Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Dozen Things to be Grateful for ...

We are just on the cusp of another holiday and we have exciting plans. Today was a banger of a day starting with a wonderful morning alone; hit with negativity from my neighbor (once a friend) and later swerving in time to save my life on the freeway. There was a driver that was angry, swerving in and out of traffic, even applying his windshield wiper fluid so that he could spray each car he cut off, myself included. It was ugly, and several cars almost crashed. I watched as he exited the freeway, thinking about how many lives he almost affected today (he did affect), and what damage could have been done had others not been aware and driven defensively.

I can't live in rage like that for long. How can people live like that? I don't understand it. (Be glad you don't understand Andrea.)

Rage is not a part of my life anymore, and I haven't been around the active disease in a long time. I have forgotten what it's like to be the target of someone else's rage and resentments. I am working thru my own inner demons and resentments, staying close to the spiritual side of things so that I don't collapse in despair. I haven't been the target of rage in a while so it's uncomfortable to say the least when it's spewed in my direction, especially when it's undeserved.

Addiction is deadly, but it's also very sick and ugly. It takes the sweetest kindest of hearts and tears the body, mind and soul apart. The alcoholic and the family members are all affected.

The alcoholic is like a tornado roaring his way through the lives of others. Hearts are broken. Sweet relationships are dead. Affections have been uprooted. Selfish and inconsiderate habits have kept the home in turmoil.
-Big Book of AA

I'm sickened by what has happened this year with my friendship with my neighbor. Things have been grossly twisted and taken out of context. I have seen sickness in the last year reach a new height, my own included! How unjust the world is to those to whom it disregards and misunderstands. It is as if I have two faces — one with which those who hate me think I'm wearing and one with which those who truly know me and love me see me wearing. When enough people start to see me as bad, troubled, unkind, cruel, fake, f*cked up, I start to question whether they are right. My entire life's worth seems to be on the line at times, in my mind. Are they right? Am I really an awful person?  Of course they would agree with that.

And I know who I am, and I am not that woman a few people profess me to be. I'm not. I am thriving after narcissistic abuse, and I am thriving after a difficult divorce — not a bitter divorce, but one in which I was lied to with big giant lies and makes it hard for me to trust again. Maybe I will always have unanswered questions surrounding my marriage, and maybe I'll never be able to completely trust my son's father. I'm in the process of letting go of the anger in that department. I don't exactly know what to do with the lack of respect. I probably will never have it from him, or some of the others who've judged me harshly. I hear my ex-boyfriend's, my neighbor's, the law, the judge, and all the other the angry, accusative, unhealthy, disrespectful, sick, uncaring, intolerant, judgmental, rage-filled people of this world spew their harsh, angry, hurtful words in my direction.

Thee's no way to deflect them it seems. I'm human. I'm not evil. I'm not inconsiderate.

I don't understand.

And it hurts.

A lot.

But I wont let it ruin my day or take me down. Not for long anyway.

Which leads me to this gratitude list. It's that time of the year to share one with you and it helps to unclench the grip on my heart that's choking life from me.

Today I'm utterly and completely grateful for:
  • the God of my understanding who fills up those empty spots and gently removes the dark shadows surrounding me
  • my son who warms my heart and brights light into our home
  • friends who love me unconditionally
  • a nice job where I can thrive in my field showcasing the skills I have been given
  • this blog
  • the support group I have 
  • all the help I have in so many areas of my life
  • a beautiful apartment
  • music that sings to my soul
  • my family
  • self-esteem and confidence (working on more!)
  • fun plans for Thanksgiving
  • a church home
Have a wonderful holiday. I hope you are able to experience peace and joy.

Love, Andrea

Friday, November 20, 2015

A Little Glimpse into Our Lives

It's been awhile, I know. I've struggled this past year. A lot. Alotta lot. Most of what I've been doing this year is surviving. Trying to understand what happened to me in the summer of 2014. It was a big year of changes. My divorce was finalized. I went bankrupt a second time. I went to court more times than I care to count. I lost my home. I stood up to the 3 foot attorney from Chase. I plead my case to a judge more than once. I think I may have freaked out my family a bit too. And a few friends. I was this close to death. And for a short period of time, I lost my maternal instinct, something that is so ingrained into my ecosystem that it seems my lifeblood is built upon it. Apparently not. Thankfully it returned — in bits in pieces — but it's in my possession again. I'm guarding it with a full suit of armor. Oliver came out somewhat unscathed; some might disagree. The good thing is, I don't care what they (she/he) thinks anymore. What other people think of me is not my business. Never was.

There's my boy. Isn't he beautiful? Sweet. Kind. Loving.

There's me. At the time: hurting, aching, despairing, hoping, praying.

We've come a long way baby.

Here he is just two months ago. We stopped in this cool coffee shop in Fish Creek. Snacking on crackers and coffee, sipping our drinks and talking about life. In that moment, life was pretty good. Not like today, only weeks later, but still good. Today is even better.

Loving my Door County life. There are many beautiful places in the world, and someday I hope to see them all. But until then, this does suffice. The stunning and spectacular views of the every day place me on my knees begging for mercy, forgiveness and proclaiming gratitude for all that we have. Our lives abound in goodness and glory. Our God is good.

It too a lot of pain to get here. And there's more to muck thru as I discover and uncover what has brought me to this place. This is different at least. I'm learning and letting go. Maybe for me, this is a gift of age. While it would be great to be in my 20's age (don't they say youth is wasted on the young?), I'm comforted in knowing my life is not over and I'm in good company as I travel onward. Friends are like that you know. They wont let you age alone.

Wisdom comes with age.

Oh I act the fool, so often it's really amazing. I'm learning why. I'm responsible. I know why things upset me the way they do. I know why now I respond the way I do. I also have been given this great gift of detachment. I have had people say things to me that are not right for me, not my truth. And I can take it all personally or I can let it go and realize that if I am strong in my faith, and if I know my true self, only I can decide if what I am hearing is the truth or not. If it's universal and applies over many cultures, it's truth. If not, it's just someone's opinion, and I can take it or leave it. There's real power in that.

A friend of mine hurt my feelings this week. It was hard to hear what she had to say. VERY hard, and I thought she misunderstood me, in fact I know she did. It hurt and of course my first reaction was to exit the friendship forever. I know not to make those rash decisions and I know that in a few hours or maybe days I would feel differently. And so I did.

She apologized. I never said, "It's ok." I only said thank you and that was all. I'm learning another valuable lesson: be careful who I share things with. I had another "friend" betray me. She went so far as to cross lines that no friend of mine had ever crossed. I had only been friends with her for less than a year. Scary how badly the friendship deteriorated. Hatred is an evil force that will tear a person apart. It's sad for me to have been on the dark side of hatred.

Strength is a part of my make up. I have had a husband walk out on me and lie about so many things. I was left broke, financially ruined. I watched as he started a new life with another woman, and he and I weren't even divorced yet. I didn't want the divorce when he started dating. They are married now. They just gave Oliver a little sister.

It's hard to share my son. I can't imagine what his little life is truly like. For as close as he and I are, I am not there when he ventures off into a life I know very little about. It's surreal. Really. There's a whole other family he's a part of and I don't know any of them. Sadly, they don't like me. Should I blame them? I have had my battles with Matt. Are ex's supposed to like one another? Are the families of the new wife supposed to have respect for the ex-wife? My father can't stand Matt. Can't say I blame him. He looks as if he's focusing on breathing and remaining calm when Matt is nearby, which is not often. What father wants to see his daughter hurt like I was? I'd probably slap a girl who treated my son poorly. Take note, you've been warned!

Look at this boy. My sweet little child. I love him more than all the stars in the sky. "I love you too, Momma," he says. "I love you more," I say. "No. I love YOU more," he exclaims.

My boy.

Try as they might, no one will take this away from me again. I'll be keeping God first. Family next. Never again will I date a man who makes me feel less than. Who treats me great but eventually lets the mask slip. I never want to go thru what I went thru last July and the many months that followed. Even thru this summer. I'll never put myself in a position to be taken advantage of again.

I'll love again, this I know. But I will do it wisely.

Look at that child sleep. I put him down. I scratch his back. I snuggle. I love. I dream. I wish. I hope and I pray with and for that boy.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Soft Place to Land

I always wanted a soft place to land. I've said that for years.

I have it now. I have a soft place to land. My home. My bed. Oliver in my arms. Praying with my head bowed. Sitting in my kitchen in the morning sipping coffee alone.

There is so much strength in being alone. There is a lot of strength in my bones, in my heart, in my character, in my soul.

I don't know that I've been this happy in a long long time. Holding my head up high, owning my defects, owning my accomplishments. Guess what? My strengths outweigh my weaknesses. My successes outweigh my failures.

I think for the first time in my life I am starting to believe I am good, strong, capable, awesome, superb, phenomenal, smart, emotionally intelligent, bright, kind, nice, sweet, good-intentioned, loved... oh-so-loved (by many!).

I think I've put down the fight in a lot of areas. I'm learning it's not my job to get even. There have been a lot of things I've been trying to do this past year, but a few of them were not my job.

Life is moving on and so am I. We are moving on. We are off to bigger and better things, and that moment is now. Now is bigger. Now is better. Now is the best time of my life. And more awaits. I can't imagine what lies ahead, not all of it will be easy. I'm sure with what I've learned this past year, it will not be as difficult as it has been.

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