The first step is admitting you have a problem…

“Selfish persons are incapable of loving other, but they are not capable of loving themselves either.” ~Erich Fromm

I’ve never considered myself s a selfish person.  Actually, to be honest, I tended to be more of a “woe is me” or “nothing good ever happens to me” type of person.  So many things have been happening recently that were really making me feel sorry for myself.  I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get what I wanted and everyone couldn’t cater to me just this once because I never seem to get what I want.  It took me a while (until today in fact) for me to realize that this really stems from the fact that I am selfish and want everything my way.  And, in reality, get mad and pissed off and downright spiteful when I don’t. I get it, I’m a slow learner.  But at the moment that this realization hit me, tears began streaming down my face.  I never wanted to be seen as selfish and looking back and analyzing my actions over the past few weeks/months, I couldn’t believe how terrible a person I was to people I truly care about.

Maybe I’ve been selfish my whole life.  I don’t know.  I think it stems mostly from not ever really being able to think about myself growing up because there was always someone else I needed to be taking care of.  Looking back though, especially recently, I have been selfish in past and current relationship and hurt people I really care just because I took my own feelings and desires into account before theirs.  I know that there is no consolation I can give that would make it better.  For that, I am truly sorry.

I haven’t been fair, and within that, I haven’t been kind.  In fact, I’ve been down right mean sometimes.  I couldn’t understand why people just couldn’t give me what I wanted and why we couldn’t just want the same thing.  I haven’t been generous, mostly with honesty and my emotions.  I’ve let people down because what I wanted and what they wanted were two separate things, or maybe, they were the same things but just unattainable at the time.

With my actions and my attitude lately, I’ve made it so easy for people to walk away, and then I sit there and blame them and hate them for doing just that.  It’s not fair that I expected everyone to be OK with doing what I wanted and what I needed and not expecting anyone to get hurt.  In fact, by trying to ensure that I didn’t get hurt, I hurt others which, in the end, wound up hurting me far more than I ever could have imagined.

I wish I could take it all back, but I can’t.  I wish I could go back in time; days, weeks, months, years down the road and change one minuscule detail so that everyone could be on a happier track…but I can’t.  The only things I can hope for is to learn from my mistakes and hope that I can avoid hurting anyone else to the best of my ability.

Of course, I’m talking about everyone, no one, and a select few all at the same time.  Chance are, though, I’m talking to you.  And I’m so sorry I wasn’t a better person…the person you deserve.

Too Many Posts…I know, but this one is important

“A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same.” ~Elbert Hubbard

I realize that I may be posting a bit too much, but I can’t help it.  Keeping busy seems to be working and the writing is helping me clear my head and get my jumbled thoughts in some sort of order.  Today was a pretty good day.  I was able to accomplish a lot and I seemed to have a lot of energy.  I am excited to start a new running routine this week, andndo a lot more healthy, whole food eating which I hope helps to keep my energy level up.  I finally feel like I’m ready to begin a new journey and move into a new phase of my life.

I realize, though, that none of this could have been possible without my friends.  I’ve never been a person who had a lot of friends.  I tend to have a few close friends rather than a lot of periphery ones.  It was a tough school year followed by a rough summer and honestly, sometimes I can’t believe I made it out alive.

I tend to push people away.  I always feel like they are going to leave me anyway (yes, I know, fear of abandonment and attachment at the same time), so it’s better if I do the leaving, or really give them a reason to leave.  I also seem to test people by pushing them away and seeing if they come back, and if they do, I know they will be around forever.  Believe me, this is not something that I am proud of.  I realize that it is not healthy and I really am working on it.  It’s hard to switch your thinking from negative to positive and I think sometimes I get daunted by how much effort I have to expend to do so.  Saying the positive things doesn’t take any effort at all, it’s believing it that is the hardest for me.

It’s been quite a humbling experience posting this blog on Facebook and Twitter.  The outpouring of love and support shown to me during this time has been nothing short of amazing and I thank all of you, those who comment or post, but even those who are just reading because that means they are on this journey with me as well.  It makes me realize that if I do fall off the tightrope I have a pretty impressive safety net.

There are certain people, a small handful of the most wonderful people in the world, that I just couldn’t live without (literally). Through it all, even at my most evil, my little group stuck by me.  They always seemed to know what I needed whether it be space, a hug, fun, quiet conversation, time, or even a little bit of insanity.  Details are unimportant and while questions may be asked, answers are never expected.  They know me better than anyone else, even better than myself sometimes, and for that I will always be truly grateful.

To Sara, Jane, Lindsay, and Doe…I love you all more than you know.  Thank you for being you.  I don’t know what I would do without you and I hope I never have to find out.

On a wave of mutilation…

“Listen, smile, agree.  And then do whatever the fuck you were gonna do anyway.” ~Robert Downey Jr.

Last night (or even yesterday in general) was the first day, in quite a while, that I didn’t spend a significant amount of time in tears.  I attribute a lot of this to my friend Sara, who saw what I needed, acted on it and wouldn’t take no for an answer.  It’s hard to find friends like that; the ones who show up without being asked, the ones who are there for everything (even the bad stuff), who have seen you at your worst and are still there in the morning, who tell you what you need to hear even if it isn’t what you want to hear.

After a much needed (and clarifying) night out, I woke up serene and without the familiar pit of despair in my stomach that has been there over the summer.  I was able to breathe.  I was actually ready to face the day.  Now, don’t interpret this as me thinking that all my problems and challenges have disappeared because of a glass of wine, a slice of cheesecake, and a night out with a friend.  I’m not that naive.  All of my issues are still there, but today is the first day in a long time I feel like I might actually be able to face them.

I spent my morning wandering around my empty house.  The kids were with the grandparents, the husband was at class and it was the first time I had truly been alone in a while.  I’m the type of person who likes to be alone, though not necessarily feel alone. As I walked around my completely unorganized and cluttered house, I was thinking about how much I had hoped to accomplish this summer, but never really got around to it for one reason or another.  As usual, I wished there was some way to turn back time, to do it all over and not make the same mistakes again.

Then I though, what a waste of time, sitting around wishing I had used my time more effectively or wishing I had more time.  How often do we all do that; sitting around spending so much time focusing on the past that we are actually forgetting to live right now?  Throughout my life I have spent so much time focusing on things that have happened: wishing I hadn’t spent so much time focusing on people who didn’t share my same feelings, wishing I had started something differently or ended something differently, wishing I hadn’t concentrated on one thing over another. I know I can’t be the only one.

The light at the end of the tunnel is that no matter how much time I have wasted, I still have time left.  And I realize how lucky I am that I can say that. So, instead of constantly dwelling on the things from the past that I would change if I could, it’s time to move forward and put that energy into what I want out of the present and the future.

I have no idea what that is right now, but at least I have a little time to figure it out.

Fall down seven times; get up eight

“So I put my faith in something unknown, I’m living on such sweet nothing. But I’m tired of hope with nothing to hold, I’m living on such sweet nothing ~Calvin Harris

I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness lately. More specifically, the things that make us happy and how people come to feel this way. C.S. Lewis once said “Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.” I saw the above quote this morning that really resonated with me. How often do we base our happiness on the actions of others, or moments in time?

Without going into detailed specifics, I’ve had a tough summer, and honestly, I have no one to blame for it but myself. It all started with my dad dying and slowly snowballing out of control from there, to the point that I didn’t even know who I was anymore. And really, I know it started even before that. I saw the warning signs did nothing to stop the avalanche. I was unhappy, moody, sullen and depressed. And when I wasn’t feeling those things, I wasn’t feeling anything at all.

I needed something. I was feeling antsy and itchy. I felt like something was missing that I couldn’t put my finger on. I felt like my skin was too tight and something within me was trying to break free. What it all comes down to was the need to feel alive, or rather the need to feel something other than what I was feeling. I felt like I had been going through the motions for so long thinking that maybe I was happy, when I realized that I was simply complacent. When my dad died, something inside of me changed. It wasn’t that I was devastated or heartbroken, because I wasn’t.

A first I felt relieved that all his suffering was over. And then I began to worry…about myself. My dad spent most of his life depressed and angry which caused him to alienate every single person in his life. Most days, he was downright mean. And I could really see myself heading down the same path and it scared me.

I needed to shake things up and feel something just to prove I was nothing like him. I needed to be reckless and downright irresponsible. And I was. I put my needs for “aliveness” ahead of the the needs of so many people around me. I felt conflicted but I also felt alive…knowing I should change the situation, but also unable to do it at the same time.

I now realize that a lot of it had to do with me looking outside of myself for some form of happiness and thought certain situations were going to make me happier. And they did…and they didn’t. I spent most of my summer in complete turmoil, wrestling with feelings I thought I had, with feelings I actually had, with feelings I was supposed to be having, all while trying to wear the mask of normalcy around my children and friends.

And then just as quickly and spontaneously as the “aliveness” started, it was over. I have let myself think and analyze for a week. Its almost as if I was grieving. I don’t know, though, what exactly I was grieving for. Was it for what I lost, or was is simply because I now knew I was going to go back to feeling nothing in my daily life?

I still haven’t figured it out, but what I do knows that it’s time to take a breath and move on and start figuring out how to be again. And maybe if I can figure out how to simply exist without all this sadness and anger, I can also figure out how to be happy.

I have to try, I have to try, I have to try. My life depends on it.

Third Time’s a Charm?

“You build on failure.  You use it as a stepping stone.  Close the door on the past.  You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it.  You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.” ~Johnny Cash

I’m going to try this one more time.  I will be successful.  I have to be.

Here is a paragraph about a challenge a friend issued me all the way back in May.

Come up with 10 things I can actually accomplish in the next 31 days that will put me closer to goal of simply finding out what I want out of life.  The real challenge the real challenge come from the fact that these accomplishments need to be specific, and for all purposes, measurable.  No vagueness allowed, which has always been a crutch to avoid striving for accomplishments.

Needless to say, I was unsuccessful.  In the almost four months since this was posted, I accomplished 2 or three things on my list.  I tried it for May, I tried it for June.  I’m not even going to pretend that I tried for July (which I am now dubbing “The Lost Month”).  But now that I’m trying to make my life more “found” than “lost”, I figured it was time to try again.

After much soul-searching, here are the 10 accomplishments I came up with for August.

  1. Make it to the gym at least four times per week.  This is down from my usual six, but definitely higher than my embarrassing summer average.
  2. Find a school for Oliver, one that is based more on what works well for his personality, not based on how convenient or cheap it is.
  3. Spend more quality time with my children and really get to know them.  Each child gets one date day/night with just me per week.  I promise, this is for me, not them.
  4. Read two new books this month.
  5. Complete four other blog posts this month.
  6. By the end of the month, be soda free.
  7. Find a new hobby, that I can do without current friends/family (as in something completely for myself).
  8. Take one photo everyday to document a moment that makes me smile.  This will remind me that I was happy at least once a day this month.  
  9. Create a budget.  Sticking with it, will be more of a next month challenge, let’s be real.
  10. Eat at least one fruit and one vegetable per day.  I promise, this is a challenge.

Here’s to August 2013 being a month of accomplishments.

Oh, the Guilt…and Letting Go.

“No work or love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.” ~ Alan Watts

I tend to carry around a lot of guilt.  I don’t know why.  I joke around that it is because I am Catholic, but really, I only am in the technical sense.  It could be because I am the first-born and am constantly trying (and many times failing) to take care of everyone.  In all honesty, the reasoning probably isn’t that important.  I’m constantly worried that my words and actions (or lack thereof) are hurting the people who are closest to me.

It’s a terrible feeling to have guilt over a situation and an even more terrible feeling to share with others.  They either assume you are egotistical and think you think the world revolves around you, or they see it as a grave emotion, one which will alter the space-time continuum because it means you think you should be making a different choice.

I have been wondering lately if guilt really is about actually feeling bad about certain words, feelings, and actions or if it is more a way that we make ourselves feel bad simply because we know in certain situations we are supposed to feel that way; almost as if it is a type of penance for the action itself.

For some, guilt hardly exists at all, and when it does, it is fleeting and inconsequential.  For others, it drives them literally mad.  I feel like I am somewhere in the middle.  I tend to suffer from just enough guilt to kind of ruin my day or a situation.  And the funny thing is I tend to feel it even when I know I shouldn’t…even when I really don’t have anything to feel guilty about.

I’m having trouble letting go of the guilt and I’m not quite sure what, if anything, I should do about it.

Frankly, I seem to have a problem with letting go period.  My head can sit down and make a logical argument on why I should let go of certain situations.  I can make valid arguments as to why things are better a certain way.  It looks so good and paper and I get so proud of myself for making the right decision, the informed decision, the logical decision, the guilt-free decision.

And then there’s my heart; who doesn’t care about my logical arguments and all that other bullshit.  It just wants to run free through a field of wild flowers and feel the most emotions (whether good or bad) that it can.

I wish they would take to each other more and maybe work out some form of compromise.  But then again, as I’ve stated before in this post, I tend to be an extremist.  With me, so many times, it’s all or nothing.  All heart or all head.  I realize it shouldn’t be that way.  I realize it is completely unhealthy, yet I do it anyway.  The most horrible part is not how these types of actions affect me, but how they affect the people around me, especially those involved in the situations and circumstances (oh, hello guilt, nice to see you again).

I’m pretty sure this is why I have such a hard time letting go.  Because for me, letting go means: close curtain, finished, finito, nothing more, final, culmination, and most importantly, the end of the road.

Do I have trouble letting go simply because I’m selfish and greedy and I want things my way or no way, or is it because I’m not ready to give up yet?

In any case, maybe it’s time I had a talk with my heart and had her back off a little for awhile and let my brain take over.  She could probably use a vacation anyway.