Procrastination and priorities

To the tune of Anticipation, by Carly Simon… “Procrastination, procrastination…. Is makin’ me late… Is keepin’ me waitin’.”

Something I wrote a while ago keeps coming back to me, and it has to do  with this feeling of fragility. Intangibility. Perhaps it is kin to that feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop. Kin to the feeling of balancing many spinning plates on the ends of long sticks. Everything is going well, really, but sometimes I still feel the anxiety of being one unlucky tip away from shattered glass at my feet.

(Upon writing that sentence, the snarky part of my mind suggested that maybe it was time I started using heavy plastic instead of glass. Then that led me to rabbit trail down the practical considerations of whether or not plastic (however dense) might spin comparative to ceramic. All up to the point where I reminded myself, this was only intended as a visual example. I share this, because it shows how abstractedly distracted my thoughts have become, lately. Maybe you’ll get a chuckle; I know I did – sometimes all I can do is just laugh at myself and move along.)

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[Reblog] What’s in Your Coping Toolkit: Putting It All Together

Reblog Tuesdays!

Anxiety has had a major impact on me this week, and I have found this series very helpful and worthwhile. I’ve not had a chance to put everything into practice, but I’m working on learning ways to Be Kind to myself. I’m also working on making self-care choices that are just ‘a little’ better each time.

Small steps still get me where I’m going. 🙂 I hope you find something in here that helps you with whatever you are going through.

eat. spin. talk. repeat.

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

For the last seven weeks, we have talked about all the tools we need/want  in our toolkit. This is obviously not an exhaustive list of ALL the coping skills out there, but it’s a start. Now that you’ve got the tools, what on earth to do with them!?!

I’ve mentioned the importance of having access to these skills in times of stress. That is going to look differently for each skill. So let’s breakdown each skill we’ve talked about and how to do that:

Mindful Breathing:  practice, practice, practice. Take time each day to spend time mindfully breathing. The only way to get good at this skill is to take time to do it.

Relaxation: Come up with a list of relaxing things to do at different places you might…

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Codependents Always Hope Things Will go Their Way

When I first got out of my abusive relationship, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out and understand my Ex. I found things like the ‘Cycle of Abuse’, and Narcissism, and those things helped me understand myself and my own reactions.

Now I’ve been researching more about myself, and learning that I have my own tendencies that make me vulnerable to Narcissistic partners. This is an excellent article worth considering, and I think it is important that we grow from researching everything about our abuser, and begin focusing on ourselves and how we can become stronger, more whole people.

Free From Codependency With Dr. Nicholas Jenner

Of the two extremes, codependents (unlike narcissists) are generally seen as the warm and fussy ones. Self sacrificing and eager to please, they are an absolute delight to be around if you are the kind of person who likes to freely take and accept all they have to give and there are many who do.  Codependents get involved with a certain type because like a jigsaw puzzle they fit together nicely. One constantly gives, one constantly takes. A perfect dysfunctional meeting and matching of ideals. Of course this situation is normally doomed to failure and when the house comes crashing down, the codependent suffers more than most. The reason being they have invested heavily in the relationship and stand to lose much more in their view. This is usually because they have lost themselves in the relationship and identified themselves through their partner. The idea of splitting such intensity (not…

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A voice worth hearing

 

Some times it is still difficult to find the words that lay closest to my soul. To be truly vulnerable. To be truly myself.

But it is getting better.

Saturday I met some of Guy’s friends for the first time, the first part of the day I hung out and studied. The second part I played a few games. The last third of the time at their house we discussed the world at large, concepts of personal responsibility, thoughts on the issues our society here in America are facing. We didn’t always agree on the solutions, but I think the essence of our motivations were similar enough, and understood enough, we were able to have a genuine conversation.

One that I immensely enjoyed, for the first time in nearly a decade. Continue reading

I am.

I am worthy. My values and beliefs matter, as well as the manner in which I convey them. Every person is due respect, even if we disagree. It is okay to pick my battles. Having the last word isn’t necessary, so long as I feel confident in my last words on a topic. I don’t have to be friends with everyone, and I do not need everyone to be happy or approve of my opinions. Continue reading

Scar tissue

One of the things we don’t realize, with a surgery, is how difficult and painful scar tissue can be. It binds up the places beneath your skin, thick and difficult and invisible until you make a movement that places tension on it. Which brings pain. And if you do not listen, more pain.

Having excised my ex and his abusive behaviors from my life is a really great start. My protection order is good for another year, the divorce is finalized, and life is regaining some sense of normalcy. From all outward appearances, someone might think me hale and healthy.

Yet for the first time, as I share more time with Guy, I am realizing how much emotional scar tissue remains, however normal I appear on the surface.
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Love Letter to Me

An article I read recently, while sitting in my therapist’s waiting room, mentioned that it takes 5 positives to offset a negative. Apparently our brains our wired to process negativity, perhaps as a coping mechanism, perhaps as a stimulus to change or avoid the things that cause negativity. I recently read a post by Hurricane Heather, where she openly shared a list of those negative things she struggles with and feels vulnerable about. I could relate to so many of those items, but challenged her to write a similar list describing the awesome things about herself. And she did, and challenged me right back. Follow up to Letter’s I will never send (but already sort of did): Dear J. Response: Dear Heather.

Heather? Challenge accepted.

So here goes – in letter form. A love letter to myself, because if we can’t love ourselves, how are we going to be able to love others?

Not normally my kind of music, but this Fifth Harmony song, “Brave, Honest, Beautiful” is pretty inspiring.

My challenge to you? 50 things that make you you, and make you awesome, OR a love letter to yourself. If you accept, please post here and link your article so I don’t miss it. 🙂

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Foundation Stones

You look at any older buildings at the campus near where I work, and you’ll likely find one of those large, cubic blocks that form a cornerstone. A foundation stone.

Right now, it feels almost as if I’ve pulled apart my life right back down to it’s foundational basics. Now I have all these heavy stones and a new plan to put them to use. Some of my materials are cracked, others the corners have been sheared off. Still others, all the sharp edges have been worn smooth by tempermental ‘weather’.

There is something both exhilarating and yet daunting when I look at all the pieces of my life, knowing the future is mine to build. A new year, my maiden name, and freedom from a decade’s marital quagmire have allowed me to begin a fresh start. Something all of my own making, whether I choose to invite others in to help me or not.

To be honest, I have a few people along whether I invite them to or not, and I’m kind of thankful for their loving nosiness. But I am even more blessed that, even if they demand to be a part of this rebuilding phase, they are still taking a step back and allowing me to design the schematics myself.

It’s a wonder what happens, when you try to have healthy boundaries… and people respect them. Continue reading

Work In Progress

There is that moment, when crocheting, or knitting, that you look down at your work, and notice something wrong. Sometimes you’re almost to the very end. Maybe you keep going, hoping you can adjust for the mistake. But after a time, you realize the project and pattern have become so distorted, it isn’t anything that resembles what you hoped.

So you have to make a choice. Do you keep going, knowing the flaw is there? Do you pull out the stitches until you get back to the error? Continue reading

Worksheets for evaluating core beliefs/thoughts

Just a place for me to keep track of various worksheets I find, or my counselor suggests. Would love to hear thoughts from others who have used these same resources, and/or who have found and used other resources that helped them in their own healing (from anything, not limited to just domestic violence).

“Getting to know you…”

A song from Oscar and Hammerstein’s musical, ‘The King and I‘, has been running through my mind all day. In addition to being a catchy tune, some of the lyrics run as follows:

Getting to know you,
Getting to know all about you.
Getting to like you,
Getting to hope you like me.
….
Getting to know you,
Getting to feel free and easy
When I am with you,
Getting to know what to say
….
Haven’t you noticed
Suddenly I’m bright and breezy?
Because of all the beautiful and new
Things I’m learning about you
Day by day.
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Relationship Equality

I want to be able to have healthy relationships; to be an equal partner in any romantic relationship I encounter. But what does that mean? What does that look like?

Those questions led me to other questions, like ‘How does individual power within a relationship impact that relationship?’ All those questions led me to this article:

Love and Power

Lots of food for thought here, a lot of it rooted in things my counselor is encouraging me to do to be a healthy individual on my own: shedding co-dependence; finding my own, authentic self; speaking up and having confidence in my own abilities.

We talk about our past as survivors of domestic violence. It’s a natural response, as we try and figure out what went wrong and how to prevent it from happening again. But sometimes, I think instead of focusing on what went wrong and trying to avoid those things, maybe it is healthier to look at what works,  and what is good for me to grow towards as an individual.

One way, I am essentially walking backwards. The other, I face the proper direction for where I want to go. Which, when it comes down to it, is kind of our goal as we strive to heal from the damage of our past.

Waiting for the other shoe to drop…

Over two months since my last post, encapsulating work emergencies, new friends, a possible new relationship, and many moments of challenging myself to heal.

As I posted in a reply to a comment someone left me today, I realized that as of today it has been 9 months. Three quarters of a year, and each moment more fulfilling than the last. Most days I wake up contented, my days are filled with happy moments and an easy resilience that I though impossible 9 months and a day ago. There are the occasional nightmares, dredged up by triggers, or by slowly re-engaging people where before I had placed barriers.

And believe me, I can appreciate the irony of meeting someone not long after my ‘single and not looking’ post. It’s been interesting, being courted by someone who shares many of my own interests, who spent about eight weeks maneuvering that fine line of consistent interest, friendship, and yet not being pushy.

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Ownership

While I never sought to be abused, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things that need to be addressed. Whatever spurred me towards selecting the man who would cause me so much emotional turmoil is yet to fully heal. I was vulnerable in my own damaged way before, and now I have the years of marriage to deal with on top of that as well.

There were good moments. The cycle of abuse, which ebbs and flows throughout the passage of time, helped bind me even midst the darker minutes.

Perhaps, as well, there was a little bit of arrogance. I took pride in the sacrifices I made, early on. Perhaps it was because there was so little else for me to take pride in. Something in me, based on my childhood of caregiving for my family and siblings, felt uniquely qualified and prepared to be in a relationship like ours would be. I needed to be needed.

My mistake was believing he cared about my needs, too. Continue reading

Freedom to be Exhausted

The trouble is sometimes I have too much to say, and yet too little. Feelings churn, revelations slip into reality between one moment and the next. Then, when faced with a blank screen, a keyboard, and the desire to find words to express these matters – nothing comes.

I’m not sure where this hesitance comes of late. Perhaps some of it is being a little self-conscious. Who am I, and why would anyone care what I thought about life? It’s not like I have any answers, or any plan, or any real direction. All I know is I am moving forward.

Forward means taking care of myself. The embarrassing things like remembering to put on deodorant in the morning. Which requires me to get up when the alarm first goes off in early pre-dawn hours, which, in turn, requires me to ensure enough sleep and getting to bed at a decent hour.

Showering. Eating. Getting to work. Making the medical appointments to keep me healthy. Going to counseling.

This is my life right now. It isn’t necessarily an unpleasant one – my last tweak of my anxiety meds seem to have given me that littlest oomph I needed to be able to push myself over the hump of whatever barrier stood in my way. I’ve been making it to work, been accruing leave again instead of lurking dangerously near empty.

I didn’t know what to expect when I left six months ago, but I didn’t really expect myself to transition so quickly to this need for actual sleep. Now, I am tired if I only get 5-6 hours of sleep. Back in February, a good night’s sleep was 4-5 hours, as I was lucky to get more than 1 to 3 a night. What amazes me is that I was able to function at all.

Part of it I have to attribute to God. Though I’m not active in a church, and struggle with certain things about Christianity/churches, I still hold onto my faith. Part of it I have to attribute to my German heritage – that side of the family is irrepressibly stubborn.

But you know, best of all? I don’t have to function, and be responsible for everything anymore. I can have an off day, or a down day, and be ok. I can cancel plans with friends, though apologetically, and they don’t disown me or get angry. It’s still hard, there is a lot of physical and emotional fatigue. Friends are making sure I stay safe. People are stepping up and standing up for me. Even if I have very little to offer them right now. But for the first time in a long time, I’m beginning to accept that. I’m realizing there are people I can actually rely on, who won’t resent me as a nuisance or burden. It’s freeing.