Hiding and Guilt

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hiding-from-customers

 

Almost a year ago, I met a man.  I was looking for an architect who would do some pro bono work for small, local businesses.  These small businesses were willing to make a financial commitment to their businesses and make physical improvements to buildings in a blighted area.  I wanted to make sure that the end results were beneficial to the district and the business owners.  I wanted to get the most bang for our buck, as my organization was giving out grants to encourage these improvements.  A name of a local architect was recommended to me, and I gave him a call.  From our first phone conversation, we hit it off.  I explained what I needed and what my organization was hoping to accomplish.  He generously offered to meet with building and business owners.  We made an appointment for an initial meeting the following week. Continue Reading »

Being the Bad Guy (Or Woman)

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“Though it be honest, it is never good to bring bad news.”

William Shakespeare

A lot of people are mad at me tonight.  Well, maybe it’s not me they’re mad at, but there has not been a shortage of people who have blasted their anger and disappointment my way this evening.

I knew this day was coming, and I have dreaded it.  I have secretly cherished conversations or email exchanges with certain people, because I knew that SOON, they were going to be upset with me.  The ax was going to fall eventually, and they would know the truth, or the results, results that I have already known for about a week.  Having people upset with me is part of my job.  It’s a role that I have voluntarily accepted, however reluctantly. Continue Reading »

Precipice

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***Below is another draft blog post.  This one was written on November 16, 2011, almost two years ago now.  The event I refer to below is now even further in my past.  

I’m thankful for the gift of time.  Some pain never completely goes away, but time does heal.  Pain changes us in both good and bad ways.  I will never understand why things happened as they did.  I wish that I didn’t have this knowledge and experience with lies, cruelty, and deception.  I have been forever changed in ways that still make me sad.  I mourn my loss of innocence and my loss of the ability to trust.  I still struggle with the fact that I often expect the worst from people instead of seeing their best.  

However, I did learn one lesson that I hope to never forget.  At my darkest hour, I found myself alone, and I blame myself for that fact.  I had cut myself off from the good things in my life.  I had lost my relationship with God; I had emotionally distanced myself from my family and friends.  My emotions, loyalties, energy, and efforts had been misplaced.  I was lost, and it was my own fault.  I poured my emotions into blogging.  I talked to a therapist seeking answers.  Neither of those things worked.  The blog helped sometimes, but in the end, I was still alone.  The therapist helped even less.  I was seeking answers, reaching out like a person in the dark.  I was grasping and lost.

Life IS better now.  I am beginning to find my way.  I know who I am and where I am.  I’m beginning to soften and to carefully trust again…very carefully.

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As I drove to work this morning, my thoughts were full of where I was in my life on THIS DAY exactly one year ago.  November 16, 2010 was the date of the biggest betrayal of my life.  I remembered phone conversations from that terrible day.  I remembered what I wore, gold skirt and a black sweater.  I remembered sitting on my therapist’s couch, and I was shaking with fear.  I was worried, yet hopeful. Continue Reading »

Thanksgiving? No, More Like Malaise

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November sucks.   

This morning T reminded me of the other Thanksgivings that have been full of sadness, loss, or disappointment.  Of course, through the years, some Thanksgivings have turned out just fine.  If you were a statistician, though, you would see that our family has shockingly high odds of Thanksgiving misfortune.  One Thanksgiving, we sat by the bedside of our dying daughter.  A few short years later, we sat in the Emergency Room.  T, a VERY pregnant me, and one-year-old Luke were waiting for stitches to close a particularly bad “boo boo” to Luke’s head.  Luke had fallen into a bookcase just as we were getting ready to walk out the door to go to Grandma’s house.  If you throw into the mix the number of years when one kid or another just happened to be sick on Thanksgiving Day, our track record really sucks.  T and I talked about all of these things this morning.  He said that while he doesn’t believe in my November superstitions, he’s beginning to wonder if there isn’t some merit to my dislike of November after all. Continue Reading »

Fail

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I saw my crazy therapist today.  It hadn’t been a good day at all, and I literally broke down the moment I sat down on her couch.  My head was spinning, and I couldn’t even articulate exactly what was wrong.  I suppose her office has become a safe place.  She is kind.  I was able to let the cracks in my veneer crumble away.  I think she was shocked, because I am usually in control.  Usually our conversations are logical, even methodical.  In the past, we have analyzed situations and scenarios for a deeper understanding.  Today was all emotion; no control; no logic.  Today, I was not in control.  I’ve had enough of control.  Today I simply spilled my guts and let the pain, confusion, and frustration that hold me hostage rise up to the surface.  I think she was shocked. Continue Reading »

Isn’t Life Strange…

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I had such a bad, bad day.  It sucked.  After one particularly God-awful, horrible phone call, I decided to stop at 7-11 for a Big Gulp.   On my way into the store for a much-needed Pepsi, I decided to throw away some trash from my car.  I was so stressed out, and flustered, and upset that I accidentally threw away my car keys along with the trash.  From what I understand, the cost to replace one of these keys is several hundred dollars.  That wasn’t the biggest problem, though.  My car was locked.  Unless I found that key, I was stranded.  So there I was, as if I my day wasn’t already bad enough, I had to dig through a damn trash can like a bag lady to retrieve my keys, the keys I had absently mindedly, idiotically thrown away.  Yeah, my day wasn’t so great. Continue Reading »

Momentum

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It is impossible to take steps back in time.  Even when our feet are dragging in the dust, even when we want to go back to the way things once were, the past does not exist in the present moment.   People change, grow up, or sometimes die.  Each moment is unique, and cannot be repeated or recreated.  There is an unseen momentum pushing and pushing us forward and into the next moment.  My past is full of joyous memories, pain and loss, friends and family.  The past is full of people, so many of them now gone from my life.  Thankfully, the  past is also full of people that I am blessed have in my life in the present, too.

The last few years have been so terrible and full of stress.  I’m not sure how to act now that the  immediate crisis has passed.  There are no visits to be made, no phone calls, no arrangements.  Believe me, I am not complaining.  It feels good to have my life back.  My life.   I have my life back, and now I’m just not sure what to do with it.

It seems that I had expected my life as it once was to still be waiting for me, but apparently, time kept marching on while I have been on the hamster wheel these past few years.  I remember where I was, who I was, what I was two years ago.  The problem is, the life I had two years ago no longer exists.  I am no longer that woman.  So who am I now?  That remains to be seen.  As much as I keep peering into the past to find the woman I once was, I won’t find what I’m searching for.  The past shapes who we are in the present.

In the past weeks, I have been both humbled and hurt.  I have been humbled by the kindness of the good people in my life.  I am blessed with wonderful family and  friends.  I have been touched by their genuine concern, love, and support.  Several people I had once thought of as colleagues, became more than that as they reached out to me on a personal level. Others, people I had once thought of as close friends, were nowhere to be seen.  That is the worst part.  It hurts to realize that a relationship once valued was merely a surface friendship, a fair-weather friendship.

I have been thinking a lot about those who have been absent from my life during these past difficult months and especially the past couple of weeks.  While I understand it on some level, a person going through a tough time doesn’t make the best company, it doesn’t make it any easier to accept.  It doesn’t make it hurt less.   These are the kind of things that test a friendship, and sadly, I had a few “friends” that failed that test.  I don’t mean this to sound bitter.  I am looking at this in a sort of philosophical manner.  Perhaps it is these very disappointments in life that enable us to move onto the next phase.  By examining our lives at times like this, we are better able to let go of our past and give into the momentum that continues to push us forward and forward into the future.

Disappointment

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Disappointment.  How to get over it?  How do we move on from situations that disappoint us?  I often struggle with that question.  Over and over in our lives, we are confronted with disappointments.  How do with deal with it?  How do we move on and let go?

Some disappointments are quite insignificant.  For example, today I really wanted a Big Mac.  By the time I got around to getting my lunch, it was well past lunchtime, and I was really hungry.  I was looking forward to my sloppy burger.  I sat in a long, long line at the drive-up window waiting for my turn to order.  I didn’t mind the wait.  I was having an enjoyable conversation on the phone with my son.  I didn’t allow impatience to sneak in.  Finally, I had my food, and I pulled into a parking space to quickly eat before returning to the office.  I pulled my fries out of the bag, and they looked terrible.  They were too dark (which is odd for the crazily regimented McDonalds.)  OK, it wasn’t the fries I had been craving anyway, so I set them aside and grabbed my Big Mac.  I instantly knew that this wasn’t good.  Thunk, thunk…the bun was as hard as a rock, and it was cold, too.  Yes, I was disappointed, but I dealt with it.  In case you’re wondering, and T was wondering, I ate it anyway. Obviously, I’ve learned how to deal with the everyday, minor disappointments pretty well.

It is the larger disappointments that I’m not so good at dealing with, facing, letting go, or getting past.  How do we deal with the things in life that don’t go our way even if we have put our heart, our soul, and a vast amount of energy into it?   How do we deal with disappointment over something that didn’t go as we had envisioned?  How do we deal with tragic loss?   I’m not good at all in dealing with the larger disappointments life throws my way, and that bothers me.

December 11 is a fine example of ME hanging onto, not being able to let go of a disappointment.  My superstition, hatred, and fear of November is another example.  Believe me there are a host of other disappointments, but this isn’t about MY LIST of disappointments or regrets.  What this is about is the fact that it’s finally sinking in that I need to learn how to LET GO of disappointment instead of replaying it over and over in my mind…looking for a way I could have changed the outcome.

I have decided to face this head on.  I am going to begin dealing with the subject of disappointment just like I would deal with a challenge that I might face at work.  I am going to begin by educating myself on the mechanics of disappointment.  What is a common reaction?  What is unusual?  What is normal behavior, and what is over the top?  Once I identify where I fall on the scale of what is considered “normal,” then I will educate myself on what to do about it.

I don’t want to become cynical.  I don’t want to be a grouch or a recluse.  I want to learn how to LET GO of the disappointment in a healthy and constructive way.  I don’t want to be a Pollyanna, either.  While I know that there are lessons to learn from many of our disappointments, I now realize that some things are simply not fair.   That’s life!   Those are the ones that are difficult to let go of and move on from.  When life treats me unfairly, it makes me angry.  An angry person is not who or what I want to be.  The disappointments we all face are often not our choice, but how we deal with them is well within our control.  Now…I just need to figure out how to do that!

 

“We would never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world,”

~  Helen Keller