Rebirth

So this happened today. 

  
A lotus flower grows from mud, or murky water. Beauty growing where you least expect it. It symbolizes rebirth, purity, spiritual awakening and faithfulness.  

A perfect choice. 

No More Tears

For now at least.

I think, again, I am all cried out.

For now at least.

I am not done healing.  Deep down I probably knew that.  But the last two months have been very good.  I almost forgot how sad I had been.  I have had the odd low day, low moment.  Overall though, things have been good.  But I am not done healing.

Through the tears and tears and tears of the last week, ten days, I swing from reason to reason to reason of why I can’t seem to stop crying.  Of why I am so anxious.  So many reasons.  Too many reasons.  I think it all circles back to my divorce.  Being abandoned.  Being lied to.  Having lost my voice.

And it has been one year since I started suspecting the ex was having an affair.  It has almost been one year since he walked out.  It is going to be a tough, long couple of months.

A friend told me an interesting analogy the other day.  One of a cocoon and a butterfly.  She said, “How do you think the butterfly feels as it is trying to break free of the cocoon?”

 

 

55 Days

It has been 55 days since I last saw my therapist.

All the crying and anxiety of late made me realize that it was time.  Time to go back.  At least for a check in.

I really like my therapist.  She listens.  She offers advice.  She asks the right questions.  She validates my feelings.  She suggests that I am too hard on myself.  And today she read me like an open book.

I had one hour to catch her up on the goings on in my life.  I can’t believe that we actually managed to do it.

I told her that I have been very anxious as of late.  More than I had been in quite a while, hence my absence from  her sofa.

The hard question I knew was coming.  “Why are you feeling anxious?”

It was a bit tough to know exactly where to begin but somehow I did.  Begin.

I can’t remember what I led with but our talk ran the gamut of the ex, the kids, the divorce and A.

I shared the progress, or lack thereof, on my divorce agreement. But that we were close.  To an agreement.  To being divorced.  Which signifies the finality of my marriage.  Completely.  I was surprised that while sitting on her sofa, where I have sat so many times over the past 10 months, that I am still in shock.  Or rather have gone a bit backwards into shock.  A bit of disbelief that it is actually almost over.  The battle.  The marriage.  My life as I knew it.

With a very heavy heart and tears streaming down my face, I talked about my kids.  I have deleted all that I wrote.  I won’t share what we discussed.  While I think it could be helpful to share it.  For me.  For others out there reading.  This one time, I will not.  It is not a good idea.  My kids are too old.  They are too savvy.  I would never forgive myself if they somehow came across this.

We discussed the possibility that I am burnt out.  And that is why I am so anxious.  That I have been giving so much for the last 10 months, that there is no more of me left to give.  We discussed that with all of the changes in the last 10 months, it is expected that not only has my life changed, but also my role in my life.  I am no longer a wife, taking care of my family.  I am a mother taking care of my kids.  I am a woman who needs and wants to build a new life.  A new future.  And on days like today I struggle.  I do not know where to begin.  I do not know how to recharge my batteries.

I talked about how insecure I am feeling.  A big piece of the anxiety issue.  Expected.  Given that I thought I knew what my future looked like.  Trust issues.  Abandonment issues.  Big time.

We talked a lot about A.   She likes that I have some new and good in my life.  And all of my feelings, my trust issues, my insecurities, all normal.  She was proud that I was putting myself out there.  Being vulnerable. Especially giving my recent history.  It is a good thing she said.

She reminded me of how far I have come.  And we agreed that I still have some healing to do.  It dawned on both of us that not only is the “anniversary” of my marriage collapse coming, but that it was also one year ago that I started suspecting that the ex was having an affair.

It is a hard time right now.  Lots going on.  Everything all at once.  Too much to bear sometimes.

I need to breathe.  I need to embrace my emotions.  I need to work through them.  I need to just be.  I need to continue healing.

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Ramblings

I feel like anxiety is a recurring theme for me these days.  Some days better than others.  Some moments worse than others.

Last week I was anxious.  Yesterday I was anxious.  Today I am anxious.

Last week I took charge of my anxiety.  Of  my voice.  I used it to share my feelings.  No matter what the outcome.  Of course the outcome was good.  As I always tell my kids, we can never regret sharing our feelings.  I shared.  It was good.

On Friday, what was the beginning of a great weekend ahead, I received an email from my lawyer.  The latest response from the ex in our divorce agreement.  For the first time in this process, I did not immediately open the email.  It helped that I was driving.  It helped that I knew it would bring me to my knees, as it always does.  It helped that I knew I wanted to enjoy some of my own time first.  Before going back down into that rabbit hole.  I decided to wait until Saturday when I knew I would have a bit of alone time.  When I thought it would not get in the way of my weekend.

Saturday I headed out for a run.  Anxiety high.  Do I read the email?  Do I leave it?  How could I  possibly leave it?  I could I read it and potentially ruin a good weekend.  This was my second weekend in a row with A, but would be the last for 12 days.  Time was precious.

I ran.  And I ran.  It was cold.  I finally sat down on a bench.  Looked out onto the dark blue river.  Took a few deep breaths.  Pulled my phone off my arm.  Took a few more deep breaths.  Put the phone back on my arm.  And ran some more.

Nothing in that email was going to make a difference to my weekend.  Not in a positive way.  Even if it was good news.  Spending time with A was the positive difference in my weekend.  I wanted to be able to just focus on him.  On us.  It was a weekend of firsts.  I was not going to let that get clouded over.

That night at dinner I mentioned to A that I had received a reply on my divorce agreement but was waiting until the weekend was over to look at it.  Willpower, he said.  And for the first time I think he realized that I am truly moving forward.  With me.  With him.  With us.

On Sunday, I ran again.  The best run I have ever had.  Good pace.  Good distance.  It was like something inside of me had been released.  Tension.  Anxiety.  Stress.  I knew that everything was going to be ok.  No matter what that email said.

Sunday night the anxiety returned.  I had decided to wait until I was with a girlfriend on Monday morning to open the email.

Hardly slept.  Emotions bubbling under the surface.

Sitting in Starbucks with my girlfriend.  I was crying before we even got started.  As I type this I get teary eyed.  All these months.  Will the tears ever go away?

We open the email.  Not great.  But not bad.  An improvement.  Finally.  So close to a final agreement.  So close to being divorced.  So close, yet it feels so far away.  For the first time, I truly am tired of all of this back and forth.  I am very tired.  I really want this to all be done and over with.  And that makes me sad too.

Talking with A last night.  We talked about how close it is to being done.  How if I can’t get the ex to come up a little bit, I have to decide what to do. For the first time, he encouraged and supported me to settle. Not to be screwed over. But to not go to court.  He also wants this to be done.  So that I can be released a little more.

Last night I slept better than I have in ages.  My habitual 4am wake up did to happen.  In fact I was woken from a dead sleep by my alarm.

Stress is being released.  It is helping me to feel better.  But I am still anxious.

Underlying anxiety from self-confidence, or lack thereof.  And from reflecting on my life.  The life that has been created that maybe I do not want so much.

So let’s hit the self-confidence first.  I like that A lives away.  I find that it gives me a bit of breathing room.  A bit of space to focus on what needs attention right now.  But as we get closer, it gets harder.  That was our discussion last week.  How are we going to make this work, he wondered.  One day at a time, I replied.  Let’s just focus on now.  But it is hard to not think ahead.  To not plan a bit down the road.  And what is this going to look like?  Can we make it work?  Him voicing his concern last week has left me feeling better because we talked, but shaken.  Is he going to decide that it is too much?  The distance?  The baggage?  For now we take it one day at a time.  We will see.  There is so much more to this part of my story but I fear I am rambling a bit too much now.

So the life that has been created.  When I met the ex, I was in a place in my life that I wanted to be settling down.  Worked well.  He wanted to get married, and have a family quickly because his father was ill and he was not sure how long he would live.  Seventeen years later and he is still alive.  So we married quickly and had a family quickly.  I love my kids.  I loved what my life was.  But now, a single mom?  Two wonderful teenagers.  Good kids.  But I feel so tied down.  I am the one who sacrificed and continues to sacrifice the most.  My life has changed more than anyone’s in this whole situation.  The kids go to school, hang with their friends, spend time with me, rarely see their dad.  Nothing has really changed that much in their world.  It was always like that.  The ex, he started a new life.  Walked from the old one, right into the new one.  Hardly a glance back.

I am left with all the pieces and am trying to figure out how they all fit together.

When do I get my time?  I realized this morning that I had my kids so quickly and early, to appease the ex.  I am wondering if I had to do it all again, would I?

I want to run away.  To escape.  To start my own life.  To be selfish as the ex has been.  Why am I left to do it all?  And to do it by myself?

I have come so far.  But wonder if I will ever get there?

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Letter to Myself

I haven’t written in my journal in a couple of months.  I pulled it out today to do some writing.  I like to write in my journal when my thoughts are very disjointed.  Very all over the place.  That is how I am feeling today.   I opened my journal and found this as my last entry, a letter to myself:

Today you decided to write this so that when you have low days, you can look back on something positive. When you are having a low day, or week, you feel rather desperate. You feel stuck. Right? And most especially, like you can’t let go, like you can’t move forward.

Think of how far you have come.  Think of how much you have learned.  Be ok with what you have lost.  Rejoice in what you have gained.

This is not the man you want to be with.  And no matter what he is doing, or how he is acting, he is not living a better life. Remember that this is the man who lied to you. This is the man who betrayed your trust. He is a liar.  He is financially irresponsible. Remember this is the man who has had his credit cards canceled.  he is so far down the rabbit hole that he avoids everything.  Including paying his debts.

He is a coward. That is why he lies.  That is why he is disrespectful.  He cannot face his responsibilities.  It has nothing to do with you.

When you have strong days, you are so good.  You know and believe you are better off.  You hear the bullets zipping by your ears.

Acknowledge your sadness but don’t stay there.  The past no longer matters.  Do not let it unpack in your mind.  Instead, think about how strong you have become.  Not only have you found your voice, but you have been setting boundaries like it is a railway track into the wilderness.

Keep forging ahead.  You are so close.  Don’t throw in the towel now.

Instead, swing that towel high above your head.  Embrace your new life.  Be grateful that the universe has given you an amazing gift.

Love, Me xo

Reset

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I needed to remember this yesterday.  I hate those crazy emotional days.  I feel so mentally off the wall.  On a roller coaster ride.  I feel extreme.  Extreme anxiety.  Extreme sadness.  Extreme frustration.  Extreme insecurity.  And then at another moment it switches.  All of the extremes lessen, and some disappear completely.  If I am not careful, it will all switch back again.

Resetting.

Remembering that the energy I put out into the universe is what I will in turn receive.  If I put out insecurities, i will receive situations that will continue to make me feel insecure.  If I put out frustration, i will receive situations that will continue to make me feel frustrated. If I am scared, I will continue to be in situations that make me scared.

Instead, today I will focus on happiness.  I will focus on trust.  I will focus on knowing that I am worth it.  I will focus on good.  I will focus on success.  I will focus on independence.  I will focus on gratitude.

Today I will remember that I am amazing.

I will send that out to the universe.

I will open my arms and be ready to receive amazing.

Complicated

Stuck today.

Residual feelings leftover from the other day?  Maybe.

My weekend did not go quite as planned.  It was fine.  It was nice.  You know, those two words we use when good doesn’t measure up.  When we want to be polite about something.  When we are disappointed.

Life is complicated.  I’ve been saying that for a while now.  Some days I feel like it is more complicated than it needs to be.

Simple would be good.  Simple would be a welcome change.

I would like to be done with negotiating with the ex.  I would like to be done with having to communicate with the ex.  I would like to have my divorce finalized.  That one last cord cut.

I would like more time for me.  So much of my life has been devoted to my family that now all I crave is time for me.  Time to do the things I want to do.  Even though I am not so sure what those things are.  Time for me to start building my future.  I just want time.

I struggle.  He left.  He has his own life.  He is doing the things he wants to do.  What about me?

This is not meant to be a pity post.  Or one seeking reassurances from all of you.  It’s just that some days are harder than others.  Some days I find it incredibly unfair.  And those days I just want to cocoon and run away.  Simultaneously.

What kind of mother has those thoughts?

Here Comes the Sun

In the days leading up to my ex’s departure, we spent a lot of time walking.  It was the only way we could get away from the kids and try to sort things out.

It all started two days before Christmas, when he replied “I don’t know” to my “can you just tell me that we’re going to be ok”.

We did not have a chance to really talk until the day after Christmas.  You can just imagine the days leading up to then.  Lots of tears.  Lots of confusion.  Uncertainty may as well have been wrapped up with a big red bow and put under the Christmas tree for me.

All of our discussions happened on walks.  Serious, heavy discussions.  Now I realize they were mostly one sided.  Me doing most of the talking.  Or yelling.  While he was biding his time.

In the days, weeks and months after he left, it took everything I had to get out of bed.

And then the spring came.  Along with spring came recreational soccer for my kids.  And with that, the first game that their dad would go to and I would not, upon the request of my youngest.  Four months into our new life and he was not able to handle that both of his parents could be at his game, separately.  I don’t blame him.  And was somewhat relieved.  However, it was so painful to not be there.

And thus started my walking habit.  I had so much anxiety that I just had to walk it off.

This is no regular walk. This is a walk that takes you up into the clouds.  Somedays.  On days when it is not cloudy, and we (I have two girlfriends who join me for a weekly morning walk and gab session) time it right, we see the most spectacular sun rises.

Starting my day with a sun rise has become somewhat of an addiction.

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My newest addiction?  Walking has turned into running.  More on that in another post.

Spirituality and Angels

I did not grow up religious.  I remember as a child believing in God.  It was different times.  We recited the Lord’s Prayer every day at school.  We sang songs like “Jesus Loves Me” in kindergarten.  I did a short stint at Sunday school before deciding I did not want to go back.  My aunt used to take me to her old, ornate church downtown. The soothing sound of Father Pat’s voice combined with the stained glass windows surrounded me with a peaceful feeling.

In the past 10 months, I have found myself coming back to my spiritual being.  While I don’t believe in God, I do believe in a higher power, and I believe in the universe, and I believe that there are angels helping me along my journey.

My grandmother was sick for much of the last 5-8 years of her life.  Many physical ailments that I attribute to anxiety.  After having suffered my own anxiety and panic attacks, I can see how it is possible that if her anxiety had been treated properly, that she might have suffered less.

My grandmother strongly believed that our astrological sign determined much of our personality.  She was also quite religious and expressed her disappointment in my lack of conviction, often.  All in all, I would say that she also believed as I do, in the universe and angels.

Last December we expected that my grandmother’s days of suffering physical and psychological pain, along side dementia, would come to an end.  Her doctor told us it would not be much longer.

She held on.

We couldn’t figure out why.  Her husband had died a year earlier.  She was trapped in a body and mind that had turned against her.  She no longer knew her family.  She could only speak her mother tongue.  English was lost to her.  She could not communicate with anyone but my mother.  And my mother lived 3 hours away from her.

In January, my life as I knew it blew up.  Twelve days later, my grandmother died.

I remember thinking at the time, “really?  really?  right now?”

I have a great picture of my grandparents that was taken back in the ’60’s, at a convention of some sort.  They look very swish and dapper.  Very Mad Men.  I remember looking at the picture of the two of them and saying out loud, “really?”

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I always knew that my grandparents were leaving everything they had to me.  I was their only grandchild.  They had already lost one of their daughters, and that turning point in their life caused them to change their wills and give everything to me.  I can speculate as to why they did that but I will never know for certain.

I never knew it would save my life.  Figuratively speaking.

Had my grandmother died in December as we expected, I would have received my inheritance, deposited it into our joint bank account, and used it to pay off debt.  I would have been left alone, and with no money to speak off.  Because of course he would have still left.

Thankfully, where I live, inheritance is not divisible by a divorce.  Even if I had received the money when we were still legally married.  If I had kept it separate, he still would have no claim on it.  However, I would have used it.  All of it would have gone to debt.  That is all we own.  Debt.

With my rediscovered spirituality, I decided that my grandfather, who had died back in 2013, got my grandmother to hold on.  Just a little bit longer.  And while it was not ideal that she died when I was fully overwhelmed in grieving my marriage, it couldn’t have happened at a better time.

I say that the money has saved me.  I try not to be frivolous with it, but having sacrificed for so long, sometimes it is hard.

That money though, is paying for my lawyer.  Something I would not have been able to do.  I do not have a job.  I have no income of my own.  Without my inheritance I would have been forced to sit down with a mediator and the ex.  That would not have gone well.

I speak with my grandfather on a regular basis.  I ask him for help.  I ask him for strength.  Sometimes he is subtle with his help.  Sometimes he it pretty much smacks me right in the face.

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Today I find myself in the city where they used to live.  In the city where they lay to rest in the cemetery.  I have been here often in the past two months.  Interesting because I have never really liked this city.  But it is the city where my someone new lives.

I decided that on one of my visits, I would take a trip to the cemetery.  Today was the perfect day for it.  A crisp, sunny fall day.

Their headstone and plot was bathed in sun.  It was so warm.  It made me grateful that they picked that spot.  I can see that every day when the sun is out, there is a warmth that shines down on them.

I was able to sit today.  In the grass and autumn leaves.  I talked to my grandfather.  A bit.  It was the first time since he died where I really felt his absence.  Where I realize how much I miss him.  He was so wise, caring and kind.  Although it would have broken his heart to see me go through what I have gone through, I would love to hear his thoughts.  His insight.  Feel his love.

Today I felt it.  Sitting there with him.  And my grandmother.  And my aunt.  I miss them all.  I realized that I have not really ever taken a moment to mourn their deaths.  To really reflect on how important they were to me.  To feel how much I loved them.

Because I have rediscovered my spirituality, and I believe that the universe has a plan for me, I know that they are with me.  Every day.  Most especially my grandfather.  Guiding me.  Loving me.  Helping me along the way.  Showing me what I need to see, when I need to see it.  Reminding me that all will be ok.

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While sitting with my grandfather today, I started my book.  His book actually.  His story.

And so it begins.

Cocooning

I have a thing with beds.

I like spending time in my bed at home.  It is a safe place for me.  A place where the world stops and I can just breathe.  Where I do some of my best thinking.  My best writing.  My best reading.  I feel protected.  Almost like I am on an island and the world continues on around me.

My bed is new.  Only mine.  I lugged each and every piece up four flights of stairs to my apartment.  And I put it together on my own.  Every time I get in that bed I am not only reminded of my new life, but I am proud.  Proud of what I have accomplished.

Today as I write this, I am in a bed.  But it is not mine.

It is more comfortable.  It is safe.  I could spend hours here.  I want to spend hours here.  Alone.  Or not.  There is just something about this bed.

I love the way the mattress feels forgiving.  It accepts the weight of my body.  Our bodies.

The weight of the duvet makes me feel protected.  A shield to the outside world.   When I am in it, I feel like I am in a cocoon, and when I emerge I will be stronger.

The smell of the sheets.  The smell of his pillow.

I leave the bed and I can’t wait to return.  Later in the day.  Later in 12 days.  Never enough time.