so i guess it's time to return... this is crazy. got the job at UCC/AMOS... i am blown away, and grateful for the generous offer she made me. i will be able to have isaac in the same building with me while i am working, and i'll be making enough to support us well. what a blessing! seriously thinking about moving back to the square, partly to conserve on gas, and partly because this has been on my mind for sometime... i read back through my prayer journal last night, and found an entry in february, and at least one a month, where i wrote down the "response" i got during meditation, and kept seeing my old neighborhood, and the UCC specifically... which is weird, because i had forgotten that. i got chills when i read that, these notes i took, with a question mark after it saying, "why are you showing me this? what does it mean? is this from you, God?" because it seemed random and unrelated to what i was praying about.
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then i was talking to a friend (the one i got to take over my lease at my old apartment), and she told me that after she moved out, her ex stayed and took over the lease from her... his father just died, and he inherited and moved into his father's house... which means that my old apartment is now vacant!!!! i LOVED that apartment, i painted it awesomely (and i know frank left it the way i painted it, because i visited once while he lived there)... so i'm gonna call my old landlord and see if he will rent it to me. it's smallish, so it would be cramped, but the rent is a great deal for the location, and the building is awesome, and i LOVE that apartment... he and i are still on good terms, because even though i didn't finish my lease, i found and moved in tenants for him so that there was no timegap and he didn't lose any money...
even if that doesn't work out, i have 2-3 friends who own properties in the square, and between them i am sure i can find a decent space at a decent price. but if i got my old place back, that would be so eerie, like coming full circle... i feel good about this. when i mentioned it to a friend, he said to check my motives... and i won't deny that there is a part of me, however small, that is drawn to that place just because he's there. but on the other hand, i'm not on that page anymore, and i have a lot more connections to that community than i do to him... i think it will be a good thing. besides, from what i hear, he doesn't even hang out in the square anymore, so i probably wouldn't even see him, and even if i did, it wouldn't matter, because i made my amend, and he doesn't want to talk to me, so it's done. (WOW, i love how i overestimate my ability to not care about that!)
but the fact is that there is a lot of unfinished business, and many unexplored or underdeveloped possibilities there... i was included in so many cool events, groups and projects, that i totally neglected because i was too busy destroying myself through my addictions and my obsessive, insane "love" affair with the joniverse. i'm not on that page anymore, so i could step back into that web of connection and actually contribute meaningfully to the lives of all the people there who loved me, supported me, and embraced me wholeheartedly at a time in my life where i was distinctly unlovely and unloveable... i was a selfish ass. and since they put up with me, i feel like i should honor that by coming back around and giving back into it... the community garden, the prayer circle, the summitfresh produce market, the food pantry and hot meals at the church, the veggie potluck/cooking coalition, food not bombs, the gallery openings and poetry readings i never went to unless there was free alcohol. :(
and i think being involved and having a life apart from work and mommyhood would be easier there, because i have so many people in a centralized area who know and love my kids, and have asked me to babysit them... it's only being so far away in kent, isolated, that prevents that. if i lived in the square again, i would be surrounded by people who already know me and my kids, and would have 20 sitters within a 2 block walking distance of my apartment... it would simplify everything. i could walk to work, i could take the bus to akron u when i start school... i would keep the car only for getting to/from kent to get jules. but other than that i could walk, bike and do public transport, which is a longterm goal of mine...
i feel good about it. i'm praying about it and will continue to, as it unfolds. i would probably move in august or september if i do. but so far, it feels really good, and it makes a strange sort of sense. to return. i have things to resolve there. and i could go to my old meetings! i could walk to all my meetings from my house. that's what i love most about it, is being able to walk to the store, church, work, the coffeeshop, meetings, friends' houses, restaurants, everything, from home. that is awesome! and i'd be closer to the university. i think i am going to be starting in the spring, so a move now would be wise, to make this transition in stages, rather than changing everything at once... i dunno, but so far i have that wonderful expanding feeling, like things are on the right track, and i feel silly for doubting God, and for feeling so anxious and fearful... why do i ever forget that His love for me is complete, that His power is limitless, that He already knows what i need and is *ALREADY* in the process of bringing it about?
about three weeks ago, when i started doubting and feeling faithless and stopped praying because i felt like it "wasn't doing any good" (ie-i was not seeing immeditate, tangible results), AT THAT TIME, the woman i am replacing was fired, and a replacement was found. BUT, the woman they offered the job to had already accepted a position elsewhere, so they no longer had a replacement and were in desperate need of one. the following week, still feeling faithless and not praying and thinking God has forgotten about me, i nevertheless take in an application with my resume (on a nudge from God to go THAT day, at THAT time, when i was planning on going the next day instead), and she interviews me on the spot. (if i had come in the next day, she would not have been there, and would've interviewed other people before me.) i give her my references, one of whom completely sabotaged me and said a bunch of crappy things that are not true... yet my new boss called me to tell me what was said, and gave me the chance to respond to it (which she did not have to do). the rest of my references were awesome (i spoke to most of them after she did, as they called me one by one to wish me luck)... and she called me and offered me the job, with a generous offer of more than i asked for in the interview. not only that, but i am the afternoon head teacher! not the assistant teacher, but the head teacher for the afternoon! holy crap! also, even though this is not my lifetime dream job, i am really happy because it fills a gap on my resume: i have worked with every age group from pre-K, K-12, to college/adults, so the only age group i am missing in my educational experience is infants/toddlers. after this, for any position i interview for in the future, i will be able to say i have taught/worked with all age groups. AND, best best best!!!!: she is open to and excited about allowing me to incorporate bilingual material into the classroom, so i can bring in some of the children's music, etc that i have that's in spanish. i am so excited and happy.
AND..... it's my birthday soon! i am so excited for that, too. i love birthdays. it's this day where i reflect and catch up with myself, not so much celebratory as acknowledging and orienting myself. my birthdays are more akin to how most people feel about neew year's day. a new beginning. :D things are really changing and getting better! oh, and i prayed for a bike and a baby trailer, and within a week one person offered me an extra bike, and chali has a baby trailer that she's giving me... so bike commuting will soon be a reality, rather than a longstanding dream. all i gotta say is, God definitely has my back, and i need to not be silly and forget that. how many times is He going to have to remind me that i can totally trust Him? silly girl.
hmmm, one other thing. about this guy. (UGH, i get so annoyed with myself, there is always some "guy", WTF, but then i hear about instincts, how they're good/not bad, etc... but i don't like being a human and i resent desire because it's messy and makes me feel vulnerable, dislike!) i don't know what to think about that, so i try to not think about it at all. i'm not sure what i feel, so try not to feel also... especially now that he is with someone else. imagine my surprise, and the sinking feeling, death of a possibility, although i guess it wasn't ever really a possibility. i thought he wasn't ready for a serious relationship? but apparently that was just a nice way to gently set me down. even if he is ready for a relationship, that doesn't mean that he would want to have one with me, and i don't blame him, i guess he knows me pretty well and knows i'm a mess... so i disqualified myself or something. i know intellectually that in reality, he's just an individual living his life, and that none of this has anything to do with me; but emotionally i am immature enough to allow this to make me falter into insecurity. i feel like i am always the last stop before they arrive at their destination, like i cosmically prepare people for their mates or something, but it's never me.
i know that what needs to happen in my life right now is happening, and ditto for others. it's not that i don't want other people to be happy. he is such a good guy... i have such a profound respect for him, and a love for him, too, but it's beyond limitation. but still, there is that part of me that wanted it for myself. but i am re-re-re-re-resigning myself to accepting and being grateful for the fact that our paths crossed at all, and not trying to force my way like i normally would, not demanding, not even speaking. just letting it go. i think sometimes the most loving thing is to let someone go. i believe that i do not have to chase my destiny. it will come to me. and as hopeless as i feel in this aspect of my life, in my heart i know that someday i will look back on this time and think how silly that i doubted God about this, either. as if He doesn't know what i need. as if He is not already bringing it about. maybe instead of whining about it and feeling sorry for myself, i should pray for my future mate, whoever he may be. God knows. if i devote myself fully to doing the work in front of me, setting my own life in order, everything will be prepared to receive that person when the time is right, and i won't have that feeling i always have when i meet someone awesome, of "oh fuck, i need to get myself together!" because i will have been slowly piecing it together over time, and i will be ready. so this time alone is a good thing.
i don't mind being alone. i'm not the lonely type, per se, not in the normal sense. i don't get hungry for constant companionship... i actually find that kind of burdensome. i need time alone, and quiet, and stillness... but i miss intimacy, and i don't mean sex... i mean the closeness of KNOWING someone, and BEING KNOWN. and i love to love. it's a hobby of mine that i developed... i used to do it as an elaborate, usually convincing performance... but now it would be genuine! i want to cook someone breakfast, damnit! ok, that's pretty silly. but really. all in good time, i guess. i have enough new stuff on my plate for the moment... but damn. getting back to jeff, WTH, he's crazy to not have fallen madly in love with me, that's all i gotta say. i am awesome, and how he doesn't see that boggles my mind. or maybe he does see it, but it's just not to his taste. but that is equally mind boggling. i wanna say, "what a jerk!", but he's not a jerk, and i want to say "it's his loss", but it's not his loss, it's mine. every person is unique, and i will never meet another jeff. he is the only one of him that there will ever be, and he belongs to someone else, and i do not like that because i am selfish. but he is my friend and i love him, and i want him to be happy, so i'm "happy" for him. but i'm immature enough that it's kind of a forced happiness right now. :(
AND i heard from someone else that he is leading tonight, and is chairing next month, and i am thinking, why didn't he mention that to me? and guessing, he must not want me to know or doesn't wanna see me. :( i feel like i have been cut out of his life, and i don't understand why... he's not an idiot, i guess he probably knows how i feel about him and is just trying to keep things impersonal from that standpoint. who knows what he's doing. but it hurts. why is it that the people i care about do not seem to care about me? i know he cares in this abstract sense, this like service-duty sense, but i don't think he cares about me personally, me as an individual, and not me as some object of his obligation or something. and before he left he pretty much told me that i was not a close friend of his... ("i wear the world like a loose garment, etc")... but when i called him about the joni slap in the face, he was so kind... he confuses me. i wish he would have told me, at any point, how he really felt toward me, but why do i deserve that, since i never did that myself? ultimately, i am such a coward. i don't know that i have the heart to love anymore. i am so fearful when it comes to my personal life... booooooo, i suck at life. when is someone going to see me for who i am? or maybe they do see me and that is why i am alone. i don't know.
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Birthdate: June 25, 1983
Zodiac sign: Cancer
Siblings: Charity, Nusly, Annabelle
Pets: none... considering getting some exotic bird. or a dog, someday when i buy a house
Your heritage: Serbian, Irish, Swedish
The shoes you wore today: flip flops
Your hair: its natural color, "dishwater blonde"?
Your eyes: blue/green/grey
Your perfect pizza: cheese with grilled veggies
Current location: the library
Clothes: yoga pants w/embroidered mermaid shorts over top, black "the who" tshirt
Taste: movie popcorn
Hair: messy impromptu anime pigtails
Annoyance: hmmmmm, i don't get annoyed much these days
Smell: the aloe vera/smell of my sunburnt skin
Thing you ought to be doing: nothing; it's my day off :)
Desktop picture: photo of chalk drawings i did with julia last summer
Worry: that i will die alone and be eaten by wild dogs, or worse, become a cat-lady
Crush: don't have one, i'm eschewing all men. wish me luck with that! :)
Shampoo: the cheap shit
Favorite celebrity: howard zinn. ramona africa. bradley manning.
Movie you rented: gnomeo and juliet, for jules... pretty cute, actually
Movie you bought: shark tale, for jules and isaac
Movie you saw: kung fu panda 2 (w/ jules...are we noticing a pattern here?) it was awesome
Song you listened to: "changing" (on the radio)
Song that was stuck in your head: "changing". has a catchy guitar riff.
Song you've downloaded: catpower albums
CD you bought: "who buys cd's? that's so 90's." a quote from the person i ripped this quiz from HAHA
CD you listened to: mix CD ty burned me before she left for japan, some japanese jazz group called "soil & pimp"
TV show you've watched: haven't watched TV since 1998. seriously.
LAST TIME YOU...
Had a nightmare: 2 months ago
Said "I love you" and meant it: to my kids, everyday; other than that...it's been years
Ate at McDonald's: hashbrowns! mmmm, mmmm good.
Dyed your hair: 3 years ago, took a vow to go natural for life. but i might make an exception for henna
Brushed your hair: this morning
Washed your hair: last night
Cried: 2 hours ago
Called someone: last night, my sponsor
Smiled: fairly constantly throughout the day... i'm a happy girl, minus the emotional outbursts, but hey, gotta keep it real! :)
Laughed: also pretty constant... my sense of humor continues to expand and improve as i age
Talked to an ex: i talk to my exes more than my friends!, b/c we have kids together
You touched: hugged julia
You talked to: julia asked me what time it was
You hugged: jules
You yelled at: jules
You had a crush on: hmmmm, sorry, temporarily out-of-service/in-denial
You kissed: julia
Who broke your heart: patrick...joni (mutual)...jeff, but it wasn't his fault, it was my own delusional thinking...
Person that called you: john
Your most overused phrase: "A+"
Your thoughts first waking up: briefly review/record night's dreams, then 3rd step prayer
The first feature you notice in the opposite same sex: eyes, integrity, intelligence
Have a boyfriend or girlfriend: nope
Have a secret crush: perhaps :)
Remember your first love: oh, God yes... after all that therapy, too!
Still love him/her: yes, but not in the same way
Consider love a mistake: never
Wish you could live somewhere else: YES, but only if i can take both of my kids with me
Think about suicide: almost never, a big improvement given my history
Believe in online dating: dunno, never tried it, probably wouldn't... i prefer fate and face-to-face
Want more piercings: yeah, but before i invest in piercings i would invest in tattoos
Want more tattoos: YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS!
Drink: not anymore... but i do meetings :)
Like the taste of alcohol: liquor is ok, beer is gross, wine depends on how good it is
Do drugs: not anymore
Smoke: yeah, til i'm done
Have sex: no, b/c i'm not in a committed relationship, and i don't do casual sex b/c i think it's nasty and triflin :)
Like cleaning: if i'm really upset, then i get compulsive, otherwise i do b/c i have to
Like roller coasters: love them
Write in cursive or print: print, hate cursive
Carry a donor card: no
Cuss: fuck yeah
Take a shower everyday: at least
Want to get married: yes
Type with your fingers on the right keys: old habits die hard
Get motion sickness: no
Think you're attractive: not really... i was beautiful to one person
Care about looks: not really
Think you're a health freak: on somethings. i smoke, but i also eat milled flax seed for breakfast with spirulina shakes. you decide
Get along with your parents: i do now, b/c i accept them for who they are instead of insisting that they be who i want them to be
Play an instrument: guitar
Sleep with stuffed animals: no
Have a dream that keeps coming back: yes...
Read the newspaper: yeah, to keep up on my investment portfolio LOL
Pray: if i do anything...
Go to church: looking for one
Have any secrets: not anymore. what's the point? no one wants to know my business anyway
Talk to strangers who instant message you: no, b/c i have myself listed as offline all the time... stealth mode
Hate yourself: no
Have an obsession: not anymore.
Collect anything: scalps :) JK
Have a best friend: not anymore
Like your handwriting: yes, it's one of the few things i get complimented on
Have any bad habits: bite my lip
DO YOU BELIEVE...
In witches: i know a few ;)
In Satan: absolutely
In ghosts: spirits
There is life on other planets: sure, why not?
In God: absolutely
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT...
Long distance relationships: depends, if i was in love, nothing would stop me
Using someone: lame, that's the habit of a weak person (which i used to be)
Suicide: no way
Killing people: immature, but tempting :)
Doing drugs: not anymore, although marijuana should be legal.
Premarital sex: naw, i'm gettin on the good foot
Soap operas: none
Things to talk about: God, yoga, recovery, life, good books
Sports: yoga and tai chi
Clothes: jeans or yoga pants and tshirts
Movies: persepolis, anything directed by pedro almodovar (my film idol)
Band: used to be radiohead... hmmmm, bjork? cat power?
Times I have had my heart broken: i'm too sentimental, so i quit counting
Hearts I have broken: 2?
boys I have kissed: haha, fewer than the ones i fucked
girls I have kissed: 2 or 3
Continents I have lived in: 1
People I would classify as true, could trust with my life type friends: 0
Scars on my body: lots
IN THE PAST 30 DAYS, DID/HAVE YOU...
Drink alcohol: no
Done a drug: no
Made out: no
Go on a date: yeah
Go to the mall: no, pointless
Been on stage: yes
Been dumped: no
Gone skating: no
Made homemade cookies: yes
Been in love: yes
Gone skinny dipping: no, but it's on my summer to do list
Dyed your hair: no
Stolen anything: no
HAVE YOU EVER...
Cried over a girl/boy: yes
Lied to someone: yes
Been in a fist fight: several bar fights :(
Been arrested: yes
Been called a tease: yes
Gotten beaten up: i got jumped when i lived in the projects, but as an adult, no
Age you hope to be married: when i'm ready and it's the right person, but hopefully before my ovaries dry up and turn into dustballs... because i wanna have at least one more biological child
Numbers and names of children: i have a daughter, julia, who is 9, and a son, isaac, who is going on 2
What do you want to be when you grow up: public school teacher, foster parent, child advocate (maybe guardian ad litem or something?)...published author would be nice, too, i'm not gonna lie... ;)
so a response; typically childish and meanspirited. people don't change and i tend to idealize them. told me that i am an asshole, said he hopes i feel better now, and he's glad i got that off of my chest. i guess i got what i deserved. i didn't think he would respond at all, and now i wish he hadn't... it hurts to hear words of bitterness from someone you love, and to know that you deserve them. i just feel like crying right now... but i promised to take julia to the movies today... and then her game. need to get my mommy-face on, the one that projects a sense of calm and benevolence... i hope that things will be different and better for my daughter, for both of my children. i hope they are able to walk into better futures full of hope and possibility. right now i feel like i am withering. scorched by his anger. but what did i expect. i didn't expect anything, really... so i wasn't bracing myself for the worst, like i usually do. i feel stung, the way your skin feels when you've been slapped hard enough to leave a red mark in the shape of the hand that hit you.
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feel like my life at the moment is a long corridor of heavy, ancient doors, slamming shut on rusty hinges, forbidding with their padlocks... it's almost like God is guarding me, like in case my integrity falters, external factors will not permit me to step off of my path... i will walk this way, like it or not. so if i stick with trying to cultivate some humility each morning, face my day with the most sincere smile i can muster... i have a chance. it's really not so bad. but the dust will have to settle on all of these things, and it may take years, or the entirety of my life, before these pieces fall into place and things make sense, or life offers me another opportunity to learn these lessons and try again.
i guess i can be grateful for the emptiness i feel right now. at least in my solitude, there is no one i can hurt. i can't fuck up any worse than i already have. i thought that this process was supposed to make it better... but right now i feel regret more intensely than ever. maybe that is what i should be feeling right now. i don't know. i want to say, i would trade anything and everything to be able to go back and do it differently... but i KNOW in my heart that i did the best i could at the time, even though my best was total shit and hurt him, it was all that i could do at the time. i was too sick to do better, and i really didn't know any better... and in a lot of ways, i still don't. i don't know how to let people get close to me. it is terrifying. i don't know how to trust. these are all things i am going to have to learn. hurting him like i did and losing him because of it became the first truly powerful motivator i had to change. before him i had never lost anyone that i didn't want to lose. i am still grieving him. silly. but true. feel widowed. as suicidal as it probably was, i find myself often thinking, i should have said yes. i should have married him, even if we destroyed each other, that would have been better than living with this regret for the rest of my life. isaac would never have existed (because he would never have been conceived), jules would have her dad and his soon-to-be wife, and what would it matter either way if i married him and died a shaming alcoholic death? sometimes i think that would have been more appropriate than this against-all-odds, seemingly pointless climb out of the pit. so many broken pieces, not enough glue.
this is a mirror reflection of a mirror of a mirror of a mirror of a photograph of a face... its repetition is the heartbreaking part. no matter how many times, i still do not break through to the otherside. someone stands there and spits in my face and turns their back on me, and i have to take it and accept it, knowing that it's just and right. i want to step out the back door of my life, and run from myself, and keep walking until i am half a world away. i want to find a teach-english-abroad job, pack my shit and leave, do something radical just for the sake of doing something. right now i feel trapped in my own skin, and encumbered by my past, and i don't know how to deal with that feeling apart from what i usually do: run away, and do something random and crazy in the name of "adventure"... instead right now i am treading like an ox in a harness. i am trying to be steady and consistent. staying the course. stooping ever lower, trying to let it be true that i will stop at nothing... that i am willing. i will let Him strip everything and anything away from me. the only one i trust. He tells me to be still and know. tells me to keep walking in the path that He has set at my feet. to not look right or left, to not be impatient, to not be idle, to not be distracted... just steady. patient. watchful. honest. to honor what is higher and deeper. to let go of the quick, easy, superficial satisfactions. the long-term!:not my specialty. until now. now i don't really do anything that doesn't have a long-term implication.
WHEW! thank you, God. just thinking of Him, my heart rate slows, and my breathing gets deep, and that stab wound in my heart spontaneously heals as though it never was. i think that this is how miracles happened in the new testatment. something about His presence compels everything in you to *become* whole, perfected and beautiful... He brings you into being. He speaks peace to my soul. so much beyond this present moment, this circumstance, that i cannot see, but that He can. i can trust Him to lead me beyond my temporary feelings or situations.
i think it is clear that tomorrow i am going to use my day off to go deep into the woods and spend some time napping at the base of the biggest tree i can find, and pray somewhere on a rock. maybe go swimming at the quarry? hmmmm, doubt i have enough gas to get out there and back. well... something. i will at least go to the kendall ledges. i like it better there anyway.
"it's such a perfect day..." :D it really is. it's been like a week (or two?) of damn near perfection. not because everything goes the way i want it to, but because regardless of what happens, it works out ok, and i just don't feel that worried about it. i feel like i have really let go on a deeper level than i have before, and i am being carried by something way bigger than me. my little plans and schemes for the future, all my petty desires, they are far away from me now. i am not ever going to be that person or have those things, and for the last year or two or five, that has caused me a lot of stress, anxiety, anger, frustration, resentment, blah blah blah... and the cumulative effort of the last year or two (especially this past year of solid sobriety) has opened this space inside of me that wasn't there before, and has likewise made the world around me seem like a much more beautiful and spacious place, with plenty of breathing room and an abundance of good things. that scarcity/"there's not enough to go around"/"i'm not going to get what i need" feeling has seeped away, and is being gradually replaced by a constantly building feeling that i am supported, my needs are known and are being met, that there are blessings already on their way to me that i could not even imagine let alone ask for... i have been praying my heart out asking God to increase my faith, to give me an unshakeable faith, a rock solid foundation. i feel a genuine willingness welling up from deep inside me that, a willingness to sacrifice ANY AND EVERYTHING that stands between me and Him, and the life that He wants me to live. this is the cliff that i was always afraid to jump from before, the passionate spiritual experience i craved and simultaneously feared. i thought that knowing and loving Him like this would annihilate my identity, that i would become some mindless religious fanatic, etc etc, but in fact it gives me boundlessness and freedom that i can't describe; it actually enables me to be MORE of myself, because God=LOVE, and "perfect love casts out fear"... His presence and spirit in me makes fear evaporate, and so there is this expansiveness, as opposed to the tightened, hardening, constricted feeling of fear. it is a revelation!
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feeling a wonderful delight and gratitude in my life, a sense of wholeness. especially with the kids, and within myself and our home (the place where i always feel most myself). i've always felt a nagging insecurity since i had julia of not being enough, not being the ideal perfect parent, being too young and too poor, feeling like i should do more or have more to give her... now with two kids, that feeling in some ways increased... but spending time with them, just being with them (especially taking them out, now that weather permits) is such a joy, for them and for me. we cuddle up together on the couch (all 3 of us!) like a little pack of wolves and watch a movie or read a book. we eat together and pray together. i cook dinner for us. we go for walks. some part of me always hung my head thinking, "is this all there is to my life? wiping butts and washing dishes and clothes? am i never going to accomplish anything?" but increasingly over the last several weeks, months even, it is shown to me that this time is precious, and that more is accomplished in these tiny, inconspicuous moments than appears on the surface. our routine and the closeness we share is building a sense of safety for my children that i never had: it is something that they need and that i myself need... and i get to create that for all of us now. what a blessing, to live with my kids and be safe and together, to have this time together to bond and just BE together. they will not always be children. they are growing up day by day, and before long they will be adults. they won't always be with me. i forget that at the end of long days, or when they are whining or misbehaving in line at the grocery store, or whatever. (kids have a knack for picking the most high stress times of the day to start raising hell. i think they actually pick up the tension and stress-energy of the adults around them and channel it or something...)
i love my kids. we are having a blast right now going to julia's games (she is KICKING ASS this season; they're not winning all their games, but her pitching is phenomenal!) she did great in the kids play too which ended up being a lot of fun. one of her friends in the play has a quirky and handsome dad (who is divorced) who always hangs around and plays with isaac. there are all the telltale signs, the long pauses, the awkward efforts to start a conversation, the look. i thought it was pretty sweet, and he is pretty cute, but it would be weird to date him (i'm kinda friends with his ex-wife!)... and i don't think i'm up for any of that. lorie called me the other night and harped on how i need to get out there and meet people, i need to date, i should get married, i should have already blah blah blah... and i thought, i am really okay with my life right now, exactly as it is. there is a lot of room for improvement, and while i am content, i am not complacent... but even the improvements i want to make to my life don't have to do with that. there are so many things that i want to do! and even if mr.right came along, i am not mrs.right yet. i have so much work to do!
besides, what are the odds that i am going to meet a guy who has a sincere, deep faith in Christ, who loves my kids, who loves me, and who isn't a psycho? who preferably has good taste in music, movies and books, who is interesting, isn't afraid of people/antisocial but who knows the value of solitude and intimacy, who knows how to listen and also how to speak from the heart, whose passion is helping people, especially foster kids/homeless people/pregnant teens, etc? not that he has to be my twin or anything, but if i did have someone in my life, i would want it to be someone who i could share my passions and joys with, that i could work shoulder to shoulder with, who appreciates and values who people are inside, as opposed to what they look like/what they act like/what they own, that can perceive the inner and help rebuild the outer... i dunno. just seems like a tall order. AND i don't want a goody-goody either, i'm not looking for a pharisee! i want someone who has already walked through the fire, who has done/is doing his work, who knows evil but chooses good. he must exist, because i exist! :) but i trust that that will come along in its own time. in the meantime, kids are good, life is good, work is good, and i gotta go! :) BUSY! but it's good for me, being prone to "morbid reflection" like i am... ha!
what a week! and it's not even over with yet. i will be so relieved when monday comes... the next few days are gonna be a stress fest, getting through the performance phase of the kids play. jules is in an uproar about her costume, and her dissatisfaction with it. she got into a huge fight with her dad about it, and he asked me to step in and take his side, but i really felt that he was in the wrong because he is really controlling and power-trippy with her about things that don't matter. he is insisting that she wear this cape, and she is insisting that it will ruin her costume and that she has her own idea instead. she was furious and in tears... after taking her aside and talking to her about it for a few minutes, i asked her why she was getting so upset about the costume, and asked her if it was really about the costume, or if it was about being able to make her own decisions and have them be respected and supported by adults. she started crying even harder and said, "no one listens to me or thinks my ideas are any good, but i KNOW this would work, and i'm the one who has to wear it..." so i talked to ben and explained it to him, and he was on his usual thing of, basically, she should obey me because i'm bigger than her/an adult and "because i say so"...
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so trying to explain the developmental stage she is in at her age, and the value to her emotionallly and mentally of being able to make her own choices and have them be upheld and encouraged by adults... i said it is unwise to create absolute power struggles over issues like this, and that we should reserve pulling rank for situations in which she truly cannot have a choice (like health/safety issues that are non-negotiable), but she's old enough to have more voice/control in decisions like this, in which the outcome (the finished costume) is not going to seriously affect her health/wellbeing/safety in any way... to let her exercise some agency in situations where the stakes are low. i am afraid of the dynamic he is setting up with her and how that may play out when she is a teenager... but i am grateful that she somehow, miraculously, trusts me enough to come to me with her questions/doubts/problems... i am especially grateful considering some of the thing she is exposed to from other kids at school... so far (and she is 9 years old!!!!) she has come home from school and asked me: why women kill their babies (abortion)? what is AIDS? what is a condom? what is a blowjob? etc... these are things she has heard other kids, mainly boys, saying on the bus or on the playground at school. i have been in the principal and guidance counselor's offices more than i'd like to need to be... but at least she's talking about it, and asking about it. that's better than being silent. still, i wish ben would let me homeschool her... i really do not want to raise my kids out in this society...
isaac and i have gotten a little more time together lately, and i've been more *present* to the times that we share. simple things, watching him eat breakfast, picking up cheerios and one by one putting them in his mouth. we've started having a morning cuddle before we eat breakfast, pray, and get ready... i get him out of bed and we cuddle together on the couch with a big blanket, and just curl up together. he nestles his head under my chin and curls his tiny body in against my stomach and chest, like he is trying to enfold himself in my flesh... and i hold and rock him, and it's not long, less than 5 minutes (because he can't sit still longer than that!) but it is precious to me. he is growing up so fast! i don't want to miss this time. i love my kids so much... i hope God strengthens me to be the mother that they deserve.
i feel hermetic.
i saw jeff again last night, after this past friday... we didn't talk either time, didn't even acknowledge my presence. not that he has to, but it is strange to go from sponsor/sponsee to complete and utter persona non grata. it's possible that i'm taking it personally when it is impersonal... but jeff is too intentional of a person for me to believe that. he's been blowing me off. never returned my calls when i called him, doesn't talk to me or even say hi, etc... for awhile i was really disturbed by all of this, and last night the shadow of a thought passed through my mind, but it passed quickly... partly due to my conversation with matt earlier in the day, which we'll get to in a minute... but something more beautiful has happened. every time i open my hands and my heart and let go of what i feel i cannot let go of, it is transformed and returned to me in an even better form. i let God open my heart and scoop out my limited, selfish, possessive love that i was clinging to, obssessing over, couldn't let go of, cried about, blah blah melodrama blah, and He replaced it with a peace and a reflection, something still more expansive, something bigger and totally foreign and unnatural to me, which is how i know it's from Him! :) i have prayed intensely about this, not just because of jeff, not just because of me, but because i just do not want to repeat this cycle, the behaviors/thoughts/feelings, in whole or in part... i want to be free, in every way... i want my freedom. and there is no freedom in the dark, twisted, selfish ways that i have lived with all my life. God's way is better! and He is always with me to teach me! He has been whispering to me about how a higher love is needed to heal my heart, and enable me to approach this differently... and it has nothing to do with jeff, or this other girl, or anyone else! this is about learning to trust (God) and open my heart to love (unconditional/spiritual) and receive true vision (seeing people with His eyes) to be able to fulfill His purposes (healing) through my life... i am here to serve. i am here to learn how to love, and love well. i am not here to have/get this/that. real life, abundant life, is so much bigger than that.
to that end He sent some wonderful people across my path... laura came out to visit me this week, with a beautiful prayer (she is a prayer warrior! holy crap, i felt like my hands were on fire when she took them in hers... but in a good way!) for me... then yesterday i ran into matt, my buddhist recovery buddy, who gave me a 4 hour long teaching about non-attachment to the past and our "story lines", about being in the present moment, about seeing through the emotions/thoughts that are triggered and seeing them as illusion, looking beyond it to see the core... great conversations! it was great because, i have gotta say, i usually talk alot... but i do not think i have sat still and quiet for that long anytime recently... i just absorbed what he was saying. he's got a lot of years and life experience on me, and he speaks his truth with a gentleness, humor and gritty realism that is very earthy and approachable. grateful for all of these AMAZING people i've met and had the privelege to learn from and get to know as a result of the way this new life is opening me...
last night when i got home from the meeting, after i put isaac to bed and checked in with jessika, i sat quietly with God, just contemplating everything He has done for me, all of the gifts He has given me, how He has changed and is still changing my life and healing me and helping me to grow. it is a miracle. gratitude is not an accurate description for this... it is beyond... ineffable. LOVE. reading yesterday in luke, just absorbing His words. the way He walked this earth with the power of God, how fearlessly He walked His path, all the way to the cross!!!!! and He **KNEW**!!!!! can you imagine calling someone, eating with them, spending three years of ministry with them, watching them grow, and KNOWING that whole time that one would deny you, one would betray you, the others would all scatter and flee... imagine that love! the way He was (and IS) with us... it's so beautiful to me, overpowering... the way He loves us is unspeakable and lovely. i am soaking Him up and honestly i wish i could withdraw from the world and just be with Him... it is unpleasant to set down my Bible and walk out into the world, but that is what He requires of me. so i walk with Him. have my moments of weakness, but hey, that's what He's there for.
oh, hah, that reminds me... all this hype about judgment day being in a few days or something. huh. I WISH! boy, wouldn't that simplify everything! i wouldn't care if it took me down with it, if it brought all the suffering of the world to an end and ushered in the 1000 years of peace and Christ's reign on the earth, i would welcome it even knowing that i am not ready. the problem with that is that Christ Himself said that NO ONE knew or would know the day/hour/time of the second coming. it was not to be revealed to anyone. so anyone claiming to know an exact date or time automatically invalidates themselves and makes it plain that they are a false prophet. if someone warns that the end is coming, that is true; if they encourage people to repent and prepare, they are a prophet and follow in the tradition of all the prophets who came before... but if they post billboards with a specific date and time, claiming it is the day of the Lord, then they have themselves fulfilled the prophecy about false prophets, that false teachers would come and say "there he is! this/ that day is the time!"... Christ said His followers know His voice and that He will call them Himself. so if i belong to Him, i do not need to listen to other people, or read billboards... i have to stay close to Him in prayer and faith, and He Himself will call me. the other problem with these folks thinking that the end has come is that, i hate to say it, but it must get A LOT WORSE than this in order to fulfill what has been written in God's word. Jesus Himself said that such a time had never been seen before and would never be seen again, that it would be unparalleled by anything in human history, and that the suffering of all people on the planet would be so severe that God shortened it otherwise the righteous would be destroyed as well. the period of "tribulation"/trials is long and painful, but it is designed to turn the hearts of the people back to God as they are forced to be humble and admit powerlessness in the face of the calamities we have created for ourselves. we have a lot more ahead of us: more wars, more famines, earthquakes, floods, fires, storms... it says in the Bible that the famines will be so severe that people will resort to cannibalism. if you read and study what is written, it's pretty hardcore. we are not there yet. in light of what it says in the Book, i WISH it was all about to be over. but in fact, we have a lot more ahead of us. thank God that He simultaneously is pouring out His spirit over the earth and all the people, calling us to Him.
beautiful... invited into a cool Christian fellowship. they have potlucks, Bible study and prayer sessions... i can bring the kids, and just hang out with other people who get it and love Him and know Him, and i am more excited than i can say!!!!!!!!!!! seriously, i have been praying intensely for fellowship with other believers, and here it is! :)
so overall, life is good, and i am grateful... figuring it out. :)
last night was awesome, because by a strange and unforseeable sequence of events, i ended up hanging out with my dad and having him over for dinner. i LOVE talking to him. our conversations are shorthand since we don't have to work as hard to explain ourselves. i am definitely my father's daughter; it's like one brain was split in half and each of us got a part of it. :) good talk and good food (i made him come grocery shopping with us at the co-op; for a conservative, the one thing my dad has an open mind on is health food, God bless him). YAY! a little gift, one of many...
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mmmm, other news, what is new? seems like life has quieted down a lot recently, even though lots of superficial changes are happening... got asked to do three leads so far, which is kinda cool. only accepted 2/3, because one of them was the day of julia's softball tournament next month, which i refuse to miss for any reason. this should be interesting... i have no idea what i will say, but i think it is better that way. God will let me know what needs to happen; that's where the power comes from anyway, and if i think about it too much about it beforehand it will just interfere with His message being conveyed.
steve has hung out with isaac a few times now. well, twice. this past time i asked if he'd watch isaac for an hour or two while i went to a meeting. that was cool because it was a short time, and easy on both of them: isaac was in his home environment, with everything he's used to, and the only new factor was steve. it went well and steve seems surprisingly willing to participate to the degree that he can; granted, i haven't asked for much. but i'm ok with that. i'm used to doing it alone, and content to continue that way, and i think that's good, because it takes the pressure off of him, and maybe that will make it easier for him to show up for isaac when/if he chooses to/can. i have been relieved of the compulsion to judge him or keep track of his mistakes. God's got this! so it's lighter and easier interacting with him than i ever would've expected, given the history. i can tell that he is just as surprised as i am, since he is very used to facing the fierce, oh-so-accurate katrina firing squad, loaded with perceptive ammo targeting all his weakest points with heartbreaking cruelty, shooting to kill. but gratefully, God has closed that door and opened several fire exits for us to escape the hell we created together, and now we relate from a peaceful place that i could not have imagined 2+ years ago. God only knows what he's been going through these past two years since we were last on speaking terms. he's pretty close-mouthed now (i don't blame him!), but i gather that he didn't finish school, permanently lost the music scholarship, and is just teaching music lessons right now and playing gigs, and [bracketed because this is by implication only: is trapped in a codependent relationship with the girl he cheated on me with]. i feel sorry for him, and i hope that he pulls through and figures himself out.
i am really grateful that things turned out how they did between us, even though i cried about it at the time. i am glad that we're not together now, because in fundamentals he has not changed, and those incompatibilities would have rendered our relationship miserable even if we had managed to patch it together. he doesn't value the things i value, and he ultimately is all in for himself; he doesn't have a heart for people. he's polite and ever the "nice" guy, but that kindness is superficial, it has no depth. i try to keep an open mind (while simultaneously not developing any expectations), but i don't believe he will seriously step up and *FATHER* isaac. i don't know that he CAN. but if he wants to visit and play with him, who knows? maybe that experience will help him someday when/if he IS ready to be a father (to another child). who knows what all these blocks are building? i'm not the builder! i'm just some crumbling mortar! :) at least, that's how i feel today.
tired, even though i slept well... right as i was about to wake up, i had a distrubing dream that i don't remember, i just woke up with my heart racing and breathing hard, feeling scared, but in that instant it was gone, although the heavy feeling lingered with me for a few hours. still gettin up early, but didn't have my morning coffee with God this morning.
:( i forgot my coffee at the gallery. pissed that these f-ing hippie-friends of jexo's keep coming in and hanging out there at night, brewing/drinking all my coffee, and never replacing it. GRRRRR. God knows how many people have a key to the place... it's annoying. especially since things and money have been disappearing lately. that really bothers me. i don't leave my stuff there, but still. on principle. <---and this is coming from a former professional thief! but i never stole from individuals or small businesses, big corporate stores only; i NEVER would have stolen from a nonprofit, for fuck's sake! who does that?!
looking for jobs, i don't know what was up with that serving job, but that didn't end up happening. disappointed but assuming that it's for the best. i'm not sweating... yet. and perhaps i won't have to at all. i feel confident that i will get what i need. i'm doing my part, and God knows what i need (but i remind Him everyday, just in case!), so it'll all be good. it doesn't matter what i end up doing, as long as i can take care of my babes and get back into school... eventually. we'll see what happens.
one year... something super silly, to my mind anyway, is that suddenly all these dudes who have never talked to me are suddenly coming up to me and asking me if i've worked the steps. i am wondering if this is subtle code language. i don't care either way. i don't think that needs to be my focus right now. and i probably need to take some time to recover my balance anyway. i have some other feelings that i need to resolve first, or i guess not really "resolve", but just sit with them and let them settle into place, come to a place of peace... feel pretty good about it in general. i guess the only messy part is the old shit that has been brought up, which is basically my own insecurity and fear that was, in some cases in the past, aggravated by some insensitive and selfish behavior on the part of my exes... but ultimately, i am laying down all my battle weapons and armor for once, and looking at myself a little more closely than i am interested in rehashing my view of them and what they did wrong to me.
i am asking myself, given the fact that these dudes were clearly immature and so deeply enmeshed in their own pain/denial/fear/bullshit, why did i present myself for that kind of treatment? what was the payoff for me, to stay in these situations in the first place, long after it proved to be unhealthy for me? why was i so unwilling to let them walk their own path, and pursue their own destiny, even if that meant going further into their own unconscious patterns? why do i refuse to let people be? why do i always try to cram the truth down their throat, why do i try to drag them kicking and screaming up to the plateaus i am trying to reach, that THEY clearly don't care to attain? ultimately, isn't it just that i am selfish, that i have been straddling the fence between God's plan and my plan, that i am unwilling to accept that what God wills for me (moving forward to an unknowable future) does not mesh with what i want (the known/tangible/familiar comfort of unhealthy, abusive relationships with these men i attract/am attracted to)? ultimately, isn't getting wrapped up in those cycles of drama and pain a convenient way for me to sidestep my walk with God and the work i need to do, and at the same time pat myself on the back for selflessly helping these people, and have a scapegoat when it's all said and done? "look, look at the terrible thing he did, it's HIS fault that i haven't gotten around to doing this and that, because i was too busy taking care of him, blah blah blah..." really, katrina? really? yuck. i am REALLY good on that.
crazy dreams lately, CRAZY. had a dream about joni the other night that we were hanging out with a bunch of our mutual friends, and we were laughing together about the fights we used to have... this could never happen in real life. i had this dream the morning that i woke up and went to mail my amends letter to him. i think God gave me that dream just to give me the courage to follow through. i mailed the letter, including inside the poems of his that i had... so now that is finished, and there is more peace in that simple gesture than i would have thought. that letter weighed 1,000 lbs though, all the way to the mailbox! but it's done now, and i doubt that i will ever get a response, but it doesn't matter. i said what was right and true, and i feel good about it. i think i could see him now and be ok, better than ok. i think i could smile at him, from my heart, and mean it, and keep walking and mean it! :)
my life is a miracle every day, even when nothing happens. soaking up His spirit, trying to relax a little, trust a little more everyday. because it's all good! :D or something. i'm trying to get all deep but really i don't know, just experiencing it moment to moment... and that in and of itself is good, and a big improvement for me. is this serenity?
as long as i keep looking inside, i stay level. when i look around me, at others, i start to lose that feeling of steadiness... the good news is that, as usual, adversity is making my spiritual muscles strong. staying really close to God because outside of that, there is nothing for me. the world has nothing to offer me that will last, and to be honest i am bored with and tired of the amusement park mentality of society at large... consume, consume, consume, use, lie, cheat, steal, lust, justify... something inside of me, i can tell, is reacting to something outside of me, and i'm not sure what it is or when it started, but i know it is happening right now because when that happens, i feel my energy shift and i feel pulled, or knocked off-center, out of balance. dislike. what is it? i feel like history is repeating itself right now and it is bringing a wave of insecurity over me... but it's ok. today is different day. this is a different situation. things play out the way they do, and it usually has a lot less to do with me than i obsessively think! :) also, even that past situation didn't really happen the way i have always thought about it...
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all of my energy today is going to have to go into staying steady. think i will go to the river and do that meditation i got from that pema chodron CD that chali gave me. i'm so glad that she is my sponsor... she *gets* me, she really sees me, without judgment, without blindness... she sees me with soft eyes, truth-eyes, compassionate eyes. she is so gentle with me, like a fucking lion tamer she is! she is constantly putting her healer's hands into my vicious jaws and gently lifting out the innocent victims of my cruel, angry thoughts and words. she teaches me by example how to relax, to be gentle; she is the distilled antidote to the anxious, constant stream of criticism that is running through my mind, about myself (especially) and others (when i feel threatened). she shows me how to be patient, how to wait, how to trust... really grateful for her. i don't talk to her that often, maybe once or twice a week, but i don't really need to talk to her more often than that... i'm not sure i could tolerate it! she busts off big chunks of truth for me to digest, and i need time in between sessions with her! but i appreciate her. sometimes i feel like we are dancers; occassionally she has misstepped, or i have, trampling each others toes... but the beauty of it is that we keep dancing, and i feel like somehow, by the grace of God really, a lovely bond of trust has come into being between us... a willingness to overlook the imperfection that we are both bound to bring to the table. we can even sit and openly point out and talk about our humanness and share a chuckle about it. i am becoming less fearful, little by little.
it is also easier to trust, relax and feel at peace in the world when you stop involving yourself in drama, bullshit, etc. when i approach other people and situations with a spirit of peace, they cannot help but respond in kind... even if they bring conflict or negativity to the table, it quickly fizzles out in the face of my non-engagement, and they either rise to and honor a peaceful vibe, or they are forced (not by me) to pick up their hater-pack and keep walking. i still often find myself being triggered into attack/defense modes, though, and getting pulled back down to that level, which is troubling. investing in the good, creating peace of mind/heart, conscious contact (as continuous as we can keep it), maintaining balance and restoring it when it is lost... those are my practices right now. working on confronting mySELF, and my own fears, rather than confronting other people. any conflicted feeling outside of me is ultimately only a reflection of some conflict within me. if it resolve what is going on inside, everything outside will take care of itself.
mmmm, God is talking about the future. dusting off some of my old dreams and realizing that He has purified my intentions over the past few years through some of this painful, hard-won clarity. my life's dream has always been to save some $, move to south america and buy a large tract of land to build a self-sufficient compound that is both orphanage and school... perhaps someday i will. but in the meantime, getting this post bacc in education. teaching in the public school system. and starting a non-profit, the scope of which i don't totally know yet, but it's more authentic to me and less escapist. "the house that love built": a home for foster children (and their families), a home for wards of the court/state, a home for pregnant teens... a home for those who may not be homeless in the sense of having nowhere to live, but who are homeless in the sense that they have never had a sense of *home*... a place of belonging and love, where others are invested in and committed to their welfare. a place where people can seek refuge from the disintegration of the family, nuclear and extended. a place where we can foster the children AND the parents, so that they can be families again. a place where we can teach teens how to be good parents, and provide them the community support and mentoring they need to mature and develop into the parents they can become... a place where children who have been thrown away and forgotten by society, who have fallen through the cracks, who have been tossed into the judicial system or gone through other hardships that have left them at the mercy of bureaucracy can be saved from that, given a home and a place to be loved, raised and educated, given parenting and help transitioning to adulthood instead of being sacrificed to institutions or hopeless futures. this is my dream! this is God's dream, His heart, beating inside of me. THIS is what i could devote the rest of my life to, passionately, without regret, and not care if i died with less than $10 in the bank as long as i had food to eat, a roof over my head, and the ability to work toward this goal til the day i die.
i think that if i finish cleaning up my credit, get that degree and teach, and save some money, it would be very feasible to buy properties in urban areas at a cheap price and rehab them for a low cost. that would be ideal anyway because i want them to be HOMES, like family-dwellings, not some institutional-feeling building. incorporate urban farming/gardening and good eco-practice (rain barrels, compost piles, and the like). imagine taking a foster child or children, helping them work through their issues, get them on the right track in school if need be, meanwhile working with their parents to address their issues (rehab, counseling, anger management, parenting classes, housekeeping/cooking/gardening/etc...), except instead of doing it the bullshit way it's done now, actually taking them into a home, SHOWING them and teaching them how to be a family, how to care for themselves and each other... beautiful. the possibilities for networking with other agencies and nonprofits, and grants/funding are limitless, and while i work on my degree i can research that and start planning. this is a big project and will probably be several years in the making, but if i start working towards it now, i can plant myself in a "job" that i would joyfully do everyday for the rest of my life, be able to make a living (literally, a living, not any extravagance) and serve God at the same time. beautiful. i get so excited every time i even think about any aspect of this... because it would be FUN, and fulfilling!
if you want to solve a problem, take all the focus off of the problem and start living the solution. be the change. etc. this has been said many times in many ways... but there it is. i think single-minded focus and attention is the solution. i have been prone to distraction, getting dragged off of my path by getting wrapped up in things that have nothing to do with who i am or what i'm about. this is what i am about... this is the path He is opening up in front of me, this is what i am meant to give my life for... there are a lot of ways to take up your cross, so to speak. Jesus literally gave his life... but we usually are not put in a position to have to die for our beliefs. instead, He is calling me to give up my life in the sense of, not directing it toward my own pleasure or satisfaction. not focusing on the job/house/car/relationship or whatever it is that i think i deserve/want/"need" for myself. if i devote myself to the work that He gives me to do, i will never want for anything, and i will have a full rich life, a peaceful one. my conflicts will be of spiritual opposition rather than personality/self-will clashes. i will always have something to contribute. this is really all i want. to be the adult that was not available to me as a child/teen... the mentor/"parent"/educator that i did not have. i had to learn the hard way and pick my way along my path as best as i could, with God's help... but it can be different for the generations coming up behind me. they don't have to go through what i went through. all of that pain can be put to a positive purpose if i can bring myself to give up illusion and devote myself to truth. i have often fooled myself by thinking that if only i could cut myself free from all of this baggage, that i could reward myself with the life i "deserve"... with material things, relationships, this cookie cutter life i thought i should have, that i thought equalled success. i now know that is hollow and that my freedom is conditional on my willingness to continually engage in the cause of freedom. i did not escape so that i could have my pleasure at the expense of (or willful ignorance) of others' suffering. i am ready to really give Him my life for real. besides, what did i ever make out of my own life that was so awesome? even the best products of my self-will were nothing compared to the future He promises.
this is serious. i am excited! but i know that this is going to entail a lot of sacrifice. that sacrifice is going to grow me into a new and better human being. i am so excited! i looked in the mirror this morning and for a moment i glimpsed my own face, but at 40, and 60. i saw my silver-grey hair, i saw the wisdom and joy in my face, and i thought, i have to begin living this way NOW, so that i will arrive there then... i have to be the woman now who will have become that beautiful spiritual grandmother. i want to follow in great aunt dot's footsteps. i wear her locket everyday, with the mustard seed inside, to remind me... a touchstone. anyway, He's planted this seed in my heart, and i gotta tell ya, every time i think about it, my heart overflows with joy and i say a little prayer of thanks, and feel like i am gonna cry, not for sadness but for joy... it overwhelms me, the simplicity and appropriateness of it. GOD IS GOOD. :)
so i guess our paths are, in fact, perpendicular and not parallel... as is usually the case in my life. i am growing up. maturing to a more nuanced response than my usual extremism. i think something really beautiful has happened without my realizing it. in the drama of my emotional turmoil, trying to make sense of my life, and trying to not be dragged around by my desires, i kinda lost sight of a lovely unfolding. i think i fell in love without realizing it, which is the only way i could have, since i was guarding/patrolling all of my entrances and exits! love had to sneak in like a ninja warrior in disguise! :D
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this is delightful! i think it is really sweet. the fact that i am capable of feeling that way about someone again is a miracle. i honestly felt like an amputee, and that any "love" that might happen for the rest of my life would be like phantom limb syndrome, a shadow of a feeling in a heart that i no longer possessed. but that is not true! i, in fact, am in possession of a lovely, beating heart with a fierce pulse, a drumbeat. what i came to feel for him is actually stronger, deeper and more genuine than what i have ever felt or experienced before. i can see him for who and what he is, without illusion. it is not an infatuation based on who i want to believe that he is, what i would like him to be, not a projection of ideal traits onto an ordinary person that later leads to disillusionment and resentment. i see him, the good and bad and miscellaneous, and i value it and respect it. even the things i don't like, i somehow still love, which i think is very weird, but kinda cool. when i don't get swept away in the current of my own emotional drama or insecurity, i feel this warmth...even when he is cold. it doesn't matter, because the warmth is coming from me! whatever he brings to the surface, however he acts, even now his absence... there is something lovely about being able to feel that, to FEEL. i can feel this. i am present to this. i am loving this experience of myself, even though some of it is this feeling of separation, and some of it is jealous insecurity, and some of it is fear, underneath of all that and enveloping all of that is a peace, a really sweet feeling of excitement, just being so fucking happy that i am capable of feeling this at all! without reciprocity, without demands, without expectations. kinda silly and sad that i couldn't relax and let myself feel this until i knew that he was completely gone from me. love-in-retrospect. but i guess that's where i'm at, me and my fearfulness. :) i guess i have so many layers of fear around this, love/sex/men issue, that i can only take it one tiny piece at a time. so this piece, being able to allow myself to feel it... after the fact, when there is no need to act on it or express it, there is no rejection and no pain... just allowing myself to experience myself as a whole, restored emotional being that is capable of love, capable of holding that. not doing anything with it, just feeling it. what a sweet gift.
you know how i know this? :) i was talking to Him today and saying, "today is so perfect, just beautiful... tomorrow is one year sober. i feel happy, but i also feel this hollow place where there is a bittersweet feeling... what is this feeling? where did it come from?" He laughed at me (because God laughs!!!!, which is so cool! Jesus is my BFF! :D) and said, "you love him." and i feigned ignorance, "what? who? no i don't! that was just a bunch of..." G: "oh is it?" and showed me. how sweet. my little katrina-heart. it reminds me of helping jules with her valentines this year, when she made a special one for the boy she liked, watching that tiny and tender shoot of love begin to grow into what i hope will someday be a beautiful experience of mature love as an adult... i am just now having that same feeling, at 27. better late than never! i was too terrified as a child and most of my teenage years to feel anything about the opposite sex... that kind of attention was very threatening to me. part of the reason why i dated/slept with women. i wasn't able to start having romantic/sexual relationships with men until i was drinking and doing drugs. it was just too frightening, too many negative associations. so doing some emotional catch up work, i guess. that's so sweet! i am looking down at my hands, where my tender heart is beating, and thinking "AWWWWWW," but not in a bad way. as in, this is so sweet and pure and precious, it's authentic old-school katrina, innocent, before i learned about cynicism and fear. if i keep soing my work, i will be able to experience this more fully some day, perhaps. how awesome!
so i ran into P* yesterday after avoiding him for nearly a month. what's up with my tendency to cut people off like that? usually tied to something about myself that i don't wanna look at. seeing the questioning woundedness in his eyes made me realize some things. first of all, i have more of an effect on other people than i think. i have such a faulty self-concept and such low self-esteem/am so insecure that it doesn't occur to me that someone else could genuinely like me or value me or want to be close to me... and that's sad. i always suspect an agenda, always on hyperalert for the other shoe to drop, for them to use/manipulate/deceive me, or the feeling that it is too scary to accept/receive a connection to someone else because i fear them withdrawing it or betraying it, which is funny since that is in fact what *I* usually do! i say i want this great love, that i want to be close to someone, etc etc... but that's not how i act! just now am i beginning to see what a love like that would require... *of me*! i always focus on dictating what the other person should do, but what do i really bring to the table? i have a lot of clean up work to do. all that amends-type stuff. truth is that while i found him interesting, maybe even impressive or something, i was on some bullshit. and so from that point, it's probably a good thing that i took several steps back and kept my distance. but i could have done that in a gentler way. this business of cleaning my side of the street keeps the dumpsters full 24/7! yikes, what an asshole i can be. but that whole situation wasn't for me. i just wish i hadn't toyed with someone else's emotions for the sake of my own bullshit. not cool. but onward...
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yeah, God is keeping me on a pretty tight leash these days, in terms of speaking to me clearly about my behavior and motives, moment to moment. He truly is answering my heartfelt prayer, the relentless way i have been hounding Him, saying "i really don't want to live like that anymore! i'm really ready to do it your way! show me!" so He does. so many things. God knows what He will have sculpted me into a year or ten from now. but i feel safe entrusting myself to Him. right now He seems to be focusing on nurturing my spirit, healing me so that i will stop hurting myself and other people... He is so gentle with me! so soft in His leading. it's perfect. no blame, no shame, no fear, just love. just sweetness, and WORK. :) but it's a pleasure. even the painful crap and working through all the emotional stuff is eased so much now, because i am not fighting it, and i am not fighting it because i no longer feel the need to. i feel safe enough to allow it to flow over/through me, and process it, because i know He is with me, and His presence gives me the strength to cooperate with the process of extracting meaning from the pain. it reminds me of being in labor, how labor is more difficult, more painful, and takes longer if you become tense or fearful, but that if you relax and allow the pain of each contraction to completely overtake your body and do its work, each one brings you closer to the moment of birth... it's more intense, but it goes faster and is less painful. God is the midwife of my spiritual awakening, and my healing. one piece at a time He is mending me, showing me the wounds, and stitching them up with such great tenderness. He reminds me to breathe, to slow down, to relax... He is good to me. :) grateful. a great comfort, especially right now, when i am sorely tempted to slip into insecurity and a grasping mentality.
...but He is whispering to me, to do the work, to be patient, to trust Him when He tells me that He will give me that love when it's time. it's not time right now. and i know that. i could not do anyone justice at this moment, being so convalescent and in need of focusing on doing this work. but He reassures me that there is a time and a season for everything, and that right now, as He's *been* telling me, is my time of preparation. prepare, and do the work. His presence is strong and constant, and the comfort of it is so enormous that for once the prospect of all this work is not drudgery or a death sentence, but something i can enjoy and look forward to. i will miss this time when it is past; it is a gift to be nursed like this, and i don't intend to take it for granted. i am enjoying tending the garden of my soul, shoulder to shoulder with God... and He is giving me songs! and poems! which is super cool. He is so cool. provider of all good things, sprinkling gifts on me for no reason other than His generosity and goodwill is so intense that He can't help but spill it all over the place. i love God. He is kind of extravagant, but i love it. there is no passion like His passion. He truly loves us with intensity. very satisfying. makes me realize that most of the sexual compulsion has nothing to do with sex; it's a way to meet that need for the intimacy and closeness that i am too frightened to actually allow. it's a substitute for learning how to *really* interact with and love other people, and allow them to know and love me. but i don't have to do that anymore, because He is teaching me how to love for real! how to forgive. beautiful. He is beautiful and my heart is alive inside of me, and it doesn't frighten me. i am safe inside of His love. this is crazy! my whirlwind romance with God. :)
where to begin... i am so grateful for the strange and twisting path that my life has traced across space, time, cultures and experiences. i feel free of limitation, free of the imprisonment of a closed mind. i feel free. freedom is not always a pleasant experience. as a slave, you may get beaten, but you get fed. you might not be able to do what you want, but you are relieved of the responsibility of having to be conscious of what you want, setting an agenda. you can claim ignorance, or powerlessness. but we are not on that page now. a new door is opening to me, a new path, a new way of life, a way of being. i couldn't describe it if i wanted to, because it is not something i can see and comprehend, it's something that is revealed to me incrementally, moment by moment. it makes me listen hard. it makes me lay awake at night turning His words over and over in my mind. it makes me pour my heart out to Him. this is deep and beautiful. it makes me feel that i can truly throw off any and all constraints, my investment in anything other than His path. "take up your cross and follow me". indeed. the christian walk is not for the faint-hearted, or for those that rumi called, "lazy, self-congratulating geese who say, 'this far is enough'." there is no limit; we have to be willing to go as far as necessary, to seek Him relentlessly and serve Him tirelessly. so there is hardship, but also strength, because you *DO* lose a lot of things, but it's nothing compared to what you gain.
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the comfort, security and completeness of His love is enough to cushion any blow that falls on me from now to the end of my life. i love Him. i think that now i am experiencing love for the first time: me, the die-hard romantic, experimenter and adventurer of the human heart, sexcapader of the forbidden realms :) now that is being removed from me. He is so pure, so honest and true; He takes me tenderly in His hands, and with gentleness and acceptance He speaks words of truth to my spirit, illuminating the ways in which my own weakness, sickened thinking, sin, selfishness, is like barbed wire imbedded in my heart and around my hands and feet and mouth. it keeps me from loving with His love, serving with His hands, letting Him guide my steps, allowing Him to use my mouth to speak His words. there is no obligation or compulsion or guilt with Him. there is safety, and complete peace. He is the only being that has ever been able to behold and contain my truth, without shrinking back from me in fear or disgust or exhaustion. i cannot exhaust His patience. i cannot do or say anything that would ever make Him stop loving me; my being, even in its imperfection, is not repulsive to Him. He sees and knows me completely, through and through, every thought, every intention, every emotion, every action, every desire, every wound... and His love embraces and envelops all, and calls me forward into this wholeness and beauty and wellness, He sees who i really am, and will never rest until He has brought that forth. He created us, and He is still creating us. it is so beautiful, coming to know Him like this now. i cannot believe that this is happening to me now.
gratitude is not an adequate word for the feelings i have for/about Him. "AWE" comes a little bit closer. studying the old testament with Jewish folks is such a gift and a blessing, because they can speak to you from/about the original Hebrew, and the connotations of any given word. for example, something i always hated about the Bible and the Biblical conception of God as i was taught/understood it was the whole idea of "fearing God". i had enough fear in my life as a child, i didn't want more. i also studied my scriptures as a child, seeking Him, because i believed even though nothing seemed to confirm that belief at the time... and i found the verse in paul's letter to timothy, "for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of love, and a sound mind..." *that* was the God i wanted to worship and learn about, but i was always taught to be afraid of God, to view Him as a vengeful, hateful being who watched me every moment to make note of my mistakes so that He could punish me for them... but david was explaining to me the other night that most of the places in the Bible that say "fear the Lord/fear God" don't actually say that at all... in hebrew, almost all of those instances (except one or two, which DO mean "fear"), most of these references actually mean, "stand in awe of"/"have reverence for"/"keep in remembrance". speaking of remembrance, that is one of the super awesome things i got out of my practice as a muslim: DHIKR, "remembrance", consciously calling God to mind often, meditating on His word; also, reciting the names of God. i love that line in the Q'ran that says, "Yours are the most beautiful names..." and begins to list the attributes of God.
for me, becoming a Christian, or claiming a Christian identity (ie, in scripture, "take upon you the name of Christ") is kind of like falling in love with someone that your family doesn't approve of. :) it might piss people off, or make them uncomfortable, and maybe i will lose people over this transition or because of things He calls me to say/do... but i am so madly in love with Him that i can't refuse Him. and i have learned well by now that He loves me and only gives me His laws for my benefit and protection. He is not trying to deprive me of anything; in fact, He makes a provision for any and every need i could ever think of having. although some things i will not receive immediately. but even then, when He says "no" or "not yet", He gives me patience and faith so that i can bear the discomfort of not getting what i want/need. He wants me to succeed in living uprightly before Him. living righteously is impossible; no human is capable of doing what is right according to God's standards... but He wants us to live His way, and gives us His spirit so that we can. He makes us capable. HE IS AWESOME.
so this all leads to a fairly logical conclusion, which God reminded me of last night (we had an all-nighter last night, i was up with Him until 6am again...WHEW, whole other story...): i need to fellowship with other believers. i am a part of the "body of Christ"/His church, but right now i am an amputated part! i need to worship and serve and be part of a community of people who know Him and are striving to live His way. a lot of the problems, frustrations and emotional pain that i am experiencing in the present moment is linked to the fact that i need to spend more time with believers. the body of Christ (1 corinthians chapter 12) is made of many parts that work in concert... so other believers have spiritual gifts to help me, and i have gifts that i can contribute to them; we can build each other up. i get frustrated trying to be who i am out in the world (IN the world, but not OF it anymore) and constantly feeling rejected, unappreciated, etc etc wah-wah-wah! :) but last night i saw that my gifts are designed to be used among His people... they will know what i'm talking about, and what i'm doing, and they will receive it a lot better than worldly people who don't get it! i know from experience that there are imperfect people everywhere, so it's not like church will be a utopia... because really churches are more like triage hospitals, a place of refuge where people can come to be spiritually restored from the inevitable pain of living in this soulless, superficial, degrading, morally corrupt world. He told me a few months ago, "GATHER MY PEOPLE". still not sure what that means. but i do know that i need to be around other believers. now i'm just not sure *where* to go, because i am so afraid of organized religion/churches/etc... but i am confident that He will show me.
the other thing that He is showing me is love. i have been praying to understand the mystery of God's love. 1 corinthians chapter 13. at first, when He opened that to me last night, i got angry and thought, "great, another to-do list. another list of unattainable qualities that i have to try to live up to..." (silly katrina! that's not how it works!) but He said, "this is a description of how i love you. savor it." after sitting with it for awhile, it was not as hard for me to let go of my envy, resentment, fear. He showed me what i need to do next. He called me out on neglecting my gifts, and gave me instructions of how to re-engage in the work He has asked of me. i am ready to do whatever He tells me to do, whatever He asks. i am just so grateful that i belong to Him. i am so grateful and in awe of who/how He is. His work is wonderful. i am not going to sell my guitar now and give up on music as i was thinking of doing... instead, He told me to write hymns. not like old fashioned ones, but songs for Him, about Him. i am kinda excited to sing, or i guess excited that something has made enough of an impression of joy on my heart to make me feel like singing. it's been so long since music spontaneously flowed from me... i have been so blocked, so entrenched in fear, grieving so hard... still am, sometimes: He shows me what i need to see, and holds me through it. :) He has lifted me up, He has heard me and answered me. i don't ever want to go back. i have found home. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm... YES, THANK YOU! :)
hum, last night talked to rowan for a few hours, and in the course of that talk some understanding distilled in me. i was surprised at how insightful he is, but with a very light touch, able to speak truth with humor that is not sarcastic/caustic/destructive, but with a lightness, as if to say, "this is the truth, and look at that falsehood we were distraught over, isn't it silly that we believed in that?" like it's ok to laugh at your imperfections. exactly what i needed to hear. he asks great questions, too! not to sell him short, but before i talked to him i didn't really understand why jessika was with him. he's a nice guy, but he doesn't immediately bring his qualities to the surface. he is a person that you have to sift. but anyway, he called me out on some bullshit, and through our conversation he made me realize how tiny and fearful i was being, and that really, at the core, this is somewhat related to joni, how i am still in love with him, and how i have been hanging onto the pain of that heartbreak because it insulates me from caring too much about anyone else, and therefore keeps me from getting hurt. and even if i do get hurt, i can say, "this is nothing compared to what i feel/felt for joni."
i also get to accept that the connection that came into being between he and i was genuine and real, and irreplaceable, and that i can let go of my insistence of bringing it into the present moment. i can let it be in my past, i can accept that that is over and that he and i will never be together again like i always hoped... i can accept all of those things, and all of my feelings about it, and LET IT GO without in any way invalidating its beauty or worth to me. he will always be with me; i will never lose him. anytime i love someone, a golden thread, like an umbilicus, ties us together as we nourish each other and grow together... and when that umbilicus is severed, it leaves a mark! what we experienced together is ineffable. i am grateful. and i can trust that if God can bring him across my path, and make me capable of opening to someone like i did to him, God can make anything happen. i *CANNOT KNOW* what will be in the future, but i can trust that it will be for the best, and that i will be joyful if not happy. i also gotta remember that the magic was not in joni... what made that connection magical and possible was what it brought out in ME, how I was different because of it. it was because i opened myself, because my desire was so intense that it led me to be fearless, even reckless, that i was willing to transgress any internal or external wall to get to the core of us. and i did. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! it was scary and revelatory and beautiful. like rilke said, "every angel is terrifying."
so i will take these lessons and apply them now as bandages to my more recent cuts, scrapes and wounds. i am quite a tender-heart! my toughness expresses itself in my tenacious edurance of being: not in a forceful protecting of myself, but in my willingness to allow the experience of pain to transform me, without resistance, without attack, and without laying down and being crushed by it. i endure. i remain. that is God in me. He has always, always, from my birth, blessed me with His strength. able to bear the unbearable. able to speak the unspeakable. able to love the unlovable. His power is boundless, and i can be an expression of it, if i will just be humble, just trust, just rest in Him: curl up in His arms like a little one, like the way isaac climbs up into my lap and squirms around until he gets comfortable, and just lets me hold him for awhile, because he just wants to be close. that's all that He asks of me: stay close. let me hold you, let me love you, let me give to you. all this time wasted banging my fists down, screaming for help. so unnecessary. :) but i am learning.
excited to take the kids to a seder tonight. also relieved that due to this special occassion, i have a totally valid reason for not going to Mnite with jess. i'd love to hang with her, but last monday was weird, and i am not interested in a repeat experience. the dynamics with jeff are nothing short of bizarre. i have tried to clear it up, having asked him a few times if i have done or said anything to offend him, and wondering what was up with the vibe/tone of our friendship, which is now seemingly non-existent. he claims to not know what i'm talking about, that nothing is wrong, and i for once agree with him, in light of our most recent conversation. he got as close as he ever gets to truly open communication... pretty much blew me off and said that our friendship is either nonexistent, or existent but of no value or importance to him. of course he didn't say that outright, because that's not his style. instead, he told me that he only has two close friends, of which i am not one, that everyone else is an aquaintance, and that he wears the world like a loose garment, etc. nice how God's word, adapted to AA, originally intended to instruct us to not be materialistic, is being used to justify callousness. he's graduating soon, and i assume that he will be leaving shortly thereafter. i thought that would be hard, but actually i am thinking that it will be a relief. i am tired of how bad i feel when i interact with him, shivering in his icy cold. i feel like i am being punished or something for getting a different sponsor, or perhaps for just being who i am and where i'm at. he claims that he doesn't judge me, etc... but something is not right. there is no other explanation for the total 180 in his attitude and behavior towards me. i am frustrated that this is yet another failed experiment in trust. i really regret opening myself up to this person. it was a mistake. talking to him was a mistake. but i guess this is another opportunity to learn my lesson... hope i stop drawing people like this into my life, who feel no qualms about withdrawing themselves. now i guess i know how it feels when i do this to other people... what a way to learn that. fortunately in this case, circumstance is for once mercifully playing an active role in helping me to let go and forget. what was the point of all of that? there is none. i am not even going to let myself think about it for a good long while, just chalk it up to first year sobriety bullshit.
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now then, onto the good, and thankfully there's a lot right now: kids are good, relationships with my family continue to develop to my astonishment, chali is really great for me, therapy is starting... and starting yoga workshop hour at the gallery tomorrow. also jess and i are starting a meeting for sober creativity, like a discussion meeting with art and music projects and stuff. should be super fun. :) i am excited. applying for jobs at a few residential treatment facilities, which would be such an awesome job for me. best of all, uninterrupted time with God every morning before starting the day... nice. using the auto-brew function on my coffee pot. it is all about simple pleasures.
feeling peaceful and free, emotional crap coming up but i am becoming more adept at working through it. actually even had a real discussion with my daddy :) about it the other day, without it turning into an argument! i was shocked. he *listened*, and he didn't get defensive or put me down. what a relief, for him to just HEAR me. that was a salve i have been waiting on for years... grateful. don't let anyone tell you that God isn't a God of miracles... because God is always at work, doing amazing things. impossible things. He is opening me up, cleaning me out... not always pleasant, but His work is beautiful and wonderful, and His love consumes and transforms everything. which is AWESOME.
OH MY GOD, someone please confiscate my hater's club membership card!!!! i need to get off this hyper-angry, and i mean crazy!!!!, rage-bender i've been on. whew, holy shit, like every other minute my blood is boiling. i guess it will pass, and the other women i've been talking to tell me to be patient, that all of this is normal... that this anger is long overdue, and actually a sign of health, but WHOA! i don't handle this well. i don't feel comfortable feeling angry. i am always afraid that i am going to hurt someone, especially with my mouth. i can be cruel, and i dislike emotional violence, and i know i am capable of it, and even prone to it when i am in pain... also being angry just makes me feel so out-of-control, it's just the most over-the-top feeling, it's like what i imagine being possessed would be like. like some animal-mind overtakes me and i start snarling and snapping. wailing and gnashing of teeth indeed. lord have mercy...
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and thank God that He does indeed have mercy. He schooled me on that today. spoke peace to my heart and soul, but also bluntly called me out on my wrongs lately. gentle but firm correction. my bullshit has been spinning out of control. there is absolutely no justification for it, although i know that that is my pattern, that's where i go when i am freaking out. the easier, softer way. the tangible comfort. ultimately, the fix, 'cause that's all it is. so getting honest about that. whew. for days i have been in this deep well of emotion, poisoned thoughts, layers of this shit, seeing it for what it is. feeling like a failure for reenacting, recreating, not getting it right. no chemical relapse, but emotionally a complete wash out, my thoughts in the fucking sewer of self-justification.
i have a lot of work to do. i keep running from it, because i am afraid of it, afraid of the pain, afraid of being judged or rejected by people, afraid that i will have to face it alone, that no one will understand, blah blah blah... and of course, He reminds me today, there is some truth to those fears. after all, in the Christian walk, if the world embraces you with open arms, it's because you are not really living your faith. "the natural man is an enemy to God"... and i have been living in my natural state (which is sick as fuck) instead of walking and living from my spirit, which is beautiful, pure and run/empowered by God. so it quickly degenerated. i quickly began finding reasons why it was ok for me to do the same things i have done a million times before. rereading some of this shit, i have been shocked and amazed by some of the things i was thinking and saying that i thought (at the moment) were totally valid. case in point: this whole, "i'm going to date all these people..." with the expressed intention of using them to gratify my own egotistical bullshit!!!! oh no, katrina, oh no, are you SERIOUS?!?!?!?! but thank God, He caught me up and called me out before i could really start wreaking havoc. still, i have some apologies to make.
crawled back to His open arms today, bleeding, broken, wondering why the fuck He loves me at all, much less unconditionally, and why the hell He always receives me back joyfully, as if i had never left, or, more accurately, as if i am a guest of honor, that there is no one He wants to see more! i guess that's what the prodigal son story was for, for jerks like me that are so fucking damaged that we have lost the capacity to be loved like that and not run away screaming for our lives... :) i will learn. i *AM* learning. i know that He is leading me by the hand, and i have made a sort of peace with that frightening childlike, vulnerable feeling i've had lately... "you have to become like these little children to enter the kingdom of God"... i think this is the perfect spot to begin (again), to be humble and teachable enough to lay down any and all defense in at least one place in my life. i don't know what is going to happen from here. i am realizing that i never knew, and that i never can know... all of my bullshit is conjecture and manipulative projections onto the future.
i am starting from scratch, and have been so humbled by this glimpse of my sickness, that i cannot take anything for granted right now. and i have finally admitted that chemical sobriety will be meaningless and temporary unless i address these core issues, and the addiction that accompanies them.
hmmm, 11 months. so there's that.
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not very close to God right now. but now feel so far away that i'm scared to make my way back.
i am an extremist. all or nothing. everyone else is right, i *AM* too fucking intense. i'm too intense for myself right now.
i don't want to see or be seen, don't wanna know or be known. feel like a crumpled valentine. just want to go to sleep and sulk for awhile, mmmmmkay?
need some moving mountaintop moment that is not going to happen, because apparently that is not how it works.
i want to begin something new, but i don't know where to start. i feel ready for a change, but tired and lacking the energy for any sort of initiative. also feel really fearful... about making the wrong choices, about not being able to see things through... i never finish things, you know? i am looking back and seeing how much potential and opportunity my life has contained, and i pissed it away, and i feel like i am doing the same thing now as well, to some degree. but it's partly this... ugh. this depression, this drag on me. i have not made my peace with it, and i don't know how to deal with it. it just comes and overpowers me.
sometimes i just feel like saying fuck it. i am *EXTREMELY* frustrated right now. i don't need to be lectured about self-will and this and that. self-knowledge avails us nothing. i don't need more information, even if it's the correct information. i don't need facts, i need for my heart to be touched, i need for my mind to be changed and my heart to be healed, and i've been running like hell from the only One who can do that work, because i am scared and tired and don't wanna feel anymore. i am angry and resentful that not only does this person get to steal the majority of my childhood and adolescence, he also gets to steal hours and days out of my life right now as well, in which i revisit this wound that never seems to heal. to be walked through another piece of my own private hell. I AM FUCKING SICK OF THIS. it is not fair. that may sound childish but i don't care. i get angry when i hear these other women talk about how great their life is now that they are sober. i feel like nothing waits for me on the other side of sobriety other than a long and painful confrontation with all of this shit that i can no longer numb or ignore.
is there no limit to what he gets to take away? i am so angry right now that i am crying and my hands are shaking... i don't care if it sounds crazy, i am so fucking angry that i want to find him and kill him, tie him to a tree and beat him to death with my bare hands. is that crazy? yes. would i actually do it? no. but does it seem like a fitting expression of this rage that is prickling in my veins and on my skin like electricity? mmmmhmmmm... i am a live fucking wire today. better still, it is a day jam-packed full of situations in which i am required to show up, act calm and normal, and even fulfill positions of authority (haha, kids' play! great...."hey kids, today we are going to do interpretive drawings of the word 'EVISCERATE'...") maybe i will call it an early day, skip the meeting. although maybe in this state of mind i should really go to one... but on the other hand, i really don't want to juggle the kids whining through the entire thing. i don't know.
i just want to disappear. i wish that i could clone a zombie-katrina version of myself to go through the motions and fulfill all the obligations and handle everything with aplomb, while i curl up somewhere safe... sometimes i feel like i am not going to make it, or that there is nowhere to make it to. what good is it to be sober if you are still of no use to anyone, mired in a bottomless pit of this shit? with no end in sight. these feelings swallow me whole, and it seems like it will never end, or the feeling that i will never experience even a single moment of happiness... i know that isn't true, but it FEELS so true in moments like this. i can feel his hands around my throat. then there is nothing left of me. everything is dimmed or extinguished in that darkness, where there is only searing pain and hopelessness.
maybe i should call jexo and tell him i need to go home today. A* just came into the gallery and asked how i'm doing, and i started bawling... i couldn't stop it. i don't think i can handle being in public today. fuck, that makes me feel so weak... and how am i going to explain that to jexo? he's cool, i'm sure he'd understand if i said i need a personal day... but then what will i do, go home and cry? what's the point? i may as well stay here and paint the sets white so they're ready/dry for the kids to start painting them on saturday... yeah, painting will probably calm me down. and it gives me an excuse to hide out back in the mantis, and i will leave a note on the door so that people know to come back and ask for help if they want to make a purchase... otherwise, look at the art and go the fuck away. that's a bad attitude, but that's where i'm at today. this is so intense right now. WHEW. deep breaths.
today, in my hula-hoop, i wish it was naptime. i feel lethargic and unmotivated, despite getting a good night's rest, doing yoga this morning, and eating breakfast even! what the hell? expectations, HA! i had an expectation about the sense of vitality i feel entitled to, having put in my bit of effort towards its creation. i feel supremely unmotivated today to do anything beyond the necessary. and remembered that i made plans last week to go to dinner with some friends tonight, with isaac... yikes. i feel like i should be my bubbly, socializing persona right now, esp this evening, but i don't know if i'm gonna be able to pull that off. wonder if i should call and cancel, or have faith that these people are my friends, and that they will accept me even in my low-energy state? gaaaahhhhh, i just feel like going home, putting on pjs and a warm fuzzy hoodie, and curling up with a book. i don't feel witty or charming right now, or particularly interested in others. it's not that i don't care about them or want to spend time with them, but today i feel...insular. but i think i'll go anyway. i feel like it is really important to connect with them. it's obvious, at least to me, that they are really isolated socially, esp having to be home with their young children... i know how that is. i think they will appreciate the company, just having another adult to talk to, even if i'm not having a 5-star day. and isaac will probably be fascinated by their daughter, who is only 5 months old or so... the few times that he's seen babies younger than himself, like in the grocery store or something, his eyes get wide as saucers and he gets really excited. :) ok, i just talked myself back into being on board for the day's events. but a nap, or a cup of tea would really hit the spot right now...
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it's funny how, ever since that first talk with chali about it, i feel as though instead of having an angel and a devil on my shoulder, i have these two other figures instead, one is a kindly old grandmother figure, and the other is a stern businessman with steam coming out of his ears. :) that's silly, but that's kinda how it works... one pushes me to be practical and get stuff done, and the other slows me down. what a goofy person i am turning out to be. i am increasingly surprised to find that i am not the person i thought i was or that i wanted to be... all these constructed identities are like sets/props/costumes that i can still hide behind, if i choose to, but that i can also step out from. they all contain at least a sliver of truth, so i am not demolishing them. i am examining them for clues. talking with shawn about this the other day, and there is a vast and deep territory to explore here, but just the surface is being skimmed... this idea of core womanhood, core femininity. what is it? what is its true expression within me? looking for the thread of truth that i can follow to lead me down the thin line dividing enforced gender roles/stereotypes and my rejection of the same, and finding some way to recover/embrace/celebrate a womanhood that is genuine and strong. i have shunned it most of my life because i equate it with selling out to sexist blah blah blah (see my feminist soapbox for more details!) or with unsafety/powerlessness/victimization/being targeted and/or used for domestic or sexual servitude/degradation,etc... even girly stuff that i did do would be done almost like a secret... or de-emphasized, trivialized even... i don't know why i get so twisted up about this stuff anyway...
mmmmm, reading jung and clarissa pinkola estes and marianne williamson and all this other crap, about masculine/feminine aspects of the psyche, and how men and women each have both... how men's challenge in a patriarchal/sexist culture is to allow the expression of their feminine aspect, like coming to terms with emotions and expressing them, learning nurturing behaviors, being flexible and receptive, etc... and women have to use their masculine aspect to support/affirm their feminine aspect, by being more assertive and direct/honest, allowing themselves to be aggressive/competitive in situations that warrant it, how their masculine aspect can be self-protective and therefore allow them to feel secure and safe enough to open up more, and be feminine without fear of attack, etc etc... all this is swimming in my head. understand it conceptually but not really sure how that would look practically. it seems pretty common sense. but... *how* like the assertive thing, i am horrible at that. i am not very assertive, because i am bad at being self-aware enough to know what i need in a situation, and therefore don't verbalize that to others; i often acquiesce to others' desires or plans because of that, or because i don't know how to say no, or feel like i can't? or if i do draw a line, it's in a bitchy way, because i only seem to be able to muster the strength to say no or speak in my own behalf when i've finally been pushed so far that i feel justified in attacking people. which is total bullshit. it's my own lack of communication skills. maybe it would never reach the blow up point if, at any point along the way, i would "man up" :) and say what needs to be said. i have been experimenting with this, trying to speak openly and honestly... and i come up against my other communication barrier: that often times i don't want to speak my truth because i don't want to hear other people's!!!! as if, by keeping my peace, i create a silent compact with them that they will keep their mouth shut, too! i think i send off a signal that says something like, "don't tell me what you think/feel, because i can't handle it!" but then i accuse people of not being forthright with me. pretty ridiculous! when i am in my shit, i am a force to be reckoned with! a maze full of switchbacks and double binds and impossibilities, inadvertently puzzling the fuck out of myself and everyone who has to deal with me! and usually because of petty bullshit, like being insecure. boo-rific. oh my god, katrina, GET OVER IT!
so inside my hula-hoop today, it's a little messy and i am tired and kinda puzzled. i keep saying, "oh, maintenance week, next week i'll come out of it and be ready to face the world", and it keeps not happening. i feel like there should be a limit to how much quiet time i need, and then i should be able to A, B, C and D, but i'm not there right now. i feel like i need a lot of time alone, lots of quiet, lots of tenderness... i always thought that the healing would come from facing my monsters, but it's not facing the monster that heals you, i think it's learning to comfort the part of yourself that became (and never stopped being) fearful as a result of that encounter... i don't know...
i can't wait for spring to open up in earnest, to see buds on the trees, to wake up to warm spring rains (like the other day, gorgeous lightning/thunder storms, beautiful, such a treat!)... taking the kids out hiking. being able to lay in the sun in the grass, and just feel the warm earth under my body... just thinking about it, and remembering it from times past, makes me feel a little better. :) i can't wait for mother nature to be feeling more hospitable, so i can play outside! go to my special rock slab at the ledges and take a nap there, as i have every summer for the last few years... oooooh, and jexo hooked me up with JP, who owns an organic farm out by beckwith orchards, and who is going to let me come out and work on the farm this summer in exchange for some free, fresh, organic produce! plus getting to see/participate in/learn from watching an organic farm at work. i'm interested in what, if any, pesticides he uses. there's a lot of good natural ones. and jexo said i can clear out the long-neglected flower beds in the SRCA greenspace and plant whatever i want. YAY! please get warm out, so i can go outside and play in the dirt! :) ok i'm done. for now.
ever feel invisible when someone doesn't notice you? it's like they are a spotlight on you, and then there is a sudden, frightening darkness when they turn away. what is that about.
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one thing is certain, if there was a wavering doubt in my mind: people are not replaceable, nor are they interchangeable. we are all distinct... substitutions don't work. so much for that plan.
i envy my friends and the clarity they possess. have to keep reminding myself about the phases, wheel-of-life, etc... that i am in a nose-to-the-grindstone, working-through-crap phase, that it will probably be a long time before i get the payoff for the work i'm doing now, and to remember that i am an instant gratification junkie who must learn that in reality, so many tiny moments, and hours, and days, day after day, year after year, build into great successes. and that great success does not mean ego-amplifying events, but the fulfillment of my responsibilities to the best of my ability, and helping as many other people as God puts in my path... so, by that standard, i am actually already where i "want" to be...or close. it's about doing my part, not playing a part.
i am tired of myself, frustrated with my own smallness. acceptance. what the hell does that mean in the face of this feeling? i keep running into this brick wall, falling on my face, bleeding, getting back up, walking away, and running at the wall again full force. what is this about? am i really that dense, do i totally lack understanding, why can't i mature and outgrow myself? i feel like a snake about to shed its skin. i hope! hmmmm, maybe i just need to go eat something. haven't eaten all day, and it's almost 5pm!!!! no wonder i'm feeling like crap. maybe it's not some deep metaphysical issue; maybe it's that simple shit, like putting something in my body other than coffee!!!! but i'll wait until i pick the kids up, and have dinner with them.
it's hard for me to accept myself where i'm at right now, because i am having to see or experience myself as this intensely human person, subject to all of these pangs of petty emotion... it makes me feel weak. i hate humanness. i am not seeing the beauty in it right now. maybe i will stuff this in my "think about it later" pocket...
true to his word, started the week off with a dose of perspective courtesy of P. it was weird at first, until it cooled out. K and i were talking about this the other day, expectations, how it cripples the unfolding... getting this from the other end is interesting. unless i am in predatory/consumption mode, i am usually the one traipsing off the cliff into romantic la-la land. not used to having the shoe on the other foot, of having someone gaze into my eyes with that look of expectation. that was revelatory. i tensed and for the first time reconsidered what i actually feel/want, what i am prepared to give or not, or accept (or not) from another person. the conversation eventually found a level footing. but WOW, i definitely excel in awkwardness. i was thrown. but it's ok. i guess we'll see what happens.
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luckily the externals today, no matter how strange, have not managed to knock me off balance and into the abyss... i think because, according to plan, i got up early this morning for yoga, tai chi and meditation. then got isaac up. felt energized and this sense of purposeful aliveness that i have been wanting, that arms me with the inner steadiness to be able to face whatever comes at me with confidence. feels really good. why do i forget this? i have resources and practices i can draw on, things i can do for myself or give to myself that steady me, give me that calm, centered feeling i crave. talking to chali about this last night (i went over to her house for dinner), about how constancy is something i don't have to wait for, or seek from any external source... it's something i can give to myself. i can create my environment, inner and outer, to suit the work i am trying to accomplish... and i think it is happening! slowly, but it's coming. i'm doing it. not just the clearing out of old things, but the gradual incorporation of new things. exciting.
feeling bouyant and hopeful today. i feel grounded and whole, and ready to continue. the hopeless, tired, "DONE!" feeling that was hanging over me like a dark cloud for the last week, it has finally passed, thank God! processed my way through it over the weekend, and as per shawn's suggestion, i did not try to push it away, or even to transform it... i just sat with it, embraced it, let myself feel it without judgment. let myself be ok with it. be ok with all my states of being/feeling... angry, ok. hurt, ok. sad, ok. don't have to fight it, don't have to push it away. it can't overcome me. reminds me that courage is not a lack of fear, it's the willingness to continue and stay the course despite whatever feelings arise. coming through to the other side of those feelings, not totally in the clear, but just the willingness to sit with it (as opposed to avoiding it fearfully)... that alone seemed to take so much power away from it, lessened the intensity. returned to me a feeling of core strength. :) i feel powerful, not in a power-hungry/grasping/manipulative sense, but i guess the way the buddha sat at the base of that tree, tapped his fingers on the earth calling it to support him as the river raged and flooded, and he stayed rooted to the spot in his meditation, unmoved. i feel like that. like i am tethered to that power beyond my own. a good place to have gotten to... AGAIN! i'm sure i'll forget/lose it again... but so much the better! the more times i fall down, the more practice i get in standing up. so it still works to the good.
long talk with chali last night over a delicious veggie dinner :) her house is amazing, a beautiful yard, in the front a garden with a stone path leading up to a large laughing buddha statue, and the backyard a huge tree-filled ravine... what a peaceful place. her home so completely reflects her. i loved being there. and talking to her helped me to get to that "tethered" place. we went back to the conversation (or was it a katrina rant?) of a week or two ago, about how i feel too messy and humans in general are too messy, that relating is impossible, that it always degenerates into recreating old crap, throwing unresolved issues around, becoming fearful, etc. and she said she had thought about all that i had said and that it was true... we ARE all messy, we DO all have issues, and they ARE bound to come up when we get closer to people and our defenses come down. that there is a backlash to intimacy. but that it gives us the chance to see our stuff, and work through it. she said i am too hung up on linear time. she is the third person in as many days to say that to me, in those exact words! that i have to stop drawing conclusions based on the past, and projecting into the future. to sit in the present, whatever the present is, and accept it. make my peace here and now because that's all there is. i am thinking i have to read eckhart tolle AGAIN! because it obviously didn't stick!!!! :) but i'll get it. as chali said, just the fact that i am seeing these things means that they are already beginning to change. jeff used to say that too. i guess i can trust the voices of these people. it seems to be working for them!
really blessed to have met all of these awesome, GOOD people... i thought of that, too, thursday and friday especially, when all those crazy intense relapse feelings were running through my head. i thought, God, what a betrayal that would be of all of the time and care and kindness that these people have invested in me... it would be like spitting on all that they had invested in me and given to me, like balling that up and throwing it in the trash, if i discarded all that i was taught and given in order to return to my old life. i don't want that life anymore, and i wouldn't trade the people in my life now for a universe packed full of my old aquaintances... those people never called me unless they wanted to get wasted or get hooked up. they would never have listened to, much less cared about or helped me work through all the crap i've been going through. gratitude doesn't begin to cover what i feel about these people, and this life i have, and my HP... i have been blessed and loved, and i am healing. i don't always realize it (i am quick to forget and get discouraged), but truly: i am on the mend. it's so gradual that i fail to see it. i lose perspective, and don't remember how it used to be. i am in an excellent, wonderful, amazingly good place compared to where i was a year ago, or two years ago... there has been consistent improvement, and every step i've taken toward God, even the tiniest effort on my part to grow has been met with an outpouring of His power. it doesn't usually happen the way i expect/want, because i haven't gotten used to/accepted the fact that *I* am not the director... but it DOES happen, it IS happening, and that is a very encouraging thought.
i feel hopeful and relaxed right now... i could get used to this! :) best part is that this feeling is completely independent of all outside factors. anything could be added or taken away, and i would be able to accomodate it. that is miraculous! i look forward to continuing to cultivate the practices that make me capable of being a vessel of this peace. especially because my heart feels like it is soaring out of my chest when i think of this: that each step i take out of this prison adds a piece to the map that i can use to return, and smuggle others out. if i can let God lead me out and guide me through this process, i will be able to help someone else escape, too! it's beautiful, how this freedom is infectious. sobriety/healing gone viral! :D i love it. makes me so happy. haha, that reminds me... jules told me this weekend that she thinks i should be a counselor because i'm good at it (she overheard my half of a phone call, when B* called me). i thought, AWWWWWW, that's sweet. but i also laughed, because i thought, WOW, classic case of the blind leading the blind, or i guess in my case, the trainwreck leading the trainwreck. :)
i am so excited!!!! my good friend is gonna come back from california for a visit, in june, probably around my birthday, and we are going to go to cedar point and have fun, and he is gonna be my cuddle buddy! at least while he's here... that will be so wonderful. we discussed this last night, and i'm sure there will be more discussion to follow... i told him we should both really plainly hash out desires/expectations beforehand, for the sake of preventing resentment or miscommunication, and thereby protect our friendship... but this will be so sweet. he is a good guy; i can totally trust him. this seems too good to be true, like an aswer to prayer, a middle path between my extreme views, and the extreme bullshit callousness of the world, something that can just be sweet and simple. i hope.
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i'm happy that he can't come out right away, because he has too much going on at work... that gives me time to get myself together. this is something i have been trying to do anyway, but my motivation has been off/on. this gives me so much more tangible of a timeline/goal that it seems easy to see what to do to get to a certain point by a certain time, instead of the amorphous goal of "get back in shape...eventually". so perhaps i will be able to take all the obssessing of my friends and turn it to a healthy purpose, instead of letting it drive me crazy and make me feel bad. :) i am excited! yeah!
i've been wanting to quit smoking anyway, but i've been saying (for the last year!!!) that it would be my 1-year sobriety present to myself, which fairly closely coincides with my birthday (within a month or so...). but i'm taking that a little more seriously now, since i know that to get the results that i want in the timeframe i want, there are only two things that really work for me, running and swimming, and to do either, but esp running, i need to quit smoking or i will be putting my heart through some bullshit. and i want to quit anyway, so this is my time. johnny is training to do another marathon, and asked me last summer to train to do it with him (so that we'd have an activity to do together, awwwww), and i laughed in his face and said "yeah right, do i look like i am gonna take off running anywhere right now?" but now i'm thinking, why not? see how much a kent rec pass is, and if the price is reasonable, then i can use it not only to swim, but to take their yoga classes as well. even if the classes are total shit, it will still bolster my practice at home. and doing the yoga workshop!
mmmmm, so my focuses at the moment are to get a new job (**gonna see if aubrey and kayley can get me in at aladdin's, even though it's in the square and serves alcohol, i know i would make so much money there! so i could work fewer shifts, less time away from the kids, and still make a fair amount. hmmmm.) and getting my physical health in order. once i finish rearranging the house this weekend, i think i will have gotten the crap in my room organized so that i will have a clear space for yoga. if i put my mat out in the livingroom, i have to clean up all the kids' stuff first, etc... so this will work. i am excited!!!! plus i know all the exercise will help me level out the emotional crap...
today was a little better. spending time with the kids. :) shawn agreed to watch them tomorrow so i will have a few hours to just relax. which reminds me, if i get a steady sitter (maybe erin?) out in akron on tuesday nights, i can start going to the free akron yoga sessions again. i wanna hook up with the woman who runs it, because i know she is in recovery, and i would be really interested to hear her take on that, her experience of it, how it's influenced her practice. hmmmm, i wonder if chali goes? i've seen her daughter there. her daughter and i went to rehab together! :D and she's still sober. a really awesome chick.
there are so many amazing, beautiful people in my life. there is so much new and beautiful at my fingertips. and R* is coming. this will be interesting. we never consummated our mutual attraction before he left ohio, because he was married... but now he's divorced! :) even still, i don't know about all of this... i still feel pretty strongly about it, i don't really believe in hook ups, casual sex, friends-w/-benefits, any of that kinda stuff. i also don't do long distance relationships. not that he wants one, but he has a history of surprising me. i won't leave ohio without custody of jules, which i do not currently have... and he won't leave california without his kids, of whom custody has not yet been awarded... so it's too tangled for anything serious to come of it. i don't know. what i do know is that we will definitely share some fun, relaxing time together, run around together a little bit, enjoy some summer days, and i will get what i want, in a safe way, that closeness, from someone that i know would never dream of hurting me, who is very kind, gentle, considerate and respectful... who will not secretly resent it or take it personally if it goes no further than that. this makes me so very happy.
i told him it was a shame that we lived on opposite sides of the US, or i would enlist him as my official cuddle buddy, and he said that he would love to, and did i want him to fly out??? i thought he was joking, until i realized he was serious and was, in fact, looking at plane tickets as we spoke. that's what i mean about surprising me! but that will be sweet. hmmm, so maybe there is a middle ground after all, a safe way to get what i want without hurting myself or anyone else. R* has always been really brotherly towards me in some ways, despite our friendship and attraction. i guess maybe in part because he is older than me? i wonder how old he is now? i think he's 38 or 39, can't remember. doesn't matter. i like older men. i mean, not way older; i don't want to date somebody my dad's age or anything, that would be creepy... but i like for a guy to have at least a few years on me, or more... this is probably bullshit, but i always hope that it will improve the odds that he'll be a little more mature than the douchebags my age.
hmmmm, i am excited for this next phase to open up. it'll be okay. things will work out, and i don't need to worry. after talking to R* last night i felt like God/the Universe or Whatever had compassion on me, and found a way to meet me where i'm at, and give me what i need. enough to help me edge away from the limited thinking i have been exhibiting for awhile. i am so immature, and it was so silly of me to stitch my heart to my sleeve... i will break myself of this habit, i will learn to find the balance between my heartless bitch/man-eater self, and my completely open/vulnerable sappy self. chali called me out on this: that by over-engaging, or completely withdrawing, either way i am still trying to control the situation, trying to protect myself, and that my struggle for power/safety, either way it manifests, "KILLS POSSIBILITIES".
that silenced me for a minute at least. "WHEN YOU TRY TO ENGINEER THE OUTCOME, YOU KILL OFF DIFFERENT AVENUES OF POSSIBILITY. YOU DON'T KNOW HOW THINGS COULD HAVE UNFOLDED IF YOU HAD BEEN WILLING TO ALLOW IT TO HAPPEN ON ITS OWN. LET IT HAPPEN..." hmmm, ok, let it happen. i'm not even sure what that means. i know what it means, but i don't know HOW to do that. because a lot of the time i don't even realize that i am being **the director** until the pain starts. and by then it's too late, and i'm stuck doing damage control and looking like an ass. GRRRRR, human self! well, for now i am just trying to get focused, get centered, take care of myself... somehow try to remember, on a daily basis, why i am important enough to merit being taken care of. figure out how to take care of myself. i think this phase will be super-productive, and maybe even fun? we shall see...
up late last night...morning, technically. couldn't sleep. couldn't concentrate on the book i was trying to read. pacing. today, crying. what is wrong with me? feeling so angry, so sad, so tired... whirlpool mind. spin cycle. didn't get a sitter, not going to the party tonight. revisiting all these nooks and crannies of my mind, like clearing out an abandoned house. picking through boxes of thoughts and feelings, wondering what the hell this stuff is, where i got it, and why i've held onto it for so long... talked to shawn today. she has this way of asking the questions that blow the bolts, locks and chains off of my hidden compartments, and all of this stuff comes pouring out. as if enough hadn't already come to the surface on it's own. crying about all this old stuff. what the hell. is it always going to be like this? i want to be someone else. i don't want to be this katrina person, i don't want this life experience to be mine. hurts too much. feel too small to take it all on. fighting like hell to tune it out... feels like it will swallow me whole and that i won't make it back up to the surface again. i hate crying. and i hate how immature and volatile i feel right now. :( i wish ty was here. i miss her. don't really feel like i can face the world right now. think i will go to bed early tonight, assuming that i can fall asleep. trying to think of anything uplifting that might sustain me through this. pray, but can't feel Him there, which makes me feel even more alone and afraid. the medicine for this soul-sickness would seem to be trust... which is the one thing above all that i feel incapable of right now. i don't trust anyone or anything unless i am in a good space... so that if i get let down, it doesn't matter anyway because i can quickly recover myself. but when i am like this... too big of a risk. can't take a kick in the teeth right now. but am probably incapable of receiving a kindness, either: porcupine syndrome. :) at least i can laugh at that... boo-rific. God, this has gotta pass. it can't stay like this. it will be over soon. somehow this extended tour of my subconscious is going to enable me to clear out all the old garbage to make room for new experiences, good things. all of this painful shit is like grime on the windows, blocking out the sunlight. a good scrub ought to set it right. maybe i will compulsively clean my apartment this weekend, rearrange all the furniture again. :) i'm so crazy! but hey, it works for me, makes me feel better. maybe i can send the kids over to shawn's tomorrow, and go hiking, or paint or something... something. gotta do something to help myself metabolize this shit. otherwise my mind and heart are going to continue eating each other alive. <---EWWWWWW. doesn't sound pretty, does it? because it isn't. it will work it's way out. i'll get clear, and it will be ok. 1/2 of it is a waiting game, and the other 1/2 is work. between the two, it'll square. whew, ok, BREATHE... and get the kids... ok. hmmmm.....
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everyone is falling in love, and it's getting under my skin. even my bachelorette superheroes have paired themselves off. and i have prospects of doing the same. this guy really *IS* different... i can tell because i feel no dynamic energy between us, no "pull"... which i guess means that i'm not attracted to him, even though he's attractive, intelligent, educated, articulate, politically conscious, artistic/creative, spiritual, etc... supposedly all the things i want, and easy on the eyes. a good conversationalist, can talk his share but is a good listener, too; thoughtful, responds and gives feedback that shows he not only listened but *understood* and digested what was said, invested himself in a real response... he is kind, gentle, warm, etc etc. yesterday we sat and talked for almost 3 hours, and he only left when it became apparent that he was, in fact, already a few minutes late for his class... speaks fluent arabic, learning hungarian, has done 1/2 the things i have *wanted* to do (ie-worked with an NGO/lived in palestine occupied territories for a year, setting up a girls' school, set up a shelter in syria for trafficking victims?!?!)... he shares a lot of my passions and beliefs. so there's that. i sat there looking at him and wondering why that curl of desire was not forming inside of me... and he was obviously interested, kept dropping hints, was looking at me and smiling like an idiot for an hour before he worked up the nerve to talk to me... told me about his life, his family, his dreams... is about to graduate from kent state, trying to figure out what he will do next... wants to get together again soon, over the weekend, but i said no...
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because this weekend i am spending with the kids, and will be taking time out already to go to mishel's party anyway... ugh. don't wanna go, but henny left her ID at the record store next door, and i am supposed to bring it with me to the party to give back to her... maybe i'll just drop it off earlier, during the day, instead, and not go to the party. i think mishel would be upset, but i just don't want to go. and with that twinge of inner turmoil brewing, i don't feel comfortable being in that atmosphere, risking relapse. because it's been on my mind. i caught myself thinking last night, "fuck it, i'm sick of this. i am done. i don't want to do this anymore. i'll get an overnight sitter and go to mishel's friday night and get wasted, and no one will know anyway, and then i'll go back to this bullshit life i'm living right now..." but then thought about: A)spending a night away from the kids, B)wasting my time/$ (which i don't have to waste!), C)possibly getting a DUI or getting into some other trouble, D)seeing/sleeping with joni, who will undoubtedly be there... and all the other possibilities/probabilities involved, not the least of which is the shame and shittiness i would feel afterwards, and during as well i'm sure... so NO. but the fact that the whole thought cycle ran through kinda shook me, the strength of the thought, how much it wanted to seduce me.
so anyway, i he's gonna come to the gallery this coming week. that's ok, i guess. i don't know what this is all about. and i wonder what his deal is, what he's after. why is he even talking to me? maybe he really is just going to bring me that book he told me about. i guess i should relax and let my guard down, let this unfold, not ruin it... learn my lessons well from recent failures/false starts. maybe i can just enjoy him without worrying what will happen later, or what his intentions are, or even what MY intentions are. what difference does it make? life is life, it'll play out, it will pass like everything does. maybe that's what i need right now, just a connection, without the complications, without the fear. but i doubt that is even possible, because that fear is not an external factor, that's *internal*, something i carry inside of me. it will kick in sooner or later. and then, this is horrible, but i thought it: i always have this worry that nice guys will not be good in bed. that's terrible, but it's true.
the other terrible thing about this is that i'm pretty sure that i just want to be distracted right now. i want... i feel this want with the intensity of a *NEED*... i don't even know what i want. i want to be close. i want to be heard, and i want to hear. i want to be entrusted with someone's heart. i want this unnameable experience... i don't know what it is. something i'm afraid of, but desire. i want to put some distance between myself and my past... and maybe getting that out of the way with someone i like but don't have feelings for is the best way, nice and easy. am i even capable of that? he's so open! he crushes me with the weight of his openness, how he lays himself bare. makes himself vulnerable in a way that would seem to weaken him, but that makes me suspect immense strength. it takes a lot of balls to live without pretention. i respect him. but i also fear, as always, that i will hurt him. i think he would fall pretty easily, as evidenced by our conversation, how he let me lead him... he exhibits no will of his own, or no desire to exercise it, overtly or covertly. but maybe he is better at concealing it than most. i will find out after watching him more closely, a few simple tests... i teased him asking if he minded me "interrogating" him, but he said he was perfectly comfortable, and that i could help myself to any/everything about him that struck my curiousity. :) i like.
maybe jexo was right, that these things manifest at the moment when you give up, when you're fed up and could give 2 shits whether or not you feel anything ever again. maybe, maybe not. maybe this is a good thing, will help me pull my head out of my ass, stop falling for these guys who don't care, who are scared of me, etc etc. i'll give philip that: he is not lukewarm. he seems to appreciate the things about me that usually scare 'em off, and i even took off the gloves and pretty ruthlessly pursued my agenda in the conversation... he ate me up. he laughed at my weird jokes. he has good manners, is respectful. it was nice. no discomfort... but then in the back of my mind i think, "YET. no pain... YET. eventually you'll hit a vein. eventually you will hit the wall of him, and it will fall apart..." and i think i shouldn't get into anything with anyone. i am so messy. but we talked pretty openly about all of it, my kids, my life, my past; he seemed unperturbed. i didn't get that feeling from him, like i am a leper, an unfortunate, someone to be pitied or condescended to... equal.
i think maybe my pride/ego is smarting sharply from my misadventures in jeff-land. and this time i can't pin it on him; it was all me. last night was the final moment for me. i stepped over the line and now i don't trust myself to talk to him at all. i'm not gonna get dramatic like i have been, because i'm done with that: no deleting on facebook, no taking his # out of my phone, no avoiding him at meetings, no intense conversation trying to get to the root of the issue... just a resignation. i just feel done. tired of my own tendency to overextend, to feel more than what is right; the feeling of self-disgust i get when i realize how fucking stupid i am being. especially in the face of his indifference. how easily and quickly i was hooked, even as i tried to back off from it and pretend that i could! HA! of course he got me wrapped, effortlessly... he reminds me a lot of joni. too much. that has always worried me. now it has come full circle, makes sense...
talked to marisa, who is always good for listening to my nonsense and providing practical and reliable advice on men and relationships. she told me that i need to stop getting too focused on any one guy, and to casually flirt/date/etc several guys at once, to not get attached to anyone, not spend too much time or energy on any of them, focus on receiving attention from others... she said i have been wrong to turn down guys who have asked me out that i didn't feel that instant attraction to, that i should give them a chance. so this guy, philip. johnny. and carlos (i ran into him on monday when i went to angel falls, he came over and jokingly sat on my lap!). jeremiah. brian, that writer guy, he'd be good... he's got kids. that one painter guy that josh and libby wanted to introduce me to. fuck it, why not? i've never tried this before. maybe i grip too tightly onto what i *WANT*... i see what i like, and i pursue it. maybe i am choking the universe's ability to surprise me, maybe i am censoring out all the fun. maybe i should just start dating a bunch of people, have fun with everybody, and hold myself in reserve, given to no one and nothing. keep me all to myself, while feeding off the attention of others. i protested (to marisa) that this seemed selfish, but she said, "men feel good about giving to women, doing things for you, taking care of you, making you happy... it makes them feel good about themselves, confident in their ability to please you. you're too much of a feminist, you kill the vibe with that. you're just scared." is this true? i don't know. but i guess i'm about to find out.
this is scary, but i exciting, too, i guess... i guess i will just go out, have fun... why not let someone stroke my ego? why not date and flirt, have people tell me i'm pretty? why focus so much on a bunch of shit that's all in my head, why get so deep about it, why let myself feel all of this crap that just confuses me and ultimately makes me angry... i've never dated multiple people at once, except when i was drinking heavily and had a steady who i was cheating on with several other partners... (YIKES!!!!)... maybe i can try this again with NO steady, no alcohol-encouraged promiscuity, no cheating or lying. this could be fun. :) if i date all these people that i don't feel serious about, so much the better. i can make all my mistakes with them without feeling too bad. and they're all my friends, anyway, so if it gets weird we can just go back to being friends. jeremiah wants to go for a walk by the river, well, why not? johnny asked me to have dinner with him the next time i'm in akron, why not? philip wants to come hang out with me at work, ok. lorie's said the same thing as marisa, and i never listened to her. whenever i call her bemoaning my unrequited bullshit with one guy after another, she says, "AND????? are you kidding me, katrina? NEXT!!!!!!!! there's billions of men on earth, you can afford to run through a couple thousand more before there's just cause for despair. forget him."
maybe this is what all of my partners were thinking. "NEXT". replaceable. something about that doesn't sit well with me. but i guess on the other hand, if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten... so time to try something new. maybe this could work. if not, i can devise a new experiment. but i think i will try this out. maybe i can find a cuddle buddy afterall! johnny's volunteered himself before... but i know his game, he'd try to fuck me, and i don't want to sleep with him. hmmmm. well, we'll see. maybe i should get that out of the way, too. i think my entire attitude/approach to men must be called into question and seriously revised. maybe the only functional response to a world full of players is to play. i don't know, but i am pretty irritated with myself and my feelings of late. this sappy appreciation of others' deep inner beauty obviously doesn't work, and leads to more and more emotional exposure... maybe the trick is cultivating others' admiration of me. worth a try. maybe it'll help me get over my fear of men, stop trying to run from it by avoiding them, or trying to deal with them one at a time...
something about this feels "off"... i am angry for letting myself get into this bullshit of the last few months. i was right about him, and right about myself. the worst is that he's been totally honest all along about his intentions and feelings. there was no sugarcoat, and no deception. he made it pretty clear that he wanted to sleep with me, and pretty clear that if that wasn't going to happen, i was welcome to be one of his many aquaintances/"friends"... that he is incapable of romantic love, but great at receiving it. he said this out of his own mouth, openly. i had the exact same conversation with joni! EXACT! and you know what, despite my insistence in my own mind that i would somehow be the one to crack through that wall, guess what: oh, you'll never guess!!!!.... *I WASN'T!!!!!!!* imagine that. i don't have a problem opening up to others, or giving to them, etc etc. so why keep practicing something i'm already good at? i think i will start practicing something else. i'm going to practice keeping my fucking mouth shut, not feeling anything (or not sharing what i feel), not caring one way or the other... i obviously cannot be trusted with my own heart. so i think i'll take a break from having one.
WOW, i am a vortex right now. black hole of ancient emotion. i need to call my sponsor ASAP. and maybe one of my safe-guys, who will hold me but not try anything. i need some male energy right now that is positive and safe, that i can't use against myself. hmmmm.
It’s funny how many times I have to get the same answer/insight before it sinks in. Pace yourself, be gentle, ease up, acceptance, self-love, self-care, don’t rush… I get it and lose it a million times, and keep running to God in desperation wondering why I feel so crazy, and He tells me the same things He has BEEN telling me for months, and I keep hold of it for the day, or maybe a few days, and then I forget and start running myself ragged again, wondering why I feel like shit. Silly girl! Always so harsh with myself, when what I really need is some TLC.
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After I got through Jules’ party, I spent the weekend with Isaac and by myself in quiet reflection. Absorbing the import of the last year, getting a little perspective on what the current stuff is, and what steps to take next. Made me realize that I need to take a solid chunk of time to process, to review, get my bearings and really center myself. I have been in too big of a rush to “figure things out” (as if I could!) and to act for the sake of taking action, because I don’t like tolerating the discomfort of not-knowing, of holding the tension of uncertainty and letting it expand me and my sense of possibility. I keep refusing to sit with that; I keep insisting on coming up with a “plan” or a “storyline” of how it’s going to be, what I’m going to do, what I want and how I’m going to get it… interspersed with moments where I’ll acknowledge God for a day or a minute, and then get resubmerged into my selfishness and fear. Then beat myself up over it. Repeat. Tired of that. Tired enough to rest! And change.
Taking a week or so for maintenance, for just spending time with God, with myself, with my kids. Not running around to meetings, which often entails a lot of stress (getting a sitter, or not; getting dinner for the kids, trying to adjust our evening routine to accommodate a meeting, which is impossible…) I feel like I am often “robbing Peter to pay Paul” with my time. I take from my kids to be able to go to meetings… and for what? Because I want people to think that I take my sobriety seriously? Because I want their good opinion? Because I am scared of relapse, and have had people make comments to me about how many meetings I manage to get to, and how insufficient they think that is? WTF. Seriously, are *THEY* my higher power? God knows my heart, and my situation, and the limitations I am faced with, financially and in terms of time and support. Ultimately, I get to ask myself, what are my motives? Am I going to these meetings because that is really what is best for me and my recovery, or is it because I feel like I “should”, or alternately, because I hope to see certain people while I am there? Is that really what it should be about (if we’re going to introduce the “should”)???? And if I don’t go to the meeting, is it because I am on some bullshit about trying to avoid certain people and my own emotional immaturity, or is it about wanting to stop cheating my children of the time and attention they need, and wanting to stop this endless cycle of never having enough $ because I am pissing away $20/night to go to these meetings? The people I always hear in the back of my mind, their negative voices/comments/fear-mongering… have they volunteered themselves to watch my kids so I could go to a meeting, or have they ever helped with my kids when I’ve brought them with me to a meeting? NO. but they are chock-full of commentary about how I need to handle my responsibilities. What a bunch of bullshit.
I need to switch up my AA routine anyway… I need to be there, be focused, and be developing a sober support system that starves ALL of my addictions, not just the chemical ones. I need to be going there for the right reasons. And I need to not be giving away time or money that I do not have to do this. If it gets to the point that I don’t have diapers or gas money because I am paying for sitters to be able to go to meetings, then it’s gone beyond what is right. If that means I only make one meeting a week, then so be it. I have been really off in my approach to my life and my sobriety, and I think letting other people lead me too much. Chali is sober and has stayed sober for what, 20 or 21 years now? And when she came in, she was in my same boat, a single mom of several kids, with little/no support in terms of childcare or finances, and she did a lot of her sobriety work piecemeal, whatever she could throw together. My path doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s, or measure up to their concept of how it should be/look. God knows that I am doing everything I can, and He will make up the difference. If I can only spare the time/money to make one or two meetings a week, He will take my tiny offering and do the rest: keep me sober after I do all I can. If it’s not enough, He will open a way for me to have more time, more money and/or more childcare, if that’s what I need to be able to stay sober. I can trust Him to make that provision for me, to show me in practical ways how to address these things, if/when that is needed. In the meantime, I am going to rest easy in Him, and stop taking it upon myself to do the impossible because of what I think others expect of me, or the expectations I have of myself based on other people’s opinions/judgments/etc. That is played out and actually counter-productive. It’s stressing me in ways that are beating me down rather than building me up. Over it!
Gonna start taking better care of myself, and creating pockets of silence and stillness in my life that will allow me to get quiet and LISTEN, to God and to myself, so that I know what I need and can take steps to take care of myself. I have lived most of my life in a state of neglect, and have never really experienced care, being taken care of. I think this is a core root of that “I-don’t-deserve-it”/”I-don’t-matter”/etc issue, this really low self-esteem, this grasping, needy, manipulative behavior… this small child inside of me –(I know, I know, I’ve always rolled my eyes at that whole “inner child” thing, but Hey! Guess what? REALNESS! That shit is real…) – no one ever took care of me, and I was neglected and violently abused throughout the formative years of my life, and then threw myself out into the world to fend for myself as a teenager, to escape… so, pretty insecure, and for good reason.
But now I am a grown woman, and I CAN take care of myself, the same way I would/do take care of my children. I pay attention to them, I listen to them, I take care of their physical and emotional needs… when they are tired, I make them go to bed or take a nap, when they are hungry I feed them, when they are bored I entertain them, when they need help doing/learning something I teach them, when they need to be held and loved, I cuddle them, when they are sad or scared I reassure them… so I am obviously capable of these things, I just haven’t been doing these simple things for myself. I don’t know how so simple of a connection never happened in my mind before now, but there it is. If I can be a good mommy to Isaac and Jules, I can be a good mommy to myself. I think it will take some practice, but I think I can do this.
The first step will be remembering how to listen to/hear what my needs are, instead of automatically shutting that off and pushing it down because I feel like, “why bother admitting that I need something? I won’t get it anyway, so ignore it…” no wonder I feel emotionally unstable so much of the time! The “check engine” light is going off all the time, and I am pretending it isn’t there! My feelings are warning signals that tell me when I need to slow down, or be gentle toward myself or others… and instead I always push, push, push. That is how I had to live, and how I survived for a long time in inhospitable conditions… but I can live a new way now, that reflects the truth of my current life, and not my patterns of the past. I chewed on and digested these ideas all weekend long, and at first I felt burdened and despairing, but then increasingly empowered and uplifted… because yes, it is a lot of work, but it’s work that I have to do anyway, and this neediness is eating up my energy one way or another, whether it’s managing my raging mood swings (from ignoring my needs) or using that energy to meet the neediness head on and care for myself (which will at least allow me to feel centered).
I have always “known” that you can’t really love someone else, or allow them to love you, until you genuinely come to love/accept yourself, but before that was just a platitude that sounded right but was not a lived reality for me. It’s still not my lived reality. But I think that it is becoming my reality. I think I am really growing, genuinely outgrowing my old ways, for the first time in a LOOOOOOOOOONG time. The way I think is actually beginning to change, and with it, the way I act in the world and the way I treat others and myself. I think that in the future I may actually be able to practice some of my ideals, not as an act of forcing myself to be nice or do things for people “because it’s the right thing to do”, but as an outgrowth/overflow of real, vibrant, FELT love, for myself and others, born of a genuine compassion for my own suffering and theirs, and the desire to relieve that, and not as part of some guilty compulsion to live out an abstract set of attributes/rules. I am excited about how this is going to open me up more, and even though part of me feels selfish/”wrong” for making myself #1, the wiser part of me is soothing me with this knowledge: that showing up for myself in healthy ways, addressing my own needs, and learning to set healthy boundaries actually makes me MORE available to others, as I will no longer be squandering so much energy/time into my own drama-cycles, manipulating others to get my needs met, defending myself from the encroachment of others’ needs, etc. I will actually have MORE to give, if I give to myself first. And I will be able to give with a joyful heart, not feeling resentful and deprived.
I am STOKED to experiment with this, and see where it leads me. Chali asked me the simplest question, “What soothes you? What makes you feel better?” and I was stopped short. Because I couldn’t think of anything, and the things I did think of are things that I never do/allow myself to have. That set me on a wonder… and I thought, “What WOULD make me feel good right now? How can I make myself feel better? What would I do for Julia right now if SHE felt this way?” Total shift in awareness, very cool.
This reminds me of the year I left home. I was 15… Moved out to SLC with Mishel, my mom had her total breakdown and went crazy… and I consciously decided to totally reinvent myself. I was in a new place where no one knew anything about me or expected anything from me. Clean slate. So I determined to tell no one anything about myself or my life, past or present, that I would just listen to and absorb them and their experiences, that I would experiment with life and have adventures, and the only person I would “talk” to was my journal… I got on this kick of being in love with myself, being my own lover (since being totally heartbroken over Patrick), and it was actually really awesome. I actually gained a lot of self-confidence and appreciation for myself by taking care of myself and highlighting what I liked about me, instead of focusing on what I thought others thought of me (um, YEAH…) and whether or not I felt that I was “measuring up”… I spent a lot of time alone, thinking and writing and playing music and painting, taking long walks; I swam for 2 hours every day and got into great shape… I never wasted my time. I didn’t hang out with people out of loneliness or boredom, because I was never lonely or bored: I was SATISFIED, deeply satisfied with myself, and lived a life that was INTENTIONAL. I did things because I enjoyed them and wanted to do them, and for no other reason. Even my responsibilities did not weigh on me as obligatory, because I reserved this consciousness of choice that I had the option, at any time, of walking away completely. I did my schoolwork or went to class because I wanted to, or I didn’t do it and accepted the consequences. Of course, I am an adult and a parent, so the consequences are different now, but I still do have a choice, and it is important for me to remember that. I have a say in how things get done… so recovering that consciousness is also pretty empowering.
Grounding myself in that strength, that root at the core of myself… the only thing that matches the intensity of my insanity is that strong core. I used to walk around with a knowledge of that in every step, almost an exaggeration of it: hence, my shaved-head, pierced, combat-boot wearing “Tankgirl” knock-off self…but time has tempered that, and now I don’t have to intimidate other people to feel strong. I can just acknowledge it inside myself, and draw on it… because it is really God’s strength within me. His power, His love, His way of life. Good stuff. Jeff reminded me of this, actually… talking about my issue and how it prevents me from working with him effectively, all this abuse crap/fearfulness, etc… he said, “Being put in such a position of weakness made you very strong.” In a weird way, he is right… that going through the things I’ve gone through forced me to dig the well a little deeper, to reach out for that reserve, and because of that, God has channels for bringing light, energy and love into me that I can’t even see and don’t even know about… He strengthens me in ways I can’t even perceive and don’t even understand. I will never know the extent of His grace, how many times and in how many ways He spared my life… but I know enough to know that even on the worst of days, or in the most difficult times, I have millions of reasons to praise Him and thank Him. He literally saved my life, but beyond that He spared my heart. Somehow, He protected my heart, and has replanted it in the fertile soil of this new sober life, and gently tends me like a delicate plant, cultivating my virtues and weeding out my weaknesses. GOD IS SOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOOOOD. It keeps coming back to that point. Really grateful for the relationship I have with God now. I know that this is what I have been hungry for all of my life. This is the hole I was trying to fill, and nothing else compares to receiving the fulfillment of that hunger. I hope that through diligent spiritual practice I will learn to maintain this state of awareness more and more, because it is joy and bliss, accessible no matter what outer circumstances are. Mmmmm, peace. Gratitude is what characterizes my life right now. Gratitude and… is THIS what “serenity” is? Maybe. Getting to the point where all the petty shit I have been wrapped up in just does not matter anymore. I begin to see now that all selfishness does is, ultimately, take me further away from the things that are coming to me. I don’t have to grasp after my good; IT IS ALREADY HAPPENING! I can relax, I can trust, I don’t have to struggle or try so hard to “earn” it/be “good enough”… there is no such thing as good enough. Some things you deserve just because you are a human being and deserve it. Most people get that sense of inherent worth from loving relationships with parents. That didn’t happen for me. But I can give that to myself; I can let God give that to me. Then hopefully open myself up to channel that love into the world… because Lord knows that people right now are hurting. Our world is hurting. People walk around with this look of arrogant self-sufficiency, but when you look underneath, they are frightened and cold and starving for real love. The deepest desire of my heart is to fulfill my purpose, to do what God created me to do, to be who He made me to be, so that I can love fully, as He loves… because then I will not be tyrannized by my pain and woundedness anymore; I will be made whole, but retaining the knowledge and experience of that wound… so that I can touch others who are sick, wounded, hurting, and I will be able to help. I want to receive Him so that I can share Him. I don’t want to be one of those preachy people who beats others over the head with their beliefs. I want to grow with God and become an expression of His love to such a degree that I will be able to BE His hands, His heart, His mouth to people, people so broken and hopeless (as I have been at different times in my life) that they can’t receive God… to reach out to them in a human form, with a divine love, to nurse them spiritually back to Him. What a beautiful life, one that I would not regret when looking back on it. A life that I could release peacefully when my time comes.