5 years goes by so fast

My honey was poking around on the web and found some things that brought up old memories, which in turn led me to reading my old blog postings from the first year I was on here.  Suddenly it came to me that it has been five years and I don’t know why that stuns me, but it does.  While reading those old postings, I realized the sum of the memories that are captured in them and I’ve decided to start printing them off to preserve for my foggy brain.  My only regret is that I didn’t include pictures this whole time.  How many of those memories would have been made all the better with a photo or two?

The counterpoint to all of the nostalgia, was the sad feeling of loss that resurrected over the loss of my friendship just before I started writing on here.  As with any relationship, a friendship weaves its way into your life and becomes a part of your structure.  The difficulty when you end a relationship is that you’re left with the placeholder for the person that was once a part of your life and that emptiness can be hard to fill.  Some people will just find a new person to fill that space, while others will just brick up the space and pretend that it was never there in the first place.  And then there are people like me – people who can’t fill the space and want to brick it over, but ultimately find that they can’t… so the space just gathers dust.

I’ve been fine about it this last year.  Maybe I’d finally started to let the memories themselves leave.  Or maybe the scab had finally healed and fallen off.   I don’t really know.  I haven’t wanted to know why I was able to go longer without thinking about it, because then it lets the grief come up again.

And I suppose that’s really where I was headed with this posting.  It did eventually turn into grief.  I should clarify that it started as anger, along with all of those other negative emotions that built up at the time it happened, but then – over time – it turned into grief and loss.  And so there is that hole still existing and I wasn’t noticing it anymore, until the conversation last night.

Everyone involved in the whole mess has their own take on how things went – who was to blame and their own personal hurts.  My honey got beaten up just as bad, if not worse, as I did.  My mum had to hear from us about what was going on and she was protective of us, so it impacted her in that one way.  My oldest dealt with the emotions that we were all flinging around and I think he is still tender about it, although I don’t know that he’d get where it came from.

Small guy is the only one who really doesn’t know and he remains free of it.  I’m glad that one of us can say that. 

Along came today, in the aftermath of very brief discussion last night, and I came very close to falling apart again.  I don’t feel the anger anymore.  I just feel the sadness.  I don’t discount what any of us went through back then, but I’m damned sad that all the friendship that we had got thrown out like it never mattered.  Here and now, looking back, I can say that it DID matter.  Nothing lasts forever, even if we hope that it will, so I can say that it’s ok that it ended for all that it meant so much to me before that last awful year.  Five years gave me that peace, that knowledge, that it’s ok to have the friendship end.  And it’s ok that it hurt and it’s even ok that I’m still able to grieve about it.

About a year after the whole thing dissolved in a giant mess of anger and resentment and almost every other negative emotion you can imagine, I wrote my final comment on the situation.  I mentioned that I wanted to be able to forget and not even remember her.  Well, five years later I have healed enough to say that I don’t want to forget my friend.  That would be the final and worst betrayal of the person that was my best friend and I won’t do it.  Instead, I’m going to learn how to have peace with my memories.  No more editing my recollections to avoid places that were tender for too long.  We had good times and bad.  We were stupid to lose sight of what was important and that cost us the friendship, but that doesn’t mean that it was anything less than a good part of life when it existed.

Everyone else will just have to find their own peace in their own terms.  That might just be my last wish – my last thought – on the subject – that everyone who had to deal with it gains peace.  I don’t mean a resigned feeling that they were wronged or treated horribly or that people they loved were treated horribly.  I want everyone involved to be finally free of those negative emotions so they can look back on the friendships and good times with free hearts,.

I don’t know what this means for me now.  Will I wake up tomorrow just a little bit lighter in spirit?  Does this mean anything has changed for me or am I just putting into words things I was already feeling over this last year?  Hmmm.  I can’t say. 

It’s time to get the small guy out of the tub and get him into bed.  I’m getting the “awwww, mom” from the boys on bed time, so it’s time to shut this down.  Wishing all a good night and sweet dreams.

moonfire

 

Tired

I had a busy day and it was mostly productive, which is a change from how things have been going for the last few months.  I don’t know what is wrong with me, but I have the attention span of a gnat.  At least today I was able to focus and able to get a few things knocked off the urgent list on my desk.  I’ve been fighting some kind of respiratory bug – not enough to take me down fully, but enough to make me tired and a bit bluesy.  And it was enough to cause me to take a few weeks off from my early morning workouts.  I feel bad about it, still the guilt and self-judgment over taking the time off is offset by the relief I feel at not getting up at 4:45am each day, Monday through Thursday.

I have now officially been off all sleep medications – whether prescription or OTC – for a full week.  Prior to that week, I was using them sporadically for about a month.  I’m sleeping better now and it’s odd to me that getting off the sleep medications has finally been successful.  I think it’s due to the prescribed 5-HTP, but maybe it’s just that the sum of stress in my life has finally been alleviated to the right level?

So you could look at my being off the sleep meds and make the correlation that it explains my fatigue, only I don’t think that’s the case at all.  We’ve had nasty icy and wickedly cold weather here, which has, in turn, caused me to miss all of the last 2 1/2 weeks of walking.  Now THIS is something that may explain my fatigue and my foul temper.  At least, that’s how I’ve decided to view it.

Anyway, I have gained still more weight in the last month and it has dragged me down into the dumps so far that I wonder if I’ll ever feel light and energetic again.  We had some lovely sunshine this afternoon and when I took advantage of it, I felt my spirits begin to nudge upwards.  Maybe that’s all I need?  Feed my spirit a good walk each day, with fresh air and sunshine, and I’ll feel better?  I can accept that I think.

The blahness that I’ve been feeling is tainting my work and my nutrition – or at least, it’s tainting my attempts at nutrition.  I have gone from being a foodie to being someone who very much resents food and all the baggage it seems to come with.  And how on earth could I be working that hard at those early morning workouts, only to gain 13 lbs??  What kind of new hell is this, anyway?

I saw numbers on the doctor’s scale that I’ve never seen before and it drew me down into a very sad place.  They said my measurements hadn’t changed from last time, so I’ll take that as something positive, but it still leaves me feeling that working hard doesn’t pay off for me.

The whole issue has departed from the realm of vanity and is now approaching a point where it makes me so unhappy that I don’t want to see people or be around anyone socially.  That’s a bad sign for me, as I suspect it will lead me to depression and I need a round of that like I need to be punched in the eye.

And of course I wonder if I’m not just a little bit depressed due to the ongoing dark days and dismal air we’ve been experiencing?  While I hate endless sunny days, I think that some gentle Spring weather would be really welcome right now, even if it’s about 2 months too early.

So I’m not looking forward to dealing with food tomorrow and frankly, if the sun doesn’t peek out for an hour or so, I might lose my mind.  For tonight, I get a warm bath and cozy flannel sheets to snuggle into.  I might have a small gray kitty join me on the bed and if that’s the case, I’ll enjoy the brief cuddle she’ll give me.  I kissed both my boys goodnight, twice – just to make sure they got that extra bit of love – and I’ve had some relaxation time.  I hope that tomorrow is just incrementally better than today.  It’s all I really ask for at this point.

And that would be enough.

moonfire

Early morning winter blues

I’m really struggling this morning.  I didn’t want to get up before 5 to go to my workout.  I got to it and the sharp cold, coupled with the air quality in the warning levels, all made me want to go home and go back to bed.  I’ve been sporadically going to this workout class for a month and I’m seeing progress, so I don’t feel that I can give up, but this morning was one of those days when it was a true struggle.

By way of full disclosure, I should also note that I’m also going to start my period any time now… I’m over-tired from the weekend… and I’m sort of recovering from illness last week, although the bad air is making that a bit harder for me.

Truthfully, it’s really hard being the only earlybird in the household during the cold and dark months of the winter.  If it were April, it would be balmy or at least not freeze-your-inhalation cold.  And if it weren’t pre-period time, I would certainly be in a better place mood-wise.  Dark, weepiness, cold – yeah, it’s all a great mixture.

I’m going to drink a cup of Meyer Lemon tea (herbal) and take a hot bath to ease my muscles.  I’m going to find some positive self-talk to offset the unhappy thoughts that are pinging around in my head.  If I start down this path, I will give up on the class and I can’t do that.  I need to stick with this.  I need to get my body into a healthy place. Perhaps distancing my emotions from it and looking on it like my academic class would help?

I don’t know.  I just know that today was the first time where I actually questioned if I wanted to continue with the group.  That scares me just a bit.  It’s so easy to say to myself, “Oh, it’s too early and I’m too tired and i can’t do the things she’s insisting that I can do.”  She’s just asking me to try.  And can I say that I’ve come to hate the word “Burpee”.   If you’ve never had to do them, look them up and see what you think.  I have horrible upper body strength and just the word alone has started making me cranky.

But no.  I won’t quit.  And yes, I will learn to do the dreaded Burpees.  I’ll hang in there and remember that this blue mood is temporary.  It’ll pass, so that some new feeling can settle in for a bit.  I like the workout group and I think I will benefit from sticking to it. 

I can whine for a little bit this morning, then I’m going to soak in a bath that smells good, shake off the blues and great the gray, gloomy day with a smile.  I’m thinking lemon tea and perhaps a bunch of flowers for my desk as I’m on my way into work.

moonfire

Call me crazy

Tuesday of next week I am embarking on a new adventure in a familiar environment.  I already know that I’m going to get a raft of pokes over this one, but it just felt like the right thing to do.

I am starting a second bachelor’s degree.  My major?  Sociology.

Let me explain (before you start running around, raging “is she nuts??”)…  I work at a university where all staff and spouses get a fee waiver.  It’s $20 per semester, plus $5 per credit hour.  Books, obviously, are a separate cost.

if I don’t pursue something that is of interest to me while I have access to this waiver, I am leaving money on the table.  I’m totally aware that there is a time “cost” but I am totally willing to offset that cost with letting go of frivolous reading.  No, I won’t give up time with my munchkins, only books.  And we can add video games to that category, too, as I’ve been wasting some time in civilization building adventures of the purely digital type.

Among the criteria I had for the new bach program?  High level of interest and curiosity, opportunity for area of research, if I later choose to pursue that notion, ability to complete it while working full-time (ie, no 3 hour labs in the middle of the work day), and NOT related to building skills for a job.  I’m doing this for the intellectual tastiness of the field and subject matter.

Just prior to beginning the classes for my intended second graduate degree, I was overcome with doubts and anxiety.  I knew, on a deeply intuitive level, that I was heading in a direction that might seem practical but did nothing for my spirit.  I could feel the impending pressure of it – the financial obligation… the time suck it could become… the price my kids would pay.

This is completely different.  My obligation doesn’t have to extend beyond the end of the spring semester, if I determine that’s how it has to be.  Financially it’s a small blip – less than the cost to take the family out to the movies on a Saturday.  Time-wise, I can substitute some of the things that are completely frivolous for my reading and assignments.  Really?  It’s a 100 level class.  I’ve read the first few chapters of the textbook for the course and it’s accessible, with interesting anecdotes.  it’s not painful reading.  I can’t imagine what she’ll request for additional readings, but I bet that they will be interesting.

I’m thinking this is enough for this posting.  I’ll have more to say once I start into the meat of the class, or at least read the syllabus.  🙂

stupid weight

Yep, it’s that time again.  I seem to fluctuate between miserable numbness about it and depressed anxiety that the scale number keeps creeping up.  I tried to address it this summer, only to be miserable because I truly just don’t like meat protein THAT much.

Then we had the shock-and-awe of the student loan situation combined with my honey’s job situation and I packed up that notion of pursuing something added more stress.

But really, I’m blogging today about my realizations over the past few weeks about my relationship to food and my weight.

I love to bake and find it soothing, satisfying.

I hate routine cooking, especially when dealing with picky children, one which is underweight and won’t eat, while the other is heading to overweight (due to being sedentary) and will eat – but only things that are crummy.

And I’m dealing with my weight issue, just to add stress.

On one hand I have come to hate food and shopping.  On the other, the foods that I do seem to find cravings for appear to be supporting me emotionally.  How sad is that?  Need to feel loved?  Eat something.  Need to feel appreciated or happy?  Eat something.

Tired?  Eat.

Sad?  Eat.

Stressed… Yeah, we can see where this is going. 

I understand it.  I can view it from the standpoint of logic, even poke at it a bit with my rationality and understand that it isn’t healthy.  I can tell myself that I’ve overcome this before and partly remember what that success felt like, but it doesn’t change the inertia I have developed – whether mental or physical.

I had a panic attack last night, with this wiggling, crawling sensation in my chest.  It hurt and it was hard to breathe.  I sat, huddled under the covers, trying to breathe normally and just let it happen so it would pass.  I realized that changes have to happen.  The question is how do I make the changes?  Or maybe, how do I get the changes started and maintain the energy to keep it going, when so many things demand my attention and energy?

I don’t want to eat because it involves all of this ridiculous focus on quality, quantity… do this… don’t do that.  And there is the hunger, all out of whack with what I think my body really needs.  I battled it this summer and then I battled the nausea that came from having to look at one more piece of chicken, or fish, or fat-free cheese (which is just nasty under any circumstances).

I’d like to eat tiny little meals that are flavorful and simple – but the hunger takes over.

I’d like to eat vegetables constantly, but I look at them now and resent them.

I want to throw the broccoli against the wall – stomp on the spinach – run the carrots through the garbage disposal.  They just piss me off now.

*****

Yeah.  I’ve got a few issues to resolve right now.  Well.  At least I let it out and expressed it finally.  Sometimes lancing a wound is the only way to get it to heal.  I’m betting that this will be the first of several rounds.

moonfire

Really??

I’m a little confused about something.  I could have sworn that we just went through an election – ie, one where people who chose to exercise their right to vote did exactly that.  When your candidate loses it is not the apocalypse nor is it the beginning of the end of the world as we know it.  Neither of the two major party’s candidates were the complete savior or demon (forgive the religious overtones) that they were or are made out to be.  They are simply flawed human beings like the rest of us, with all the associated issues that come with that title.

My confusion stems from the fact that I’m seeing postings and comments all suggesting in various ways that no, this isn’t a democracy where all votes count.  This is a democracy where if I don’t vote like you do and my candidate wins, somehow that invalidates my vote and the name-calling begins. 

I’m embarrassed to see this.  I’m saddened that people I consider friends are behaving this way. 

I’m not totally surprised and why not?  It’s mirrored in the so-called “religious freedom” in this country, too.  Oh yes!  We’re all about religious freedom – just so long as you believe like a certain group of people.  If you don’t?  Well, then you apparently have less right to your freedom to believe as you do.

It has been a long, long few days since the election and while I’m happy to have exercised my right to vote, I’m massively let down.  “My” candidate was successful in his re-election and I hope to hell that he and congress work their butts off to make up for the deficiencies we’ve seen in our governing bodies (and I’m not talking just the last 4-12 years), however, I don’t think my opinion of us as a people will recover for a very long time.

Until the people being governed learn how to act like civilized, rational beings, those governing will have no good reason to be any better than they are.

moonfire stepping down off her soapbox

A new chapter

We’ve been struggling a little bit for the last while and I was trying to figure out how to meet our family’s needs, while protecting our future (we’ll call it my “parachute”).  My honey and I had decided that it would work for both needs if I returned to complete a second master’s degree.  I could defer my student loans, to give us a bit of a break and I could add in an accounting and finance degree that would open up options for me down the road.

Then life did what it always does and new information came out, things changed, and opportunities opened up.  I began to doubt that the choice would work for us under the new circumstances, but my honey and I talked and we figured it was just a bad week, that I could still do it.

Last night, as we sat cuddled up on the couch watching tv, it hit me that I was well and truly done with it.  I had been anxious all day and it wouldn’t leave me alone – like an alarm bell going off in my intuition, ringing loudly that I shouldn’t do it.  I’d think about the work I would be obligated to do and the work that needs to be done for my family, then I’d have that flash that tells me not to proceed with my enrollment.

In a counterpoint to what I had been feeling for the last few days, the tv show that we were watching dealt with characters who were going through life changes and trying to make decisions that would allow them to do what they needed to do.  A woman had decided to go back to pre-med school after her children were grown, only to find out she was pregnant again.  Her ambivalence and the discussions she had with her husband were framed around the idea that is was “her time” and she really hurt over being pinned between what should be a happy time and her own needs.

This carried on over a couple of episodes and it hit me that was what I was facing too.  I had been gnawing on the problem mentally for a few days, feeling at odds with certain needs versus what I really need.  I’ve done my education.  I’ve paid those heavy dues in lost time with my children, stress, and huge weight gain.  The reasons to do the second degree were valid and admittedly, I have a strong intellectual drive that gets fulfilled in a structured learning environment.  Being at the whim of higher ed for employment can be a bit disconcerting, particularly when you factor in this crazy election and the possible funding fall out for research, upon which my job is dependent.

A little financial break by having my loans deferred while I was in school would have helped take the edge off our finances.  My honey works at a student job for $7.75 an hour, with crazy, irregular hours and little hope for increases over time.  The financial break from deferred loans would have offset that and eased my worries.

Then he got the email offering him his old job back – the one with the non-profit company that he liked.  The details were firmed up late yesterday and suddenly there was an option to my going to school. 

To add to it all, I asked my oldest his thoughts on my going back to school and he was honest.  He didn’t want me to do it.  We talked about the reasons and talked about his side of things.  He was willing to give it a test drive for 4 months and then we’d re-evaluate the decision.  It was a blessing to be able to go tell him this morning that I’m completely done with school.  His happiness and cheer at the news only emphasized that I made the right choice.

To add to the new job factor for my honey, my oldest was just accepted into a children’s all-city honor choir here in our city.  This new additional obligation for time and practice means it’s all the more important that I focus on being fully here for my family.  My small guy needs time working on reading and learning how to express himself.  He has been on the short end of everything for years…  It’s time to get him to the head of the line!

I’ve spent a long, long time identifying as a student, as a life-long learner.  It has always been the path for me.  Not anymore.  That chapter is fully closed.  I guess it took coming right down to the 11th hour to see where I needed to be and what I needed to do.  Now that I’ve fully committed to it, I feel freedom and a sense of liberation that is amazing.  There may be a little fall out from it all, since I missed a deadline and will have to get everything wrapped up…  but it’s worth it.

I’m still figuring out how to best take care of my family and myself.  Old set behaviors, paths and rhythms have to be set aside.  It’s time to create new ways of doing things.  Higher education is a great path, but there comes a day when you jump out of the nest and use what you’ve been given.

Here’s to jumping!

moonfire