Archives

Holding onto hope

I haven’t seen my honey since September 2010.  Sometimes it just gets so hard to be apart and not know when we will hold each other again!  It’s funny the things you take for granted when you see your partner each and every day.  Right now, I say that I will never take the little things for granted when we are finally together long term.  Realistically, I will.  Eventually the day will come that I will not feel the sting of the long months and years we spent apart.  I will be able to be angry with him over the small stuff and blame him when my days goes badly.  Right now, I don’t have the luxury of doing these things.

For the past 2 1/2 years we have spent an average of 2 hours a day together either on the phone or over the internet doing IM and video chats.  There is an awful lot of life which just doesn’t get shared when 22 hours of the day are apart.  Conversely, there are many things we talk about and share on a regular basis which don’t usually get talked about in an all day every day relationship.  I’d honestly have to say that within the first six months of our relationship, he knew me better than pretty much anyone else ever has.  There is nothing to do except talk.  I mean, we  can’t watch TV, go to concerts or clubs, play sports or other games together, or even just lie in bed all day making love.  If we don’t talk there is no relationship.

At this point, there aren’t many things he doesn’t know about me.  Sure, some of the minor details of my life, but overall, he knows me.  There isn’t a lot let for us to talk about and explore which is new and exciting.  We have reached the maintenance level of our relationship.  Not always exciting for either of us, but for me, I find great comfort in it.  I cherish the routine of our relationship.  Knowing more or less what we’ll talk about and what happened in his day.  I can usually predict pretty well the exact words he’ll use to respond to things I tell him.  I love this!  The predictability has become a game in and of itself for me.

In the routine, though, sometimes we forget to talk about the important things.  Being in a long distance relationship and going through the immigration process are phenominal stressors!  Perhaps it is not always “forgetting” as it is a choice.  With only a couple hours a day to share our life right now, who wants to bring in the stress and hardships, right?  I’m learning that these are the glue of our relationship.  The sweet romantic things and the normal day-to-day things are important, but in the end, without the glue of sharing our hurts and stresses there will be no romance and mundane stuff.  There will be no “us.”

I bring this up, because in the past 6 months, things have been immensely difficult and stressful for each of us independently and even more so together, as we share each other’s pain, stress, and fear.  Sure, we can talk to our friends or family about the stressors and get some relief, but in reality, no one truly understands the inner workings of our relationship and the actual stress of being apart more than the two of us do.  Makes the most sense to share with each other first and foremost.

Benneth and I went a little too long without having a good talk about our stress and anxiety.  He tends to go into sollution mode and just get things done.  I tend to go into more of a needy place.  I need more of his time and attention than normal… and have trouble getting a lot done.  This doesn’t work so well systemicly.  If he’s mainly action and little emotion and I’m emotionally needy and little action there is bound to be a big  disconnect in getting our needs me.

I found myself getting irritable the other day and feeling like there was no emotional connection between us.  I was asking myself, “Why bother?  I can’t hardly remember right this moment why we’re fighting to hard to make this work.”  I found it quite effective to ask directly for what I needed.  “I need your time to talk about us… and not the sollution for bringing us together.”  We were able to both validate the need the other has for sollution and emotional connection.  We were able to come to an agreement on a sollution which works to meet both needs and build our relationship even stronger.  The beautiful thing in this conversation was that we each heard that we both are feeling the same thing… just expressing it differently so we didn’t hear the other “saying” the feeling.

It’s looking like the time will be coming within the next couple of months, God willing, that I will be able to go over there and marry him.  I cannot begin to express the joy this brings to my heart!  Knowing that I will soon see him again and start the process of making our life together permanent and physically close is just about mind blowing!!  The immigration process is still lengthy and difficult.  We’ll be looking at a good 6-9 months before he has another interview to come here.  At least knowing that there is an end in sight makes it more doable.  Waiting for something when you have no idea when it will happen is nearly unbearable!

I have a couple of friends telling me I should write a book about our immigration experience and living for a few years totally in love and trapped on different continents due to governmental red tape and money stressors.  Where does one start with such an undertaking?  How do you tell your story of love, hope and faith through the filter of hurt, anger and frustrations with things totally out of your control?  Food for thought.  As Alma says, it might help someone else going through this situation to navigate it a little easier than we are.  I would like to think it might bring them a touch of hope when things are bleek and look impossible.  Where do we turn for hope when there seems to be nothing to hold onto?

I’m grateful today to have held on for that hope.  My ticket isn’t bought yet, so there is still the uncertainty… but I tell you there is definitely light at the end of this tunnel!

Advertisements

Enter 2012 Stage Left

Here it is… the wee early hours of 2012.  Honestly, I’m happy so say good riddance to 2011.  Some wonderful things happned last year… no denying that.  The overall feeling of the year was pretty heavy and stress laden.  Seeing a new year come to pass with a new hope of a better tomorrow is exactly what the doctor ordered!

I no longer make resolutions.  They are more or less just plans for the month of January which quickly get lost in the regular routine of life once the holidays are over and excitement (and stress) has lessened some.  This year rather than just seeing it as a date change and adjusting to writing a different year… or… making goals for myself I know I’ll never keep, I’m doing something a little different.  I’m looking at the possibilities of what is to come this year and trying to lay some plans in place to assist in their materializing.

For instance:  I need  a new car.  I need to get make a trip to Africa and marry Ben so we can start the immigration process all over again.  I need to get back into my own apartment/house again.  I want to go back to school and finish my BA and start taking some culinary courses.  I want a less emotionally taxing job.

Putting plans in place to make these happen are the important things.  Some of the plans are as follows:  Have a new savings plan started with some help to keep it going with auto transfers on paydays to start getting ready for a car and plane ticket purchase.  I’ve worked with family to get my transportation needs met for the moment and the possibility of getting some help getting a car a bit sooner than I might be able to buy outright on my own.  I’ve begun looking into low cost airfare to Nigeria and have found some spectacular prices!  I’ve set up a good plan with financial aid repayment which would allow me to finish my BA within a year or two.  I have created a list of places to start looking for employment and some possible jobs/careers which may interest me that I am also currently qualified for.  I’ve started gathering information again to put a solid resume together.  I have plans to hit the local JobLink office and start some job searches there and get some assistance.

These plans I have so far may not cover every aspect of attaining my goals.  They do, however, certainly move in the right direction of startinng that process.

I’m going to snuggle with my cat and sleep a while.  I wanna start 2012 by getting up on the right side of the bed today!  lol

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Wellness

So, I have been gathering steam for an idea I have.  I want to start a small business around Wellness.  Many would ask:  What is Wellness?,  My definition of Wellness is being at peace with what life throws at us and learning to live with it to get the most out of our lives with the challenges we have been given.

As I have been sharing in my blog the past month or so, I have been living with bipolar disorder since I was 15 (diagnosed @ 25), bulimia since age 11, the adult child of an alcoholic, diabetes with serious complications due to the other conditions, and well, like so many others the list goes on…..

I want to help others achieve the level of peace and freedom I have in my life due to the help I’ve gotten over the years and the work I’ve done on my own.  12 step programs have saved my rump on many an occasion.  Therapy is great.  There is something spectacular about hearing the story of one who has gone before you and come out the other side to truly give you hope!  I help people in my job as a crisis counselor.  It’s not always appropriate for me to share my own experience with my clients.  Not only is inappropriate at times, it is also unwanted.  There is a time and place for everything.  Seeking help from one who has gone before you and come out the other side is a different kind of help.

So my idea is this:  Wellness With Jodie.  Sliding scale fees for assisting people learning to live with chronic conditions such as pain, diabetes, various mental health issues, family stressors, eating disorders, et cetera.  I am NOT a professional.  I am not a licensed MFT or LCSW.  I am a woman with 10 years of experience under my belt as a counselor in a para-professional setting who also  has a great deal of personal experience living with issues…. and learning to overcome them to have a happy and full life.  I believe there is great value in sharing one’s experience.  My goal is to make a little money in the process to help out with stressors of my own while giving honest and sincere help to somone who needs it utilizing both my personal and professional skills.  Hmmmm… great idea, if I do say so myself.

What are some of the tools I use to  keep my life in balance?  Good question.  I have a full toolbox.  I utilize my friends and support systems a lot.  I have developed a nice group of girlfriends who are travelling the road with me.  We are all at different places in the journey, yet we support each other beautifully.  I maintain as much routine in my life as possible.  It’s incredibly important for me to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time, eat on a schedule.  I am somewhat rigid about things in my life in order to keep things on track and managable.  Little things like I always take my meds before I brush my teeth.  When I brush first, I inevitably forget my meds.  Sleeping in on the weekends has the same effect on the entirety of the day.   I have certain  days I do things so assure that I get them done such as laundry and general housekeeping (always been big issues for me!).  I have a plan in place for how to help myself when I am starting to fall apart at the seems.  Who to call when… and what to do to get back on track.  This is known as a WRAP. (Wellness Recovery Action Plan)  I set clear boundaries and expectations with my support people about what I can do and cannot do.  How much time I can give you and what I need to be OK.  I stay employed!!!!  This is truly one of the greatest tools I have.  It’s not simply the particular work I do… it’s the act of getting up and having purpose.  Finding something we can do to give us purpose is so very important to human functioning.  I journal a lot.  I write my food down all day so I am honest about what it is I’m actually eating throughout the day.  Not eating is just as significant as the overeating.  I make sure to HAVE FUN!!!!!  With all of the recovery type things I do, I always make sure to allow myself one day a week to just enjoy myself with a good book, a friend, a movie… or even just my little Oli.  There are many other things I do.  These are the things which  come to mind first and foremost.

I’m throwing this idea out there to folks all across the US to lean on me for some support should you have a need.  Email me directly if you’re interested.  I check email daily.  wellnesswithjodie@att.net

Blessings and Wellness to each of you this day.

Bulimia

Who woulda guessed that I’d go into total withdrawals without my computer?!  This past Monday I was reading some guys blog and BAM! my computer went blank and totally died.  After 4 hours of it trying to repair itself it gave up.  Sooo… for a little while I am without a computer except for a little bit here and there at work.

After years of having a computer at my fingertips 24/7, I have come to depend on it.   I never really thought about my dependence on it.  I do my banking online, catch up with friends on Facebook, lots of emailing, blog now, search for yummy recipes, and just generally entertain myself.  I haven’t had a TV with cable in my house since I moved out of my mom’s.  The computer is truly my friend!  lol

The thing I miss the most about having a working computer at home is the ability to reach out to friends at those odd hours when it’s just not appropriate to call.  You know, that 3am itch to talk to someone when the thoughts are just going through your head and you can’t make them stop.  I have a couple of friends now that I generally write to at those times.  Those crazy hour emails have been life savers on more than one occasion!

I am in a 12 step program to deal with food issues.  I have used food as a crutch for dealing with life since… well.. forever!  I think I went into full fledged bulimia at age 11.  I don’t think I started purging until I was 14, but the eating disorder was there.  Binging and restricting has been my life.    Having gone 4 months now without binging is amazing!  The restriction has been a little more of an issue during this time.  It, too, is coming more into balance.  What does this have to do with not having my computer?  Well, when my committee is going it’s a great tool to get up and write about it.  I email my sponsor, write into an online meeting I belong to, or just start a fresh Word document and write until it’s all out.  The act of writing just seems to be so useful in getting the unwanted thoughts and feelings out of my head so I don’t have to carry them around with me.  There have been many a time when email has saved my butt in terms of not binging or committing to eating a healthy meal instead of starving myself.

My goal at this point is to be abstinent.  What does this mean?  For me, the definition is that I don’t eat any wheat/flour, refined sugar, anything in the hot dog/sausage family, potato chips, nothing in between meals, and no seconds.  Sounds hard, doesn’t it?  It is at times.  Eating out is truly a nightmare!  There are so many places I can’t eat at all.  I limit my carbs to once a day or sometimes once every few days.  I do better when I don’t eat carbs daily.  I feel better overall.  Besides that, it helps with the weight loss and keeping my A1c down.  Being abstinent has brought me out of the diabetic range, decreased my blood pressure and pulse, and brought my weight down 69 lbs.  Beyond just the physical recovery, I am now able to truly feel all of my emotions and see patterns in my life.  Funny how something like not eating compulsively can bring such clarity to the mind and body.

I was told about 7 years ago that I have bulimia.  I don’t purge in the “normal” way. (Throwing up).  My purging has been through compulsive excercise.  My medical doctor told me not long ago that it’s impossible to exercise too much.  Well, I beg to differ.  When I am exercising 5 hours a day every day and not eating, this is too much!  For me the exercising goes hand-in-hand with the restriction.  The more I excercise, the less I eat.  The first time I did this, I was 14.  The summer before I started high school.  I dropped about 30 lbs in a month and a half.  I was swimming 100 laps a day and just not eating.  I was so proud!  And… I got a lot of positive reinforcement from family and friends about the weight loss.  I’ve done this several times in my life.  (4, I think.)  The last time was when I was diagnosed with bulimia and forced into treatment.  I lost 90 lbs in 2 1/2 months.  It was crazy!  I weighed myself about 10 times a day and barely ate enough to keep my body going.  I was averaging about 500 calories a day.  I almost passed out in the shower one night from lack of food.

The treatment was a DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) program at Kaiser.  I wasn’t committed to being there.  I went because I was told I had to.  Despite not wanting to be there and thinking I didn’t really need it, I learned a lot of skills and tools.  I learned to urge surf, which is my main coping skill for dealing with the bulimia these days.  Urge surfing, in a nutshell, is postponing until the urge to do X behavior has passed.  It’s amazingly helpful.  This is yet one more way my computer comes into play.  lol  Getting online and playing at something eases my mind and takes me away from whatever I’m feeling which is making me want to binge.  The other tool I learned was eating 3 meals a day.  When I’m skipping meals, my body is truly hungry, so I am more at risk for binging at some point when I do eat.  If not a binge, then at least eating more than I would like to.  My mind tells me that I am eating too much when I eat three meals a day.  It’s OK to not believe everything my mind tells me!  When I look at the actual quantity of food I eat with 3 meals a day versus a binge… hands down, better to eat the 3 meals!

It’s been a long time since I’ve purged in any form. (about 7 years!)  I’ve used excercise and laxatives to compensate for the eating.  It seems that when I am in binge mode I don’t purge.  I purge when I am in the restriction mode.  Hmmmm… think this is a little odd.  One of the things everyone in an eating disorder program/class learns is the best way to binge and purge.    What foods come up the easiest.  Techniques.  It didn’t even occur to me to use laxatives until I went into treatment.  Now, I’m not saying that treatment is a bad thing!!!!  There are so many good things I got from the program.  I went for 7 straight months.  Every Thursday night was DBT.  Since I haven’t purged in so many years, I am unwilling and frankly…afraid.. to use any kind of laxative.  With the changes in my diet, I no longer have chronic diarrhea from the gluten.  I now have some pretty bad constipation.  What’s a girl to do when it hurts to go?!  I spoke with my doctor today and we decided it’s OK for me to take DSS (docusate sodium).  The dietician has always told me get all the fiber, etc, I need through my diet.  I don’t think it’s possible for me to eat enough fiber in a day!  lol  Sooo… I am trying out the DSS.  I have some fears about it… but I am doing it.  My biggest fear about any form of laxative isn’t the compulsion to abuse it.  Truly, it is the physical discomfort of stopping the use.  The horrific constipation I experienced when stopping its use was unbelievable!  If the idea of using laxatives sounds good to you… think about this… not being able to poop normally for a long time and having such intense constipation that you bleed and spend hours trying to go… for a few weeks.  Yeah, it’s bad!

Well, this is all for today.  I’m sure I’ll write more about this topic again one day.  Being in reovery from bulemia is such a gift!  I pray that everyone out there suffering fromt his madness will be able to find the help and support they need to reach a place of balance and peace within themselves to be able to stop the cycle!

Power of Choice

Touchstone was the jumping off point for me to really dig into my past and my family dynamics.  Funny how such a simple thing as seeing similarities between two different people in your life can result in a massive unearthing of pain and trauma.

I spoke with a good friend today about my emotional revelations, along with some of the actual story details.  For the very first time in my life I had someone validate my pain and just how horrible it actually was for me.  To see my parents fight and my father brutally beat my mother in front of me, never knowing if my dad would come home or not… or how long he’d be gone if he didn’t, would it be safe or not if he did come home, feeling responsible for my parents fighting, and never being allowed to talk about the trauma and my feelings around it.  All of this happened between birth and 6 years…. the fundamental formative years of who I am, how I function in the world and how I form relationships with others.  The validation was exactly what I needed to hear.  The next thing she told me was to repeat this mantra over and over-  I have a right and deserve to be loved, protected, and safe.  What a powerful statement to hear and tell myself.

The abuse goes beyond the initial domestic violence, abandonment, and lack of any sense of stability.  I am the product of a second marriage after my mom divorced her first husband and left the other kids.  This is not the story she tells, but I know this how they all felt, as they have all told me at one time or another.  Not only did I always have my mom all those years, but I am the child of the man who beat her.  I am also the child of the man who threatened the older kids physically.  So many layers of trauma and abuse for all of us kids. Being in this position in the family, much unfair neglect and abuse have come my way.  My older brother has been the worst offender in abusing me emotionally on so many levels.  At this point, I am not able or willing to have empathy for his feelings about the family history.  What I do know is that regardless of what he feels, wants, needs from anyone… I AM NOT AT FAULT for his pain… and I will not longer fall victim to his abuse.

The same holds true for my mom.  She won’t admit it, but I’m now very sure that part of her neglect and emotional distancing of me is because I am my father’s child.  For years she has told me I am not part of “that family.”  I am her child and nothing like them. I look a lot like my father and have many of his personality characteristics, minus the violent tendencies.  This must be very painful for her… to look at her child and see the product of a man who hurt her over and over.  I would imagine it to be similar to being the product of a rape… except there was love between them on some level.  Does this give her the right to deny who I am?  To disrespect my thoughts, feelings, experiences?  To withhold love and an emotional connection?  Absolutely NOT!

I have the power of choice now that I can clearly see what all the dynamics are in the family and how I fit into them.  I can choose to stay in the mix and continue to be on the receiving end of neglect and emotional abuse, I can walk away completely and find my own family,  I can cut some people out of my life and not others, or I can do some varying combination of these things.  As of today, my choice is to remove the most painful people from my life altogether, keep the ones who love and support, and set clear boundaries and expectations with those who are in the middle… and be willing to walk away (temporarily, as the case may be) when the boundaries are not respected.  I, too, have to commit to respecting other’s boundaries and expectations.  This is not a one-way street for any of us.  I did not become the victim of abuse for 39 years without playing my role, too.

Being rejected and abandoned on multiple levels for so many years, when I did realize it hurt to be part of the family, I made a choice (not a cognitive one!) that it was better to keep quiet, watch my P’s and Q’s, and accept the abuse in order to maintain my place in the family.  Losing everyone and truly believing that if my own family didn’t really want me that no one else would either.  I would be all alone… and TOTALLY unsafe in the world.  Through years of my own therapy and personal growth, I have come to know this is a fallacy.  Each of us has our own special gifts and we are all so lovable… and there are many people out there who will see us for the person we really are and love us to bits!  Writing that “we are all so lovable” made me think back to a teacher at my high school, Mr. Custodio.  He was an ex-priest and taught latin.  All the kids at school used to joke about him making all his students repeat this following phrase each day in his class:  I Am Lovable And Likable.  (IALAL as it was posted on the wall.)  What a beautiful gift he gave each of his students.  I wish I had recognized it then.

I am flexing my power of choice to allow people into my life who are loving, kind, accepting, gentle, and just plain old make me feel good being with them!  I am also choosing to tell myself each day that I have a right and deserve to be loved, protected, and safe. 

 

Touchstone

Over the years I have had many feelings and opinions which I have kept to myself. By and large, in my family I was taught not to have feelings… and if I do certainly not to talk about them! Constantly being told not to feel that way, that my expression takes too long or better yet told how to better phrase my own feelings, that I’ve been talking too much, being punished and judged for having and expressing feelings, or simply diverted completely from even entering into a conversation about feelings with the all famous saying “Let’s not go there tonight, Jodie.”

In my family, I am the IP (identified patient). I’m the one who has gotten psychiatric help, therapy, and actually learned how to live a very functional, happy life with meaningful relationships. Yet I am the one who is always pointed to as the weak one. Being diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 25 after making some bad life choices and realizing things were going badly has kind of labeled my entire existence to a degree. Today, I identify with the diagnosis, but it is not who I am anymore. I will be the first one to admit that I had a lot of trouble managing my life, behavior, and choices for a while. Once I asked for help and got on the right meds, my life pretty much straightened out. It’s been nearly 10 years since I’ve really had big issues. I still cycle and have some minor mood abnormalities, but for the most part they are only a day or two in duration and easily controlled before creating any damage in my life. I have excellent insight into my symptoms and coping skills for keeping things on track. It irks me to no end that my brother still finds it necessary from time to time to comment on the fact that I’ve been doing well for “a while now” and remind me that I have some limitations and not to pressure myself too much or take on too much.

Let’s go back to the start here and talk a little more about not having feelings. There has been all sorts of crap in my family starting with the initial parental neglect and hurts. For my older siblings,they were physically neglected. As for me, I was emotionally neglected by my mom and abandoned by my dad. All of this pretty much spells a recipe for disaster! Then you bring in the dynamics between us kids and whatever hurts there have been between us. No where in any of this do we ever talk about our feelings, acknowledge our own hurts, or validate that we may have hurt someone else. The one time I did try to talk to one of my brothers about something he said which really hurt me I was criticized and then judged for having tears around my hurt and disappointment. The statement which followed will haunt me forever. He hit me below the belt for expressing emotion and being honest about how hard things were for me at that time. He told me he didn’t trust me to be alone with his children. He was afraid I would say or do something which might hurt them and he needed to always be present to protect them. Now there was no need to speak these words…unless the iintent was directly aimed at hurtnig me!

There are things brewing in my life outside of my biological family which triggered some of these feelings to come back up for me again.

The first is around work. I work with mentally ill adults. I’ve done this type of work for 10 years now. I have a lot of experience both professionally and personally. After learning not to speak up and express myself, I have tons of resentments around my co-workers which are at the breaking point for me. There are things ranging from personality differences to actual treatment of the clients. I would be willing to admit that most of these things are hitting me personally around not feeling respected, listened to, along with a need to protect those who can’t stand up for themselves (since no one ever stood up for me). I’m seeing that despite my personal feelings around these issues, they are troublesome and inappropriate nonetheless. Today I stood up for a decision I made which was countermanded by a fellow staff member. When I took the 2nd stand, my intent was to actually bring peace and understanding to all of us, so that there would be no question as to expectations from all involved and erradicate any possible disputes or hurt feelings. The end result of this situation was my boss taking a stand (quietly) for my position and shutting down the arguments of the other staff person. My first response was to feel self righteous about “winning.” The the guilt set in about how upset my co-worker appeared. Now that it’s been hours since the incident, I am feeling relieved and at peace with myself for taking a position. Whether it was right or wrong, I took a stand for something and followed through with asking for what I wanted and needed. The fact that the result was positive was just an added kudo.

The second areas lies in my relationship with Benneth. I know I talked yesterday about not asking for what I wanted and feeling left of center. The only times I’ve ever gotten angry with him are when I’ve felt distanced or unloved in some way. Asking for what I want and need instead of being angry would be so much more effective in rectifying that situation, don’tcha think?! lol I want you to love me, so I push you away. Benneth is the first relationship I’ve had since I got all of my meds totally straightened out and my life in order with no baggage… at least tangible! The strides I’ve made with him around communication, trust, expectations, forgiveness, etc. have been immense! In the process of being in this relationship, I have come up against a number of challenging things within myself. How do I tell the man I love I’ve been in a psychiatric hospital? That I have to take medication every day for the rest of my life to stay “normal” or my life gets out of control fast? How do I explain to him what “out of control” looks like? How can I ever be honest about all the things I’ve done in my past which will impact some areas of our future together? Over the years the answers have come to me. Not all at once. They seemed to come on God’s time…. when I was ready for the next level of trust and honesty. Just a week or so ago I finally told Benneth the last thing hanging over my head to deal with. I was soo afraid to even broach the subject! Once I told him there was silence for a minute (felt like 5!) and then he came back with the most loving response. It was outside my realm of imagination get a response like that! He came from the perspective of marriage, partnership, teamwork, respect, and helping each other with those things the other has a weakness in. The reality is that for the first time in my whole entire life….. I am loved, supported, and accepted EXACTLY AS I AM! What an amazing feeling! I had an awakening tonight where I realized that I trust him completely. I don’t mean that figuratively. I mean, there is absolutely no area of my life that I am afraid to share with him. Learning to talk about feelings easier will come in time with more practice.

There are so very many reasons for which I have regailed this epic tale to you. Most important to me in this moment is to support anyone in my boat who is afraid to speak up and express your feelings and opinions for whatever reason.

The reinforcement I got Monday was phenominal, to say the least! I went to my supervisor and asked to talk with him. Two hours later, I left with a sense of honor and validation. Not only did he see importance in my insights and view points, but he was willing to assist me with sharing them with everyone else.

He has been looking for my spirit name for the past four years. (He is a gestalt therapist… this speaks volumes to anyone who knows what gestalt is.) He found it Monday.

Touchstone: The one who centers the group and speaks out to what is right.
(Even if I’m terrified to do it!)

I am happy. Content. Filled with love. And so honored to be considered a touchstone!

Left of center

My entire day has gone really well.  Work was basically stress free.  Enjoyed dinner with a friend and then had a nice discount shopping trip.  (One of my favorite things!)  Amazing some of the bargains you can find out there!  There seems to be this uncontrollable phenomenon that because it’s cheaper I have to buy it… and even more things, too, because I saved so much money on the first thing.  Doesn’t all come out in the wash.

So, as I said, my entire day really was pleasant and positive….and then I bought myself a pretty artificial Christmas tree.  I was so excited about this tree when I saw it and brought it home!  I have an adorable apartment which I’ve hand picked all of my furniture and decorations.  It’s mine in all ways.  I’m proud of my humble little home and have come to really enjoy being here…. even if I complain about too much alone time.  Purchasing this silly tree brought about so many uncomfortable feelings for me.  Seems that a tree was the impetus for feeling all of my disappointments, frustrations, hurts, angers around the holidays.  Some real, some imagined.  For so many people, the approach of the holidays can be such a time of turbulence and disappointment because of too many expectations and hoping things will be different this year.  It seems that every year I remind my clients to let go of expectations and do what feels good to them.  What’s that saying?  Doctor, heal thy self!  This is the first time in years that I’ve had any issues with holiday expectations for myself or others.  Why is it different this year?

I can’t remember a time EVER that Ben and I have been so far off in our needs and head space as we were tonight.  You know, it’s never unpleasant talking to him or being with him.  lol  This is yet another lesson in expectations!  No matter how meant for each other we are and in tune with the other, etc., etc., etc….. neither of us can read the other’s mind!  lol  This has always been a personal fault of mine.  Believing that I can get irritated with you for not meeting my needs when I don’t actually tell you what they are, because you should know.  What a fallacy that is!  Change of tune to the first sentence in this paragraph: I wanted a different reaction from Ben from the one he gave me and I’m feeling disappointed  because I never actually stopped to tell him what I was feeling or wanted/needed from him.  Now that I have that clear!  Introspection and honesty… what great gifts!  (Yes, there is sarcasm in that statement, but also much truth and appreciation.)

I started out at onset of this post feeling somewhat left of center.  Now that I’ve looked at what took me there, I’m back to feeling right as rain!  Lots going on beneath the surface on several levels, but the basic theme is there for me: EXPECTATION!

Good night.