each other before the rest of the growth can begin.  

Finally, I realized that I was forcing myself to attend these meetings, and was doing so begrudgingly, time and time again.  I didn't want to be there.  I didn't contribute much to the group by being there, and I didn't take away anything that was helpful to me.  I was there only out of obligation.  And for that reason, I finally cut the cord.  I had to be brave enough to speak up and tell my leader that while I think they are all great people, I am not supposed to be there for the people, but for the Bible that they teach; and in that, I can no longer feel honest in my presence there.  I do believe that the Bible can be used as a guide for life, and that it can be successful when people use it correctly, but I do not believe that it is the only place to find answers.  The search for answers should begin within one's own heart.  At one time in my life, those solid, verifiable, Biblical answers were satisfying to me, but I am at a place now where I need to begin to search within my own soul and find the answers that bring me peace; and I know that one thing I need to accept to find that peace is that the answers are different for everybody.  What works for one family or individual may not be right for another, and though we can all be drastically different from one another in what we believe, we can also each find a path that follows peace, love, and acceptance which allows us to live harmoniously with each other during the short time we have on this planet.

And now, here I stand, on my own, at peace.  It was sad to dissociate myself from a group that has meant so much to me and has given so much to help me grow to this point in my life, but when the time comes to let go, what good does it do to hold on?   I think of it as a spiritual rebirth for me--a time to let go of my personal struggles with spirituality over the past three years and start anew; a time to explore and learn and discover things about the world that I would once have dismissed as pure foolishness; a time to learn how to guide myself and my children by way of instinct and logic and love that comes from within my own heart, not from what someone else tells me is right or wrong.  I don't know what I will find, and honestly, I hardly even know what I seek.  I do know that I stand at the beginning of a long and intriguing journey that I hope will guide me to find answers which are right for me, whether or not they are right for anybody else around me.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Very good news

Even as difficult as it seems my life is right now, there is still very, very good news to be told about my son.

When his school let out at the beginning of June, I started him on the Feingold diet and some supplements as a natural way to treat his ADHD.  His symptoms included hyperactivity, behavior problems, and learning difficulties, particularly with his handwriting, and he had been treated with Ritalin while at school.  It did help him to calm down and concentrate much better than he could without it, and it made it possible for him to accomplish school work that he could not complete otherwise.  But the side effects of the Ritalin included restlessness and difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, lethargy, and when he was coming down off the drug at the end of the school day, severe irritability and sometimes tantrums.  I had no choice but to medicate him at school because he could not work without the drug, but I was desperately hoping that during the summer, I would find some ways to manage his symptoms without the use of medication.

Since starting the Feingold diet, I have seen such a dramatic change in my son that I can hardly put words to it.  He is still an active boy, for certain, and he still gets into fights with his sister, but it is at the level of what I would consider normal sibling rivalry for two kids who are home together all summer long.  Gone are the failing limbs, constant jumping and throwing his body around, nonstop chattering, and the voluminous yelling.  Those things are replaced with a boy who is, at times, so quiet that I'll walk into the room and not even know he's in there.  I'll go walking through the house to look for him because I can't find him, and he'll be sitting quietly on his bed or on the sofa, reading a book.  Reading a book!!!!  He reads!  Or at other times, he will be in the same room with his sister, and they'll both be playing quietly and not disturbing each other.  That almost never happened before.  I am also seeing a noticeable reduction in his asthma and allergy symptoms, to the point where he was coughing and wheezing every night in bed and now does so rarely, if ever.  I hope this will become a permanent change for him.

Another area where I am seeing improvement is in his handwriting.  It has always been atrocious, but at least while on Ritalin, he developed some ability to write.  Before that he could not so much as pen his name.  But even so, when he did write, there were no spaces between words, the letters were oversized and scrawling, many of them were backwards, and it was for the most part illegible.  Like this:

(Translation:  This is my mom.  Her name is Anne Marie.  She has brown colored eyes.  She has brown colored hair.  I like it when she takes me to the park.)

Today, I had him sit down and write the titles of the books we have read for the summer reading program.  I noticed right away after looking at his writing that it was neater and there was very little letter reversal.  He has started writing the letter C and the letter S correctly, for starters.  It was a big deal to me to see him write his name for the first time without a backwards S.  He has always, always written it with a backwards S, until shortly after we started Feingold.

This is what his writing looked like today.  It still leaves a lot to be desired, of course, but the spacing and the overall tidiness of it looks improved to me.  Mostly, it's legible!

Here's a close up for a better look.  The first three lines were written a few weeks ago, when he had just started on Feingold.  It's hard to see because of the library stamp on it but it says "Food Chain Frenzy, Magic School Bus."  The other three titles were written today and I don't think they need translation!  

Okay, maybe only a mother would be proud of that...but dangit, I'm proud of that!

I really hope that the longer he stays on Feingold, the more we will see an improvement.  I still don't know if he'll be able to function well enough in school this fall without any medication, but hopefully, if he does need some, it can be at a lower dose.  And I have to say, I don't want to turn into a Feingold preacher girl, but I am so excited about what this has done for my son that it's become hard for me not to cringe when I see other kids eating tons of artificial colors and flavors.  I'm becoming a bit of a food snob.  Maybe that's a side effect of parenting on Feingold.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Limbo

I just looked up the Limbo song on YouTube.  It's a feel good song; it makes me think of relaxing on the beach with a cold drink in my hand.  I have to say, if I knew I had to be stuck in limbo for any period of time, and I could choose any limbo I wanted, I'd pick that limbo.  It's fun.

But...I'm stuck in a different kind of limbo.  I'm out of my marriage, but I'm not divorced.  I have a job to provide myself and my kids with income, but it isn't enough.  I have a plan to get a new job that will hopefully be better for me and my kids, but I can't seem to tap into my internal motivating force to start looking for that job.  I have a home to stay in temporarily, but indefinitely, while I figure all of this out, but I really want to be out on my own again.  And I'm fading in and out of bouts of depression, and just when I think I'm finally out for good, I sink back in again.

I'm working on finding my way out of this limbo, but it's a slow and sticky process.  There are lots of steps to take, so many that I tend to look at them all and then just want to run and hide in a corner somewhere instead of dealing with it.  I really hope that in the next week, I can find a way to make myself take just one step in the direction I need to go.  Just one.  And then the next, and slowly, steadily, I can rebuild my life and find a better place.

In the meantime, though, happy music helps.  I think I'm going to play that song again.