Feelings And Fish

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I am not sure this will make sense but I am sure going to try.

Today was THERAPIST DAY. It was a doozie. She always makes me think and dig deep to find my own truths.  This is what she said to me that made me have an “A-hah!” moment. It was something I “knew” yet something that was not yet crystal clear to me.

You would think that at middle age I would have “gotten” this before or at least been observing it under the lens of magnification before, but suddenly today it became very clear. Like turning the dial on the microscope and finally being able to focus in tightly and clearly on the subject, which in this case just happens to be me.

After telling her about how I felt sharing my feelings in my relationship was important and anything less was somehow dishonest, she said, “No one else is expected to honor your feelings except you. They are yours alone. Stop expecting that B will honor what are yours to carry.”

Really! I thought that was what marriage was suppose to be about. Honoring the relationship, honoring one another in that relationship. Apparently not when it comes to your own feelings. No expectations here because all you will be is disappointed. Yeah, I know, the Buddha says the same thing.

“Stop worrying about the stuff up there, what B is doing, what B is thinking” she said looking upwards. “Go deeper and dig to find your own truths. Think of it this way. You know when you walk in one of those aquarium  tunnels and the sharks and fish are swimming above you?  Sure, you could worry about all the murky stuff floating/moving above you, the weight of all those millions of gallons of water, the sharks breaking free and swallowing you whole. But seriously, if you have your feet planted firmly on the floor examining your own truths (these tunnels are safe) and not worrying about the sharks swimming above you, you will finally relax and enjoy what it is you are seeing.  And you will soon see the truth. Your truths. The truths that you are meant to discover. Eventually you will just enjoy watching the fish and will discover that you can ignore the poop that is floating above you. In fact, by ignoring the other (fish poop, worries about tunnel caving in, etc.) then you can really get into it and experience all the wonder of the relationship around you. ”

Now, somehow I am suppose to transfer this bit of fish lore to my life and my relationship with B. I am not exactly sure how, but said therapist assures me that as B is left to look at himself, instead of me trying to get him to see all that is floating around in the water with us; everything will soon become much clearer to me…and to him too. This doesn’t mean everything will turn out the way I would like but at least with clarity comes a sense of truth and knowing what you are doing is the right thing for you… and this woman needs a boat load of that.

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Past The Depths Of Hell

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I’ve been past the depths of hell

These last 18 months

Changing myself

And trying to make you happy

You have happily filleted my heart

Scraping out my innards

As you lifted my soul out of my middle-aged body

And held it up for the world to see

I’ve been past the depths of hell

Down further than one

Ought to go without proper diving gear

I’ve been awash on a sea of tears

That could have floated an ocean liner

Tears of sorrow, frustration, and anger

A body dragged across the sandy floor

Leaving raw, mangled meat

Hanging on the bone

The shark circling in for the kill

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I’ve been past the depths of hell

Losing myself while trying to please you

Carrying your burdens first

While dragging mine behind

Sleepless nights

Etching my face with fine lines

I look like I’ve aged 18 years

Instead of 18 months

I’ve been past the depths of hell

I mourn what was

I mourn what is to come

I mourn for our innocent children

I mourn for our marriage

Which was only an illusion

Like you-illusionist

Like me-the mind reader

You settling for something

You knew you didn’t want

Along time ago

But didn’t have the guts to say what

You needed or wanted

Until the resentments rose up

And rolled the ship under

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I’ve been past the depths of hell

And I’ve going down for another dive

But this time when I surface

I will be all alone

And divorce will bear my name

Holding onto my tattered mind

And a body that spent

Thirty years

Loving you

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Understanding

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If you have read this blog before you know that I have been struggling with B’s decision to take a “business” trip to Asia without me. For the past several years we had gone together to try to build closeness in our fragile relationship. I appreciated those times together, the shared experiences and, of course, time away from the kids. So I was hurt when he said he was going alone. Then when I asked about something that seemed odd he admitted he was going somewhere else too. I fretted and wondered if he would have even told me about this new itinerary and I felt betrayed because it brought back past business travels in which odd things had happened. But it was more than that, this anxiety I was feeling, anxiety that felt all consuming and I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. Until one night I realized it was rooted in fear from the past. Fear because the last time we were apart for 10 days, when I arrived home he wanted a divorce and it brought me back to two years ago when I lost my rudder. I can only imagine this is what PTSD feels like. Bleak, scary and uncertain.  And while I knew that our relationship wasn’t in the same place it was back then my raw emotions couldn’t process that fact for emotions are funny things and whether accurate or not they pull at the soul and can stretch you out of shape.

So now he is away on “business”and not a “vacation” as I insist it is. And B didn’t bother to tell me that even though he would arrive in the wee hours of the morning on Saturday, he wouldn’t actually be engaging in any sort of business activity until Tuesday. I’m sorry, in my mind that is a vacation. Now I could be really upset about this. Not that he wasn’t really doing the business that he insisted he was but upset because once again the pattern of 1/2 truths has appeared to prevail. But this time I am working on really trying to see this in a different light…I hope I can succeed.

It has taken me a while to realize that not everyone loves us in the way we think we need or in the way we would like. Often, they just love us in the way that they are capable of loving us often to our disappointment or dismay. If life were ideal I would have complete and utter honesty but that is uncomfortable for B because he grew up not being allowed to express his feelings and he doesn’t feel he can express his feelings to me.This hurts though I have brought some of it on myself. B feels that to express his needs is shameful or selfish and as a result he hides them to himself and from others. So while I would have loved for him to be honest and say “I don’t have any meetings until Tuesday but I have decided that I need a few days to relax and have a few days of ME time,” he couldn’t allow himself to do that even though I asked him to just be honest and admit he wanted time alone.

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So instead of being upset about the fact that he was a little less than honest I am trying to see his actions as those of a man who cannot ask for what he needs. A man who does not believe he deserves time alone. A man who believes anything he wants that does not involve his family is selfish on his part. Sure, I wish he had just been 100% honest but if I look through into his soul I know he is incapable of focusing on himself. And so I am trying to let go of the fact that he cannot love me as I wish but instead loves me as he can. It is flawed and sometimes it hurts but at this point in life this is how he loves. So I can choose to be angry or I can choose to accept knowing he is doing the best he can at this point in time. Today I choose acceptance…I hope I will choose it tomorrow too! For I deserve it and so does he.

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Fibromyalgia

I am a very lucky person. I have fibromyalgia but it is not as debilitating for me as it is for many. It used to be that I had tremendous pain on a fairly regular basis for days at a time but since I started following R. Paul St. Amand, M.D.’s protocols, I have found that for the most part I can live a fairly pain free life. That is why when I woke up in excruciating pain the other morning I was more than a little surprised and very disappointed.

It started with that deep ache throughout my legs as if a truck was laying across them. Moving didn’t help. Shaking my legs didn’t either. Massage didn’t work and beating on them to relieve the pain was for naught.

“Crap,” I thought with a sigh reaching for the aspirin before climbing out of bed. “I am getting old.This sucks.”

It was when I stood up that I realized what was happening. I could barely walk and when I did I looked like a 90 year old lady doing the Downtown Shuffle. I knew that the fibromyalgia had returned with a vengeance and I was pissed. Actually, I was pissed at myself because there are some things I can do to myself that trigger the pain. Yet, the day prior I  had ignored those triggers and ate myself into a sweet oblivion. Yes, sugar is one of my culprits and yet I dive into it like its a cool pool on a hot summers day.

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Usually, I don’t share the pain that I am in. Family members don’t understand why I can feel great one day and a week later be in so much pain. So I usually hide it…until I can’t. The pain makes me grumpy and I either can’t sleep or sleep to avoid the pain. I have serious brain fog (constantly) but I am thankful that with Dr. St. Amand’s help my days in pain are kept at a minimum.

I keep thinking that someday I will “get” it. That I will get tired of feeling crappy. That someday I will care enough about being pain free that I will actually “THINK” about what I am doing BEFORE I put things into my mouth that are going to hurt me later on. That I will care enough about myself to be mindful of what is going in and on my body. And it also occurs to me that perhaps this is some form of self punishment. I mean after all who would knowingly do something when they know they will severely pay for it later?

For now I will do what I can. Drink a lot of water and get out there and force myself to walk…miles. While it used to be I avoided movement when I felt this way, I have come to understand that for me, exercise, even if forced, seems to help alleviate the pain. And tomorrow I will try to stop crucifying myself once again.

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Self-Deception

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When did I …STOP…

Seeing myself as a StRoNg

And CoNfIDeNt Woman?

Was it when…

I didn’t finish my Master’s Degree?

DoUbTfUl

Was it when I stopped working

To take care of a family…

The loneliest Job in the world?

Maybe

Was it when those unexplained absences

Occurred

On those silent nights

When you were gone?

Didn’t help

Or perhaps I never really was

StRoNg and CoNfIdEnT

Those powers lost when I

Was But a ChiLD

Struggling to UNDerStand

A World I Couldn’t

Possibly know

A world made for adults

At which I played dress-up

Taking tea laced with whiskey

Trying to act cool

And impress people

I shouldn’t have bothered with

Did they BeAt me down?

Or did I do it to myself?

I would guess the latter

Yet, I would also suspect

This is a more recent

Phenomenon

That has arrived

Tangled in those few gray hairs

I pluck at

To remove from sight

That age I should be celebrating

Instead of fighting

Like an epic battle

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Between GoOd and EviL

Lost in a dark forest

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In which most of the trees were

Felled long ago

But where shadows remain

With a poster tacked to

The BriTtLe bark of a downed tree which reads:

Lost…StRoNg & CoNfiDeNt Middle Aged Woman

With Blue eyes

A big heart

And dark circles under her eyes

If Found

Please return her to…

ME…

 I miss her

 

 

 

Into The Dark I Go

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So this week I went to see my therapist. We had an interesting discussion in which she told me that I do not have to say out loud every thought that enters my brain. And while I have “understood” this for quite a while I have a hard time putting it into practice for it stems from some parts of my childhood and marriage that are not yet resolved. For whatever reason, I associate that saying what you feel it = honesty. Not saying what you feel = dishonesty.

“How is that working for you?” she asked. “Not too well is it? I have to say your radar on honesty and dishonesty is out of whack. It is a defense that has nothing to do with true honesty and you need to work hard to figure it out.”

Even I have to admit she is correct. Evidence shows that this way of operating befuddles me and creates unnecessary pain for myself and others.

She went on:

“You think you are being honest when in fact you are not because you are not allowing time for things to gel. By jumping the gun you are getting facts wrong or putting them in a category that they do not belong in. You are not containing what you are thinking long enough to see if the facts line up with your powerful intuition and when you speak from intuition without the facts you are not being honest.You are not being mindful. In fact, by not allowing time to pass in which you can throughly examine what is before you, well, you are contributing to some of the dishonesty that occurs in your life.”

Ouch.

“Further,” she went on, “When you speak too soon it shows that you are not operating in a conscious and mindful manner. It shows that you are just surviving which is not healthy.”.

Ugh

Again she is right …which makes the near future a whole lot more difficult. Because once again I have got some heavy duty work to do on myself which means unpacking a lot of boxes that lie in the Place of Mystery which are hidden in the deep and dark recesses of my mind. And while I know it will be worth it in the end, right now it feels like trying to unwrap a house that has been encased in yards of cellophane one layer at a time. This feels hard, tiresome and exhausting.  And it will be. I try to remind myself that to produce the change I want to see, I have to put forth effort. So today, I start by unpacking one box and putting one foot in front of the other… so I get eventually get where I want to go.

With the light of wisdom

We leave behind the forest of confusion.

With determination we learn,

We reflect and practice -Thich Nhat Hanh

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You Know That Anniversary Breakfast…

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So we went to our 31st anniversary breakfast. It didn’t go so well. At least for me.It was here that B decided to finally share his feelings which are:
1. He wants to feel the feeling of loving me like I can do no wrong…the way he used to feel but he is unsure that he ever can again. He wants to feel once again like he worships the ground I walk on…which he is not sure that he ever can again.
2. That he is unsure that we are compatible or ever will be. I like to read he doesn’t. He likes to play the bagpipes, I do not. I tend to look for answers and he lets things lay. We go about things differently.He thinks it is important to be with someone he is compatible with…doesn’t know if that can be us.
3. That he doesn’t think we want the same things in life.
4. That he is afraid he cannot find his way back to me
5. That there is commitment on his part rather than deep love…which he would like to find again but doesn’t know how.
6. B wonders if we can we both live with what it is now or what it looks like in the future if there isn’t that deep love that he used to have with me.
7. He is upset that I am not happy living where we do
8. He thinks that when the kids are gone we will have nothing together and he is afraid it will look like now…with all this sadness and turmoil that we are going through right now and he doesn’t want that.
I said that it sounded as if he has made up his mind. That he sounds like our relationship is hopeless. We talked about what splitting up would look like. I think it seems weird divorcing because our marriage isn’t perfect. I mean it is not horrible we rarely fight. He says he feels happy/content in our relationship 60/40. I guess I feel 70/30 but I wouldn’t have said that before all this began.
I am discouraged. It doesn’t seem to matter that I no longer yell, that I am calmer, that the house is cleaner. It feels like nothing I do will change things. I’ll love you more if (fill in the blank) and you do it and it is just B.S.
He doesn’t know what he wants. I don’t think that is fair but maybe I am pushing for a resolution that might be different if I could just wait it out.I struggle with limbo.
I am sad.
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The Road Not Taken…335 Days To Fix This…29 Days Yell Free

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Robert Frost’s A Road Not Taken is a mystery to poets and critics alike. To author, David Orr, Frost’s poem is, ” a commentary on the self-deception we practice when constructing the story of our own lives.”

And I think that could be true.

For we all practice self-deception of one sort or another in order to stay with our significant other. We re-write the stories we tell ourselves about why we love, why we stay, who we love and the games they play in order to make the story comfortable to us. We all make up stories which allow us to go on with our lives. “He won’t hit me again”, “He’ll fall in love with me again”, “We can survive this,” are the words some say in attempt to change the storyline and make it “fit” into how we imagine the story of our lives should go.

In this vein, I suspect if you asked most men when they hear the words ” The Road Not Taken”  they would say it takes them back to the  women who have inhabited their lives. For it seems to me, that men are often following that Road Not Taken back to the past; wondering if Anna would have been a better lover, if he would have had more in common with Jane at this point in his life and if Jennifer would have been a better mother.  Often, it appears to me that men “regret” losing the woman on whose path they did not travel, while women “what if” or “if only” the road they chose to take. Men seem to let go of their culpability in the demise of a relationship while women, well we, “if only” ourselves to death. “If only I was thinner I could still be married to him.”

Me, I am trying to take a fresh approach on Frost. I think that what he meant was that we as people are altered with every decision we make when we step onto one road and leave one behind. As a result we need to make decisions that will bring us to our best and true self. And that whatever road we have taken we must make it the best road for us. One full of life. One full of hope. One of love, compassion and grace. We can’t turn around and take the “other” road but we can enjoy the one we are on. So today, I am going to take hard,strong, meaningful steps on my path. I will leave the tip-toeing around for another day.