Happy New Year

Lest those reading these blog posts of mine think that I am only thinking in the negative lately, let me pontificate on those things in my life that are good.

Don’t get me wrong. The last 6 months have been absolutely horrible in so many ways. So much loss and so much sadness. I have felt such pits of despair and climbing out of this dark and forbidding hole is very difficult and occasionally I slide back a little.

But it is important for me to unequivocally acknowledge those things in my life that are good.

So the first thing I am grateful for are those people that have truly stood by me and supported me through this dark time. The love and support of these people is immeasurable. Priceless. Words are inadequate to express the deep and abiding love I have for those that have lent me a hand up and a box of Kleenex when necessary.

Despite the difficulties of the year, and actually working fewer hours when my dad lived with me, I’ve had the best year in business ever.

This has taught me a great deal about the universe providing when needed. It has taught me a great deal about myself and the foundation that I laid through a great deal of hard work and networking over the last number of years.

It is also taught me first-hand about what we read all the time, that we need to work smarter not harder. Because that’s exactly what I had to learn to do. When I work, I work extraordinarily hard. When necessary I put in long hours. But I don’t waste much time anymore. Almost everything I do now has a purpose. If there is no purpose for a task, I jettisoned it. There is more paring down coming in the new year and I am confident that the changes, both small and large, will benefit my business, my clients, and my networking partners. And of course it is and will continue to benefit me both personally and professionally.

I know I complain about being one-armed after surgery, but I am grateful that the damage to my shoulder was not as bad as they thought. I am grateful that my recovery should not be as onerous as anticipated.

I’ve  “acquired” a 21 year old godson. I’ve never had the opportunity to be a mother and I don’t believe I’ve ever blogged about why. Perhaps I will someday but for now it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I truly believe that this has been my opportunity to be a positive adult influence in a young person’s life and I cherish that opportunity.

I seem to have found my creative voice again. For those that don’t know, I spent years writing. I published my first poem when I was 14 years old. I also paint and draw and take  photographs. But over the years I have let all of those things fall by the wayside. During this last number of months I seem to have awakened that creativeness and my need to express myself is great.

The last year has taught me more than anything about my strength and resilience. My friend, Marilyn,  tells me regularly how proud she is of me because of this strength and resilience . My friend, Jenn, told me last week that I was very brave. I replied that I don’t feel very brave, and indeed, I don’t right at this moment. But I know and feel a core of strength in me that will prevail. I suppose I could start singing I Will Survive at this time, but I won’t <smile>. I will just say that my ability to get up  after being knocked down is strong in me. There is no shame in the struggle. I am not giving up and I take great pride in my resilience and ability to put one foot in front of the other and keep marching.

Happy New Year. May this year be good  for all who read this blog.

Dying of a broken heart

After the successive deaths of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, there have been a number of articles popping up on social media talking about studies that indicate you can indeed, die of a broken heart.

To which my question is, seriously, we needed a study, or series of studies, to tell us this?

 As someone who has been heart broken twice in the last 6 months (once due to the death of a loved one and once for other reasons), as well as having had my heart broken many times due to losses over the years, I can personally attest that there are times when your heart actually does hurt. Physically it hurts.

I don’t need a damned study to tell me that a broken heart is real. I am more than sure that under the right circumstances a person could indeed die from his or her grief. The physical pain of heartache is real.

I will give you this however, it’s nice to be validated.

Walking Your Path Without Old Friends

This popped up on my Facebook feed recently and it spoke to me.

Such a difficult lesson for me to learn right now. One that is so necessary however. I have always given people the benefit of the doubt. I don’t walk away from anyone easily. Yet this has been a year of letting go of people that I have considered friends. 

One friend and I mutually decided to end our friendship a few months ago and it was okay. We wished each other a good life and realized that our friendship, one of about 10 years, had run its course. It was a little painful but overall I think we agreed that it was the right choice.

There’s more coming down the pike I’m afraid. My heart aches over some of the choices that need to be made. But I believe what this says. If a person can’t walk with you, at some point you need to stop asking them to walk alongside, and continue on your path without them. But this process is still one in which I vacillate because I want to have hope that whatever is straining the relationship can be fixed.

Sometimes that hope is dashed by a simple conversation that doesn’t jell. When the conversation is over, I’m just left with the feeling that the reasons for needing to let go are well founded. The change in the relationship is too great; the chasm between us as friends is widening. At some point you know that you are walking the path alone and if you’re walking that path alone, despite inviting the other person, you might as well kiss that person goodbye and keep on truckin’.

I know me, and in each instance I will feel the loss very deeply and profoundly. 

At the end of last year, I knew I had to have a conversation about the trajectory of a friendship. I had  terrible anxiety with just the thought of it. I dreaded the conversation but knew we had to have it. I rehearsed it in my head in the dead of night, while driving in my car, while trying to eat, while falling asleep, just about every waking moment for weeks and weeks. I knew however, that the conversation had to happen,  no matter how painful. It made me physically sick to my stomach.
It was a hard conversation.  We made some decisions but it is a work in progress and it is not always easy.  I don’t know what it means in the long term. I don’t know if we will be friends in the future. I take it one day at a time. I do feel the loss of our deep past friendship. I wonder if things will improve. I don’t take a good time together as a sign of a future of more good times. I only hope that that each good time leads to more and more individual good times. 

Baby steps.

Recently,  a mentor and I discussed that friendships can be on a spectrum that looks much like a bullseye. Acquaintances would be around the outer rings and close friends are further in. A few friends will be in the center bullseye.  

Sometimes, she said, a friendship  that has been in an interior ring has to be reevaluated and moved outward.  It is a difficult and painful decision to have to make but one that must be made for ones own mental health and protection. 

It is a decision I’ve made a number of times in the last year. It’s not always an easy decision but one I don’t regret.

There’s a Hole in the Sidewalk. I Keep Falling In.

This was given to me today to “chew on”. I imagine this could help others as well so I’m posting it. Please note that it needs to be properly credited if you re-use it.

Chapter One of My Life.

I walk down the street.
There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost. I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It still takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter Two.

I walk down the same street.
There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I’m in the same place!
But it isn’t my fault.
And it still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter Three.

I walk down the same street.
There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it there.
I still fall in.
It’s a habit! My eyes are open. I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter Four.
I walk down the same street.
There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter Five.
I walk down a different street.
Portia Nelson, There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery

My Life  hasn’t gone as I planned. I often say that when you make plans, God laughs. Lately I feel like the punchline of a joke. God laughed.

I thought I’d get married, have a few kids. Adopt  at least one more.  I’d be that combo of Earth Mother and savvy lawyer… raising my kids on homemade bread and homegrown vegetables, and practice law and write my novel as well. All in a perfect calm world.

Here’s life:  No lasting marriage. No man at all lately. The man I love doesn’t love me.  No children. Currently no garden. Probable celiac disease (no more homemade bread).  A textbook published but no novel.

Life is nothing like I planned.

I know I need to set some serious goals for the future. Things have changed so much in the last 6 months that it’s beyond obvious that I can’t maintain as I’ve been.

Feeling untethered (but not unburdened).

Stress and negativity

Last week I had a very bizarre dream. In the dream a person, I assume me,  was having a bowel movement. Now I realize this is very disgusting to discuss but follow me here. The dream was pretty graphic and you could see the poop coming out. Like sticky  fudge mix. Yes it was disgusting.

When I woke, I decided to look up what this meant in a dream. Every source agreed. In all of its forms, having a bowel movement in a dream has to do with stress and negativity.

I did not find this unusual considering everything that has been going on in my life of late.

But the dream got me to thinking on a deeper level.

I thought about people that wallow in their  black and negative thoughts. Those people that if a glass is half-full, will always see the half-empty part. Those people that are always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Those people that can not see goodness or love because all they know, or all they think they know, is that bad things always happen to them. Even when most of their life is good, all they see are the few bad things that have happened to them in their lives.

What I’ve determined is that these people relish this dark and bleak outlook. Even when something good is staring them right in the face they cannot accept it. They cannot embrace it as a way out to some place better.

If feces in a dream is a representation of stress and negativity,  these people continue to sit in their own filth, and even when offered the assistance that will allow them to step into cleanliness (so to speak),  to goodness,  to happiness, to positivity, to the light, they would rather continue to sit in their own sick and filth than to accept the hand that would lift them out.

I just don’t understand that. I have had very bad things happen in my life and yet I continue to want to see the goodness and the light. I’m not saying that I’m Pollyanna and that I am always in a good mood. I have those things that are dark about me and sometimes it is very hard for me to see past my own fears and negative thoughts. I’ve  been known to wallow a time or two. But I do try to remove myself from that place. I actively seek positive and good people. I actively seek advice. I actively have put myself in counseling when I thought it would be helpful. I actively sought, and continue to seek, my well-being.

So I cannot understand those people, those seemingly intelligent people who refuse  to do anything but wallow in their black hearts as if they have no other option. Who will not accept aid from those that only seek to help and comfort them and assist in lifting them into a better place.

I saw my poop dream as a sign, that while I have had a lot of stress and negativity in my life lately, to look for the ladder out of the pit of my own filth. So that I can reach a better place. 

It may take time but baby steps are still steps forward and up.

Twee

I had never seen this word before. Believe me when I tell you that I have a really good command of the English language and vocabulary.

So I looked the word up and discovered that it’s British in origin and considered derogatory.

In a sentence: “I can be rather twee about the use of my grandmother’s dishes, and old photographs.”

Twee means excessively quaint or sentimental.

Upon further examination I found an article in The Atlantic discussing Marc Spitz the author of Twee: The Gentle Revolution in Music, Books, Television, Fashion, and Film. According to this article Spitz sees Twee as “the most powerful youth movement since Punk and Hip-Hop.””You’re Twee if you like artisanal hot sauce. You’re Twee if you hate bullies. Indeed, it’s Spitz’s contention that we’re all a bit Twee: the culture has turned. Twee’s core values include “a healthy suspicion of adulthood”; “a steadfast focus on our essential goodness”; “the cultivation of a passion project” (T-shirt company, organic food truck); and “the utter dispensing with of ‘cool’ as it’s conventionally known, often in favor of a kind of fetishization of the nerd, the geek, the dork, the virgin.””

Honestly, if calling me twee is derogatory, then I’m okay with that. I’m hardly a youth. I’ve lived long enough to believe that there’s something to be said for looking for and nurturing a person’s goodness, as well as your own, and cultivating projects you can be passionate about. If being suspicious of adulthood means being suspicious of doing things that we should or need to do “just because” then I’m suspicious. I spent most of my life doing what I was supposed to do and I can attest that it does not automatically bring you happiness, financial security, or what you desire. I hardly think that it is festishization to  wave the flag proudly if you are a geek, nerd, or dork. I’ve been one all my life and joke that I’m such a nerd I am now cool.

I hardly think of myself as overly quaint or sentimental. Maybe our society could use a little quaint sentimentality.

Just a thought.