Archive | October 2012

How to create you own Perfect Storm–Expectations and Self-Care Revisted.

I am no meteorologist, nor am I a magician, but I can still conjure up The Perfect Storm, right in the comfort of my own home, too!  How do I do it, you ask?  First, I take a strong storm front of high expectations and I allow it to get bigger.  I work more than I know suits me and my personality and then I expect myself to be all things to anyone who seems to need me.  After I have allowed the extra high expectations of myself to become a twisting mass of worry and frustration, I allow another front to come in from the north.  This other front is called poor self-care.  These two front meet at high altitudes and mingle and begin to feed off of each other until it all looks like something impossible to pinpoint, but  potentially extremely destructive.  Toss in a few unplanned events like very real Hurricane Sandy and let the fun begin!  It is my own, perfect, personal, Frankenstorm, and I made it myself!

The damage done by a little wind storm to the little cottage we lived in three years ago.

A few weeks ago, I started to work more, which is all good because more money never hurts.  However, I was not being as careful as I generally am to limit how much, and when, and what I do.  I was working on the weekends when I should have been enjoying some time alone and just plain doing nothing much.  I am an INFJ–I am a true introvert and I need an inordinate amount of time alone or I wear out quickly.  INFJ’s are puzzles wrapped in a riddle, wrapped in a blanket of mystery.  As I told a friend last night, I am an odd combination of one tough cookie and a very delicate flower.  It confuses the heck out of most people.  Anyway, I was not getting enough solitude when I should have been getting a little extra.  At the same time, there seemed to be people with pressing needs all around me and I was doing my best to keep up.  While I was not aware of it at the time, everyone was getting what they needed, with the exception of me.  I was getting worn out, but I am a trooper, so I kept plugging on although I did note that my usual perky mood was flagging a bit.

Wham! Almost a direct hit! Left a nasty hole in the porch, too!

I was feeling just the tiniest bit crabby around the edges and people’s requests were beginning to irritate me a fair amount.  Of course, I was too much of a chicken to say to these various people, “I know that this means a lot to you right now, but I will get to it when I have time.”  One night, this left me trying to counsel a young woman dealing with drug addiction while simultaneously trying to fill out an online form to become an Avon representative for my cousin.  Do you see something wrong with this picture? Do you see priorities a little out of whack? I sure do…now! I imagine you are also getting the “trying to be everything to everyone” thing by now, too.  Ah, but you do see the boundaries blurring?

It just kept on like that and the next thing you know, along came storm system number two, poor self-care.  I usually love to cook and eat very well.  I love my veggies, but now I was loving on sugar a lot, and while I made meals, not much was sounding good to me but cookies and chocolate.  Everyone else had a clean house, but mine had not been really cleaned completely in two weeks.  Simple things like washing my face before bed disappeared.  All of the sudden, I really did not want to do a darned thing, but I kept on trucking because that is how I roll and while I rolled, more people needed things, and I became more tired, and more irritable, and suddenly I was like a Bounty paper towel—super absorbent, just like back in to bad, old, days, when I let everyone else and their needs take precedence over my own.  Still, I had very limited awareness, of course, because once I get on a roll like this one I may as well be deaf, dumb, and blind.

The poor shed died a tragic death that fateful night!

When I said that I had become as absorbent as a Bounty Paper towel, what I mean is that I was, once again, taking on the emotions of all of the people around me.  That is another thing about the INFJ personality.  We are highly intuitive on a couple of different levels.  We know things about people even before they know them.  We feel it.   We sense it.  We do not even know how we do it, so do not bother asking.  Also, even though this may seem like a really cool super power to have, it is a blessing and a curse depending on how you deal with it.  I used to be like one giant sponge walking through life, absorbing all of the emotions of the people around me.  I was very soggy most of the time and usually quite off balance.  So, I gave that up for Lent one year recently, even though I am not Catholic.

What had really happened is that I had actually figured out where I ended and where other people began and then I stuck some boundaries in between me and everyone else.  I thought I was fairly impenetrable  now, but I was wrong.  Old behavior, back sliding, call it what you will. To any counselor it would look like classic relapse symptoms, but drinking was, and is, a repulsive thought to me.  Yet, one can relapse in other ways.  If you are busy looking for my boundaries at this point in the story, they are a very thin, blurry line –and weakening by the minute.  I tried to push the fragile, little line back into place.  People kept pushing back and I let them.

All we heard all night long, as we sat in the dark, was the sound of the wind, and trees snapping all around us.

Along comes Ms. Frankenstorm to make matters worse.  I do not like wind storms.  I live in a cottage surrounded by tall pines, and those babies snap at the slightest provocation.  However, I am good at storm preparedness, so I went right out and bought water, and non-perishable food items, and flashlights, and candles, and I began sawing up trees that were already down.  At first, it looked like we might get a direct hit from Hurricane Sandy, but then it shifted.  We will still get a good storm, but now that darned thing is heading straight for four of my adult children.  I began sending out mass emails to get assurance that they would prepare and I got a boatload of pithy, and truly hysterical responses, but I am a mom to the core.  While I laughed at their wit and cleverness, I was crying inside and scared.  Sigh.

Yesterday morning, I woke up and I felt awful.  I hurt all over and I just wanted to cry and yet I could not think of one thing going badly in my life that would provoke such intense feelings.  I worried that I was getting depressed.  I wondered if I might suddenly have become gluten intolerant.  One of my elderly friends told me it was probably “The change.”  Well, I finished changing two years ago without one mood swing.  Menopause was the easiest thing I have ever done in my life, so I could not figure out why mood disturbances would start now.

I tried my “Move a muscle, change a thought” trick.  I cleaned out my fridge and took my trash to the dump.  I cut up another tree, which usually invigorates me.  I felt worse.  I felt like throwing up.  I felt like I was wrapped in a thick fog of stupidity.  So, I went to bed and I prayed and I slept soundly for almost three hours.  When I woke up, I felt great!  I said to myself, “You were just tired.  Whew.”  Did I just relax for the rest of the day?  Heck, no!  I felt terrific, so I cleaned my entire little house, sawed up another tree or two, and took a shower.  I hate a dirty house during a power outage.  By the time my son left with his Dad last evening whatever happy high I had gotten from my nap had vanished.  I started reading more about Hurricane Sandy and felt the need to leave teary messages on each child’s phone pleading with them to flee NOW.  There was obscenity involved.  There it was—Frankenstorm wrecking havoc far and wide.  My own personal Perfect Storm.

Snap, snap, snap, all night long…in the dark, with no power.

As my adult children began to call me back and talk me down, I began to see the whole picture of what I had allowed to happen to me in the last couple of weeks.  I had allowed myself to become completely and totally emotionally exhausted.  They laughed at me, in their usual, loving way.  I laughed at myself.  I felt better, but I also realized that those boundaries I though were now immovable are, under the right conditions, still a little weak.  Today, I am sand bagging them with solitude and self-care.  As my own mother used to say, very tongue in cheek, as she was a language arts snob, “Your mama didn’t raise no dummies.”  Well, I didn’t raise no dummies, either.  To say that my children are bright would be a gross understatement.  They are brilliant, and they are in God’s hand.   They will take fine care of themselves.

There lies the most crucial bit of awareness.  It is not my job to take care of the whole world and everyone in it.  I am not God.  I spent a lifetime trying to save everyone from themselves and almost killed myself trying to do so.  As another one of my elderly friends told me this morning, “Experience is a great teacher.”  Yes, it is, indeed.  Living through a whole lot of tough experiences has taught me all of my best lessons.  I cannot go back.  I cannot lose sight of myself in the hubbub of everyone else and their needs.  I cannot save everyone from their misery, and why should I even want to do that?

Were it not for my own times of misery, I would not be where I am now, which is happy, healthy, and content– as long as I take good care of myself, and leave the rest to God.  Why would I want to rob others of those hard, but valuable, experiences so they can grow and bloom on their own?  Sometimes I behave as if I have all of the answers for everyone.  The truth is that the only person that I have all of the answers for is me, but if I stop listening everyone in my sphere suffers in some way.

I am upright today, and peaceful, and even though I may go cut up a few more trees, this weekend is about rebuilding my own boundaries in the wake of my own personal Perfect Storm.  This weekend is about shoring up my boundaries and resting, and taking good care of me.  Yes, I am still a little scared of Frankenstorm, but I am prepared, and when all is said and done, God has got this one.  He has had it all along.  As long as I take care of myself, come what may, I will be fine.  I will be praying that you are all safe and fine, too.

Nothing can annoy ya like a case of paranoia—cyberstalking!

The title to this blog post should be sung to the tune of ” Carolina in the Morning” if you want to get the full effect.  In the wake of my reblog last night about sociopaths, and how they operate in the world, I woke up to a few new followers to my blog.  Yippee!  A new follower or two to my blog almost always has me over the moon, because this blog is my baby.

Yet, I find that I am only partially over the moon because I know that one of the people following me did not just happen upon my blog and fall in love with it.  I know she is here to watch my every move, or word, more to the point.  Ah, well, what to do?  What I do is to say welcome one and all!  (Then behind the scenes I add a name and email and blog link to my “Comments that must be always moderated list and my blacklist.)  Then I go about my day, which I have been doing.  I ran some errands, and I took a stroll in the woods to collect kindling, because it is just plain gorgeous out there!

Gorgeous, I tell you!

However, how I go about my day has changed to a certain extent recently and that irritates me.  I lock my door all of the time now.  In all of my life I have never done that before.  I used to live in a big house full of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of antiques and jewelry and I never locked my door.  I also lock my car now.  I never lock my car, because the one time I did lock my car, some 30 years ago, it got stolen.  True story.  It was the summer before my last year of college and I was living in Seattle and working as a waitress at an airport hotel.  I drove an old beater that had a homemade paint job, and I affectionately called it The Circus Wagon.

I had given someone I worked with a lift to work that night.  We both worked nights.  We got out of the car and when it was clear I was not locking my car, he said, “You need to lock your car.  You are not in Montana anymore.  This is Seattle.  Go lock your car.”  So I did.  The next morning at 7:30 a.m. when I wandered sleepily out to get in my car and head home it was gone.   I wandered and wandered through the enormous parking lot until the reality dawned on me.  My locked car was gone.  I never saw it again.  I also never locked my car again.

My oldest daughter went to visit her then boyfriend, now husband, a couple of years back and parked her car in a park and ride and locked it.  When she got back after her visit, her driver’s side window was smashed in, and all they had taken were her sunglasses.  They were Mui Mui–I had gotten them for her on eBay for a steal in excellent used condition, but as I told her, had you left you doors unlocked, they could have just opened the door and taken the darned sunglasses, and you would have  had none of that messy clean up!  She still locks her car.  All my kids do, and now I have joined the ranks of lockers.  We will see just how long it lasts.

My friend, Dallas, at Namaste Cafe made this poster and I am using it with her full consent. Who does not love a cute orange kitty speaking our mind for us? As we say in my family, put on your happy pants!

I am not the paranoid sort of person.  I do not think anyone is out to get me, except for those who I know are out to get me.  I do not think people are watching me, or talking about me behind my back, once again with the exception of those who I know are doing just that.  I would love to never mention cyber stalking or harassment again, and yet on it goes, and I take the appropriate measures, and go about my life, but that is not enough.  It is not enough because I know of several other women who are being stalked and harassed online.  It is not enough because teenagers are killing themselves because someone was stalking, harassing, and bullying them in an online settings.

When another teenager takes his or her own life because of relentless cyber-bullying, we all share articles, or videos, or write blogs about hate, but it is time to stop and think about where these young bullies and stalkers are learning their tricks.  The people stalking and harassing me are all of the ages 50 years and up, with two being in their 70’s.  We bemoan the behavior and hatred of the current generation of young people, but they are learning that behavior somewhere, and it is probably right at home.  Is life really so dull that adult people have nothing better to do than stalk and harass people they do not even know?   My life is plenty busy, and very happy, and I also have no desire to go hating on anyone.  I am going to sit here and think of how I could possibly be enticed into hating on someone, or stalking someone, I do not even know.  Enjoy an image of my cat sleeping downstairs while I think…

Yes, she is a big girl. She’s a pretty girl, too!

Okay, I thought about it and I can think of absolutely nothing that could entice me enough to harass, stalk, or otherwise hate on someone I do not know.  I have a hard time doing that with the people I do know.  That is because 99% of  the people I do know are totally lovely people.  I do admit to keeping my eye on a few from the other team from time to time, but that is just to be safe.  It is usually right about at this point in the discussion that I expect someone to leave a comment on the law of attraction–what you focus on is what you attract.  Here are my thoughts on that.  I believe that being happy and positive and optimistic  with get you far, so will hard work.  I do not believe that turning a blind eye to something will make it disappear.  I also do not think that if I visualize something I want hard enough and long enough and with as much love as I can muster that it will appear at my front door.  Were this true, Robert Redford would be outside chopping wood for me and would be walking in any minute to ask me what delicious meal I had in store for him tonight before he heads out to buy me something lovely and eco-friendly.  Please enjoy this picture of what I see when I look out my window while I actually go look out of my window…

I know. I am a lucky gal!

Bob is not out there!  Thirty plus years of visualizing him and wanting him badly have not made him appear!  I guess it is nachos tonight, as the child wishes.  I believe in God.  I believe that God is protecting me and that He is using me for His message and that He wants you all to know what He knows.  There is evil in the world and we cannot make it go away by ignoring it.  We also cannot participate in it, no matter how tempting it may be.

We need to love more.  We need to put our cell phones down and love on our kids, and pay attention to them when we take them to the playground.  Get out of your car!  Take your face out of your phone and notice that your 4 and 5-year-old children are running around pretending to shoot everyone in sight, and you keep ignoring them when I ask them to please stop.  Turn off your computer and go outside and see the beauty out there. Get off of your rear end and do something to show someone that you love them.

If you want to talk politics with me, tell me why you love a certain candidate, not why you hate the other.  I do not talk hate politics. Your kids are listening to your every word.  They are seeing your every action.  They are learning from you, and too many are learning hate.  Enough is enough.  Here is a trite saying that I really DO believe.  Be the change you want to see!

If you are as tired as I am of hatred and bullying and harassment in the world, YOUR world, stop ignoring it.  If you ignore it you are tacitly endorsing it.  Stop talking hate.  Talk about what you love, show love, be loving.  Be out in the world and be loving.  Do not get sucked into stalking someone for a friend.  What kind of friend would ask you to do that in the first place?

Act like a good person.  Be a good person so that your kids can learn how to be good people.  If you want to change the world, then go out there and throw around as much love as you possibly can, but at the same time, be willing enough, and brave enough, to stand up to bad behavior when you see it.  I want to end this post on a positive note and so I will finish with this….I baked peanut butter cookies last night!  Oooh, peanut butter cookies!!  Now go enjoy your day!

Cookies!!

This is the single best description of a sociopath, and how he operates, that I have ever seen. It did more than resonate with me. It sunk right into my soul. The accuracy of the description of frightening…the abuse, so covert and insidious.

Consistent Uncertainties

View original post

This entry was posted on October 21, 2012. 18 Comments

Stop fighting change before it knocks you out cold

A lot of people simply do not like change, and yet change is inevitable.  We grow up.  Our children grow up.  We get older.   There is not a thing we can do to stop those things from happening, aside from girding our loins, doing our level best to roll with the punches, and slathering our faces with the best anti-aging skin care products we can afford.  Still, time marches on and if we have acquired enough healthy coping mechanisms we learn to accept these changes, even if we do not completely love them.

Why, yes, I do take all of my own pictures because copyright infringement scares me silly, and well, it is just wrong!

Maybe it is because change scares so many of us so badly—the changes we cannot control–that a lot of us seek out constant changes elsewhere.  We change our wardrobe, hair color, jobs, cars and our cereal in the constant pursuit of something new that will make us feel new again, for a minute maybe.  Of course, all of these external changes do not change a thing.  Most of us are hurting inside somewhere.  I am not excluding myself from “us.”  I am right smack dab in the middle with you.

As I have mentioned before, I have an inspirational page on Facebook.  I started it because Running From Hell with El said that I should, and in some rare fit of lunacy, I did it.  I like my page, and I love the people who I have met on that page, but more and more, the Book of Face is hiding what the people who follow my page get to see.  They hide what I post so badly that fewer 5% of my “fans” (I HATE that term) see my posts.  This is because they want me to cough up a heck of a lot of money to promote each and every post and I just will not do it.  Sorry Charlie, er Mark…  So, here I am knowing that spending an hour a day scheduling my page is a waste of my very precious time, not because I do not care for the people who do see my posts, but because I have bigger fish to fry.

I have a book to write.  (I know exactly what you are thinking. You are thinking, “Yeah, that is what they all say.  They are going to write the next great novel, but it will either never get written, or it will be garbage.”  My book will get written and it is going to be a knock out, I assure you!  One of a kind!  Seriously…) It is right up there in my noggin waiting, but it is not going to fly from brain to page without me doing a little work.   That hour I spend on my Facebook page every morning should be spent writing.  Lord knows I have been told that a time or two, but I simply hate to be pushed.  It a nasty habit, but the more I feel that I am being pushed, the more I will push back.  I am also one of the best procrastinators alive.

I still have comments from last week’s blog post that I need to respond to, and it is not because I do not want to respond, it is just that sometimes someone says something that I need to think about.  I need to chew on it before I respond, and because I have terrible TMJ, this chewing can take me quite some time.  This is also why I do not chew gum, or eat Grape Nuts anymore.  There is just too darned much jaw popping to make it worth my time and energy.  If you make a comment after someone has made one of those comments I need to chew on, you will have to wait until the prior comment has been thoroughly masticated to death before I can get to the back log.

By that time, I feel so badly for not having responded sooner that I get paralyzed.  Last week, Renee A. Shuls-Jacobson suggested that I let go of the mess, and start sharing the message.  At the same time, Livvy at Real Manure told me that she had quit Facebook all together, that was the jaw breaker, because that has been on my mind quite a lot, and then Stephen at Life Revelation said something really sweet, and I have a hard time taking a compliment, so there I sat, stuck.  I am still sitting…

Here is what I know about all of these behaviors.  They are all based in fear.  I hate to be pushed because, even it is the opportunity of a lifetime, something about it scares the daylights out of me.  I will put off doing something that will benefit me greatly because something about it has me scared silly, and oftentimes, it takes me a while to figure out what it is that is scaring me.  I have put off scaling back on my Facebook page in order to write my book because something about making that decision has scared me beyond rational prioritizing.  At first I thought it was because I did not want to let anyone down.  That has pretty much been sorted out to all ego.  Then I did not want to appear to be a quitter.  I am so good at not quitting things that no longer serve me that is has almost killed me many times over.

I am not the only person who does these things.  I see it all of the time in my line of work.  I clean houses for elderly women and nearly every week now I get a call from someone who has been unable to keep up with their home for some time, but they have been scared to ask for help.  By the time they call me it has gotten so bad that they would sooner drink paint thinner than try to tackle it themselves.  They are embarrassed that they let things get so bad.  I go in and within a few weeks, it is manageable and they are unstuck and much happier.  I am sure that I am not the only one that sees this sort of thing.  I imagine counselors, and clergy, and doctors, and even lawyers see this thing all of the time, too.  People are put off making good changes because they are scared and embarrassed and there is that pay off thing, too, that Todd Lohenry mentions.  When I was getting my B.S in nursing and doing my psychiatric rotation, we called it the secondary gain.

Todd is right.  There is always a pay off.  If we choose not to make beneficial choices to change it is because the pay off, or secondary gain, is too great.  What is a secondary gain?  It varies from person to person.  Some people do not change because they like feeling like a martyr, or they like to be felt sorry for, or they like to blame the world, or make excuses, or they thrive on feeling miserable and angry.  People will come up with all sorts of rationalizations not to change.  “So and so would be crushed if I..” or “I have tried and it just did not work,” or my personal favorite, “That will never work.”  I like “That will never work” the best because at least it is true.  It you do not try it, it absolutely will not work and you are 100% right.  So, we all stay stuck until we realize that we would rather drink paint thinner than go on as we have been doing, when all the while we have been happily drinking the grape Kool-Aid of justifications and rationalizations under their various pick-your-poison guises.

I have not wanted to embark on my book because I am going to have to type out some incredibly painful truths.  I now know that I am not going to heal fully until I type out those painful truths, so I am going to do it.  It is not going to be fun, and I know this.  Only two people know this, but after some of the blog posts I write are done I cry for a good half an hour or more. It is all good, though.  That is healing.  That is release. Imagine all the tears that will be shed writing an entire book!  Don’t you fret now!  For every painful truth I reveal, I promise to counter each one with a lot of hope and inspiration, and at least one hysterically funny story.  It will be the- you will laugh, you will cry, you will become a part of it-sort of book.  And it will be based on a true story, too, because I do not write fiction.  No more grape Kool-Aid for me, thank you very much.

If you are stuck in a web of pay offs and secondary gains, the first step is to figure out what your pay off is, and why you are scared of giving it up.  The second step will make itself clear once your sort through step one.  If you are trying to heal from childhood trauma and have seen counselors before with no forward progress, please try again.  As Scott Williams points out, some counselors are just not good, and let me double that for psychiatrists, especially the ones who prescribe medications primarily.  I was told in nursing school that psychiatrists would be the weirdest doctors and people who I would ever meet, and that was the stone cold truth.

If you are thinking, “But my counselor/psychiatrist is super sweet and nice and he/she cares about me,” let me tell you a secret.  A counselor can be super sweet and nice and care about you and still stink at their job.  I had a psychiatrist who I absolutely adored.  He was one of the rare 2% of psychiatrists who was a nice, down to earth, regular guy, and funny, too, and he cared about me one heck of a lot.  He also had me drugged out of my gourd on nine different medications for years for bipolar disorder, which I did not have then, and do not have now.  You see what I am saying here?  Super sweet and nice count for something, but progress counts for a lot more.

If you are stuck in a bad relationship, get out, please.  You will make it.  You will be fine.  You will survive.  You will be happy again.  Also, since I am handing out advice like Tic Tacs tonight, if you do begin the divorce process, do not expect to get 100% of what you want, no matter how jerky the other party may be.  Aim for getting 50% of what you want.  It is called being realistic.  Maybe you will get lucky, as I did, and get 80-90% of what you wanted, and then you will get to be all overjoyed and so on, but start with realistic.

That is another thing about Facebook.  Poster after poster telling us to aim high, set the bar high, reach for the stars, and most of us end up curled up in the fetal position in a huge pile of expectations that were too darned high from the get go.  If you are already thinking to yourself, “This is going to be the BEST Christmas ever” you need to step back and plan on having a good Christmas, because we could all benefit by letting good be good enough.  Word from your mama.

If you are also wanting to remove yourself from the Book of Face, try reading some blogs.  Facebook is like a soap opera.  You could be gone for a year or two and nothing would have changed.  It is true.  I was in prison for six months with no Facebook and when I logged on after my release all I had missed was some birthdays and 100,000 Farmville requests.  (I no longer play Farmville!  You can stop sending me requests now.  It has been well over a year.  I also have no interest in Bubble Safari or Lucky7 Slots.)

Reading blogs provides fresh content daily from all sorts of different perspectives.  I am very fond of Journey Through the Chrysalis, Waiting For the Karma Truck, Morning Story and Dilbert, Tracie Louise Photography, Reflections of Life Thus Far, Roots to Bloom, and Teacher as Transformer.  That will get you started and this is a healthy mix of reality and lovely and pictures and prose and all good things.  There is another thing that I do not write.  I do not write poetry, because I end up sounding like Dr. Suess, it is a good thing I am about to let you loose, because this paragraph is nearly the caboose.  You see what I am saying?  Uh huh, I thought so.  Oh, one last thing….

You Like Me!!

Earlier this week, Yoga with Maheshwari nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award.  I am very thankful for such a gift!  The rules were to thank the person who nominated me, which I just did, and to tell you seven things about myself, which I belief I have done within the body of this post.  I am also supposed to nominate 15 other bloggers, so if your name is hyper-linked and mentioned within this post, tag, you are it!  Do with it what you will.  You did not even see that coming did you?  You would have run sooner if you had, but I got ya!  Yes, I am a sneaky one…and I probably did not hit 15 bloggers, but I am tired.  Now go.  Make some changes for the better!  Yes, there will be pain, but I promise you will not die.  Yes, there will also be tears, but no one ever died from crying, although I am admittedly behind on a few seasons of House, M.D, so if I am mistaken, please accept my apologies and do the crying anyway.  You will feel better.  I can almost guarantee it!

Coming out of the closet…

I bet you all are thinking that I was going to tell you that I am gay, right?  No, I am not going to tell you that, not that there is anything wrong with that, to quote Seinfeld.  There is absolutely not, but I am talking about something entirely different here.  I am talking about my face, which I have been hiding from you all using that worn out, stolen off Google images, avatar thing.  As you will note, the avatar is gone.  What you now see is the real me.  Go ahead.  Drink it in then shake off that stunned feeling!   It is even a very recent picture from July of this year, not something from, say, 20 years ago, which was tempting because I have a real stunner from 20 years ago.  This is the real face of OneHotMessage.  Considering everything I have put it through, as well as the rest of my body, it has held up quite nicely.  Perhaps all those years of drinking acted as a preservative and pickled me to some extent.  I guess that makes it all well worth it, right?  Saves on Botox, too, not that I would be inclined to use that unless I could afford it.  I do not frown much anyway, so I would more go for some sort of lift, but I digress.

That is water in the wine glass, just in case you were wondering 😉

When I began this blog, I was hiding.  I was not hiding from myself, but at the very first, I was hiding myself from family and friends.  Could people accept the real, authentic me, if they knew who I was??  I was not entirely sure that they could…  Then friends and family began to figure it out, which was an amusing period of time, I must say.  Every day or so, I would get a message on Facebook from a friend, “Hey Annie!!  Are you OneHotMessage??  I love you but I didn’t know it was you!!”  Like that, over and over again, people were figuring it out, and people were more than okay with me as me.  That left me hiding from my ex-husband and his family, most specifically, his current girlfriend.  They are relentless.  They found me months ago and have left many lovely, little calling cards which will never see the light of day, not on this page, anyway.

The other night, the one person I was hiding from went on a rampage all over Facebook-land while I slept.  She went from one inspirational page to another to another to another posting rubbish about me, using my full, real name, and the name of my first husband.  I like my first husband!  He has been very good to me.  We had me over last Thanksgiving when my little boy was with his father.  He sends me Omaha Steak gift packs at Christmas.  He even took in my little boy while I was in prison.  If he has never said, “I am sorry for all of what I put you through during our marriage,” he really does not need to anymore.  His actions speak way louder than words and I am good with that.

Anyway, a huge line had been crossed, and behavior I was ignoring could not be ignored anymore.  Do not mess with my Facebook page owner peeps!  Those peeps are my friends, and they had my back in a huge and amazing way, all while I slept.  It is comforting to know that people all around the globe are looking out for me so that I can sleep soundly at night.  I love my Facebook page owner peeps a lot!  Don’t you dare be all up in their grill, or I might have to be all up in your grill….that’s probably a line from a movie, but it fits.  So, I called the police, because Facebook could really care less if someone is stalking you and harassing you, and amazingly, the sheriff that I spoke with did care!  And he did take some action! ” Wow”, I said to myself.  Yes, I do talk to myself.  You may as well know that about me, too.

After I got all the documentation to the police department, I was rather worn out, so I took the night off from thinking.  Today, I turned my brain back on and a comment a friend had made to me kept ringing in my ears.  At my age, that could be almost anything, so I dismissed until this evening, when it was quiet, and I could be certain it was not sudden onset damage from too much vacuuming.  The comment was this, “See how much power you still give her, even though you ignore her?”  Her, being the not-so-sweet-girlfriend.  Yup.  I see.  I totally see that as clear as day now and I am not giving her another drop of my power, and baby, I ain’t hiding from anyone ever again!  (Unless, it is like some deranged ax murder that pops out of the bushes down here, or some creditor from my less than stellar financial past. )  I have been to prison and survived!  I am a prison chick now.  Ain’t nobody gonna scare me off from being me, or showing my face anymore.   Fo Shizzle, as one of my kids might say.

So, this is me and I love me.  My name is Ann LeSuer.  I am a real person who is well-loved by many and who is afraid of no one, except for the aforementioned collections people, but I really do not have much to fret over in that department now, either.  Another friend told me yesterday that I need to show my sense of humor more on my blog.  Apparently I am a riot.  It is hard to be a riot and talk about really deep and serious issues, but I will give that a go, too.  She said my sense of humor was “pure fold.”  I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about until she corrected herself.  “Pure gold,” she said.  That is my life in a nutshell.   Loving, caring, accepting, friends far and wide, family, God, everything.  I have got the full meal deal and it is pure gold.  Here I am now looking out at all of you with my own face, through my own 53-year-old eyes, and you are all pure gold, too!

The art of just being—Safe in your own skin

Several weeks ago I sprained my ankle.  I have a trick ankle–(I have always wanted to call some body part a trick whatever ;-)–but the only trick that this ankle does is to randomly give out from time to time.  This ankle has given out so many times in my life that I have lost count.  The last time it had happened was two and a half-year prior, and before that three of so years prior, only that time the trick had me tumbling down a flight of stairs and left me with a foot broken in two places.  Of course, the break took priority over the weak ankle, so I never mentioned it to a doctor, nor had I ever treated it properly when it is sprained.  This last time though, I quit what I was doing fairly soon after I had hit the ground, and instead of trying to carry on as I normally would have, I told my client I could not finish.  I went straight to the store and bought two bags of frozen peas, some ibuprofen, and an Ace bandage.

Once I was home, I wrapped the ankle, took some medication for the pain and inflammation, and I elevated my ankle and iced it every two hours and I did this for four whole days.  It was a bad sprain.  My son was with his father that week, so I could actually take care of my poor ankle the way I knew I should have been care for each and every time.   I learned a lot during that time I was laid up.  In the past, I had always hated being laid up.  I am a mover and a shaker.  I had a friend who once told me, many years ago, that even when I was sitting perfectly still, it was as if I was vibrating.  I chalked that up to being a high-strung, expressive, high energy person, and to some degree, I believe that is true.  But these days, I am not strung nearly as high as I used to be.  These days, I can just be.

I had no problem at all laying in bed with my foot up for hours while I read.  I greatly enjoyed laying on my couch just thinking while I iced my ankle.  I felt relaxed and I feel comfortable with just being and I felt more than comfortable with taking care of myself properly.  I felt at peace.  It was lovely.  Of course, I had a lot of time to think and I realized that even two years ago I might not have been able to give myself this  type care.  In fact, I am certain I would not have been able to, and three years ago, there would have been no way I could have held still for even twenty minutes to ice my ankle.  What had changed after a lifetime of moving and shaking?  I finally felt safe in my own skin, and I finally felt safe to be myself fully, and that has only happen in the last year or so.

I thought back to three years ago.  It was shortly after I had left my marriage and I felt happy and free, but I was not relaxed.  I loved where my son and I were living, and I was making life changing choices, but I was wound so tightly that, in retrospect, I am surprised I survived.  I kept having random panic attacks that just came out of nowhere, like the great heart attack that wasn’t a heart attack incident on Thanksgiving night of 2009.  My kids had been home, and we had enjoyed a splendid evening, and a wonderful meal.  With the exception of my little boy, they had gone off to their Dad’s, and I was downloading pictures when I began to have chest pains.  I finally called 911, and there was an ambulance ride, and my adult sons came back over to fetch their brother, and in the end it was all anxiety. As I told the ER doctor, “I think I really just need a good cry.”  After my EKG and lab tests were fine, he agreed, and sent us all home.

The stress of that time still floors me when I think about it.  I had left a hideous marriage with nothing but a child and  duffel bag of clothing.  I knew I was going to prison and I knew I had a horrible divorce to look forward to getting through.  On the outside, I looked fine, but on the inside I was terrified and stressed beyond what most people could handle.  One night I was knitting and I realized that I was sitting perched on the edge of the couch.  I then realized that I never sat back.  I could not relax enough to do more than perch anxiously on the edge of the couch.  When I laid my head on the pillow at night, I had to consciously relax my neck enough so that my head was actually on the pillow, not hovering over it.  Amazingly, I thought I was doing really well at the time, too.

Now I have survived the divorce from hell and all ended well.  I survived prison and while in prison, I got to the core of my pain from age 5 forward and I uncovered my authentic self and have learned to love, respect, appreciate, and care for her—for me.  I know now that the all of that high-strung, ever-moving, vibrating person was me working as hard as I could, with all the power that I had at my disposal, to contain a lifetime of unexpressed emotions and pain.  I certainly expressed emotions, but not the ones that needed to be expressed, and I certainly felt pain, but I drank to cover that up so I could go on for another day holding everything in and functioning to the best of my ability.

Those two years prior to going into prison were like transition in labor.  Things had kicked into high gear, and everything that I had been repressing was screaming to get out, but there was no safe place yet.  Prison was the safe place where there were two very safe people to guide me through the birth of myself and the pain that accompanied the birth.  Now I have no problem just being.  When I work, I work hard, and I move fast, but a lot of the free-floating, hard to contain, frenetic energy is gone.  I do not have to work anymore hold in pain, or sadness, or anger.  It is gone, for the most part, and anything new that crops up is dealt with promptly and easily.  I can and do take care of myself now.  I have no problem setting limits, and it is becoming easier for me to say “no” when I need to say it.  I feel safe because I know it is me who keeps me safe with proper boundaries, kindness, and self-love which is something I denied myself for a very long time.

When I had returned to work after my sprained ankle one of my clients said, “Well, you had a nice little break, didn’t you?”  The comment came from a woman who cannot care for herself to save her life, and the comment was intended to induce guilt.  In the past, I would have felt the need to defend myself, or to justify my actions.  This time I said nothing because I knew I did not need to justify caring for myself.  I just glanced at her, smiled, and kept working.  After a bit, she said, “You really needed to do that, though, didn’t you?  You needed to take care of yourself.”  I replied, “Yes, I did.”

I need to care for myself every day and I will continue to do it, even if some do not understand.  I am safe in my own skin.  I can just be now and that is a miracle.  The true beauty of it all, though, is the fact that now that I allow myself to be me, and I care for myself, everyone else gets to be whoever they are and that is okay.  The only person I have to live with 24/7 for the rest of my life is me.  I get top priority now and by ranking myself that way, everyone in my life benefits greatly.  What a blessed thing it is just being me–finally.  It was well worth the wait.

A lovely woman commented on this long forgotten post today and since it describes so well how I am feeling today, I have decided to give it a redo. Enjoy!

One Hot Mess(age)

I saw a graphic on Facebook today that said, “What if today we were grateful for just…everything!?” I really like that, because that’s how I try to live my life everyday. I work hard, though lately it’s not that much work, to be grateful for everything, even the less than totally pleasant things. I have an old friend who calls me “sunny side up kind of gal.” She’s know me for over 30 years, so sometimes I am a little shocked and surprised to be reminded that I have always been optimistic and grateful, though there were times in my life where I felt a lot of anger, and gratitude does not grow well in angry soil.

Angry me was not a terrific person to know. I deflected oncoming people and potential friends with an invisible force field that was tough as steel and three feet thick. I didn’t know…

View original post 301 more words