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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Another Borderline Book

I recently made 2 book purchases: one book is about project management to enhance my career skills, and one book is about Borderline parents, to enhance…well, me I suppose.

While reading the Foreword I was instantly engaged and memories were flooding through my head, negative and positive, with peace in knowing that needing to feel validated is okay, as the author says. The Foreword said to me, “this book will be a part of your journey to healing.” So on I read.

These insights all came from reading the Foreword of Surviving a Borderline Parent, written by Randi Kreger. The book as a whole was authored by Kimberlee Roth and Freda B. Friedman, PhD., LCSW.

Since you are reading this book, it’s likely that your borderline parent:
·         Was so intent on getting her own needs met that she couldn’t take care of yours—or perhaps even differentiate her needs from yours
·         Looked to you to provide him with unconditional love rather than the other way around
·         Either emotionally abandoned you or smothered and controlled you, leading to feelings of worthlessness, shame, and rage
·         Made you feel that she only loved you for what you could achieve, not who you were
·         Had unpredictable moods, alternating between loving and cruel words and actions

Upon reading that, my heart was so very heavy with truth. Truth in knowing that what I experienced wasn’t normal, and truth in knowing that what I experienced didn’t make me abnormal.

Kreger continues:
You’ll gain insight into why you don’t feel normal—because our culture promotes the idea of unconditional parental love, and the love you received seemed to be inconsistent and conditional.

You’ll be able to understand why it makes you feel uncomfortable when people treat you well—because you’ve learned that it will be followed sooner or later, by disappointment and betrayal.

Now that last part reminded me of a time I cried and cried after receiving thoughtful Christmas gifts from my then boyfriend (now husband) and his mother. You can read the post here:

I feel like I’ve come so far in my journey to healing; yes, a few hiccups here and there, but my life now has, as blessed from the One above, stability. Stability! A good (okay, damn good) job on a desirable career track, a husband, a home that is ours, sober days and nights, less drama and more thoughts about becoming a momma. I’ve had such desperate times, filled with hopelessness, darkness, thoughts of suicide, self-sabotaging the good things I had in my life. I just want those I’ve hurt or who witnessed this behavior from my small self could see me now, could understand the pain I was going through, the pain I held for decades. I was acting out of a terrible place, and I’m so very sorry for continuing the cycle of my childhood on others.

I can’t go back, and I can’t force forgiveness from others upon myself. I can only accept my faults and know who I truly am inside. I can only forgive myself.

It’s time to continue my reading of Surviving a Borderline Parent. On to the Preface…oh dear what will I find next.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

One day. This day.

I've been thinking about what my perfect day would look given everything I have now.
-wake up before dawn
- workout
-drink my shake I am trying out
-pick up around the house; pick one area that needs a bit of a deep clean
-eat breakfast (have to wait at least 30 minutes after drinking shake)
-take a moment to pray and be with God (do this through the day)
-work or read
-drink shake
-time with God
-eat lunch
-serve others happily through the day
-yoga after work
-make/eat dinner
-read of watch TV

OMG. These are such simple tasks! Why is it so difficult for me to follow this structure? I'm going to give it a try...eek tomorrow. This scares me. What if I can't finish the tasks?

I thought just came to my mind. Do what I can and let God decide if I've have enough or give me the strength to finish.

I feel strong and complete-taskable. Ready for the day.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

No God

I realized today that my best life I wrote about yesterday didn't include God. He didn't even cross my mind, nor did including anything that involved others. Yes, it's trying to live MY best life, but doesn't that involve community? Doesn't that include Jesus?

Monday, January 11, 2016

What does my best life look like?

What does my best life look like?

Tanning every day. I know, that’s actually not good for you, but at this time in my life, I like to be tan. This may change, but for now, whether it’s fake bake or fake spray, I’m doing it.

Working out every day. Now this is really good for you, but takes the most willpower for me. It also makes me feel like I’m floating on a cloud with lots of lightening energy! So why don’t I do it every day? The same reason I’m pale.

Which is….

Two things: 1) Laziness 2) Self-sabotage

Do you know I had two honeybuns today? TWO! One is terrible enough for you, and I had two. Double sabotage.

Putting away the Christmas tree. This can be any day after the 25th and as close to the 1st of the new year. This year, my best life includes me putting away the Christmas tree after I finish talking to you. Like immediately after.

Cleaning out the closet. Eminem-style. In the library, our beautiful library in the making, is filled with frames, paint, boxes and crafting supplies, all for the frames I make (around 45 and counting). In order to clean the closet, I have to pick up the floor. Husband has mentioned said closet a handful of times, and I promised him yesterday I would pick up my art supplies. And I didn’t.

Keep my promises. See above situation.

Pack my lunch each evening for the next day. This saves time and helps with the working out. Oh wait!

Lose weight. I need to lose weight. I don’t want to say how many pounds because it’s not only embarrassing, it’s still shocking to me how easily I put this weight on, and why I’ve let it get this far. Now…

Pack my lunch. This saves money and calories. And my health.

Plexus. Okay, okay. This is not a post about Plexus. I’m trying it out. My cousin says it works wonders for her, so I’m giving it a try. She says it gives her energy, keeps her regular, and gives her a feeling of joy. She didn’t start taking the supplements to lose weight, but that is another result Plexus boasts about.

Continue crafting and look for selling opportunities. I’ve had more than a few moments of “why am I even spending time doing this when no one is buying?” I’d like to have a booth at a fair or Christmas market. It’s an investment  - I need staging items, a tent, table, etc. I have the product, now I just need to get it out there. Some people have gone years and years with no success and finally, finally they started being successful  - this will be me. I’ve really got something here – a talent and a good concept for the purpose of my artwork. I’ve got to keep going.

Washing my dog regularly. Enough said.

This is really about it. Before I wrote this, I thought how overwhelming it’s going to be to live my best life, but the things on this list are rather “easy” if I dare say so. But typing and talking mean nothing. Actions mean everything.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

You are always enough.

I bought a journal off of Amazon with these words. My counselor and I are working on this concept - I'm good enough where I am. Sure, I could be better, healthier, skinnier. But that doesn't make me good. I am already good. Enough.

I haven't decided what I'm going to write in the journal. But I want it to be the journal I take with me everywhere, jotting down random notes at the drop of a hat as soon as a person or thing moves me, inspires me, gives me some sort of idea worth writing down. And I want to fill up this journal, and another and another so that my grandchildren and great-grandchildren can read my inner most thoughts, understand the real grandma. Many great writers do this same thing, carrying around a notebook or journal of some sorts. About writing...

I have a short list of items that if I don't do I'll regret. I just know that when I'm whatever age God decides to bring me to His home, some of my last thoughts will be that I wish I would have at least pursued these things. Here they are:

-Learn to play the piano
-Become a Marine Biologist
-Publish a book

That song "I've got hiiiigh hopes" just popped into my head. Piano - that's not easy per say, but it's within reach. The other two will take who knows how much sacrifice and effort...but won't it be worth it?

I expressed my dolphin dreams with my husband of one month and he wasn't opposed to it. He simply asked, "Then why don't you?" Damn his insight. Taking out student loans, or maybe taking as many classes as I can afford will be a challenge, either way. But I remember my great-grandmother saying shortly before she passed away, "I thought you were going to go out and save the dolphins!" Even as a kid I talked of this dream. And all it took was making a D in Intro to Botany my freshman year in college to compromise this dream and send me off in a different career direction. Who doesn't make a D in that class? With all this being said...

Where do I start? Piano because it's easiest? Or do I eat my frog as Brian Tracy says, tackling the most difficult item first? And then there's the whole being a mom thing. I do want to have a child, just one, and I am past 30...a high risk pregnancy is just around the corner. But a kid isn't on my agenda. Do I focus on what's on my agenda now, or do I need to look ahead to 2-5 years from now (not exactly sure just when we want to bring another human into this world) and take those desires into account?

There's only one solution I can think of...pray about it. But then there's God. He feels so far away. I once read that God is as close as you want Him to be. He's there, waiting. When people say "pray about it" I get what their saying, but I've never had the experience of God truly talking to me. But I haven't exactly done my part of the conversation either. So, I'm going to try.

I'll let you know the outcome. Until then...I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me! -- Stuart Smalley (and my counselor).

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Going up on a Tuesday

Life is up right now. This scares me. My mind is telling me "this won't last for long" and "who are you kiddin? "

I've been listen to Joel Osteen lately, and he has spoken about being in God's favor. To expect the impossible because nothing is impossible to Him; we as man just cannot imagine what God has in store.

Joel says we are in God's favor. We are his most prized creation. To think, this "up" lasting a lifetime, heck even through the end of this week, is currently not in my humanly realm of thinking. God's favor will cut through my negative thoughts if only I'll let him. goes...

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

I miss God.

I feel so far from God these days. My choices to not worship, to not depend solely on His promises and love just pulls me farther and farther away from Him. I cuss like a sailor. I don't go to church. I gossip. I am a sinner, as we all are, but I'm a sinner without Jesus.

My soon-to-be husband is not a believer. This could contribute to my lack of seeking out God everyday, my lack of praising and living as He lived, living as He intended me to live. He called me to work with marine animals, and I work in the healthcare field (for people, not animals). I think of my dream to rehabilitate sea lions, whales, dolphins, so they can go back out into their natural habitat to live as God created them to live. My grandmother, shortly before she died said, "I thought you were going to go off and save the dolphins!" in response to my career explanation.

Am I ready to seek out this longing in my heart to change careers, to go back to school, to acquire more debt...will my husband accept this choice? I may have to clean poop from drains before I can even come into contact with a dolphin. Am I ready to clean pooh? 

I think the first step is God. Finding Him. Getting reacquainted. Knowing him more fully.

God, I miss you. Please help me find you again.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Counseling Session: Timeline

"Would you be comfortable writing a timeline of significant events in your life?" -- Counselor.
"Sure. Is it good things or bad things?" -- Me.
"It can be either." -- Counselor.

I tell her that even good memories have something bad tied to it. Fun times with friends in high school brings back memories of losing those friends because of the emotional roller coaster I was on. Drunken nights. Fights. This continued well into college, and even bouts of this post-college. Embarrassing.

College graduation. A good memory, right? Still bad is tied to it. Graduated with my fiance, who just a few months later became my ex under terrible circumstances.

With the good always comes bad. A lot of bad. This is my timeline. I'm not trying to sound tragic or pitiful or gain pity. This is just my timeline. So, I can't change the little marks and scribbles of my past on that legal-sized document, but I can change how I remember those tick marks. Not naturally, of course. This will take effort. Once again, my life journey will take effort.

Okay, this may sound really cheesy but I just had this thought - I can't right my wrongs, but I can write my wrongs. Meaning, I can't go back. I can't make things right. But I can write them, shape them how I want to remember them, just like I'm doing now.

This lady I work with was walking next door to this deli next to our building one morning at work, and I offered to walk with her. I actually bombarded her and said I'd go with her, but I'm sure she didn't mind. She has given me advice on God and marriage, and I feel a connection with her, like I just want her to talk to me and tell me everything she knows. Well on the way back to our building, we were talking about God and how I feel like I'm slipping backwards and have been ever since I was baptized. I don't know what was said to lead this woman to say this, but she said, "And I've been through a lot. A whole, whole lot." I thought better and didn't ask her what, even though this statement made me so curious and sad. Is this where her wisdom and relationship with God comes from? I picture her timeline with a painful experience, and right next to that experience is when she found Christ. Another painful experience is coupled with meeting her husband. And maybe I'm even on her timeline somehow, because this conversation with her is a mark I'll make on my own timeline.

I've gotten knocked down so many times, and most of the time is was because of me. Choices I made, people I chose to have in my life, actions I took with those people. But, I always get back up. It's almost like I knock myself down just to see how strong I am, just to see how good my next comeback will be. Talk about exhausting.

Exciting things are going on around me, and it is really bringing out my anxiety. It feels like all these good things that involve me are circling around me and I'm not actually a part of them, just viewing them as an outsider. I'm definitely going to talk to my doctor and counselor about these feelings, but in the meantime, I must make some kind of change so that I can experience life and not just watch it go on around me. I want to talk to my fiance about this, but he doesn't always have the best advice or know the right things to say. He's a man and an engineer - sweet talk isn't his strong suit. But I'm anxious to tell someone this feeling of watching life happen to me, so I'll give it a shot.

My timeline is slowly developing. During my last two counseling sessions we worked on it, and it's coming together. I'm not sure how far we'll go with filling in the spaces around the parallel line of eternity, but for now I'm going to focus on writing my memories.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Scrap about It

Since I was a little girl, I've loved looking at magazines and cutting out pictures and words that were moving me at the time. I started up this hobby again about 3 years ago. And, I do worry that it's a little immature to be doing. So I gave it a name, an adult-sounding name: I call it maga-scrapping!

I'd like to share with you one of my latest "scraps." It's theme is what I would tell my younger self, early to mid 20's, when I was depressed, drinking too much and completely out of control of my emotions with no self-awareness or self-care. It also hits home to my much younger years as well, when all of the above (except for drinking because I was like 14) was happening. I'm working on two more, which are extremely personal, and I have not decided yet if I will make those public. I mentioned my work on these two incognito scraps and she seemed quite pleased that I was doing "work" outside of our sessions. She also can't wait to see them.

Now, getting on to the picture. At first glance it may appear a hot mess, but it really does have a [somewhat] organized structure. I wanted this scrap to have more images, with just a few words sprinkled in. I did "cheat" and include a passage that I found in Oprah magazine, but it was just too darn good not to include. Now let's begin the tour.

We'll start with the picture of the lady lounging on the left side of the page. She is the center of this whole scrap--theses images and phrases are hers to both create, and to discover. She appears to be on a mountain looking up at the sky. When we look up at the sky, often we are looking up at the stars. You'll see that there is a star right next to her foot, which signifies that she is looking above to find the stars when there is a shining star already next to her. She's searching for what she already has.

Top left you will see my one "cheat," a full sentence clipping from O magazine. It says, "Experience Renewal. Discover the place where you can be at your best." Pretty self-explanatory. I also have the phrase "keep your years" because my younger self is wasting away her years being sad, beat down, drunk. Keep your years! "It's time," I add.

Bottom left is possibly my favorite part of the scrap, aside from the chandelier (I'm obsessed with chandeliers). In words it says "life is" and then there are two images: one is a shake and one is a cupcake. Put it together and you have "Life is Shakes and Cupcakes." Love it. What I'm saying here is that life is sweet. Yes, it's sour and gross sometimes, but when you look at the bigger picture (i.e., this picture) it's sweet as pie (or shakes and cupcakes).

Let's move to the right. I do include some silly images, just to add character to this scrap. There is a straw hat and sunglasses, an old-fashioned record, and a giraffe peeking his head out of a pitcher of "peace." You'll notice that the pitcher filled with peace has a butterfly coming out of it. Butterflies have been transformed from their past, and it is when you have transformed into the true you that you will find peace. I have the words "Respect Yourself" next to a cat. I think cats respect themselves. They are always cleaning themselves, walking slowly, taking in their surroundings, saving their affection for the right person at the right time. Top right are the words "love the whole you." Again, self-explanatory. In this instance, the whole "me" is this whole scrap.

Bottom right sums up what I tell myself now. Dear Pain, Thank You. I finally feel comfort.Without pain, you'll never know true, unconditional, down to your bones comfort. I'm still slowly discovering bits of it, adding these parts to my "comfort basket," but I can attest to this statement (mostly because I wrote it).

So, there it is folks. My childish hobby come to light. The thing is, childish or not, the excercise of going through magazines, meticulously cutting out images and words to form phrases and thoughts, is calming. I put on light music, and scrap away. It's my getaway, my release. And it's cheap, harmless, and not illegal. So what's the harm?

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Ode to Great-Grandparents and Not Visiting the Asylum

I've expressed this to counselors before: any sense of sanity of have is owed to the unconditional love I received growing up with my great-grandparents. This thought has popped into my head a few times this week and I'm wondering why.

It could be that I'm reading Beautiful Fools: The Last Affair of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald by R. Clifton Spargo. I have a growing interest in the Lost Generation and have been reading a lot of non-fiction and historical fiction about this time period and the "stars" of the age. In my readings, I learned that Zelda went insane, having mental breaks, arguable schizophrenia with eczema creeping up her neck with every breakdown. It may sound far-fetched and book snob-ish of me, but I feel a connection with Zelda and her struggles with mental illness. Depression, anxiety and the likes have lasted generations and will continue to infiltrate the lives of those inflicted. It sounds so bleak and hopeless, but I'm finding hope where it seemingly doesn't exist.

While my great-grant parents couldn't "save" me from mental illness, they did save me from myself. I certainly had horrible episodes of depression, drug use, alcohol-induced rage, and a revolving door of relationships, but deep inside my soul, past my flesh and earthly organs, I always held inside a sense of security and acceptance because they provided that to me during my most impressionable years.

Despite changing schools and apartments every year and verbal and mental chaos injected into my veins by my mother, I always had them. I had the cookie jar super glued back together after I broke it, I had my great-grandma's house heels I'd clink clink around in, their big backyard with a tire swing and vegetable garden, with a workshop I would use to "build" things and a hothouse where I would tend to the plants. Memories of putting every pot and pan and bucket in the driveway when it rained, weekends at their modest lake house. These memories are planted so deep inside of me, deeper than depression and drunkenness can invade.

They are both gone now, my great-grandma for 9 years and my great-grandpa for 15 years. I miss them. I wish I could tell them thank you and hug them infinitely for their saving graces. But, I can thank them and honor them in the present by living my best life, not succumbing to mental illness, reading and writing -- two things they always praised me for doing.

I realize that I repeat my past, the negative parts of my past, the failing, the feelings of sadness and inadequacy, excessive sleeping to escape. Instead, I'm going to work on repeating the positive parts of my past, the excitement of catching fireflies and having fun watching my great-grandpa grilling the minnows I caught at the lake. And while I won't be putting pots and pans in my driveway during a rainstorm, I will find hobbies and parts of life that take me to happy places, where I am loved and accepted and good enough just the way I am.