Then Again…theyโ€™re ALIVE

In the vastness of depression, I’ve learned several things about myself.

1.) The hole opens, the hole retreats, yet the hole will never completely disappear. I’ve accepted this reality.

2.). This too shall pass. The passing includes restfuless days and nights, eating crappy food, drinking more than usual, not running on the canal (or basically no mining of dopamine of any kind), resorting to dumb YouTube videos like “The 10 Best or Worst Cruises The Year” (like I really enjoy cruising?) or an over abundance of cold case/murder stories. And of course, of late, rewatching every Mary Tyler Moore show from all 7 seasons. All part of the passing period.

3.) There are people who care about me. Truly, for who I am. I’m learning to accept this reality as well.

4.) Sometimes increasing my anxiety meds helps just a tiny bit.

5.) Talking about certain issues only helps when specifically expressed. The articulation takes place only when not depressed. The waves of depression have little to do with specifics in life. It feels more like the fluidity of nothingness.

6.) Throughout the last 8 years, bouts of depression last an average, a week. I don’t allow myself to timetables any more.

7.) I remain a half-glass-full-chick. It’s in my bones. At times, depression is not a choice. Either is forced happiness.

8.) It’s ok, if not necessary to sit in sadness for a time and reel back from socialization. It’s better to stay off this iPhone and refrain from social media.

9.) Gratitude always makes her way back. She is in my bones as well. She releases my sadness and strengthens what I’ve come to terms with – my badass heart and mind. I’m stronger because of the pain.

10.) My adult children are ALIVE. They’re ALIVE as in, not DEAD. Whatever the present instills or tomorrow throws, they are alive, thriving, their individual selves. Although not entirely sure of the women they’ve become over the years, confidence in their well-being comes from their mother’s kishka. Don’t ever underestimate a mother’s kishka. 

Keep breathing, kids. I am alive. So are you.

We’ll find each other soon. ๐Ÿ’œ

Loss, Pain, then Gain: Repeat

We think that our jobs as humans is to avoid pain, our job as parents is to protect our children from pain, our job as friends is to fix each other’s pain. Maybe that’s why we all feel like failures so often — because we all have the wrong job description of love. People who are hurting do not need Avoiders, Protectors or Fixers. What we need are patient, loving witnesses. People who sit quietly and hold space for us. People to stand in the helpless vigil to our pain.” — Glennon Doyle

 

Someone’s pain is deeper than mine. Their hurt reaches proportions I might never endure in this lifetime.

Loss, pain, then gain.

Repeat.

One lives long enough on this planet,  loss is imminent. Ok, scratch that. One lives for any length of time, loss is imminent. 

When my daughters estranged themselves from me years ago, for the first time in my life, death felt imminent. 

During the last eight years, coping mechanisms took on various definitions. And, certainly, as of this moment, the learning curve is lengthened the longer the distance.

I live life, never truly knowing if reconciliation will take place. I live life with this reality. In the last few years, a settling of sorts, new perspectives emerge and coping with the pain becomes more manageable. Happily remarried, stepdaughters and a family cherished, have added much more joy I never expected.

Not so much joy the past week or so. My younger daughter turned 25 the end of last month. Days later, I said hello to my 59th year on this planet. This year, in particular, the pain rose higher than usual, sadness permeates and I can’t seem to find much light these days.

Love rises. Pain has taught me this most. Yet, perhaps I must sit a bit longer with my pain. In the past, panic set in, as if I’d never find a way out. It feels this way today. I might feel differently tomorrow, though I feel unsure of when love will rise again.

I made the conscious choice to write my girls on my birthday. Then I made the deliberate choice to click send that evening. The words flowed effortlessly, with little fanfare, melodramatic tone or fearful of their reaction towards me. No more apologies; simply direct, authentic words. Pure love, compassion, empathy and respect.

Did I do the right thing by sending? The fear of never having a relationship still wanes. It’s big. When reaching out doesn’t take place (the caveat of a brief birthday message) self-doubt is nary a thought. One realigns a soul when one they love pulls away. When one makes the deliberate choice of connection, one faces the consequence of that choice. Thus, welcome back self-doubt.

Love isn’t dormant nor is pain. We must be patient and allow the two to meander while we feel, then heal, then feel again.

We’ll find each other soon. ๐Ÿ’œ

The Birthday Decision

Without much fanfare, I decided to celebrate my kids’ birthdays regardless of what and/or how they feel about me, their mother.

Each year passes, sadness reigns and the what-I’ve-lost cowers over my heart.

Not so much now.

I bore two daughters; one in 1990, the other, 1994. Raising them until respective ages of 22 and 17, still, to this day, having them, the best decision made in my life. Their beings shaped me in ways I’m forever discovering.

Conscious of the situation, I am rising above judgment, criticism, self-doubt. Fearless, I asked my ex if he would like to join me in toasting our daughters upcoming birthday. He is their father. I am their mother. There was goodness in our once-foursome-unit. It’s vital I recognize this, as for years, the pain has encumbered me to the point, I rarely allow myself to feel the joy of my past life.

Next week, on her significant day, I will celebrate the person I gave birth to and embrace our years together. There is joy in that. Always.

We’ll find each other soon. ๐Ÿ’œ

High Anxiety or How Mary Tyler Moore Came to my Rescue

Hey kids.

The richness of life is full. Anxiety, always my favorite, (insert sarcasm) rises higher of late and I find myself baffled.

For years, the distance between my children and I, the curser to most of my anxiety. (Though part of my genetic make-up for years.)

Today, it’s, well, life. The usual: career, the AirBnB business, too many weeds in the garden, too little time organizing my playlists and linen closet. You know. You’ve been there.

No longer ashamed of the fact I take meds for my anxiety prone brain, it seems to have taken a stilted sway of sorts. Pending my appointment with my psychiatrist soon, I’m finding new ways to cope.

  • Tawk. It sounds so easy. Do it. It’s hard. There are people in your life who give several shits about you. A sliver of sharing broadens your ability to this…

  • Vulnerability. Again, difficult, seems impossible. Better to stay silent? Yeah, not so much. Courage. Notwithstanding Dan Rather’s ending moniker each night years ago on CBS Evening News, courage lessens fear. Take steps, albeit tiny or large, to become more vulnerable. Those born centuries after me, start stepping today. Never too early. Thank God for aging. It does wonders for a more vulnerable life.
  • Breathe. Duh. How many times do I find myself holding my breath. What am I, some scuba diver without air? Seriously, I forget the significance of breathing. The conscience use of air in one’s lungs will do wonders through tasks such as washing a dish, petting the cat, driving to Target, driving away from Wal-Mart, writing a blog post. Breathing: it’s underrated.

  • Laughter. Throughout this rough patch of Ms. Anxiety, turns out YouTube proved as efficient as my Zoloft, or, rather, a helpful collaborator. I’ve always loved the Mary Tyler Moore show. I was ten years old when it debuted in 1970. As if this kid had an inkling what life was like for a single woman living in Minneapolis, typing away at her new-found and unexpected run as associate producer at WJM, had this amazing apartment with an hilarious neighbor who dressed mannequins at the local department store for a living…but I got it. Comforted every Saturday night. As a kid, Mary spoke to me. So did Rhoda. How badly I wanted to be Bess Lindstrom in that episode where she and Mary window shopped on a Saturday, playing hide-and-seek, sharing ice cream cones!! I digress. Getting back to my beloved relationship with YouTube, anxiety lessens when I watch MTM. I remember going through my divorce, specific tv shows like “Reba”, “That 70’s Show” and “The Middle” became my own visual panaceas many days, many nights. YouTube, television, Netflix, Hulu, Roku, YouHoo, can be your best friend with no time constraints or conversation. Choose carelessly and go with what makes you laugh.
  • Beach. Ocean. Mountains. Lakes. Rivers. Nature. Observe a bird every now and then. Does wonders for the psyche.

In my quest for simplifying almost-fifty-nine-years on the planet, I don’t suspect anxiety will take too far a back seat during this lifetime. She is real. Today, I learn from her. I meet her head-on. Kids, meet her head-on as well. Don’t squelch or deny when anxiety rears her head. She’ll impede more force. You are stronger than her; your force, greater. The richness of life is full. Keep on. Some moments, anxious, more and more moments, joyous.

We’ll find each other soon. ๐Ÿ’œ

Step Back. Discover. Repeat.

Resplendent in joy, my second wedding anniversary continues raising the depth I still feel about my prior life. 

The pain of divorce, dismantling of families. Why do we hurt those we love? I wasn’t dying. There were no cancerous cells or physical disease. An unhappy marriage, no problem. Get out of it. Leave while you have the strength. Think of your children. If I love my children as I say I do, I will protect them from harm, even if it means I may harm myself. What mother purposefully hurts their children? This I will never fully comprehend.

Children come first; their needs, at the forefront, as there will be a time when they are older, one can then rediscover who they are.

But there was no strength. I found it much later on. Pain and loss will kick you in the ass. It’s our greatest teacher.

I thought loving them enough would be enough. Strength came in the form of love. That was what l could give. Any form of guidance was an omission, as I was incapable of guiding my own life.  

They were 22 and 17. 

The mess of the last few years of my first marriage lingers, though more distant. It will likely never fully dissipate, as I live without ongoing relationships with my children. I am living with my choices. I make no excuses. Shitty marriage and all, I fucked up, made poor choices. I did not think how my decisions would impact my children’s lives.

Don’t be too hard on yourself.

Actually, DO.

It’s hard, messy, necessary. And never too late.

Learning the chasms of accountability in my life brings much peace, as humility has a way of raising its glass to celebrate each touch of new awareness.

Making good choices.

Now married to my last husband, I realize I’m capable of making good choices. No longer fearful of being accepted, I like my personhood. Self-acceptance: accomplished, albeit a step-back or two.

Take care of you. Ask for help. Receiving help empowers, creates strength, allows growth. To you mamas who love your kiddos, keep on. Be there. Listen then listen more. Mamas aren’t perfection, nor are our children. We must discover ourselves in lieu of where we came from, despite our original designated tribe.

That’s the beauty of discovery.

We’ll find each other soon. ๐Ÿ’œ

The Normalcy of Life: Past & Present

This past week, time spent with beautiful friends from my prior life. The life when I was married to my first husband, the life when we were a family; mom, dad, and two daughters.

The normalcy of a prior life.

After seven years of estrangement, emotional cues are less predictable. Early on, the usuals – birthdays, holidays, Mother’s Day, all conjured up enormous pain. Today, reflecting my time with beautiful friends who knew me well then, as a mother, as my ex’s wife, the conversations struck me odd, as if rehearsed to a tee. Speaking of my daughters has entered a new phase. Not so much devoid of emotion, rather like in third person, a separate version of myself speaking about another version of myself then.

It’s been difficult writing these past months. Thoughts are apparent, though the language is wrought with ebbs and flows of vacancy, as I find myself loosing what I once felt. The sadness lingers in different ways, mostly disbelief. I look at photos, memories of such love for a family I cherished, though eventually, my actions proved quite the opposite. Yet, the love…the LOVE never dissipated or waned. At best, there was little left of who I was and I had nothing to give to myself, especially love.

Yet here I be. Fifty-eight years old. I run these days near a canal a few times a week. I’ve grown to love dogs and my heart still melts when I see any cat slumber. I care about others more than ever and strive for better communication with people I love and those who are strangers. Empathy continues at my core, compassion unfolds daily. I love being an auntie and relish being a step-mom. I’m a better listener and less cynical. I adore satire and am always open to anything with Christopher Guest.

I miss being a mom. I miss being their mom. There is no replacement for such a role. I miss listening, hearing my kids share. Their thoughts, wishes, dreams, frustrations, questions, opinions. The dialogue.

I’ve learned motherhood is not always a given, even after one gives birth. I’ve learned and accepted I’m a loving mother, maybe more than I thought possible. Now remarried, loving my stepdaughters, the richness of life with my current family, shall never, ever diminish nor minimize how I feel about my girls. Quite the opposite, actually. The more one loves openly, it simply flourishes, as does new normalcy. 

And this keeps my heart singing.

We’ll find each other soon. ๐Ÿ’œ

A Beautiful Life: Here’s to You

Death raises awareness of life. As it is. The choices are ours.

Life as I know it. Today.

No two memorials are alike, nor are two humans. Yesterday I had the honor of attending a memorial. Praises come alive when someone dies. We love to put those we love on a pedestal. I did when my mom died in 2012. She was my person. Immediately upon her death, in my heart and soul, she was lifted higher than she had been when she was still on this earth. Years have passed. Each year, I see her differently, learn who she was, far deeper than mere mementos, old photographs or stories. Learning your personbecomes part of the grieving process and though sometimes disconcerting admitting momโ€™s frailties, my love has blossomed like I never thought it would. We continue to grow far beyond the date of death. There are no boundaries with love.

Back to the memorial. The gentleman, Mr. H., was kind, generous and loved unconditionally. Everyoneโ€ฆ

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