The couch of mixed emotions….

I’ve been going through the ringer lately. Personally. Professionally. Motherly. Wifely.

Is there some kind of unwritten rule after your 100th post you fall apart?

How does one come back from a dream over a year in the making, financially and emotionally expensive, crashing down around them? I guess I’m figuring that out right now.

Breaking and trying to rebuild only to be so fragile the whole structure just breaks again, and you get even more discouraged and start having a tantrum.

I’ll grasp at any other dream right now to try and calm the pain. That’s how I work. I move forward while suffering, and the forward movement becomes my saving grace somehow, even when I can’t see it or feel it yet.

A dear friend of mine was recently talking about presence. So not surprisingly it has come up for me this morning. My wife and I had an argument yesterday. A fight really and honestly in two years we haven’t had much of one. We got into that space where neither of us could hear the other over our own feelings, and both felt justified, but all the while missing each other and wanting to find our way back. But every time we would try to come back, it would flare again. My wife is much softer on the outside than I am. When any kind of intense or overwhelming situation occurs for me I can go to a very cold and dark place, and I’m not accessible or pleasant when I’m in there. I am seeing that I will not escape talking about trauma as my legacy. I’ve tried for a long time. After all I’d like to be one of the “normal” people, that does not become filled with terror at the slightest hint of someone’s upset with me. It feels wriggly to admit that 🙁 even in this sage space with those who love me. They are deep inside feelings.

Anyway more in trauma later I promise. For now a quick summary of the argument includes the couch story. Have I ever told you guys this story? Well Courtney (my wife) came with this god forsaken piece of her history. Her and her ex partner had purchased a very very expensive designer, custom made couch. It is fabric and had plush down cushions and should only be washed by the hands of the Gods. Basset furniture professionals.

Anyway we saw a therapist for a few sessions to transition and blend her into our family. One thing I remember distinctly this woman saying was do not bring that couch into your home with kids and dogs. We kind of knew she was right. However the problem is she had just used a giant chunk of her savings to pay the thing off and we couldn’t have gotten 1/4 of the cost of it. What a loss! We decided we would rather have this nice piece of furniture while agreeing we understood the risks. Never in the history of the world has a therapist been more correct.

My Frenchie Sigmund Freud has a bad habit of peeing on anything fabric if he isn’t taking out just about every hour of the day. We have tried everything about this. Sprays, trainings, quarantine. Another problem is he is such a love bug that if he’s not on you at all times he will cry. He’s extremely high maintenance.

So he has christened the couch no less than several too many times, and trying to fix the problem is a whole production. To the point I am nervous that damn couch will become my children’s trauma. As any good mother knows washable pleather is the only reasonable choice for one’s sanity in the realm of children. This is why we can’t have nice things is a phrase often tossed around in our home.

Teens will be teens, and I think if they wandered around anxiously terrified something will become dirty I would be so much more concerned than them being careless. Is this bad ?! I see what pressure does. I see what people who can’t relax end up like, body wise and heart wise. Given the choice more mess, less stress would always be my credo. But the average person who has never lived with children, never mind navigating the complications of cohabitation in general, likes to have order and cleanliness. And don’t get me wrong I like those too. But for me it came down to that or my sanity. Sanity won out and I had to battle what everyone would think, the possibility of feeling like bad mom, etc.

So this is what happens. My wife and I try to go away to get some time to revive an us, to not get lost in the shuffle and our current grief pit. But whenever we do all hell breaks loose at home. The kids are too old to need a babysitter for one night, when the neighbor across the street is there and vigilant, and too young to be expected to have the weight of the world on their shoulders while trying to do well in school, and have their own things going on.

So we got to Vivint’s annual conference in MA, and whilst there get a barrage of texts about the state of affairs at home. The bulldog has claimed the couch his with his signature marking, a gift to us I’m guessing he thinks. And the kids are scrambling in terror to blame whoever is responsible, and we are a state away and now our presence is taken from the conference and stress ensues. The kids are stressed, we are stressed, and that boils over into a few trauma triggers for me. This will be continued as I said because I think it’s really important to speak openly about.

After a few hours of anxious albeit blessed rest I have to clean up the mess I caused the day before any a fury. Threatening to get rid of our dogs, almost sleeping on the couch, and this is a land I haven’t lived in for oh so long. And clearly not helping the kids figure out how to be better while also letting them know they are always loved and safe. I withdraw because I don’t know I’m loved and safe so often. My mind goes elsewhere seemingly no matter how hard I try. It swims to me being a burden, and I cause a partner stress, and all of this chaos.

Anyway this morning. Argument resolved with my wife, though both drained and sad by the interaction, and me trying not to blame myself for being so intense about such things…. and now will come clean up with the kids. So much shrapnel can be left from only a minor interaction such as this. 🙁

So my takeaway was this: I ended up looking at the bulldog this morning and thinking how much I love him and could never give him up, and then stop and picture my kids and how proud and grateful I am, and my life. I am present fully awake, not frenzied by this or that fear or thought, and I feel love and compassion for all of us on this crazy adventure that is my creation. When you create a big life and have big dreams, it’s also a big responsibility, and mine is never to resent it, and always to cherish it, and to continue to learn to stay in my heart.

I want to stay in my heart. I want to be nurturing and not just furiously driven. I beg for the strength to calm my wounds and do this.

I want my wife to know this couch is something we are grateful for. We have had amazing memories on it. The teenagers hang with their friends, we snuggle on it. It isn’t perfect but it means so much to us to be loved, and for her to take a risk on coming so much out of her comfort zones. Does she know she has saved several lives, and is our personal hero? I hope so!

So this was what I wrote this am regarding this:

You know the kids and the dogs are the same concept. Pause and look at them and slow down to take care of them and appreciate what they bring to life (that isn’t just stress) and you’ll smile and feel happy thoughts. Rush through things in a frenzy, don’t stop and look, be running on a healthy dose of stress, and want them to just function independently

and well without any nurturing, and you’re in for a nightmare !

Trauma never dies…learning to walk again

It only fades further into the rear view as the years roll on, but it’s legacy lasts forever in the wiring, in the very bones of the survivor.

Let’s talk about trauma for a minute (let’s not and say we did my brain yells). By the way “let’s not and say we did”, is a phrase my mom often said. Not surprising that upon the immediate mention of trauma she comes to mind even subconsciously in the phrase I used. The opposite of that phrase as she continued on was, “let’s do and say we didn’t.” This one more her credo in life I’d say.

Let’s talk about other people’s trauma like I’m the expert my brain tells me, because I’ve worked on mine. I am the healer and the healed is much more comfortable than I am the quivering curled up ball on the floor crying because a trigger happened.

Do you want to know what I think has been holding me back from writing my memoir? Shame, yes of course. And also as long as I can be the therapist and use what I can recognize so effortlessly to help others, then maybe I can just keep moving forward and not realizing and recognizing what an intense effect trauma has had on my life.

It is in all of me, and yet I walk around so assured and so confident. People praise me for this all the time. Only the very closest to me see the physical ailments I often struggle with, the bouts of insecurity and intense anxiety ridden discomfort. The lashing out and responses that are way more than necessary when “disagreed with.” My ex husband will attest to that.

Though it’s not about me not being able to handle someone not agreeing with me. It is always always the suggestion I may be some hideously selfish breed of person or emotionally unstable. That’s my hot button and anyone that’s ever been close enough to me to know it, and disappointed in our outcome, seems to use it. Against all their other knowledge of my many positive attributes and giant soft parts, this will take over.

Ego really is larger than awareness almost always.

We become what we were bathed in, no matter how hard we try, unless we are hyper vigilant to not become it, all the days of our lives.

Do you know how hard I’ve worked to beat my crazy? The things I saw and lived through. I deny that they were even true. Even as a child I took all the responsibility into myself for all the goings on.

I was never a child, there was never a childhood.

I think tenderly of Dexter here. Yes of Dexter, the boy born in blood who wants to be a good person, the one who struggles with his dark passenger because of something he never asked for. Because someone saw the human inside of him he had found a channel to work out his feelings with, that was the most right he could get to given his circumstances. “I’m a very neat monster”, he says. Only later to realize through the power of loving and being loved that he was more human than he ever gave himself credit for. Only to lose his wife and step kids, then his sister, a woman he later fell in love with, and his very own son. The season ends with him having condemned himself in a purgatory of physical labor and isolation. Not the stuff of Disney movies is it?

Thankfully feeling dead inside or the urge to harm anyone was never my burden. Interesting that should even have to cross my mind to be grateful about, but it does and I am. Others are not so lucky as to have whatever this fierce enthusiasm to believe endlessly in the good of human beings, even in the face of such the opposite.

A way I have been unkind to myself is to believe that I suffer from anxiety and chronic illness. Pain, migraines, stomach issues, flushing, extreme fatigue, etc, separately from the trauma that created that.

My spirit fights my body every step of the way. I’ve been fighting for life/light for as long as I can remember. So when a setback touches me, it feels like the entire world I have built will come shattering down. I can know logically this isn’t how it works, and I’ve been my own electrician attempting to re-wire, and build a safe and secure home in my body.

But I’ve been trying to do this largely myself using my will. My will was no longer enough anymore. I needed to find how to allow myself to be loved. I needed to thaw. And now I might need some of my own help with some of this trauma wiring, but I am seeing first hand how difficult it is to find someone to have a full spectrum of knowledge on the topic.

I need trauma body work and yoga and relaxation therapy probably often and probably for the rest of my life. I deserve those things. I deserve to speak about my experience without worrying about wrath coming down on me, not being loyal, or that it will kill me to RE experience this in full color without the careful separation I’ve created for myself from those experiences.

But when we separate ourselves into fragments to survive, piecing the whole thing back together while trying to also do life in the ways it demands is its own purgatory. And these wounds aren’t visible to anyone, but a rare rare chosen few, if ever.

And what if I don’t want to write about trauma? Well there goes my memoir. What if I can’t figure out that careful balance of giving attention to the reader versus feeling sorry for myself. No one wants pity, especially a trauma survivor, it only creates more shame.

How is one to proceed from here?

This is my 100th blog post, it has taken 100 delvings into myself to get to this next peak. Where to from here ? I don’t yet know. But I do know that I will keep going, I have to keep going. But I don’t want to run anymore. I am tired.

I think I’ll need to learn how to walk without fearing being eaten or chased.

Suffering and Parenting Consciously

Anyone who reads this without a transcription has the patience of a God, lol. But somehow it seems more authentic.

Sometimes I think who writes like this to their kids. And the shame gremlins chime in about how perhaps “children” (though they are not anymore) should maybe not be meant to understand such adult matters. Others two cents have stated that they would have given anything to know what was going through a parent’s mind. There’s a lot of different ways to do things out there. That is for sure.

Given that we lost identical twins and my wife had a D and C five days before Christmas and two before my birthday, the year is off to a slow start enthusiasm wise. We are just navigating this perilous terrain of grief, and I wanted to share something I just realized.

A day deep in grief can seem as endless as a lifetime. Each one day spent seems like a year. Time stands still as if the beating of our hearts just stopped as well…. as if they couldn’t go on. Then for awhile your hollow chest realizes the thump is still there, and the rest of you will have to acquiesce eventually. You know you’re alive, but you can’t feel things the same way.

Everything is different and you never even gave permission for that to be so.

So here we are at the beginning of week two of 2019. Wandering numbly through the mine fields of the memories of our whole experience thus far trying to conceive. Who would ever go back for a second tour I think. But then one day I imagine we will find ourselves smiling at tiny new babies again and our dreams will re-shape themselves from the nightmares they became.

Moments of relief are where we are at now, peppered with lots and lots of sadness shrapnel. As we figure out our new expectations of ourselves, each other, and even consider a plan to move forward.

Daunting or exciting ? Do the emotions set that tone based on where we are at on our grief terrain? Or do we decide we want to be excited, AND accept the moments of suffering that just can’t be avoided as a human being?

We can only outrun or block out the inherent being of suffering for so long, it will get all of us eventually.

A dear friend is reading Eckhart Tolle’s, A New Earth. She shared with me a passage about suffering consciously. Sitting with the feelings and learning from them. That this is the only solace and way to transcend the pits of despair as it were. And even then I shall say from this experience when you’re IN suffering it seems like you’ll never get out. But somehow the resilience of the human spirit can’t help but cut through the dark. We are just made like that.

As a lighter side emerges that Chumba Wumba song, I get knocked down, but I get up again comes to mind… and all it’s silly lines.

I’m just here trying to figure it out. Trying to catch the next wave of joy, even as it seems we are swimming with sharks right now. I refuse to get out of the ocean even if I could get eaten. It’s a strange and marvelous thing this humanity.

I think of Elizabeth Gilbert often. She doesn’t even know who I am, but to me she’s a mother I never had, a best friend, a kindred spirit. I think of her grief of the loss of her partner Reyya. The other day she posted her delight at her Uber driver on the way to the airport, and that you can find joy anywhere. She is so right!

Speaking of her being a mother I never had. It’s funny how she never had children, and that was such a big deal to her at one point, other’s judgments and opinions and her own of that process. And yet I wonder how many spiritual children she has. I am certainly one. She has been a teacher, a warm shelter in the storm, and a friend in times of need. All through her beautiful words she is these. What is a parent if not these things?

Perhaps she chose to sacrifice certain aspects of individual meaning for the whole good of humanity? I wonder if she ever looked at it like that? Rather than selfish …. etc…?

Anyway yesterday my wife and I were in the car and trying to count how long it had been since surgery. We both literally estimated a month or more. We were shocked to find only a little over two weeks. I’m still thinking about this.

Time is irrelevant when it comes to the matters of the heart. I have always believed this to be true.

How sales is changing me or how is sales changing me.

The new insights that are coming from solar slaying are fascinating. It’s learning people from a whole other angle. In their homes and directly in their lives. A couple is making cream of chicken soup over a beautiful stove, they share warmth and hospitality with me. A man who smokes Newport’s and drinks Budweiser in his pajamas during the day, shares with me that his wife has been cranky lately because he has lung cancer.

New couples trying to afford to live and make it in this world, financially and emotionally. Being out on the doors as we call it and talking to people is also much like doing therapy. But I can see even more of their lives, and therefore learn more is the idea there maybe. But then I am only with them a brief time and the temptation to drop by with flowers or to stop in for a coffee is always present. I closed a deal last night and the woman seemed so sad I wanted to reach out and comfort her. I can still see her grief filled eyes and I want to do something.

Should I, shouldn’t I!? The answer is you always should when you can. Perhaps I’ll bring her flowers. The resilience of people astounds me. Recently I am included once again in this category but in a new way. We have suffered a great loss and are currently waiting for a new equilibrium as a result.

I’ve had many blog posts bouncing around in my brain like many a brightly colored rubber ball, but then the energy dwindles as fast as it comes and my pursuits are demanded elsewhere.

Some things I’ve noticed so far on the doors is that my brain moves even more frantically and settles in to write less. Produce produce produce. There is always some incentive and always the want for more. I already know ahead of the curve that once the money starts coming in, the desire for more will pique. What was once unheard of will become normalized and you’ll need more to be excited.

Life normalizes invisibly and we don’t realize it until often our behaviors have caused us issue. Many a change we never saw coming. My gift is seeing ahead by the way if intuition and much life experience to draw off of, and a deep understanding of human behavior.

This is yet again when I have to put some work on knowing my boundaries and what my priorities are, otherwise I will be swept up in the hustle. The glitz and glamor of it all. The streets that are paved with cheese. Notice I said cheese and not gold. Any small sentence can give you a clue into a human beings deepest desires.

The promise of more… there can always be more. But more is not always more of what you really want. So it’s sort of ironic that I’m working more and more on (not to be confused with moron;) ), to get to a peace filled existence of writing, reading, and being present with those I love. Is it the way? Or is this just another learning curve on the way to the way. As if there was just one way.

Will this cabin on this sacred space be an answer to my writer’s heart? A spiritual healing. Will the idea turn out as I imagine it to be ? Or will it be sinking a 50,000 (ish) ship and that being yet another lesson. Oh the woes of being a whimsical risk taking dreamer, versus a pragmatic, careful, financially minded planner.

Could I become a “salesman” that becomes more and more hungry and just keep telling myself it’s for my family. So many do you know ?! Probably the smartest course of direction would be to pay off my student loans and invest. Who else can pay off their student loans in the span of one year? That is the promise here. That’s always the smartest course of action. In the real dream scenario I will be able to do both, but that will require time and sacrifice.

If you asked my kids they would probably tell you they just want even five minutes of true presence from me over all the riches in the world. If only I had ever loved myself enough to know that when they needed it even more. But that as usual is the harshest possible version. The truth usually lies somewhere in the middle. And I forgot the long ago truths such as how I didn’t have to balance work and motherhood in the early years.

It was me who held them every single time and I looked down on them with a love burning with the power of a thousand suns. I remember that in moments, but the trick is they can’t. Their logical memories can’t anyway, perhaps their feeling ones can. Perhaps that’s why they do so well now, but because I pushed them so hard, but because I loved them better than I give myself credit for.

There are many ways to love. For me as a mother my love was shown primarily by working on my self so carefully so I didn’t cause them some of the damage that was bestowed upon me. Somethings with that plan worked really well, and others left something to be desired for.

But either way my every though in every breathing moment of my life all comes down to them. It doesn’t matter how caught up in dreams of love I was and then they crashed and burned. What I saw as my motivation and my dreams always had them in mind. This is something I rarely gave myself credit for when I listened too much to the critic(s).

Isn’t it interesting how different the idea of what I will write is compared to what I actually do? The post I thought I had inside was much reflection on the past year, and how I want to use that in this new one. It will probably still come, but this is what was on the presses today.

Hot off the presses of my mind. A life lived quite uniquely, or perhaps not at all. I just am not privy to the many other minds like mine out there.

Happy New Year everyone! I can’t wait to see what adventures 2019 brings all of us!