Archive for January, 2011


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Stuck in the mud.

Right now I am stuck in mud. 

For the record I am a 41 year-old divorcee with three teenaged girls.  On the upside I own my own business and my professional life is good.  I absolutely love my job and I am good at it.  My children are more than wonderful.  They are healthy, well behaved, and have excellent grades and we have fun together.  I have my health.  I know I am smart.  I have some wonderful friends.  I am told I am attractive.  I do see that in myself.  So, you might ask, what is my issue?  What is my problem?  Why do I feel I have been hit in the stomach one too many times?  Why do I feel like I could just sleep for days listening to mellow music, drinking cheap $7.00 wine and writing lists, looking to the horoscopes and trying to figure my life out?

I will tell you my friend.  The palm reader diagnosed my fortunistic dilemma (this visit of course was out of my sheer apparent desperation).  She took one look at my right hand and said in a spooky smoky fast speaking voice, “Your personal life, my dear, is a train wreck.” 

Ok so now it’s made public.  I can’t seem to get on the right train.

Looking in that crystal ball one could say my marriage failed because I couldn’t be what my husband wanted any longer.  I changed and he didn’t like that.  After 15 years of struggling I found myself in a box of despair just trying to claw my way out wondering exactly why it was I enrolled in that class anyway.  Complicated or not it was a  failing of relationship 101.  I am a person that does not like to fail.

Then adding to my negative GPA I signed up for relationship 102 failing miserably again.  After trying to pass that three year course the teacher just gave up.   What he wanted in the relationship didn’t exist anymore.  I liken this experience to never really getting a course syllabus.  The lectures would change in succession and the topics ranged to:  Maybe I want a family or Maybe I want a boat.  Nearing year three of classes he just decided to  bail and jump overboard.

I guess he decided he wanted to swim to a boat. 

It is always heartache to have any love  discarded so easily—I found myself pondering, “Am I really a joker in this deck of cards?”  I am feeling like Miss Havisham wondering out loud, “What kind of person does that?  What kind of character takes love so easily and just throws it away?”  But after months on the dating scene I still can’t get out of this sink hole or out of that wedding dress.  I need some chains on my tires or a really big 4-Wheel.   Why can’t I make myself love the self proclaimed millionaire that wants to sweep me off my feet?  Why can’t I give in to that really great Catholic family man that is so thoughtful and wonderful with his children? 

I am in the middle of a game of twister– in which all my clothes remain on and intact— until I can figure this out. 

My emotions are real, naked and stripped raw.

I have got to get unstuck and I just don’t know how. 

I want to ask the palm reader, “Ok, what is next for me really?” 

I look like I have my shit together on the outside.  I am not crazy, letting my house go to crap, and still really wearing any wedding dress.  I can get my ass out of bed.  I haven’t committed malpractice.  I am up on my case load.  I beat my partner on receivables for the 2010 tax year.  I do have some of my shit packed and in that samsonite suitcase.   I am licking my open wound—- I know.

It’s that personal duffle bag that has been re-routed and lost in transit.

My soul is more than badly bruised and tattered.  I am Michael Berg finding out my lover left the flat and  now it’s me lying on that empty bed.   I don’t know the hidden reason my lover left nor do I understand why he can’t see my soul and it’s value. 

I, my friend, am love sick and I can’t get over it.  I have never been this struck.  Taylor Swift could write my song.  I really am sick of humming the tune but can’t get it out of my mind.  Someone or something please help me change the station.  I need voo doo, a potion, leeches, something. 

I need to write and get this poison out.  I need ink therapy. I need anything and everything that can take my pain away.  I need my own support group. 

I need Amy’s box of tin foil mixed with that cymbal clashing monkey and a string of chili pepper lights.

How Amy First Saw the Shiny

In Tegan & Sara’s song “Where Does the Good Go?” they ask “What do you do with the leftover you? / And how do you know when to let go?”

Some losses and transitions bring you to your knees.  When you’re staring down depression, or just a Grand Funk, it’s easy to get lost in the pieces or cling too tightly to memories of what’s behind you.  So “Where does the good go?”  Maybe the answer is “nowhere.”

Think about it.  Maybe someone or something contributed to your good vibes, but nothing could have cranked your mood to Extra Fabulous unless you wanted to feel that way.  No external force can bring out your inner Suzy Sunshine unless that’s what you want to reflect back into the world.

Two years ago the rotten cherry on the top of my heartbreak was the realization that I hated my job.  Individually, either event may have been manageable.  The combined destructive forces unleashed an identity crisis I hope to never see again.  My problem wasn’t just that someone very special to me had opted out, or that I wanted to mount a paintball gun on my desk and blast any co-worker who tried to speak to me.  My problem was a total loss of direction.  I had – without realizing it – defined myself by a relationship I had never even been able to commit to and a career path I didn’t want to be on for another step, much less a lifetime.

The waves of sorrow and resentment were compounded by the knowledge that I couldn’t take a step forward because I couldn’t find “forward.”  Instead of being a person who charged into the unknown, I became a person who cried on the couch with tedious regularity.

One day I went to the doctor’s office to see about changing a prescription, and when the P.A. asked if I was okay otherwise I burst into tears.  The Total Eclipse of my Mood came on so quickly she thought I was nuts.  At least she was polite about it.  “Are you going home after this?” “Will anyone be there for you?” “Do you feel comfortable leaving the office?”  The only thing she didn’t ask was how many knives I had at home.  I think she was busy wondering if she would lose her license if she let me go.

The tears just kept coming.  Within a couple of weeks I started walking 5 miles at the park every day before work.  My MP3 playlist was carefully edited, my speed was up, and I still felt so lost and hopeless that I thought I would float away on the river I was crying.

I was sitting at my desk one morning, maybe about six months in, staring at the trains shuffling along nearby, and it hit me.  If I wrapped a box in shiny foil, lit it up with a string of chili pepper lights and found a way to have a cymbal-crashing monkey inside, dancing its paws away under a disco ball to Tom Jones’ “Sex Bomb,” I would always have a reason to laugh.  Who doesn’t laugh at dancing monkeys?  I’ll specify that I’m talking about fake monkeys, so PETA’s constituents can have a good laugh, too.  And shiny stuff like foil and disco balls?  Seriously, any one of the items in my fantasy crate is enough to make me laugh, but shiny makes me HAPPY every time.

Gradually, as I spent more time focusing on the “shiny stuff” in my life, I saw that the “good” that had lived inside me didn’t leave with my ex or my job satisfaction.  It just recoiled with the losses.

Every day is an exercise in patience with myself.  I have so many old thoughts to sort out.  So many questions to answer.  I want the answers now!  But this process doesn’t come with immediate gratification.  I am examining every piece of me, deciding which ones I want to keep, and figuring out how to reassemble the leftovers.  I’m slowly letting go of the past and the soul-ache and filling in the gaps with shiny, confetti-sized building blocks of “shiny stuff.”

I’m writing this so I have a place to sort out my pieces.  I’m hoping that the public record will make me more accountable.  I want to keep moving forward, even if my blindfold still keeps me from seeing which way that is.  This is a road trip.  My mile-markers are the random moments, objects, and interactions that make me smile.  You’re welcome to come along for the ride.  I’m happy to share the notes from my trip if they make yours easier to navigate.


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Who am I really?

The problem here people is I don’t even know who I am anymore.  How do I even go about finding myself or getting back to me.  I have this vision where I am like Wendy trying to sew the shadow back onto Peter Pan.  How do you go about finding your soul if you don’t even know where to begin looking for it.  At least Peter Pan could see his shadow and could try and chase it.  I know I am disconnected.  I know my inner light is out.  I need an super power energy drink.  How do I go about the emergency procedures and hit that second source power switch?

I need a map.  I need a well worn travel guide, a human source of intervention or that sexy voiced GPS telling me how to get there.  Ok so where is it we gotta go?  Where is it we gotta look?

That my friend is today’s problem.  I am writing about it to try and sort this whole mess out.