Impossible Decisions

     Some decisions are easy to make.  What you’re going to wear, what you’re going to eat.  Some are more difficult, such as financial plans or career issues.  Some are almost impossible to make.  That’s where I am in my life, at an  impossible intersection.  No decision that I make is going to make me happy, at least not for a great while.

     How do you decide between what you want, and what you know you need?  What you can’t live with, and what you thought you couldn’t live without.  I’m being forced to make just such a decision.  There’s what I want, what I’m afraid to let go of because it is what I have wanted my entire life.  Then, there’s what is killing me inside, and I simply can’t live with any longer.  

     It takes a long time to get to the point where you can actually even make the decision at all.  It takes incredible pain, to finally reach a point where you can see that living in the situation that you’re in any longer can’t go on.  That allowing it to go on is just too painful and damaging to your self-esteem, your spirit.  It’s a pain that you can’t explain, a hurt that goes beyond physical discomforts to something that is spiritually painful. 

     I have lived with that pain, knowingly, because the thought of what it would take to stop that pain, seemed even more painful.  Until now.  It’s taken me a very long time to realize that eventually, someone has to choose to put you first.  If not the person that you had hoped would do it, then you have to do it yourself.

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Taking Control of My Life

     It’s been difficult for me admitting that I really have no control over many of the things in my life.  Even harder admitting that no one really does, we just wish we did, perhaps thought we did.  But in reality, other people’s choices determine so much of the direction of our lives.  So I’ve decided to focus on the things that I do have control over. 

     First of all, this body that I’ve hidden behind for most of my life has to go.  I am done with it.  I can control what I eat, and I can control how much I exercise.  I will change this body so that it is never again an excuse for someone else, or for myself, not to love me.

    Second, I am going to learn to live in the now.  To stop living my life as a reaction to the past, or because of fear of the future.   I have no control over who decides to stay in my life, or who decides to leave.  I have no control over the passage of time.  I can only control how deeply and with how much passion I myself choose to love, and how I take advantage of my time in this life. 

     I can accept that I am enough.   I am good enough, and always have been.  The bully that speaks to me when it’s quiet is just that, a bully.  When confronted, a bully will always back down.  If not, you kick their ass!

    

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My Inner Journey – Part One

     Spending time trying to look at yourself, at your personal history, is hard.  It’s a lot harder than I was expecting it to be.  Trying to figure out what it was that happened to you that made you so fearful, so avoidant.  It’s really amazing how the mind works, how it hides things from you.  You create a “story” in your mind, and make that your reality.  You cultivate it, reinforce it when you can, and continue to make decisions that protect your “story”.  Otherwise, you are left with the truth that you were trying to hide from. 

     My story was that my life was perfect.  It was a fairy tale.  My Dad had a great job, made great money, provided us with everything we needed and loved my Mother beyond measure.  He was perfect.  My Mom stayed at home with us, cared for us, loved my Dad in the same fashion and made our home a sanctuary where we always felt loved and accepted.  She was perfect.  I grew up in a home that many people looked at and thought it was perfect.  But it wasn’t.  It was great, but for me, it always felt like something that could be lost if they only knew what I was.

     My Dad was homophobic, very homophobic when he was younger and I grew up knowing that he hated homosexuals.  He hated “me”, or at least he would have had he known I was gay.   I grew up unable to accept a very basic part of myself, my own sexuality.  I adored my parents, adored my entire family, and as a child I was 100% certain that if anyone knew that I was gay I would lose it all. 

     My father would no longer be proud of me, which was so important to me.  My mother would be ashamed of her little girl who she was already so frustrated with because I wouldn’t wear dresses and play with dolls.  I knew that being gay wasn’t acceptable in my family, so I learned to deny it.  When I could no longer deny it, I learned to hide it.  I learned to hide myself, who I was, from everyone.  I was very good at it too. 

     I developed an eating pattern that made me fat, which kept boys from noticing me and made me feel insulated from the world.  I reinforced that behavior as I got older because it gave me an excuse for why I wasn’t in a relationship.  I could always blame it on the weight.  My relationships didn’t fall apart because I was an ass.  It was because I was fat.  Looking back, those times when I successfully lost weight always revolved around periods when I was single and busy.  I wasn’t concerned with my social status or in a relationship.  Then, when I would get involved with someone, I immediately sabotaged myself with the excuse of being fat and happy.  When in reality, I was just setting up the excuse of why this relationship was going to fall apart as well.  Again, not because I was an ass. 

     Now I look at myself and wish so much that I had been braver when I was a kid.  I wish that I would have had some support.  I wish that someone had looked at me and said to my parents, “Hey, your daughter is a lesbian, and she needs some help.”  Surely some of my family knew.  I had Aunts, Uncles, Cousins who were intelligent people.  Did they not see me?  Or were they so afraid of how talking to me, or to my parents about me, would impact their lives in the family. 

     I have decades of crap to unravel in my head, but I’m working on it.  The amount of it that is shrouded in anger is unexpected though.  I’m angry because it’s still affecting me, and my relationships now.  The feeling that no one could really accept me, the need to insulate myself with weight, the desire to avoid conflicts at the cost of my own self esteem.   Worst of all, the fear of loving someone too much, because if they really knew who I was – they wouldn’t love me anymore. 

     I’m old enough to understand that my parents really did love me, and I know that later in life, when my Dad was older, he would have accepted me had I told him I was gay.  But that doesn’t negate my experience as a child, a teenager, and a young adult.  I grew up believing that it was MY responsibility to be what they needed, so that they would be happy and love me.  It was MY responsibility to deny such a basic part of who I am in order to be a part of my family.  I still feel responsible today, as though I have to control myself and my life in such a way as not to affect my family. 

     I have to learn to let go of the desire to control.  I  want to.  I’m working on it.  I want to let go of the anger that I associate with the past, it’s over.  I deserve happiness, and I don’t need to insulate myself from the world anymore.  I’m not going to.  I want to experience my life without judgement, or fear and I’m going to do just that. 

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Epic Fail – My First Attempts at Meditation

Meditation.  Inner Peace.  Mindfulness and living in the present.  All that sounds amazing and I have been devouring everything I could read.  Listening to guided meditations, and practicing almost every day (need to do better – I know).  But I have to admit, this shit is HARD.

First of, have you ever tried to sit quietly and think of absolutely nothing?  Well, if you’re like me, finding 15 minutes in your day when you could afford to think of nothing seemed like a rarity.  Now I realize that it really is a necessity, but it’s an elusive one.

My first attempts basically consisted of sitting in a cross-legged position on the floor and contemplating how much my legs hurt for the first 5 minutes, which soon became some concern over the fact that I couldn’t feel my left leg and wasn’t completely sure I was going to be able to stand when it was FINALLY time to get up off the floor.  That took about 10 minutes the first time, and I was done.

But I kept at it, and I have to admit it’s getting easier.  My mind still wanders, but I’m able to bring it back.  I do feel amazing afterwards, and I believe it’s helping me to see a path that I would choose for myself.  I feel more grateful, less stressed, and for the first time in my life I am beginning to get a real sense of who I am, and who I want to be.

So I’ll keep at it, accept what I’m learning, and accept the changes that it’s bringing about in my life.  I can see that it’s going to change things, but I can’t wait to see what those changes bring.

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Water’s Journey

I love listening to water flowing.

Not a singular sound, but millions of individual drops of water flowing over and around rocks, brushing gently against the banks of the river and touching the land,  then to continue on their course downstream. Never stopping long enough to forget its purpose is to reach the sea.

I want to live my life with that kind of purpose. To know my direction so well that I can flow over and around life’s rocks and still stay the course. I want to linger in pools that are deep and beautiful but never stop moving towards the open ocean where I know there will be no boundaries and I can kiss the shore again and again without fear of the sand.

I want the strength to wear a mountain down into a gentle valley and still have the purpose to know I cannot linger there. I want the faith to allow the sun to consume me completely – knowing that I will once again fall to the earth as a single drop of rain – to continue my journey.

SGM

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What a Wonderful Journey this Life Is

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     Looking inward, sometimes you see things you don’t really like.  Anger, jealousy, a lack of understanding or willingness to even try and understand.  That’s pretty much what I was faced with recently when I took a good long look at myself.  I didn’t like it very much.  It made me feel somehow smaller, less evolved really.  I mean, I was spending this amazing amount of time being angry at other people for my own predicament.  I was letting jealousy turn me into someone I hardly recognized.  I spent so much time demanding that my love understand me and my feelings, that I had no time left to try and understand hers.  I didn’t really want to understand, I just wanted her to conform to my idea of what a marriage, of what love was.  In the midst of all of that, I almost lost the thing that meant the most to me in the world.  Her.
    You see, our relationship is complicated by the fact that neither of us is perfect.  My wife is smart, sexy, caring, and full of life.  But she’s not perfect.  I’m a decent human being myself, but by no means am I perfect.  I had this ridiculous notion that we had to be perfect, and by making that demand on us both – a demand neither of us could live up to, I almost destroyed something amazing and beautiful.
     I think I understand now, finally, what it means to love someone.  To truly love someone.  It’s to recognize that the person you fell in love with is a collage of thoughts, emotions, fears, notions, and a past you can never really fully understand, because it wasn’t yours to walk through.  I look at my wife now, and realize that her smile, and her laugh, and her intelligence, and her fiery temper, and her mood swings, and her compassion for people and animals, and her deep thoughts and insane sense of humor are all things that drew me to her, made me fall in love with her, made me ask her to marry me, and have filled my life with meaning since that time.  I also realize that her anxiety, and insecurities, her needs and wants and weakness’….those were always there as well.  When I met her, when I fell in love, and when we married.  All a part of the whole.
     If you truly love someone, you have to learn to not only love a persons strengths and qualities that you show off in the light.  You have to also accept and love their weakness’ and imperfections, their darkness.  Because one without the other, is not the person you met, fell in love with, and wanted to build a life with.  It’s not about settling, it’s about celebrating the person you love as a whole.
     I’m learning to celebrate myself as a whole, and in doing so, I’ve found new beauty in my wife, and in my life.   We may not be perfect, as a matter of fact I can promise you we are not.  But that’s just it, we don’t have to be.  I just have to love her the best I can.  That’s what I have control over.  My thoughts, my actions, how I treat her, and how I support and encourage her.
     I give up control of those things that are not mine to control, and find peace and feel love in a whole new way.  What a wonderful journey this life is.
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Working on Me

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I’ve spent most of my life looking at people who meditated, or did anything else I considered to be new age “crazy” like they were just that, a bit crazy.  It never really occurred to me that most of these practices had been going on for centuries, and that the people practicing them certainly seemed happier and less stressed than I was. I didn’t have time, and actually considered myself kind of immune to enlightenment to some extent.  I am an ER Nurse.  Unfortunately, that means I am a bit skeptical of everything in existence and more than a little jaded when it comes to the human condition.  I’ve learned from 25 years of being an ER nurse that if you don’t let something touch or soften your heart, you live to work another day.  Twenty five years, that’s a lot of wasted time.
If you were to ask the people that are closest to me, the people I work with, none of them would tell you that I am a particularly nervous or stressed person.  I’ve always managed to stay pretty low key, let things roll off my back, and never get too worked up about anything.  But over the past few years, that’s changed for me.  I don’t know why, but life’s stress’ started getting to me.  I found myself suddenly inundated with feelings and emotions, and often I really had no idea what I was even reacting to.  I was just stressed, or angry, or sad, or even scared.  I had no idea what of or what about.  I just was.  It was affecting my personal relationships, and affecting my attitude at work.  I wanted to push people further away because it seemed like the more I insulated myself from other people, the less I had this emotional dance with myself. 
Then, quite accidentally, I ran across some reading on meditation and living in the “now”.  Ah oh.  New age Crazy.  But the first few sentences caught my attention and so I kept reading.  After just two attempts at meditation, I realized that it somehow calmed me and made it easier to focus.  Maybe I’m not getting Alzheimer’s after all?  (Fingers Crossed)   So, I’m doing more reading.   I’m going to continue learning to meditate and I’m opening myself up to a lot of other things I use to call crazy.  It’s going to be a journey, but I can’t wait to see what’s over the next rise. 
It’s kind of exciting to look in the mirror and realize that I had so limited myself in the past, that my future may not be at all what I expected.

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