A new day, a new perspective

Yesterday was rough.

I found that one of the boys that I really, really liked, whom I’ve met and known for quite a long while became “Facebook official” with another gal. I’ll admit, it stung. I felt (and still feel) our connection was pretty solid, but I think what it really comes down to is distance. He’s in Wisconsin, I’m in Minnesota, and we only got to see each other three times in the two years we’ve hung out.

Usually, I’d be more upset. I’d be devastated. But I really do care about this guy, so I really hope he finds happiness with this lady. And I told him that. I also told him that I’ll always be there for him in whatever way I can be. Because that’s what friends do. Friends or companions or whatever the fuck you want to call what we have/had. I wish him only the best as he truly deserves the best.

That being said, it means I start back at square one (as mentioned yesterday in my moody post about giving up on dating.) I’m sure this subject will be brought up in my next therapy session, and a lot of feelings of worthlessness and shitty self-esteem will come oozing out. It’s pretty much a guarantee at this point. Which really makes me reflect on the last four months, since everything happened. And that’s the date that I’ll probably use for quite some time, considering it was a rebirth of sorts, for me.

So, upon reflection, I feel like I’ve been on somewhat unstable ground, emotionally. And from what Dr. B says, that’s okay. I’m healing. She’s brilliant and I love my therapist so much. This past week, I told her that I’ve felt really guilty about not hanging out with friends and not doing too much extra socially, and she said something that I hope I never forget. She said: if you had a gaping wound and your friends asked you to come hang out, would you go out? Answer: no. You’d give yourself the rest you need to feel better to go hang out. And that’s what I need to do. She also asked me why I was putting my friends’ happiness before my own.

Whoa.

That’s what I’ve been doing almost my entire life! I’ve been putting other people’s happiness before my own. I’m a people pleaser and I feel like I always have been. And where does it get me? It gets me shoved around from job to job, getting taken advantage of by men, and by coworkers and non-profit groups and pretty much anybody I give a moment to listen to. Friends. Parents. Everybody – they’ve all been put before my own happiness. And the crazy thing is? When she asked that question, I wondered what my own happiness even was. Have I ever put my own happiness first? Have I ever allowed myself the time and space I need to feel good about myself? To feel safe? To feel WORTH anything? (Insert Aughra voice from “The Dark Crystal”) Don’t know. (stretches down to her haunches on the floor with a loud grunt) Don’t know.

So here’s my next question: what do I do now? Now that I’m on this path to my OWN happiness? I don’t know where to go…and I don’t mean physically go, I mean mentally and emotionally go. I don’t think I know how to put my emotional needs before someone else. This is new to me. Yeah, sure I’ve taken time for myself and whatever, but I haven’t put it as the first thing on my list, ya know? I feel like there’s a difference between treating myself to a shopping venture and really delving into allowing myself permission to say no and to do what I want to do. It’s a complete and utter “fork in the road” scenario. And I don’t know what road will take me where. I’m so lost. And now, I know for sure, that I’m alone in this. So there’s some pressure in my thinking that says, “no matter where you go, it’s on you – even the mistakes.” Yikes. But mistakes help us learn, or so they say.

This would be the part in my Pocahontas movie where the wind brings all of those pretty leaves and tells me exactly where to go because good ol’ Mother Willow is on my side, but real life isn’t Disney, kids. So, it’s trial and error from here on out for a while. A time for change – a time for learning – a time to truly take time to reflect on my truths that I’ve experienced and find what makes ME happy. Not someone else.

My goals for today: kick ass at work, go home and get my laundry and cleaning done, enjoy the evening to the extent that I can, which may include reading/writing/potentially going for a walk. Tomorrow, I’m going to take AMAZING photos for work at Saturday’s event, go to the play to support my little mentee and hang out with my friend Dom, and then ALLOW MYSELF SOME FREEDOM. Whatever that may be.

I’ve got this. I’ve got this. I’ve got this. I’ve got this. (I’m hoping the more times I type it, the more I’ll believe it – much like Jack Nicholson’s character in “The Shining”– I’ve got this.

(Insert another “Dark Crystal” reference when Gen finds out he has to go on this huge journey without the help of his master:) “Dear, dear Master. I’ll find the shard. I’m not ready to go alone…Alright, alone then.”

I think I’m throwing in the dating towel…

I think I’m gonna quit the whole dating thing…maybe become a nun, perhaps a nomad, but really, it’s looking more and more like I’ll be the crazy cat lady who collects books and cats and becomes a hoarder and their neighbor finds them in their house dead simply because they weren’t getting their mail from the mailbox.

I’ve tried long-distance, short-distance, long-term, short-term, casual…you name the type of date and I’ve tried it.

I’m starting to think it’s me. And if it is me, what about me is unappealing to others? Yuck. I don’t even want to go there. Right now, I’m just trying to keep from crying at my desk at work.

It’s just not fair.

I really liked this one.

INDEPENDENCE Day. See my emphasis on Independence? Yeah. YEAH.

While I’m usually pretty proud and patriotic on July 4th, (and Flag Day, and Memorial Day, and Veteran’s Day) I can’t help but feel a disconnect this year.
I’m not so proud of America and the steps its taken in the last six months or so. I feel like we’re more divided than ever. More willing to help ourselves than to help our neighbor. More willing to protect our rights to have guns than to protect our children in our neighborhoods from hunger and unsafe homes.
I feel like every opportunity we’ve been given to show compassion and understanding towards one another, we have been choosing the opposite.
Some of you may say, “that doesn’t apply to me, I’m not like that,” or “I’m staying out of this since I am not directly impacted by this specific issue.” We are all impacted in some way or another.
But more importantly, I feel like we are losing the meaning of Independence Day, which is the actual name of the holiday we celebrate which happens to land on the fourth of July.
Sure you get a day off of work. Sure you get to drink beer and watch parades and do some barbecuing and blow up fireworks with your friends and family. Some have associated this bit of comradery with the true purpose of this holiday.
And I’m sorry, but you are wrong. The fourth of July is not about fireworks and beer and ‘Merica. It’s much deeper than that, and I hope you, dear American, realize this.
Independence Day was the day we adopted the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain and its Empire back in 1776 (do the math, that’s 241 years ago. Two-hundred-and-fourty-one-years-ago!!)
A bunch of old white dudes, 56 of them to be exact, some of who you know by name but a majority I’m sure you may not know, came together and said they were declaring that the thirteen original American colonies were regarding themselves as a new nation. A new nation with the title of the “United States of America.”
Some of you may recall the Declaration of Independence from your history classes. Some of you may not. For those of you who may need a refresher, I’ll summarize for you.
The Declaration of Independence states that when any form of government becomes destructive to the rights of man, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it and to institute new Government.
And I am in complete agreement with our Founding Fathers.
They go on to specify what the King of England has done to suppress the progress made in the thirteen colonies and request…nay, demand independence.
That takes a lot of bravery, know-how, and…for lack of a better term, cohones to stand up to the King. And the king didn’t like it, either!
The declaration says, “We have reminded them (England) of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.”
It’s basically saying they knew what was at stake, but thought the King was wrong and were going to seek independence from him and his “tyrannous” ideals. Even if it meant saying goodbye to their family and friends in England. Even if it meant war. Our founding fathers could not fathom another minute under the king’s rule.
So they sought independence. And gained it.
And here we are.
But I have to admit, some of the portions of the declaration when describing the king of England sounds…familiar, and I’ll just leave it at that.
I guess my long-winded point is this: I think it is important to realize that our 241-year-old declaration may need to be reassessed. Maybe our whole government needs to be reassessed. All I can see, at this point, is poverty, civil unrest, and plenty of criminals getting away with too much and too many innocent civilians dying at the hands of their protectors.
Something needs to give.
We are the land of the free and the home of the brave. Not the land of the oppressed and the home of the bullied-into-silence.

American Sentences

American sentences are 17-syllable, one-sentence poems created, originally, by Allen Ginsberg.

This project is WAY harder than I thought it would be.

 

The air climbs into the windows and cascades over the sheets into calm.

Everything hollow and empty seems to fill my chest, unless you are close.

Rustled and tangled, singing; leaves seem to sing the greatest songs in autumn.

If you wanted to know what happened, you should’ve asked thirteen years ago.

Half full or half empty, my morning cup of coffee gets cold too fast.

In the darkness is where I seem to admire your blossoming words most.

I let my skin crawl with the itch of your last touch until I can’t take it.

When Earth hurls injustice at us, it is our job to be just and keep peace.

Caged Freedom

I was driving through the country roads last night, looking for the farmhouse that was host to our county’s rural dairy farm social (it’s a big deal around here). I drove 50 miles per hour, instead of the regular 55. I wanted to take everything in as much as I could as I wound through gravel roads I’d never been on before. The wetlands and long stretches of acreage blooming with, now, hefty corn plants and baby soy beans seemed so routine, but at the same time, all brand new. I saw herons fly over the marshy wooded groves along the gravel roads, birds of so many colors sprinting across the sky, catching the plethora of insects also flying just as high.
And for a moment? It felt like I was just as free.
Only
A moment.
See, when you’ve been through trauma, your brain and body don’t let you forget that trauma happened. It doesn’t matter how much you’re enjoying your surroundings, trauma comes in and says, “Hey, remember what he did to you? Remember how long you struggled? Remember the smell of his breath and the names he called you? Do you still feel the weight in your chest of what he took from you?” And right when you’re admiring the birds for their freedom, you feel so caged. So far from freedom when its staring you in the face.
But there’s safety in that imprisonment. I know no one can get in and hurt me like I was hurt before. I’m safe in the cage, even though it is a cage.
And that’s how I’ve been surviving the last 2-3 months. Admiring from the outside, but a prisoner of my past. I have the key to unlock my own cage. But I won’t be using it until I’m ready. Until I feel safer outside of my cage.

I cannot be compromised

Right now? I’m pretty much coal.

I’m lumpy and dark and I leave soot

wherever I go.

 

But right now?

I’m getting pushed

and shoved

and squeezed into

something.

 

And I am ugly and in total discomfort

I am becoming sharp

edgy

 

bright.

 

That’s why it is so important that

 

Right now?

you do not disturb

me.