Category Archives: Love and Relationships

Up Swing

Things with the bestie are back to normal (thank God).  Life gets weird sometimes and then it comes back around to a good place, that’s just the way it works.  Since surgery, I’ve been dealing with some shit emotionally and it got in the way.  She’s been dealing with shit emotionally and it got in the way too.  Life.  Now if only the both of us and her kids could stop being sick so we can get back to our regularly scheduled chick dates, that’d be pretty awesome.

I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about being the “other woman.”  I have a hard time even saying or feeling like I was the “other woman,” because we weren’t together really (just a couple weeks before hearing from his girlfriend, we had settled on being best friends with benefits).  He was okay with me having someone on the side, I was okay with him having someone on the side.  Of course, being completely HONEST about it was also part of that arrangement (even though it was scary, I was honest about my dating other people while he kept me in the dark).

Since we did do things that would not have happened if I had known he had a girlfriend who was not okay with an open relationship, though, yeah I guess I’m the “other woman.”  What do I even do with that?  Oh I know, give it back to him, because it’s not my fault.

When anything remotely similar has happened like before, I’ve kicked the guy to the curb immediately.  My intentions were different in those relationships, though; and I was not open to being anything but the only one.

I was REALLY close to kicking this one to the curb just like the others, but the friendship I value more than anything with him makes me want to hang on.  Yes he lied.  Yes he hurt my feelings.  Yes he’s broken my trust in many ways.  But sometimes friends do really awful things to us and we still forgive them and refuse to let the friendship go because we’re all human and we all make big dumb ass mistakes from time to time.   I know I have, and my friends still love me anyways.

I had, and continue to have, confusing romantic feelings for him.  Our chemistry is undeniable and always has been, but his immaturity is so clear now.  That immaturity got him into this situation.  That immaturity is keeping him from really doing what he needs to do to get himself out of the dog house (at least with me).  As I keep seeing glimpses of how his immaturity caused this and is playing out since, the romantic feelings I had seem to be waning.  I don’t have the time or the energy to waste trying to help someone grow up anymore, especially if they’re not willing to put in the effort too.  My life is moving forward, with or without him.

The scale is torturing me again.  I’m hovering around 302, 303, 301 and cannot get my ass to #twoderland!  We got a storm that came through last weekend, I had a crazy busy week, and now I’m sick, so I haven’t been walking since my 3 mi. hike out at Red Rock last Friday (to celebrate being -105lbs!).

12547659_221007118234823_125801220_n(1)

With stalls courtesy of a lack of regular exercise, it’s looking like the next 100 lbs is going to be the real challenge, my dears.   At least I know I’m up for it!

Surgery is slowly but surely teaching me that I am stronger than I ever knew.  I really hoped that this journey would be transformative not just physically, but emotionally and mentally as well; and it is.  I am seeing my worth in a whole different way, from inside.  I am not seeking (as much) validation and approval from outside sources, where it has never been (and never will be) fulfilling.  I am holding my head up high.  I am looking people in the eyes.  I am smiling more.  I am becoming the me that I knew I was and could be.  It’s really quite incredible!

Business is going well, got an article in a local lawyer magazine, and I’m getting some really amazing referrals from the best places.  The next couple of months are going to be really fun too, because I’m going to be back on the radio and am starting a monthly segment on a business show on 4/4/16 (updates will be coming via my law firm Facebook page)!  Life is good!

Have a lovely weekend, friends!

Wait, What?!

I was not at all expecting today to go as it has.  Not one bit of it.  I wish I could make this stuff up (I’m just not that good)…

I’ve written a few times about this guy I’ve been seeing on and off for quite a while.  We met on OkCupid about six years ago and dated for maybe six months or so initially.  Things got really intense really fast (we have always had a strong connection, emotionally and physically), then I got some weird medical news that sent me reeling, and I took out my fears on him and told him that I couldn’t see him anymore.   I regretted it and I regretted how I treated him, because I liked him a whole lot.

Fast forward to a couple of years ago and I ran across his profile again.  I took a chance, reached out, and we quickly fell back into our old feelings.  We talked almost daily after that.

The first year after we started talking again it was a struggle to see him, a struggle to meet up.  I felt like a lot of that was me, though.  I was still processing my breakdown, still feeling pretty new in recovery from my childhood trauma, and had a hard time being social at all.  He expressed an understanding that not many in my life have and he was always there when I needed someone to talk to.  There was a point about a year ago that I wasn’t sure if I could continue on with the relationship because we were seeing each other so little, but we had a serious talk about it and he promised me that we would see more of each other.  He lived up to his word and in this last year we started hanging out more and more.

Our chemistry continued to be electric, just like it was when we started dating six years ago.  We talked about anything and everything under the sun and he was patient and kind and gentle about all of it.  I told him about my break down and he didn’t judge me.  I told him about my childhood and my ongoing tumultuous parental relationships and he didn’t judge me.  I told him about my (sometimes day-to-day) struggles with trust and anxiety and depression and he didn’t judge me.  He has been my rock as I’ve spread my entrepreneurial wings and especially supportive since I started this weight loss surgery journey last year.  He stayed at my house to help me when no one else would/could the week after surgery, he has patiently and gently walked me through my many minor meltdowns figuring out how to eat, and he has encouraged and motivated me as I recently started getting my exercise on too.  Honestly, I don’t know if I could have made it to this point without his support.

It’s no wonder that I fell in love.  How could I not, right?  It was sometimes a very confusing love, but it was love.  It was a love that was growing, and quickly, the more we got to see each other.  I’m not sure that our relationship would always have been romantic and physical as it has been so far, but he and I both talked all the time (yesterday, included) about how we felt like we had a lifelong connection.  It was a love that I hoped, no matter what would happen, we could continue to grow in.  At least until today.

I woke up today full of hope about a busy week, but not long after I opened my eyes and started to prepare for my day, I got a text from his girlfriend.  The girlfriend that he’s been with for the last two years.  The girlfriend he lives with.  Wait, what?!  My hopes and dreams about this relationship came crashing down around me in an instant.

So many thoughts about this man have passed through my brain over the last six years, but never once did I imagine that this kind of lie would be the end of us.  I don’t know that I could have, he had me so snowed.  Hindsight being what it is, there are plenty of things that seem crystal clear now of course, but at the time I had no inkling of what was to come; none whatsoever. I’ve been walking around feeling like I got punched in the gut all day.

I wish I could say that this is the first time that a man chose me as his other woman without letting me in on the secret, but it’s not (normally I find out much sooner, though).  I wish I could say that I felt like it was all their fault, but I don’t.  I mean, I’m the only common element. I can’t help but feel that there’s something inherently wrong with me or, at the very least, my ability to choose a good partner.  I have read plenty of articles about those who have suffered childhood trauma have poor relationship skills in adulthood, after all.  It seems that I’m no exception to the rule.

I am proud of how I handled my emotions today.  Though incredibly difficult, I let myself feel them (can’t eat them away anymore).  I cried a messy cry.  I reached out to all my girlfriends to tell them how much of an asshole he is.  I went on a walk, blasted the Cranberries and moved my body with real purpose (I almost didn’t, because walking reminded me of him too).  I did some work, then had a break.  I did more work and now I’m here.  I’m sad.  Beyond sad.  But I am moving forward.  Looking backwards is not an option for me.

My real fear is being alone forever, being rejected yet again (and again and again).  I want companionship, I want love, I want it all (except maybe kids).  I just don’t know how to get it and keep it.

Thank goodness for therapy this week.

Holding Back

If I could have the conversation I want to have…

Before I begin, you know the gory details of what I have been through in my life and, while I know that you cannot REALLY relate (and I am glad for that), I wish you would try.  Please try to understand that when I say my heart breaks, I mean that it crumbles and bleeds and falls to the floor in agony; after all, it is pieced together with tape and Elmer’s glue as it is.  Please try to understand that when I say that I have fear, it registers in my brain and my body in just the same way as the gut wrenching fear registered when my mother snapped her gun belt before a beating; sharp and quick.  Please try to understand that when I say I love, I love selectively and deeply, into the marrow of my bones.

I have not meant to withhold my feelings and I am sorry that everything came out in a messy texted torrent yesterday, but I have been anguishing over our friendship for months.  Your news uncorked a shaken bottle of champagne.

I have seen a pattern in the way that you have been treating people, the very important and permanent people, in your life lately and it has made me examine my own role there too.  In the last year, and over the past few months especially, whenever one of them doesn’t serve some need within you, disagrees with you or your life choices, or has a difficult time coping with their lives and inarticulately comes to you needing support, you you spout about the incredible difficulties of your own life and the zero fucks you give and you turn them away.  It has seemed so easy for you to let them, to let your love for them, go.  Where do I, a mere friend, a temporary fixture of life, fit into that?  I haven’t been sure.

My heart has been breaking for you over your recent choices.  My heart has been breaking because you are knowingly setting yourself up for future heartbreak.  My heart has been breaking because your children will suffer their own heartbreak when you do.  My heart is breaking because they will take on your burdens and they will carry them for life, because that is what children do.  My heart has been breaking because my heart (and so many others) will break right along with yours when this house of cards crumbles around you.

I have feared that by expressing my concerns, you would reject me as you did them (and I was kinda right).  I have feared that our friendship is as disposable as those relationships appear to be to you.  I have these fears because of my own past, because of our past, and because you and your friendship mean so much to me.

I have felt a real void where the much needed presence of your friendship used to be.  I have needed you for some real nitty, gritty and unpretty lately, but you been aware of little but yourself.  I have needed your help surviving the surge in emotion, flashbacks, and hormones since surgery.  I have needed you when I regretted the decision.  I have needed you in my walk through the hurt of ending my relationship with my mother.  I have needed you, and you are a cheerleader when things are going well, but our textversations all seem to end when the topic turns toward anything of remotely difficult substance about me.  I have felt increasingly rejected and ignored by it, but I have presumed that it was only because you, too, were going through your own heartbreak and could not bear mine as well.

I have struggled with all of these feelings, but I was confident that they would pass as your fog lifted and you got back to your happy.

Then you tell me that you have been happy.  So, while I could understand and process your absence from my life because you are hurting, I could not (and cannot) fathom your absence because you are happy.  Is this our friendship?  Is this what it means to be your “best friend” now that you give zero fucks?  To be there to support you through your darkness, but only have you around when my life is comfortable for you?  Is my ability to be involved in your life contingent on my faking a smile?

I am happy that you feel happy, but I fear that it is a right now kind of happy.  I fear that you have been overtaken by the intensity and intoxication that right now happiness is made up of.  Right now happiness will deceive you (please don’t forget how it blinded you to a narcissistic monster just a year ago).  You let people in so freely and, while I admire that so much about you, I am afraid for the way that you appear to be chasing that right now happiness like a drug.  I fear it because an addiction to that right now happiness will destroy you like any other, my friend.  Like any drug, right now happiness can only fill the holes in your heart for so long before it leaves a wake of devastation in your life.

Don’t be mistaken, that right now happy can last for years.  You, however, deserve forever happiness.  My fear is that you are risking your forever happiness for temporary glee; and it breaks my heart.

Coming Out of The Fog (Again)

I have been in a quagmire of funky emotions.  Dealing with the adjustments of forming all new – lifelong – eating habits, hormonal changes that come with surgery (didn’t know this until after) and rapid weight loss, getting used to my family being here all. the. time., trying to run a business, and working through the suffocating depression that has followed me around like a lost puppy dog the last three months (since I had to defend my decision for surgery to the one person I never wanted to have to defend it to).  I have been so exhausted and unable to function on a consistent basis.  But I’m finally coming out of it (again).

I guess this is the cycle of life, my dears.  Up and down and sometimes in between.

I think my body is finally adjusting to the decreased caloric intake.  The tiredness lingers and I’m super emotional at the most randomly inopportune times (my brother and I have had multiple fights over cheese), but I’m able to have a good solid, productive, 5 or 6 hours of work done now.  I just didn’t realize how difficult the first few months would actually be after this surgery.  Physically, emotionally, mentally, it’s been very challenging and often in ways that I was not expecting.

My social life has been nonexistent.  I’ve been wanting to join my friends, networking buddies, and colleagues for their many holiday soirees, but I’ve only been able to make it out to a couple of things.  Some days I can do it, other days, I hit a wall and have to rest.  I suppose if I paced myself, instead of trying to hit three things in one week (hey, when you’re feeling good, you gotta take advantage, amiright?), I’d be better off.  Either way, I’m hopeful that everyone understands and I’m trying not to be hard on myself about it in the process.

I’m really grateful that I have my own business, so that I have had an opportunity to recover in my own way.  Sure, it’s been a hard transition and a totally different kind of stressful, especially when recovery brought my business to a screeching halt, pissed off a couple clients, and killed my finances, but it’s temporary.  Now that I’m finally getting around to feeling more normal, life and business can resume (mostly) as scheduled.

Having my family here has been a real blessing.  Getting used to living with an entire family after being by myself for seven years has been quite a change, but they help out so much.  I barely have to do anything around the house and it’s such a relief.  I was praying for quite a while for someone to come swoop in and help take care of me for a while, and having my brother and his family here has been an answer to that prayer in so many ways.

My brother and I talk a lot about growing up, how difficult it was, and how difficult it continues to be.  It’s hard for the both of us to relive the many terrible memories, but it may be even harder for him at times.  I forget that while I’ve been working really hard over the last few years to deal with my our past, he has mostly just tried to forget about it the last 20 years of his life.  He keeps bringing it up, though, so I keep giving him every ounce of knowledge and insight that I’ve gained about dealing with it now. I have certainly gained some perspective because of our conversations.  I hope he feels the same.

I’m taking a bit of a break from therapy until early next year.  It may not be the best of ideas, but life.  From finances, to getting back into the swing of business, to just not wanting to for some reason right now, I can’t bring myself to do it.  I feel like I’ve talked myself to death about my childhood and my mother, I’m dealing with surgery and post-op life the best I know how, and my energy is better spent on being with my family, working on business, and enjoying a little life for a minute.

I’m learning more and more that it’s okay to take a break.  As long as I’m doing something to better myself and/or my business every day, then I’ve got nothing to be down on myself about.  Even if I’m not as productive, not as busy, not as whatever I wish I had been on any given day, I’m still making strides toward some things that are incredibly important to me – a happy and health mind and body and a successful business.  With those as my requirements, today has already been a good day.

Why!?

A new (and very supportive) Twitter friend of mine, the @RealMattEaton, and I have an unfortunate common bond: childhood abuse by our family. Matt and I “met” in a Monday night #sexabusechat and have shared a few meandering conversations since.  For some reason, he always seems to be around in the Twitterverse and responds at just the moment when I need to be tweeted off the ledge. After my last therapy session, I was processing a few of my thoughts via Twitter and definitely needed to talk to someone who *gets it.* There was Matt again, ready to lend an ear. I am in awe of and very grateful for his repeated selflessness.

Anyway, as we messaged about my past and my tumultuous relationship with my parents, he asked me a question that, while I have certainly pondered in general terms, have not really been asked or asked myself so pointedly:

Why would you want to remain in a relationship with them?

I don’t know, friend. I don’t know. Except, how could I not? This is my mother and father we’re talking about, after all.

Everyone wants, needs, craves a supportive, healthy, functional relationship with their parents. I, like Matt, and like an unconscionable number of other child abuse survivors, however, have never had real parents. Sure, we might have had adult human beings who cared for us, that we loved deeply, that loved us back, that we shared good (even joyous) times with.  But when adults abuse an innocent young human being, they simply don’t qualify for parenthood anymore, IMHO. Parental status, revoked.

The parental absence and abandonment leaves a void, an emptiness, a wanting, a lacking in the abused child’s heart that will be present with them for the rest of their lives. The abused child is left confused, stunted, and reckless. They desperately try to fill the chasm in their souls with addictions to mood altering substances (in my case food – dessert especially), anger, cutting, crime, anything that makes them feel something other than that sheer desperation or simply helps them forget. Without hard work, grit, and a little luck, some never make it to the other side of their grief from the ultimate betrayal by the adults in their lives.

Why do I want to keep them around? Why!?

Some days I really don’t. I have wished they were dead, just so this internal struggle, this insatiable desire for an impossible and unattainable functional relationship with them would be over (and I feel incredible guilt because of it).  I’ve gone through periods of no contact. Right now, in fact, we’re back to not speaking while they decide if our relationship is worth the effort of individual and family therapy. With the distance and time away, my heart usually softens and I welcome them back, hoping for better. Hoping for what I’ve been missing. It’s hard not to.  My real hope this time is for the strength to maintain my bottom line. It’s the only way we can ever achieve something close to normal.

Even Matt recently admitted that all the “child support” he needed was for his parents to be together as a unit rather than fighting over him and the money he generated in child support payments for his mother. He has chosen to cut the dysfunction from his life completely and I respect, understand, and applaud that, but I haven’t fully been able to. I may never fully be able to.

I don’t want to get married without my dad to walk me down the aisle. I want to have my mom there to help me through child birth. I want to be able to have dinners, share laughs and conversations. I don’t want to miss the last years of their lives and carry guilt for the rest of mine (like I do about my Gram) because I wasn’t capable of being the bigger person in the moment.

Despite everything, I love them, I miss them, I continue to want actual parents. I have seen the potential for greatness in my relationship with them and hold out hope that we can make it through this season in our lives better people, together. It would be easier in many ways, to turn off the switch, to forget it. But I’m kind of a hopeless romantic about life (I had to be to survive) and I just can’t let them go yet. Call me naive, a fool, whatever you like; I just can’t.

Check out my art and follow my journey on Twitter, Instagram., and in my Etsy shop.

Learning, Moving On

I have had some really dark days the last month or so. It was taking everything within me to function as a human being and, honestly, I failed at even accomplishing that much for a solid week in the worst of it.  Then, because I’ve been away from you so long, I started feeling anxiety about where to begin, what to say. That anxiety only perpetuated my absence here. It’s a sick cycle, anxiety and depression. Sick, indeed.

I feel tender and wounded as I come out of the bleakness of the past weeks, but I hope coming back out into the world will help me keep turning it around. It’s certainly worked in the past. I need to release things, but I’m afraid of overwhelming people with my sadness, with my shit. I have a lot of it, and it’s really heavy sometimes.

I’ve missed writing you, though. So, here goes.

For the few weeks after she showed up at my house unannounced and uninvited, I couldn’t bring myself to speak to her. What could I say? Her visit triggered my anxiety like crazy. I had flashbacks of exactly what I feared most when I was in the deepest chasm of my psychotic break.  Before I could begin to say anything healthy to her, I needed to talk to my therapist about it. I needed his help to figure out how I even felt about the situation, figure out what I wanted to say, figure out how I wanted to move forward.

After talking with him, I felt more confused than ever (like that’s never happened to anyone in therapy, right?). I knew I didn’t want to keep going through the dysfunctional rollercoaster. I knew that I still so desperately wanted my parents in my life. I knew I had to set boundaries.  On this last point, I really thought I had. I mean, changing my locks, telling her not to show up at my work without telling me, I can’t specify every single fucking thing. Come on!

During the three or so weeks of not talking to her, to them, I started to have these intense waves of anxiety, sadness, anger, depression, deja vu symptoms like I hadn’t felt in over a year. I didn’t connect the dots that the situation with them was why I was having those feelings at the time, but I should have.

Anyway, I didn’t know, and I certainly wasn’t prepared for contact. When she called out of the blue and left me a voice mail saying that she wanted me to call her and not say anything, to let her know I’m alive, I didn’t know what to do. Her tone of voice was what got me. It was an attempt at nice that turned sour at the end. She’s always that way and it gets under my skin in a way that you wouldn’t believe  (or maybe you would, I don’t know). Either way, I was really tempted to continue to ignore her, make her worry. But, that’s not what I’ve learned to do in therapy, and that’s really just not me. I had to rise above it. Again. Such is life, people. It’s the only way to grow.

I knew I couldn’t risk a call. I still didn’t really know what to say, much less in the way that I needed to say it. Plus it felt like a bit of a trap. I’m pretty sure she’d answer and, although she’s no danger to me now, I still freeze around her, when talking to her, when thinking about her.  She’s my childhood boogeyman, after all.

So I texted her, “I’m alive.”

I had initially meant it to be just that. Leave it, done, call it good. But once the door was open, it couldn’t be closed. In a series of texts, I set my boundaries in the most loving and accountable way I possibly could.

image

image

image

I almost ended it there, but felt like I wanted to keep the line open, even still.

image

With that, it was done. I said my piece and put the ball in their court.

I wasn’t at all prepared for just how hard it would be on me to say those things to her, though.  The next morning I was absolutely sick to my stomach and for the four days that followed my texts, I quite literally couldn’t make it out of bed. Looking back, it seems so obvious why I froze, why I went to my darkest of dark places, but it still took me another three days until therapy and a semi-major meltdown at the office, before I figured it out. Oops.

After sending those texts (which my therapist applauded me for, btw), I felt like I had given up the power to her. She had it all again, all the power I have been working so hard to reclaim for myself. I still can’t quite shake the feeling, because now it really is up to them whether or not we continue forward. That’s a vulnerable and scary place to be in any relationship. The feeling is only amplified when it’s your own parents and you have the sordid history we do. So yeah, I knowingly walked into a place of extreme vulnerability with the people in my life it’s hardest to be even remotely vulnerable with while keeping myself feeling safe. The anxiety hit me like a freight train.

I also felt an intense sadness that it had come to this point again. We were making progress. Slow, but progress. I thought we had hit a major milestone during my trial. But her invading my private, safe, space was more than I could bear. I really just can’t deal with the dysfunction while I put myself first and focus on my weight loss surgery journey. That comes with a whole host of emotional issues in and of itself and my progress is only going to continue being impeded if I’m having to deal with their shit on top of it all. So, yeah, what I said had to be put out there and I didn’t  (don’t) regret it; but, oh, the depression.

On the deepest level,  the level that my therapist really had to help me get to, I am questioning questioned my own self worth. I wonder, am I good enough?  Do they love me enough to make this work? Do they love me like I hope they do? If they say no, if they balk, I can’t help but feel like I’m not worth the fight. Like I’m not worth it. If I’m not worth it to my own parents, I’m not worth anything. How could I be?

Really. How could I be?

Thank God for therapy, let me tell you. It was an intense session last week and I’m definitely still recovering. I still have more to flesh out next time (an hour goes by way too fast), but he helped me see some light where there was none. I’ll say it again, thank God for therapy. 😌

Check out my art and follow my journey on Twitter, Instagram., and in my Etsy shop.

Motherhood, A Series

The celtic knot with two hearts intertwined symbolizes the unbreakable and everlasting bond between mother and child. Each piece is printed/hand painted on vintage sheet music and reflects a different mother figure in my life.

M-O-T-H-E-R, A Word That Means The World To Me, c. 1915.  I see every supportive woman in my life in this piece. It pays homage to every woman (myself included) that has helped carry me through life when my own mother couldn’t.

image

My Mother’s Rosary, c. 1915.  This knot was painted with my best friend,  and new mom, in mind.  “Ten baby fingers and ten baby toes…”

image

The Songs My Mother Used To Sing, c. 1914.  This is my own mother. Like our relationship, it’s upside down and filled with darkness, but an unbreakable bond nevertheless.
image

Check out my art and follow my journey on Twitter, Instagram., and in my Etsy shop.