The Resolute Quitter

Someone once told me that to write I need to write about what I know. Luckily that’s all I know how to write about anyway.

In the past four years I’ve quit every thing I’ve started. You name it, I’ve attempted it…and then quit. Run streaks? I quit by week two. Running? I used to run 25 – 30 miles a week, and now I’m lucky if I even walk two. I’ve signed up (and wasted a LOT of money) on countless 5Ks, half marathons, and marathons only to quit about half way through…when I had decided that it got too hard. Being more environmental? I’m pretty sure I threw away a pile of paper yesterday instead of recycling it because the recycling was full and I just needed it out of my house. Hell, I’ve even quit my marriage. At this point the only thing I haven’t quit is my job, but I did switch schools so maybe that counts?

I wasn’t always this way. As a matter of fact, I used to be exactly the opposite. I would make a plan and resolutely stick with it, no matter the consequence or if it was the best decision in the long run. I was just that stubborn. I would see it through to the end even if it killed me. I used to think this was one of my biggest character flaws, but now I’m not so sure. The tenacity that would once push me over the finish line has now been replaced with apathy and indifference. I would do anything to get it back.

Maybe I’ve spent so much time quitting lately that it’s just what seems normal and comfortable now. I’m used to it. It’s familiar. It’s has the feeling of that soft, comfy shirt that is completely stained and threadbare. You need to throw it away. You want to throw it away. And yet, you can’t bring yourself to do it. As if parting with that one thing is going to increase your sadness even more than it already is.

Fear has become such a major part of my life over the past few years that it is literally ingrained in my soul. The fear of failure keeps me from making the big leaps. The fear of judgment keeps me from making the choices I know I need to make, the choices that are the best for me. Fear of retribution keeps me on my feet at all times…constantly looking over my shoulder and waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’ve spent so much of the last few years of my life being scared that I have barely lived at all. I’ve made so many goals and had so many things I want to accomplish which have all been brushed aside because of fear. And I don’t want to do that anymore.

If you know me at all, you know I love New Year’s. The blank slate, the new beginnings, the chance to start again all resonate with me on a deeply pure and spiritual level. I tend to make resolutions, grandiose goals, and big decisions all to have me eventually quit. I just can’t keep living my life like that anymore. I think this year I’m going to dump the resolutions. The changes I want to make within myself are big. Every single thing I want to change about myself I can control. And I don’t need resolutions or a New Year to do that. I can just do it. Plain and simple. It’s really that easy.

Of course, coming up with the idea to do something is the easy part. The hard part is the follow through…and that’s exactly what I plan to work on first.

The other day, as we were driving through the city on the way home, two runners crossed in front of our car. Joe’s immediate response was about how it was cold and they were outside running and that they were wearing shorts. It’s true, it was about 25 degrees…it was cold. But all I felt was the formidable tug of nostalgia. I remember thinking that I wish I was a runner. Or more clearly, I wish I was still a runner.

So you know what? I’m going to become one again.

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The Last Year of Marriage

There’s a very good chance that this will be the last year that I will be married. Though we have been separated for almost a year and a half, technically we are still locked in union according to the law.  I still help pay his student loans.  He is still on my health insurance.  Neither of us is in a rush to get this thing finished, to break apart a union that is 16 years in the making, but we also know that eventually the cord will have to be cut and ties severed.

Sometimes I honestly don’t know which times we’re harder.  Was is the years we spent distant and cold, simply playing the part of husband and wife, the outside world oblivous to the struggles we were having within ourselves?  Was is the year I said I was leaving, but had to stay, the couch my permanent home, so much hate traveling back and forth between us while our children looked on, bewildered and overwhelmed?  Or was it this year?  The year filled with anger and remorse, both wanting to be with my kids full time and knowing that doing that meant hurting all of us in the process.  I simply can’t be sure.

The only thing I do know is that all of them were hard and all of them have taken an irreversible toll on me.  Anger, guilt, despair, panic, and disappointment and utter sadness have been my constant companions  and some days it takes every effort possible just to remind myself to take in air so I can keep living.

I’ve spent so much of the last year and a half fighting with a person I was supposed to love until the end of time.  He knows how to push my buttons better than anyone else and knows exactly what to say to make me go from quiet and content to a rage filled nightmare.  Sometimes I think he does it accidentally, forgetting how much I look into every word spoken, sure there are hidden meanings.  Other times I know it’s purposeful, and those times are the hardest to bear and the hardest to break free from.  Because how in the hell did we get to this place where we’ve become vindictive and spiteful to each other on purpose?

The other day we texted back and forth about something completely innocuous; a movie quote from a movie I know is one of his favorites.  It was a short, but lovely, conversation simply because it seemed so easy.

And then, of course, in true Cassie fashion, I started to cry.  I wanted to crawl into that conversation and live there because for the first time in a long time, I felt safe in that relationship.  Did I want to get back together?  Absolutely not.  We were horrible as a couple.  Not in the beginning, but in the many years that followed.  Our relationship was passive aggressive at best and self destructive at worst.  We were mean.  And nasty.  And horrible to each other.  And that’s putting it lightly.  Love should bring out the best in two people and for us, it didn’t.  Not anymore.  But that simple conversation showed me something I hadn’t seen between us in a long time.  It gave me a glimmer of hope that maybe one day all the conversations could be like this.  Maybe it will get better.

And while we may not ever really be friends, maybe we would stop intentionally trying to hurt each other in ways we only know how.

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Back to the Start

I’ve been wanting to write again for quite a while, but as usual, I had no idea where to start.  I currently have 9 notes in my phone about things I want to write about, but when I sit down and open up WordPress…crickets.  Every time.

So, today, in my all plague-induced sickness haze, I think maybe I’ll go back through my old blog posts and see what I used to write about.  Maybe it will spark something so I can get going again.

After all that, you know what I realized…I’ve fallen very far from the person I’ve become.

I used to think that the person I was in late 2013-2014 was so misguided and had no idea who she was.  I thought she was a mess.  I thought she was at the bottom.  But looking back over those posts I can’t believe how wrong I was.

She was strong.  She was honest.  She was brave.  She was motivating.  She was a survivor.

She climbed out of the darkness and found the light again.

I envy her.  I admire her.  I want to be her.

I know she is in here somewhere.  I just have to find her again.

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Starting Over

Don’t call it a comeback…

I’ve started going to the gym before work again.  On Monday when my alarm went off I immediately turned it off, rolled over, and went right back to sleep…just as I had done the last two weeks.  But after 5 minutes of laying there I knew I had to get up and go.  And I actually did.  I was so proud of myself for getting up on Monday that I was able to easily rise out of bed today.  Fingers are crossed for tomorrow and the rest of the week.

I’d forgotten how much better I felt during the day when I worked out in the morning. I feel calmer (though it’s probably just that I’m tired) and more focused.  I’m able to tone my anxiety down quicker and compartmentalize better (This is a school worry.  You are home with the kids.  Stop thinking about this).  And this is just after 2 days.

But 2 days seems to be the most I can do these days.  Usually by day 3 I convince myself I need a “break” and the one morning off turns into a week or more.

It’s amazing how much easier it was to work out when I was unhappy.  When it was hard to be at home or spend time with Mike I would always find time to take a break at the gym.  When my dad died and I spiraled into my summer of self destruction, running was the thing that was able to pull my back to the surface long enough to take a breath.

But now, bed and home are my safety nets.  I like being here.  It’s cozy and warm and far away from the anxieties of a bad marriage and an overly stressful job.  It’s hard to get up and go.  It’s hard to leave the place where I feel the safest.

But I’ve done it twice this week.  I managed to get myself up and go, even when I did it alone.  So I can do it again, I know I can.

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The Elusive Other Shoe

Things have been good lately.  Really good.

Yes. I’m still annoyed by my job.  Yes.  My kiddos drive me insane.  Yes.  There is never enough time, or money, or resources, or sleep.

But yet, things have been good.

We took all three kiddos on a walk around the neighborhood today.  The boys ran ahead playing Pokemon Go and chatting with a neighbor friend who turns out to be in Ollie’s class at school.  Charlie toddled. And fell.  And begged to be picked up.  And begged to be put down. We, as the grownups, meandered slowly, relishing in the fact that we live in a neighborhood where it’s ok that the kids run ahead of us and Charlie walks in the middle of the road.

There was an instant that I realized this is the happiest I’ve been in a long time.  Not days, not months. Years. Probably 5 years if you want to put a number on it. And it was the most amazing feeling.  Nothing extraordinary was happening at that moment or today, and yet, pure bliss.

And then after the bliss comes worry.  Because this kind of happiness doesn’t stay.  At least not for me.  I’m half enjoying the bliss and half waiting for the other shoe to drop.  That elusive shoe that’s always hanging in the background waiting.  Waiting to swoop and and remind you that you’re fallible.  That life is full of ups AND downs.  To bring chaos to the stillness happening around you right now.

So we enjoy the happiness, but on our tiptoes.  Scared to make too much noise.  Scared to make any sudden movements.  Because, as much as we want to believe that this kind of happiness, true and unadulterated happiness, is here to stay, we know that darkness is hiding in the shadows.

So we sit and wait until we hear it…the sound of that shoe hitting the ground.

And then we brace our selves.

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Small and Sound

Happiness is a tricky creature.  It’s something we’re taught since birth to want while we’re simultaneously taught that it’s unattainable.  We’re constantly being bombarded with messages stating that what we have is great buuuuuut…it could be so much better.  The whole idea of “the grass is always greener” has never been lost on me, making me constantly and haphazardly jump between “YOLO” and “be happy with what you have”.

Then there’s the fact that lately I feel like I have let my happiness be contingent on other people.  Words of affirmation and love, little moments of attention, things that made me feel like I was worthy of something; worthy of being, all simply because someone else is making he effort and believing that too.  But when those things fade, or don’t happen, or minds get changed, then what do you have?  I’m left feeling empty, bitter, alone, and blaming not myself, but that other person who let me down, when really it’s my fualt for putting so much power into their hands in the first place.

I love to make other people happy.  When I’m around happy people, I tend to be happier. Unfortunately, because I like to make people happy, I believe others are the same way. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they don’t care about your happiness at all.  Sometimes they tell you what you want to hear, because they do want to make you happy, even if they don’t mean everything you’re saying.

And there in lies the conundrum.  I put my happiness into the hands of others instead of simply doing what I can to make myself happy.  Playing with the kids, watching a movie within someone I love, reading a book, talking to a friend, going to the gym.  All little variations of my happiness.  And all things that I need to focus on instead of sitting around and waiting for someone to make me happy.  I have the ability to make myself happy.  But it’s hard and sometimes I just feel like I CAN’T.

But not today.  Today was different.

It’s days like today where I really feel like everything is going to be ok.  Me writing outside enjoying the beginnings of a sunset and the early evening breeze rustling through the gazebo. The house is quiet.  The wine has been poured.  I feel put together, whole, complete just being in this moment.  It’s almost as if over night my entire world has begun to make sense.  Recently, I’ve felt like my life was a puzzle and as I’m trying to put it together there are just too many pieces.  Figuring out the ones that fit together and deciding which ones need to be discarded to make the most complete picture has been difficult.  So many times in my life I feel so lost and pulled apart, that when I get moments like this, it feels like heaven.  No anxiety about the future, just clarity and peace. I’m praying it is simply not the calm before the storm as it has been so many times before.  Unlike those other times though, I’m choosing to believe that things are headed in the right direction.

Everything up until now has been leading me to this moment.  I feel like my life is on the cusp of something big.  I have no idea what it is, but the best part is that the possibilities are endless.

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