Tag Archive | love

Counting Down the Days

Ben and I filed our I-130 petition with the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) back in late May, 2012.  The average waiting time on an approval allowing us to move forward to the next step is 5 months.  We’re looking at somewhere around the end of October.

The time has both flown by, yet also dragged on sooo slow!  If patience is a virtue, then I am VERY virtuous!  We’ve been at this waiting game for almost 3 years.  Our anniversay is October 1st. There are days I can’t believe it’s already been 3 years and others when I can’t remember what it was like before we came into each other’s lives.

We are in the process of planning another trip for me to go see him next month.  I’m saving every penny possible so that I can buy my ticket by the end of this month.  There are moments when it’s a choice between Starbucks and a week with my husband.  Will one cup of coffee make a difference?  Not one, but one every day will!

I can hardly think about anything besides buying my ticket and having a set date to look forward to.  KNOWING that I can hold my husband again soon.  A week or two isn’t long, but it’s enough to tide us over until his interview to come live Stateside.  God willing that will go smoothly and quickly once we get that approval in October!  No more hold ups, I say! 

How does one live in today when what they hold dearest is in the future?  We have a great relationship full of love, tenderness, laughter, companionship…. with 10,000 miles and the Atlantic ocean between us.  The future of being physically together brings all of our hopes for children, a home, daily laughter, bickering, making love, paying bills, starting a business together to a reality.  They cannot happen with us on different continents.

We both spend a lot of time talking and planning our life together.  It’s hard to stay in today and what makes this very moment wonderful when there is so much tied up in tomorrow.  I enjoy each and every moment we spend together… whether it’s online, on the phone, or face-to-face.  Despite enjoying every moment in any form, I still find myself constantly missing him and dreaming of the future when this distance has been obliterated. 

I can’t tell you how many hundreds of times I tell him “I miss you”.  I do miss him, but I tell him even when we are spending time together.  How do I get into the moment and be happy with here and now when what I long for is in the future?  This feels like such a connundrum!  I’m sure it’s actually quite simple, yet it feels extremely difficult!

We spent an hour or so chatting when I got home from work this morning.  I told him I could sleep well this morning now that I’ve seen his face, heard his voice, and spent some time laughing and playing with him.  Enjoy the simplest of moments until we can be together in the future without longing for that future.  This is the key.

I will leave you with a quote I love which I saw many years ago.  I don’t recall who said these words, perhaps they were anonymous?  I don’t intend to plagiarize.

“He who forever seeks a brighter future and doesn’t live for today has missed the meaning of life somewhere along the way.”

True words to live by.  Good night.

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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!

Hope

Giving thanks.  Isn’t that really what the holidays are supposed to be all about?  Thanksgiving for what we do have.  Time to be with the people we love.  Making time for self care and doing what feels good to  each of us.  This is what the holidays have come to mean to me.

I have so much to be thankful  for this year.  I have friends who love me and wanted to spend the day with me.  Friends who invited me to their home to be with them.  I wasn’t able to attend due to my own plans.  I had friends who chose to come spend time in my home with me throughout the day.  Jo came in the morning.  Annie spent all day.  Kate stopped by in the afternoon.  My phone rang throughout the day.

I am thankful my brother is on the mend.  Slowly he is getting more stable from a massive pulmonary embolism which had him in ICU for about two days. Lots of love and prayers going out to him and my family from friends all around the world.

What I am grateful for above and beyond all else is a  nice man I met by chance on Wednesday.  I was so angry with my phone company that I went to yell at the office.  I wasn’t able to do that, so I took a walk.  Along the way, I wandered into a little optomety store near my home.  I began talking to this man working there.  Soon I came to find out that he is the owner.  He immigrated from Kenya 7 years ago.  Amazing the things you find out about people in only a moment.  I walked away from Felix  with such a renewed sense of hope and inspiration for Benneth’s arrival and positive immigration.  He told us to keep up a good fight and be persistent.  He assured me that Benneth will be able to find work here upon arrival.  That a mixed marriage isn’t such a difficult thing in Sonoma County like it was years past.  I walked away from this man, Felix, telling him he was my Thanksgiving Gift.

The stress of the distance and many months apart have put such a strain on Benneth & me.  It seems that we have argued more in the past two months than we have in the past two years.  Not just seems… we have!  Even the faith which has held us together has been tested and grounds for argument.  How can people who love each other so much fight over everything just because they miss one another so much?  The need to be together is the only reason Ben & I ever argue.

How do  we solve this need to be together?  Where does the time off come from to allow me to be there?  Where does the money come from to get me there?  Where does the money come from to pay for the attorney fees  to have a successful case?

The need for my Benneth at the holidays is killing me.  It’s so hard to be apart.  Being here with my friends and family…  but not having HIM is utterly painful and disheartening.  Smelling  the scents and spending hours cooking for everyone except him.  Wrapping gifts for everyone but him.  Singing Christmas carrolls with everyone except for Ben.  The need to with him and hold him… tell him I love him.  Talking on the phone and video chatting just isn’t the same as holding him in my arms!

Felix gave me hope again.  The ability to stand strong and keep up the good  fight.  If one of us loses faith in the fight,we  both might as well walk away.  I hadn’t lost my faith…. just a temporary inability to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

SOON…. very soon… I will be with my Benneth!

The Meaning of Dreams

Now, I’ve been having dreams about an ex for the past 15 years.  All of them have been around us getting back together.  At no time in the dreams of getting back with him am I happy or excited.  It’s always a sense of dread that I’m going back into this terrible relationship where I’m not happy, loved, and pretty much alone despite sharing a home with him.  A few months ago I dreamt that we were on the verge of reconnecting when I ran away to be with Benneth. Last night I had the most amazing dream about Doug.  I went to visit him.  We talked and laughed.  I saw his best friend again.  I told him I’m marrying Benneth.  When it was time to leave, I hugged him and said goodbye.  As I walked away, I had a tear in my eye and was able to recall the good things in our relationship…. some of the things I loved about him.  I compared him to Benneth and saw some similarities… and some things so very different.  I was able to love him for  just a moment for who he is and not hate him anymore.  What a beautiful moment!

It’s funny to me that I hardly ever dream about Ben.  He is such a part of my daily life in all ways.  I share every part of my life with him through my stories.  When I wake he is my first thought.  As I choose what to cook for dinner, I wonder if he’d like it and wish he were here to share it with me.  As I lay down to sleep, he is my very last thought as my eyes close.  Yet he isn’t in my dreams.

I wonder if there wasn’t room in my dreams for him yet because I was still working through my goodbyes with my ex?  Guess I’ll never know.  Will be interesting if I suddenly start having dreams about him!  Ben tells me dreams about me and us practically every day.  They are fun and sweet.  Most of them pretty routine things that happen in life.  Like I am so much a part of his life that he is never without a thought of me… awake or sleeping.  At times I have felt guilty that I don’t dream about him… as if not dreaming about him is saying he is not as important to me as I am to him.  This is so not true!    My commitment to him is immense and as close to perfect as I can ever get.

I am so very happy that I have finally said my goodbyes to Doug!  I have finally let go completely of all my guilt, shame, and blame around my relationship with him.  I have told him I’m moving on and am marrying the man I love… and who loves me so very much.  Today, I am very grateful for my dreams!

Oli

I know I’ve mentioned Oli before kind of in passing.  I’m feeling particularly loving towards my little furry housemate this morning.  I took her in about a year ago now.  I thought she was just a stray born in the complex that had never been a pet.  She came to my door and would stand up on her hind legs to look in at me and see what I was doing and “talk” to me.  I have this large rhododendron planter outside my door which I found her curled up in sleeping on more than a few occasions.  She was adopting me.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to take her in.  Such a big responsibility.  Am I really home enough to have a cat?  She was sooo cute though!  One day I decided to open the door and offer to let her come inside.  She was all about that!  Wandered around, sniffed everything, and finally settled down on the sofa cushion next to me.  That was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

I work odd hours due to the type of job I have.  They are consistent from week to week for six months at a time.  She ended up spending quite a bit of time alone. At first her reaction to me being gone was to come talk and talk and talk and demand that I just pet  her non-stop for a good 20 minutes.  After a few months of that she decided it wasn’t good enough.  She would greet me at the door by “yelling” at me for a good 10 minutes while I tried to coax her over to me so I could give her some good mama-kitty time.  Eventually she would come over and make me scratch her and give her lots of time and affection.  The day came that when she felt angry with me for leaving her, she peed on my leather sofa.   This pattern lasted for a while.  I was angry at her for nearly destroying my leather sofa and she was angry with me for not spending enough time with her.  She went outside and stayed there for about 4 weeks.  Oh, she’d come look in the door and talk to me, walk to my car with me every morning, and follow me to the mailbox each day…she just refused to come in the house.

With a little prodding and coaxing she started coming back in slowly.  A few minutes at a time and leaving quickly.  She was exerting her control.  After a week went by and she learned she could come and go as she wished, she chose to stay.  Now she is back to being my little love staying mostly in the house with me again.  She’s even begun to sleep with me again.

My neighbor, Brad, and I were sitting on our separate patios one morning chatting.  He told me the story of Oli.  Apparently the man who lived in the apartment on the other side of me had two little cats, Oli and her brother.  When he moved out of the complex he just left them.  My poor little kitty had been abandoned.  Then I understood why she would be upset with me for leaving her for long periods of time.    She was afraid I wasn’t coming back… and needed lots of reassurance when I got back that I love her and won’t desert her.  Hmmm… interesting that my cat and I have the same issues!  lol

Did I tell you how I came up with the name Oli?  Benneth is from the Igbo tribe and over the past 2 years I’ve been learning a little Igbo as I go.  I picked up a pocket dictionary on Amazon.com last year before I went to Nigeria.  Has been a fun little book to own.  🙂  Well, I wanted to give her an Igbo name with a meaning I liked.  My first choice was Obi, which means heart.  When I told Ben, he said we can’t have a cat named Obi.  His brother’s middle name is Obinna and the family calls him Obi for short.  Plus, he calls me Obiuto which means sweetheart.  Just won’t do for him.  We tried on different names and ideas.  I wanted to stay with a name sounding close enough to Obi that it wouldn’t confuse her.  Oli is was.  Oli means hope.  Seems an appropriate name for her.  I affectionately call her Olinaya.  Naya means love… so she’s hope + love.  Sweet.  At least I think so.

We have spent a quiet day around the house today… just kind of lounging and being together.  She did her early morning demands for food, scratches, and in/out.  After about an hour we both settled into a comfortable state of just being here.  She’s been snoozing on the sofa and I’ve been curled up in my favorite chair  under a blanket with a book.  What a nice day it’s been.  Rather than looking at today as yet another boring Sunday with nothing to do and no one to talk to, I put a positive reframe on it and am seeing it as quality mama-kitty time.  🙂

In Nigeria cats are seen as handmaiden’s of the devil.  An interesting perspective, I think.  How anyone can see a sweet and loving little cat as having anything to do with the devil’s work, I’ll never understand.  So when I told Ben I’d adopted the cat he wasn’t thrilled about her living in the house with me in the first place.  Then that she had his brother’s name was even more not OK.  Over the months, as I told him stories about her and talked about her all the time (as most proud mama’s do), he started asking me about her.  Then one day he pronounced his love for this little cat.  She knows when I am talking to him on the phone.  Since I first brought her into the house I would tell her I was talking to “Daddy”.  She meows and usually demands my attention, like any small child does, when I am involved in a conversation which doesn’t include her and seems to make me happy.  The three of us have fallen into somewhat of a routine.  Ben and I talk about Oli as if she is our child we are raising and training well.  She is a demanding child who wants attention while we are having our adult time.  And all three of us love one another.  Oli has not met Benneth, but she has certainly seen his face enough times that she will recognize him when he moves in with us.  The amazing world of cyberspace and video-voice chats brings families closer.  lol

Speaking of my Oli, I should get back to her.  She doesn’t like it when I’m in on the computer too long.

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!