Fearful Hoper

I was asked to write a vision statement of what my life would look like when I am healthy.  I have attempted to write this for over a month at least ten different times.  I cannot envision what my future will be, what I will strive for — the positive.  All I can see is what it won’t be — the negative. 

I am aware of my tendency to focus on my disasters.  And I do remember losing all hope, very vividly.   I still remember the numbing taste of devastating defeat and heartbreak. 

A couple weeks ago a friend who I have known since elementary school told me to wake up and say, “It’d going to be a GREAT DAY TODAY!” fifty times.  Sounded easy enough.  I could hardly get the god-damned words out of my mouth.  What was stopping me?  Why couldn’t I do this? 

 A fear cements my soul and holds my spirit from soaring, from overcoming.  I am afraid to dream, to hope. 

Will I be disappointed again.  What if I try again and I am hurt again?  What if I fail… again. 

I have a myriad of failures etched on my life:  I quit basketball, I quit god, I quit marriage, I quit on myself, I quite life, I quit trying, caring, hoping.  I fear that I could not endure more disappointment; I would not survive being destroyed again.  YET this keeps me down, in the mud, never looking up.     

I don’t want my life to suck anymore, I want to get healthy.  Most importantly, I don’t want to waste another breath. 

Please help me, please help me envision a future that doesn’t destroy, hurt or blame.  Help me to be willing to dream and want good for myself.  I cannot live the way I am but I am too afraid to move on — I am stuck.  The hopelessness returns.  

The sun is shinning..loud and clear.

I slept with the window open last night. Wide open. I awoke to the neighbors dog barking, the sun shining bright and the smell of spring.

I got to spend the morning with one of my dearest and most wise friend – Priscilla. When I think of Priscilla the word joy always comes to mind. She honestly is one of the most beautiful souls I have ever met. She is someone who has only known me broken. Really broken.

The truth is, I do not believe I’d be on any path to recovery without Priscilla. She has helped me so much. Today was no different, she said something profound when I was asking why. She said that someone had once told her that many ‘why’ questions could not be answered this side of heaven.. a better question is a ‘what’ question. When she reworded my question an answer came to me at once.

And even though the answer is something I do not understand, nor feel comfortable contemplating — shame and guilt’s voice didn’t seem as loud at that moment.

As I left Priscilla’s house the sun was warm, the day beautiful. I smiled.

When I got home I took my dog for a bike ride. Perfect.

I sat on the couch and talked to Mac – laughing. Perfect.

I watched my old friend Zack’s basketball team play online at the American Indian Basketball Tournament. Perfect.

I bought pastrami at the store. Perfect.

I am blessed. I am enough. Could it be possible?

In a book by Dr. Brene Brown – Gifts of Imperfection, Brene reminds us that we are, “enough.” She says our imperfections are what make us special, and even though fear gets the best of us sometimes, we are all, “worthy of love and belonging.”

It is important for me to remember Brown’s words but does God think I’m enough? Does God love me. It says he loves everyone right?

Today I will rest in the glimpses of perfection that I have experienced. I will rest in the answers I do not feel comfortable with. I will rest in the answers I know not. I will rest in the blessings I have experienced today. The enoughness.

I look forward to tomorrow today.

A friend, a walk, neat whiskey and damn good meatloaf

Tonight my good friend Dewey and I went for a walk.  

Dewey is one of the good guys.  He is smart, compassionate, loyal and most importantly – funny as shit.  Our friendship has weathered deaths of loved ones, surgeries, trials and break-ups.  He was my trainer at The Ridge during the very worst years of my life.  The years where I gave up, the years where people failed me and I failed myself.  In a way I guess I failed him too.  But he has never given up on me.  

I don’t deserve such a true friend.  Yet there we were walking along chatting about this and that.  

I realized that I have people that care.  I am not alone.  I have community.

Friends like Dewey are special and unique.  I know that deep in my heart and soul.  To me it’s all that matters, I value it more than any other thing in this world.    

Some vintage and worn in.. .full of history and depth.  Some brand new… full of new discoveries and unexpected goodness.  

I need to focus on this.. focus on all that I have been given, all that is good.  An invitation to purpose and life and purpose.

There may have been people that have failed me but that is not the end of the story.    

PEOPLE THAT ARE FOR ME:  Dewey, Zack, Tad, Bill, Scott, Brian, Priscilla, Nancy, RaLynn, Saul, Neal, Shannon — I am so thankful.  

My family:  Mac and Brooks and Loki (a four legged furry person who loves me more than anyone ever has).   

That is a shit-load of folks.  Some really incredible people too!

After our walk up and around Pete’s Hill…. enjoying a beautiful sunset.  We ate dinner at Ale Works.  My favorite.. .neat whiskey and MONTANA MEATLOAF.  Life is good.  I need to be thankful and celebrate.  

This is good news.  

My hair cut and why I will survive.. I hope.

WARNING:  A BUNCH OF WHINING AND SWEARING IS ABOUT TO COMMENCE… Read at your own risk…

A couple of weeks ago I cut over 6 inches off my hair.. NO ONE NOTICED.  NO ONE. 

I talked to my Mom this weekend.  They are in Portland staying with my sister for entire month because she really needs help.  She is struggling being a stay at home mom and adjusting from her move from Italy (nearly two years ago) and being married to a missionary for Campus Crusade for Christ.  It’s really hard.  REALLY?  She tried to explain to me the hardship of having teenagers.  Yeah.  I get it.  I think if you remember I have two of those.  Truly I want to empathize  I want to be understanding.  I want to celebrate my parents willingness to help… I want to feign relating.  One half-hour later… she states she’d better run.  Never once asking me how I am.    

…Is it because I won’t let them see me, or because they are blind?  Or does my pain and hardship matter not?

I’m quiet.. My mom says, “are you tired.”  I confess that it’s just been a hard, busy week.  My mom is surprised.  “Oh, WHY?”  

I wanted to say WHY THE FUCK DO YOU THINK?   I am separated from my husband, working more than full-time, going to school, broke, tired, fat and alone.

I say, “Oh, with school, work and the kids it’s just really overwhelming.”  … Oh.. is that all?  We are going to the coast tomorrow.  Talk to you later. click.   

In the last six months while I have been separated they have spent 48 hours at my house… over two different trips.  Each time I served them like dogs — cooking and cleaning – sleeping on the couch so they could have my bed.  They live three and a half-hours away.  Am I feeling sorry for myself …  what the hell is wrong with me.

I went to church yesterday.  I used to attend this church for about six years.  I was very involved .. on the worship team, educational director, listening, caring, serving.  We left over seven years ago because Beau blamed them for being a shitty husband — ‘there was no leaders there he respected that would help him be a better husband.’  I have now returned without Beau and go ‘every so often.’  I cried throughout worship near the back.  NO ONE NOTICED.  NO ONE. [p.s.honestly I was relieved at the time.]  After service a lady whom I know approached me, “Will you bring something to Easter Brunch.”  SERIOUSLY?  FUCK YOUR STUPID BRUNCH.  

I say, “I’m sorry, I don’t know if I’ll be here.”  She simply shrugs and walks away.  I drove away.  “That’s fine I’ll shut myself down, I’ll disassociate, desensitize myself to life until these things happening no longer bother me . . . .”NO…. THAT IS HOW I ENDED UP LIKE THIS… I NEED TO CARE.  I NEED TO TRY.  I NEED TO KEEP TRYING. 

My super religious friend Mike admits that he’s afraid I might regret divorcing Beau.. “You know, you can never get married again ‘or you’ll go to hell’ for being an adulteress” [ok. the burning in hell part was added for dramatic effect – other shit is factual]  Really?  Ah.. he was abusive and neglectful for nearly twenty years and you witnessed the aftermath on two occasions   WTF.  FUCK YOU AND YOUR JUDGEMENT AND HIDING BEHIND YOUR LAW INSTEAD OF ACKNOWLEDGING I WAS WRONGED.   

The struggle to dig out is hard.  I question my sanity.  I question what is wrong with me.  I question why is it worth it.  THE ANSWER IS …FOR A BETTER LIFE.

Right now I may not be ‘good at understanding, but I’m good at standing ground.’  I need to do this for me even though I am invisible.  I will survive.   

Watchn’ Hoops

Tonight I watched one of my reservation teams compete in the State Class C boy basketball tournament.  It was great to see my friends and watch their kids hoop it up.

I miss competition.  I miss being at my best.  I miss being proud of who I am.  

Yet day after day I do nothing to produce real change.  Today I didn’t work out.  I didn’t eat.  I didn’t take time to be still.  

I feel the things I did were important.. Mac and I went shopping for Prom and Mr. Panther.  We found everything he needed — which required money that I don’t have.  But we had a great time sharing thoughts and dreams.  

I took Brooks to the tournaments with me so he would work at concessions.  We laughed and sang all the way home.

Now I struggle to keep awake to write this.  

I have to believe that tomorrow will be a better day.  

Goals I have met — blog and being playful.
Pedometer – 123 (once again… WTF?  That cannot be right!)

Finding my way…

I just turned forty and I am finally at peace.  I have been granted a new start, a renewed hope.  You have to understand though, a little over a year ago I was more than dead.

I was born on the 20th of June, 1972.  Independent, spirited, smart and athletic.  Strong, charismatic with genuine ideals.  Courageous.  Lovely.  Laughing.  Striding thru life with confidence and ease, always knowing the next step.  Assimilating to new cultures and achieving status.  I accepted my failures and tried harder to overcome.  Never questioning my soul, never losing hope.  Who would have expected that I would end up losing myself?  

Everything happened gradually at first, slowly picking up speed, magnitude and momentum until I was left in pieces:  a failure, broken, ashamed.  My relationships were shattered and I questioned not only my faith but also my sanity.  I hated myself.  I was guilty.  If only I could have been a better person, if I could have been stronger, if only I could get it right.  But it was too late and I was left wondering, “How did I become this person?”  

Knowing it was all over, my soul laid down and waited for my body to die.  I no longer had dreams.  There was nothing left.  It was my fault, everything was – my past had been right.

That was before Sunday, December 18, 2011, the first time the thought of living actually crossed my mind.  It was a beautiful, crisp sunny day and the sun seemed to penetrate my very essence.  Throughout that next week leading up to Christmas I began to see my life as a possibility.  By New Year’s Day I understood that I needed to get up and live.

My major social groups consisted of my family, my church and my job; each of these groups was in turmoil. 

I was surrounded by dysfunction and hardship growing up but I truly believed that there was something more for me.  Then in May of 1994 I got married.  I fell in love with a good, honest man who had integrity, came from a strong Christian family, and yet let me be who I was.  What I didn’t know that he was not whom he seemed to be, I’ve learned this true of most people.  Growing up he had been socialized to adopt outward attributes, to please his parents and conform to their religion, constantly hiding his true self.  We struggled.  He lied.  He was unstable, unreliable and unfaithful.  His moods and actions at home were different than he presented in public, I didn’t trust him.  He was abusive.  We sought help from the church, he played his part and they blamed me.  I suggested divorce, begged for separation – anything.  He was furious, as was the Church — that’s just not what you do.  God hates divorce.  You stay together, even if it is destroying you daily.  Forgive and turn the other cheek.  Maybe this is what I deserved.  I was alienated and avoided.

In March of 2005 I was sexually assaulted while at work, an emotionally torturous attack.  I hurt, my husband cared only about himself and was not supportive.  His ego and pride was threatened because our status, that of the good Christian family, was shaken.  It did not appear like it should, like his families did.     

I was not raised going to church.  I remember going now and then.  I went more when I started attending College, becoming more involved after I got married and had kids.  I was just who I was, I was truthful and honest about my imperfection.  I never felt like I needed to fake something I was not; I didn’t know that threatened them.  I played bass and sang on the worship team, taught Sunday School, helped friends, led Bible Studies, and even serving as a certified Biblical Counselor, but when I was sexually assaulted, I was once again told it was my fault and was shamed.  I was told it happened because ‘my personality was a green light’, I disagreed.   When he was discovered watching porn on our son’s computer, a pastor told me, “controlling women cause this.”   All bullshit.

I was stigmatized and labeled as having a ‘Jezebel spirit’ because I was unwilling to submit and be obedient to the patriarchal hierarchy.  The dominant ideology was that they were right, I was wrong, they were going to heaven… I was going to hell.  They knew better.   

I started working at MSU in 1999.  It was more than a job really, it was a mission.  I believed in what we did and felt it truly made a difference.  I loved my job and my job loved me, review after review I received above excellent accolades.  In 2005, even though the University’s policy specifically prohibits it, my boss hired his wife to be his subordinate and my supervisor.  Her severe narcissism coupled with his inability to honestly address things caused the office to implode.   I had worked on campus for nearly twelve years but without a undergraduate degree I was not able to apply for jobs that had a similar pay scale; I had the experience, I just didn’t have the credentials.  I couldn’t just quit, I couldn’t afford a pay cut – I needed the money and benefits.  Stuck again.

The two other employees in the department left, I contacted my union. They smiled and nodded, doing nothing – hoping I would go away.  Two years later they eventually transferred me to the Dean’s office.   Even though they had a policy and agreed what was going on was wrong, they had no plan on what to do to change it.  My daily abuse, once again, didn’t matter. 

Everything that had happened seemed so personal:  no one cared.  

My goal is to redeem this story for me.  To find a way to back.  Somehow.