Monday, October 24, 2011

Strength rediscovered...

The one year anniversary of my return to North Carolina is rapidly approaching. I wasn’t exactly sure of the date, so I scrolled back through all of my facebook statuses to find it. (It was November 12, 2010). Talk about a trip down amnesia lane.

My brain never shuts up. I’m pretty sure I’ve said that here before. But’s never really quiet. I’m an over-analyzer and a deep thinker. I am both grateful for and irritated by this. My return to North Carolina was a huge (albeit quick) decision in my life, and I know I’ll be thinking about that decision and what led up to it and what has followed a lot in the coming weeks.

I have learned a lot in the past year. A lot about my weaknesses, things I need to work on...but also a lot about my capacity for strength. I forget that sometimes. It gets lost, it shuffles around in my busy brain...but eventually I always find it. I’ve learned who my friends are...and sadly, I’ve also learned that some people can’t find it within themselves to still be my friend. But, (and this is a very recent in about 20 minutes ago) I have spent so much time concentrating on what is past, what is lost, what is gone, that I have shut out what is still there. I took myself out of the equation for what I thought was the sake of others, but what I really did was shut myself off. I am much more guarded now; the pain of losing someone I thought was my closest friend, from what I understand because she couldn’t accept me or my decisions any longer, cut very deep. It has bled into every other part of my life. Somewhere in the back of my brain (sometimes in the very front) is the same thought: there must be something deeply wrong with me. I’m no good. I’ve fucked everything up beyond repair. That thought, coupled with what is basically rejection, from basically one person, has clouded my judgement. Instead of focusing on what I do have in my life, I’ve been overwhelmingly focusing on what I’ve lost.

I have been through so much in the past year. I moved across the country for the second time in less than six months with nothing more than what fit in the trunk of my car, I struggled to get my own place, I continually struggle to keep it, I got divorced, I’ve grappled with the enormity of what my leaving and coming back is doing to my kids. I’ve continued to make some less than brilliant decisions along the way, but that’s life, isn’t it? At the end of the day, and I still have to tell myself this every day, the important thing is that I came back, even if that doesn’t always seem like enough. A lot of the time I still feel like a complete joke. And sometimes I feel like this is all just a bad dream, and maybe at some point I’ll wake up and I’ll feel safe and whole and a little less insecure.

Throughout everything, I am still comforted by the same truth: everything happens for a reason. Sometimes I struggle with what those reasons are, but I also know that I may never know. Think about it for just a little bit...we come in contact with people in our lives every day. Some we know, some we don’t. Think about the impact that each of us can have on someone else, no matter how small. Who have I met as a result of my move to and from Phoenix? Who has touched my life as a result of that? Which lives have I touched as a result of that? I know in my bones that I have made friends and met people and made connections that are as essential to my life as breathing, and none of it would have happened without that one decision.

I do battle every day with this over-active brain of mine. Happiness, peace, confidence...they are illusive and fleeting. But I am on a path. My path. I have to accept that, embrace it. Every single thing I’ve done has brought me to where I am right now. And where I am right now is where I’m supposed to be. There is so much peace in that realization. I am eternally grateful for everyone in my life right now. I may have lost some people along the way, but the ones I still have in my life are amazing. They are funny and kind and strong and a little crazy and perfect. They may not always be a part of my life, but they are now.

So I will continue to find my strength and embrace it, and be grateful for what and who I have, and know that I’m not alone. This is my life, my path...and even though I lose sight of it from time to time, I know it’s a pretty damn good one.

Monday, October 3, 2011

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

How do I answer their questions? How do I explain to a six-year-old, even a very smart one, why I left his father without tainting his image of his father? I won’t do that. When I get a point blank question, seemingly out of nowhere, about why I stopped living at his renders me speechless. All I could do, what I will continue to do, is tell him how much I love him, how my leaving his father had nothing to do with him, how I love him forever, no matter what. And I have told and will tell my daughter the same thing.

I left my children. I left them. I made a choice, and a little over a year ago, I left my children and I gave my now ex-husband custody and I hid in Arizona for 5 months. There is so much more to it than that...but those are the basics. I left, and I hid.

As my father so eloquently says, don’t spend too much time kicking your own ass; the world will do that for you. There’s something to that advice...but I have spent a lifetime kicking my own ass, and it is a hard habit to break. It’s second nature.

Logically, I know that the past is the past, what’s done is done, insert-other-cliche-about-living-in-the-present here. I know that I made a choice and now I have to live with that choice and the consequences. I know that no matter how hard the road or how much I kick my own ass, that decision ultimately got me out of a really bad marriage. A marriage I had been trying to get out of for 2 years. Could I have done it any other way? Probably. But...this is how it played out. This is how it went down, and I have to deal with that.

I struggle every single day with what I did. Logically, I know that I did what I had to do at the time and I did the best I could. Logically, I know that I can’t change anything and that all I can do is move forward. But that is just my mind. Try telling that to my heart. In my heart I feel selfish. I miss my children. I don’t miss the life I left behind, but I miss my kids.

So I will continue to tell my kids I love them and spend as much time with them as I am allowed. For now. I will continue to work on myself, for I am, as always, a work in progress. I will try to stop kicking my own ass. Because that’s not really productive, is it? To kick my own ass for things that are done and can’t be serves no purpose. I know I have to figure out a way to stop focusing on the past and live in the present. I just don’t know how.

This whole experience has reminded me of something very important: being judgmental is pointless and hurtful. I've said this before and I'll say it again - until you've walked a mile in my shoes, you have no right to judge me or what I've done. Some people get that. Some people don't. I know I don't need the people who don't get that in my life, but it still hurts.