Rabbit Holes

Today we walked the cliffs

I saw Stan the Great Blue Herron

The Spout of a Whale

Several waterfalls

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Wildflowers growing everywhere

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A double rainbow

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Five Wet Horses

100 Sheep and One Goat

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My Kids Playing On The Waters Edge

We Held Hands Like A Old Married Couple

We kissed passionately

Both felt good

We went to dinner

By ourselves

I felt content

We played family games

I had a glass of wine

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And I felt incredibly blessed and grateful…

So how come I still question

If this is real

This new “you and I”

And wonder if this relationship

Is really true

That what I think we have

Is what we really have

Or only what I wish it to be

Will I ever trust?

That we are together forever again?

How does one learn to do that?

Is it time?

A “feeling”?

Words?

A vacation together?

Just enjoying one another’s company?

Or is it a monthly visit to the doctor

For a prescription of xanax?

When do you know it is real again?

Or do you never really know?

So you just sit quietly

Huddled within your own mind

Unable to tell truth from fiction

Anymore….never knowing for sure…

If this what I have to look forward to

For the rest of my life?

This uncertainty at its finest?

And yet…

It feels good

This truce

But how will I ever know

If I can come out from behind

The firing lines

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Safe and secure

That my body will not be riddled

With bullet holes made up of delusions

Of what I think is true

Instead of what really is

Will I ever feel safe in this relationship again?

Or will I always wonder

If I should just jump down the rabbit hole

Instead.

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Queen of Hearts

10 Minute Poem Challenge

 

QUEEN OF HEARTS

You tell me you want to keep our love alive

I tell you I want to be free

You want me to hold your hand

Until you’ve decided to be rid of me

You think that you have the advantage here

Your game so neatly played

You have counted on that fistful of hearts

Resting so neatly in your hand

To win this lovers game

You’ve used your charms quite nicely

Much like a card-counting pro

You think you hold all the cards

But I am now a worthy foe

The surety of my love for you

You mistakenly believe

Binds me to you forever

And to the rules of this game

But now I hold something more important

Than your Queen of Hearts

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Confident she’ll win the game

Thinking you have me beat

But I hold onto my dignity tightly

And play this hand so sweet

In the guise of the lowly 2’s

I use them 2 walk away

2 reject the “love” you feel for me

2 let peace fill my heart

2 feel my emotions again

2 laugh in the face of disappointment

2 love deeply even if it is not you

And instead of loving the game

That we are used to playing

I find a new understanding

That I hold the cards this time

And the heart no longer rules

But bends to the lowly 2

So I lay down my hand

And  quickly walk away

No longer do I turn and look back

I keep my eyes straight ahead

For I have finally won this hand

The game is surely dead

There are no winners here

No winner take all

But finally I have found myself

And once again stand tall

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Re-Cycle

 

Today you leave on a “business” trip

To give us space and time

And next week I’ll do the same

While our children

With all their special needs

Watch the slow

Splintering of our lives

Not seeing the whole picture yet

But getting a glimpse of what is to come

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Next week I will walk the cliffs

Gather my thoughts

And sit in silence as waves of emotions

Threaten like a gale force wind

To toss me off the path

Down to the jagged rocks below

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Wanting to make the decision that must be made

And hiding from it like a field mouse

Scampering everywhere just to avoid

Going THERE

Decisions that are far-reaching

Into children’s minds not yet formed

Which when released

Might set off an explosion

One from which this family may never recover.

I’m a freedom fighter

Setting a charge on a dark and gloomy bridge

As the flame slithers along towards it final detonation

But as you look up you see… it is your own loved one

Making their way slowly down the cobblestones

Their last seconds burned into your mind

As you try to squash the flame that you intentionally set

Not knowing at the time

Who the victims would really be

I know what is coming

More heartbreak, despair, second-guessing,

More anger, blaming and worry

Until at last

My soul will be left hollowed away

Into something completely unrecognizable to me

Something vast, flattened, and empty

Something I can abandon or recycle into something new

A vessel that only I can begin to fill again

And it’s my choice what to fill it with….

I think I’ll start with wine.

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How You Handle Discord May Predict Future Illness

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A new study has just come out from UC Berkley  and Northwestern University that followed married couples for 20 years. This study looked at how couples behaved during conflict and the illness that they developed. What they found was this:

  • People who rage with frustration tend to develop high blood pressure and cardiovascular problems.
  • Those who keep “a stiff upper lip,” shutting down, or “stonewalling” tend to develop musculoskeletal problems such as back problems or muscle stiffness.

 

The authors of the study believe that their research shows how emotions effect health and how long-term behaviors can negatively affect health. By looking at marital conflict conversations for just 15 minutes researchers could predict with amazing accuracy the development of health issues which would occur 20 years later.

 

What I would like to know is this: what about the couples who had deep meaningful respectful conversations when they fought? Or what about the people who for some reason or another changed their behaviors through meditation later in the study. Did this change of behavior result in a decreased risk of developing health problems?

As a person who has been a yeller most of her adult life but has now stopped, I would love to know if my change in behaviors will have a positive outcome for my health in the future. Will my daily meditation change the course of my life? Of course, we have no way of knowing that but I would like to think that by creating meaningful change in my life I am making a difference in my health and the health of my loved ones. I can already see changes…Paul is calmer and does not react our of anger like he used to. He is modeling his behavior after my new behaviors and I am thankful for that.

Studies like these are important. By connecting negative (and positive) emotions to positive or negative changes in our health it gives individuals a reason to change their behaviors. I would like to think that had I realized the damage I was doing to my health by yelling that I might have changed my ways of interacting much sooner than I did and I might have saved my family from a lot of unnecessary grief.

Holes… Or When I Am Gone

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Me: I am going to miss you when I am gone (B and I are going to SLC this weekend)

Andre: I’ll miss you too

Me: Why will you miss me

Andre: You do my laundry, you cook for me, You make my lunch

Me: Is the only reason you’ll miss me is because of all the things I do for you

Andre: Well, to be honest it helps
Me: So what are you going to do when I am not able to do those things for you
Andre: Well, I guess I will get married

 

I love my son. Truly I do. But because of his autism everything to him is from a “what are you going to do for me” perspective and very rarely a “what can I do for you” thought even occurs to him. The one daily chore he is expected to do is often a battlefield and it doesn’t matter to him that everyone else is doing their part. This lack of reciprocal interaction or loving behavior on his part often makes me feel hollow inside.

With most children you have some sort of back and forth relationship. A relationship in which the child wants to please the adult in their life and vice versa. Usually it’s a fairly balanced equation. We get something and we give something back. Even if that something is just a touch or a smile. That just isn’t really important to Andre. He spends more time figuring out how to get his way at all costs than ever considering the fact that sometimes people need a hug or a kind word to keep them going. This “I give to you and you give to me” thought process never occurs to him and sometimes it gets very old. Sometimes it feels like I am doing all the giving and getting little to nothing in return. When this happens it feels like a day spent outdoors in the hot sun just digging hole after hole after hole.

For me, this is one of the hardest parts about autism; this “I don’t give a shit about anyone else but me” thought process. Give me a monster tantrum anytime. Give me nonsense talk too. Give me the messy room, the sneaking food upstairs and the snarky comments. I can take all those and more. But sometimes what I long for is just a genuine back and forth dialogue lasting over 5 minutes followed by an Andre initiated hug at the end of our time together.

If I could change how autism looks in regards to my son this is what I would change. And who knows maybe this will click into place for him someday. Until then, I will sit here and wait knowing in my heart of hearts that even though he rarely shows it that my son really does love me. For that is all I have to sustain me at the present time.

 

 

 

Shut Down

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I have noticed at the therapists office lately whenever I say something and the therapist asks how B feels about what I said, he replies “It makes me shut down when she says that, talks that way, responds that way, etc.” Frankly, its getting old. Put on your big boy jock strap and get over it for goodness sake!

You shut down years ago and now you use me as your excuse. You actually started shutting down when you were a kid. Now you are a middle aged man who is mad at himself for keeping in his feelings and not saying what was on your mind to your mother, to your family, and to me because we all “shut you down.”

But instead of being the scapegoat I think you need to put this one directly on your own shoulders for it seems to me that you “shut down” when you don’t want to deal with conflict or emotions or whenever something makes you uncomfortable.  You use “shut down” as an excuse to avoid…me, your feelings, or anything that makes you have to think in a way you do not want to. This then gives you the excuse to be righteous in your misplaced anger.

Your first response may be to shut down. You are not responsible for that first response but you are responsible for how long you choose to live with it.

So, in essence, shutting down is a really just a bad habit and it is a choice. Stop making that choice. PLEASE.

 

 

YOU ARE THE JUDGE, JURY AND EXECUTIONER

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This weekend I was on trial. YOU KNEW I have been having severe pain for weeks and was having it when the “incident” happened. You knew my cousin was visiting but you would not step in and control the boys when they were so out of control.  You did not step in to help but instead chose to sit in judgement me when I finally lost it. And I didn’t even yell. NOT ONCE. How dare you!

You say,” I don’t know if I can live with you because you yell too much”, so I quit.Now its, “I don’t know if I can live with you because you sound stern and mad and point your finger.” How would you like me to handle discipline in our home so our kids know that things are a serious matter? Smile sweetly and in a chirpy voice say, “Oh please, sweet boys stop what you are doing. I beg of you?” UGH.

I am NOT your mother. You are NOT my son. I am who I am. A person trying their best. Changing. Me Changing. Yet somehow it always seems as though I am the person in this relationship needing to be the one to change…what about you? Are you putting as much effort into those things I told you I would like to see you change? Let me answer that for you. NO you are not.

So let me in on a little secret. People get upset. Yeah I know you don’t like to because you want everyone to like you especially our kids. Our kids who know this is your weakness and exploit it. Our adult daughter who admits this and says it sucks for the adult but is grand for the child. Guess what, I have emotions that I show which make you uncomfortable because you don’t or won’t show yours because your mother punished you for it and you are afraid that will happen with me. No insist that it will/does so you use it as your excuse not to figure out who you are as an emotional being.  And yet you stand in judgement of me. And if I don’t do what you want, what you need, then you will leave. But surprise it might be me whose ass is hit by the door on the way out because I have to be who I am and frankly it ain’t so bad. Sure there are things that need refining. But at least I feel. At least I can say what it is I know as my truth, my faults, my goods and my bads.  I show those sides of me and no one has to spend their energy trying to guess what it is going on inside my head.

And surprise, here is one for you…often I can even understand why you feel the way you do. But just because I speak my truth in the way I do and you get flooded…that has nothing to do with me but with your relationship with your mother and I cannot deal with that because it is your issue that you do not want to have to look hard at.

And so I go to my therapist and we go to joint counseling but when are you going to go down deep and work on you? I’m trying to change for me, for us and for our family and to do so I am having to go to places I don’t want to examine but I do it because it needs to be done. When are you going to get brave and do that too? When are you going to really look at how your past is effecting our lives now and in the future?

 

Shut Down…307 Days To Fix This

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The other night you accused me of shutting down after discussing the “Gwenniferr” incident. You asked me why I shut down. I have been thinking about it and I think I have some answers for the two of us.
I feel crazy when I talk to you and you deny saying things like “I never said I didn’t talk to Gwenniferr or that she never comes to the gym.”
And yet when I talked to my friend she said,  “Yes, that is absolutely what you told me he said the last time we discussed this months ago.”
And then you change your story so that NEVER means every two to three weeks.
And I wonder if Webster would agree with that definition?
I feel your anger or your disgust/disappointment at me and in me for bringing up things that make you uncomfortable. And I feel those feelings you carry so deep inside you and they touch me, strangle me at times, without you even being aware that they are doing so. I am slowly realizing that it is not my job to carry around your feelings but I have been doing it for so many years that I am not quite sure how one just stops. Is it like walking the dog and letting go of the leash? Is it like giving you a lit match and walking away? Is it like pulling up the anchor so I can sail away?
And tonight
I felt your anger in your footsteps that suddenly hit the pavement harder
and I watch as you move out ahead of me, moving faster, as if trying to get away.
I felt it in your physical avoidance of me. I feel your disappointment/disbelief in me and later the words come that I have felt going around in your head all along:
“What’s it going to be next time?”
Accusingly…as if I should not have had these feelings or thoughts
Regarding a woman that you obviously have admired
And that I should not talk about these emotions when I have them
Because I brought up the two most painful things for me in our marriage
On consecutive days
One intentional, one not
And you can’t deal with the feelings of one
Let alone two
I knew you felt the “what’s it going to be next time” long before you said it
I shut down because I feel the heat your words even though you don’t always say them
And I don’t know what to do with your feelings
That I shouldn’t be carrying around at all
And I don’t know what to do with my reactions
To all those unspoken feelings and words
So heavy on my shoulders
The ones that I have lugged around for so long
So you can be free
And I can be burdened
Guessing what these emotions mean
Confused in their context
Trying to put together a picture
With pieces gone
Missing, lost and fuzzy in our memories
Knowing that someone has done something hurtful
But not really sure what it was anymore
Just knowing that the pain has not ended
And I need to stop
Shutting down
(Alternative ending)
And I need to stop
And just kick your ass!