Tag Archives: fear

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.

Rollercoasters and Childhood Dreams

In the last week I have experienced more emotions than I ever thought I could possibly handle.  From anxiety to elation and exhaustion and everything in between, it has been quite the roller coaster.  I am a different person for all of it.

I got all of about thirty or forty-five minutes of sleep Tuesday night because I was anxious and excited for the biggest day of my career to date on Wednesday – the first day of my first solo bench trial.  I was pumped at first, getting ready to do this thing.  I was thrown off by the small podium and got my papers all mixed up as I tried to figure that out, so when I started the first witness the first morning, I completely blanked.

Yep.  Everything about the case left my mind completely.  Not. Fun.

It took me all morning to work through that as I examined my first witness.  The Judge was none-to-happy about my morning ineptitude either.  Ugh.  I was running on fumes and I was nervous, so sue me.  I took the Judge’s words to heart, beat myself up about it, then regrouped and worked it out after lunch.  It went much smoother, but the witness was equally challenging.  When I left, I was beaten up and bruised.

As I drove home, exhausted, enjoying the cloudy sky and processing the day, I began to give thanks for having this moment.  While it was beyond challenging, it was still the first day of my first solo bench trial and I was floored.  This was the final realization of a childhood dream and I was so grateful for it.  As I prayed, the clouds opened and visible rays of sunshine shone down upon the mountain.  It was a glorious moment.  I felt like God and my Gram were both there and I couldn’t help but cry.  As my tears dried, the clouds closed and I felt revived.  Tomorrow would be another day.

And boy was it!

The second day of trial on Thursday started off with me missing my alarm.  I stayed up late again the night before so I could prepare better witness outlines and plan my attack for the next day.  I slept like a rock and had apparently turned my phone on DND the night before.  You know that feeling when you wake up late?  Yeah, not fun on day two of an already tough trial.  Thankfully, my body clock actually had woken me up on time.  But the adrenaline was already coursing through my veins by the time I realized that!

After I managed to assuage the near panic attack I had from missing the alarm, I got ready and made my way to the Court.  Thankfully the morning anxiety and stress did not stop me from having a killer day.  Before I even made it into the courtroom, I had seen three attorneys I know who all had support to give.  It really helped me be on my game like I wanted to be the day before!  Talk about exhilarating, friends!  This is why I wanted to be a lawyer, after all.  Finally living the dream.  It’s so fun to be doing what you want to do with your life.

As a side note, opposing counsel and the Judge were both women.  Also, a few senior girls from a nearby high school came in to observe for their class project.  It was totally girl power up in there Thursday morning!  But I digress.

After a great day like I had, I couldn’t go home and be alone!  So I met up with a friend at a business mixer at this cute little restaurant I had heard about before.  I was out in full effect, let me tell you.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been in public and felt like that.   Carefree, happy, not worried about what anyone else thinks of me.  I made lots of new friends (one, in particular, I can’t stop thinking about – AK) and a couple potential clients.  It was, to say the least, a great night.

What had just been an awesome day turned into an incredible 24 hours.  After leaving the bar following a long, heartfelt, naturally meandering conversation with AK at 11:30 p.m., I couldn’t sleep when I got home.  I had to work through the prior day so I could be ready in the morning.  Ugh.  I shouldn’t have stayed out so late, but it was 100% worth it.

I was going to try to sleep, then get up early to prepare for the next afternoon (Court didn’t start until 1:00 p.m. Friday, thank God).  Hahahaha!  My brain was so not into that idea.

I needed to talk to someone, but by then it was 2:00 a.m. Friday morning and no one I knew was up except my parents.  I had not intended to call her until after trial was complete.  I still had words for her and did not want to get into another screaming match right at that moment.  God called me to do it anyways.  So I did.  And, well, you already read the result of that.  After having the day and night I had already had, I was truly overwhelmed.

With so many feels, it took me until about 9:00 a.m. to fall asleep, but I did enough work to feel pretty prepared for the next day.  I managed to get a tortured couple hours of sleep and was nothing short of exhausted as we begun day 3 of trial.  I was still pretty on my game, though.  Worked through my last witness and rested my case.  I think I got all of the important evidence in.

I almost cried during my closing argument.  I did my very best to tell my clients’ story how I would want someone to tell it if it were my own.  As I got near the end and was summing up how this case has affected my clients, I turned and looked at them and I almost lost my composure.  One of them, the older man, winked at me and I somehow managed to keep it together.  It was a special moment I will absolutely never forget.  To be zealously advocating for my clients and to get so into it that I experience that type of pure, unabashed, emotion is beyond words.

Beyond words.

I Feel

I feel shame for being.

I feel shame.

I feel fear.

I fear that no one is listening.

I don’t trust.

Many things.

But at least I feel.

. . .

And I finished this tonight. :-)


Life is Not…

A couple of the euphemisms about life make such little sense when you really think about them.

“Life is a highway…”  

If life were anything remotely like a highway, I would ride it all night long.  Driving (sometimes well in excess of the speed limit, I’ll admit it) has always been zen activity for me.  The feeling when you open up a v8 to skirt around traffic, take a turn, or jump off a stop light is exhilarating. My car has always been my think tank, my record studio, and my home away from home.  And two months on the road the fall of 2013 only deepened my bond with the road.

But news flash!  Road trips are nothing at all like real life.

On the road, the scenery changes in the most wonderful ways with each passing mile.  Even the flattest lands of Wyoming and South Dakota have wonders to enjoy.  New towns, interesting tourist attractions, cows galore (Freckles’ favorite) and miles of sunflowers to keep your attention.  Something new may be waiting just around the next turn.

Real life, on the other hand, requires a conscious effort to find and appreciate beauty in the scenery you see every single day.  We drive the same road to and from work, see the same people, have the same conversations, live in the comfort of a routine.

On the road, change comes naturally to us.  Change is part of the thrill.  It is both expected and welcomed with an open mind and heart.  Real life, however, is resistant to change.  Polar opposites.  Change, even if for the better in the end, is often wrought with difficulty, frustration, anxiety, remorse, and regret.   It’s no surprise, then, that real life often lacks any of the luster and appeal of the open road.

So no, life is not a highway, Tom Cochrane.  But it made for good music, so I’ll let it slide.

“Life is like a box of chocolates.”

Life is not like chocolate either, unfortunately.  Chocolate is delicious, melty, and comes in so many varieties.  Milk, dark, white, nougat, caramel, almonds and more.  Chocolate is one of the only things that can stop a raging hormonal woman dead in her tracks.  With chocolate, all can seem right with the world – at least temporarily.

Real life regularly leaves us feeling disappointed and depressed.  Then all we want to do is eat copious amounts of chocolate.  In every possible form; hot chocolate, cookie, ice cream, cake, you name it.  Chocolate is a treat to enjoy and savor.  Life is not always a treat.  In fact, life is sometimes fucking awful.  Your local news will tell you how bad it is in your neck of the woods any given night of the week.  Invasions.  Wars.  Politics.  Shootings.  Riots.  Climate change. Death.  It’s all too much sometimes.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say there was too much chocolate.

Okay, fine.  Forrest Gump’s analogy wasn’t about the chocolates themselves.

Like a box of chocolate, life looks delicious in the beginning. It comes in a pretty little package, it smells divine, and your first bites into pieces of life are usually glorious foodgasms in your mouth.  Then comes that weird piece with the fruit nougat that you can only spit out with disdain.  Real life is sometimes a series of those fruity abominations.

For most people, that strange fruity abomination doesn’t stop you.  You have no fear of trying again with the chocolates in the hope of reclaiming the deliciousness of that first bite.  Life is kind of like that too. We usually are capable of diving back in to life after failure without hesitation, without fear.  But sometimes the message gets crossed.

Normal people realize that only a portion of the chocolates are weird and gross.  For some of us, we learned things along the way that make it seem like throwing away the entire box of chocolates would be the best option.  No passing go, no collecting $200 dollars, no attempt to buy a new box of chocolates.  Just throw it all away.  When your wires are crossed, sometimes you end up in this cycle of ignorance of the fact that a chocolate covered caramel wonder is waiting for you out there.

But throwing away our life when it’s disgusting, or ending it after a moment – even if it was a long moment – of that nasty fruity concoction is preposterous.  Unless you – and only you can do this – find the beauty and deliciousness in life, you may find yourself drowning in the overwhelming oppression of the daily grind.

For some of us, it’s harder than you might think.  I’ve been there on and off over the last few years.  It has been so difficult to find satisfaction in this life I have created for myself.  I had convinced myself – it was all I could do to survive, I think – that once I was here, once I was a lawyer, once I had succeeded in education and career, happiness would rush down upon me and my life would be fulfilled.  It hasn’t quite worked out that way.

Sure, life is sort of like a box of chocolates. But real life is really about how you react when it seems like that disgusting fruit filled hunk of trash is all you’re getting.  It’s about how you handle moving on to the next piece of chocolate.  Sometimes, even when our stomach hurts from too much decadence, we have to go back for more.

Who Is That Girl?

I started inner child therapy last week and still can’t figure out how I feel about it. As I understand it, inner child therapy is a method that allows you to get in touch with your inner child – the creative, playful, side of yourself – to help heal your inner child and, by extension, your current self. The methods for inner child therapy vary greatly, but everything I read on the subject before my first session said that the process can reveal things – potentially traumatic things – about your childhood that you may not have remembered before. These memories that you’ve ignored for many many years can surface without warning. Well, the things I already remember are pretty damn shitty and I’m terribly afraid that I will remember worse.

What could be worse? I can think of two particularly troubling, yet somewhat possible, scenarios. The isolated incident of molestation by my brother could have been an ongoing thing. Or, worse, my father could have done more than just sit idly by while my mother abused me; he could have actively participated. I’m not currently convinced either of these are actually true and I don’t want to create any false memories, but who knows. I didn’t think some of the things my mother did to me was sexual abuse until I was 30 and when I finally put two and two together, I lost touch with reality. So who am I to trust my own judgment anymore?

Also, where I live, any form of new age, holistic, creative treatment for any illness isn’t necessarily frowned upon, but it’s certainly not well understood (not that inner child therapy is any of those, but I certainly hadn’t heard about it until recently). Not to mention, I’ve been conditioned from a very young age to avoid asking for any kind of help, even when things are at their worst. In fact, going to someone for help was strictly frowned upon, because (now I know) it could have alerted someone to the craziness that was going on behind closed doors at my house.

As I prepared myself mentally and emotionally for my first session, I told very few people that I was going to start inner child therapy. Everyone had mixed reactions. A couple of my good friends were, as I had hoped they would be, amazingly supportive. They asked what it was and encouraged me to try it out, to see if it would help. One was somewhat indifferent, but still supportive. And the final one, well, his reaction made me feel like an idiot for telling him in the first place. This one negative reaction, from a person I should have known wouldn’t be sensitive to my journey, legitimized all of my inner dialogues about how idiotic and ridiculous I am to be trying something like this.

So, as we started with my first attempt at contacting my inner child, I was closed off. My very strong mental defenses – the wall I have built to surround my heart and emotional being, keeping them safe from all intruders – held me back. Part of the process was to draw a picture of myself with my non-dominant hand. Besides the fact that my drawing was terrible, I couldn’t describe the person I drew to my therapist. I knew it was supposed to be me when I was young, but I don’t even know who that person is. I can’t remember her; I can’t relate to her; and I am afraid to talk to her. I know she has a lot to say, but I can’t open up enough to let her out. All I see when I try to peek into her world is sadness, and all I can do is run away from it.

I’ve been closed off ever since I said my goodbyes to my therapist. I haven’t been able to let myself feel anything about my first session. I haven’t been letting myself feel anything at all, really. I’ve been going through the motions, but am not present. It’s distressing and I don’t know what to do.

I just want to be normal.