Facebook Memories

If you’re on Facebook, you’re probably familiar with how Facebook likes to share memories, showing you pictures and status updates that you’ve posted on any given day in years past.  It is mostly really fun to see what was going on in your life.  I, personally, love seeing old pictures of my pets and my friends, and thinking about the fun nights I had over Facebook in law school (without Facebook, lawyers from the class of 2011 would not have made it).

But there are times when I don’t necessarily want to remember, Facebook.

On January 23, Facebook reminded me that it had been 3 years since my Gram passed away.  I had a good cry, I posted a sappy post, went on a walk to process my sad feelings and saw a hummingbird in the desert (which I’m currently convinced is my Gram’s way of saying hello these days).  It worked.  Remembering my Gram’s passing was bittersweet; full of missing her and wishing she could see me now, but remembering how much of her lives on in me.  Okay, so Facebook memories can remind me of my Gram any day.

I still wish I could be selective about what I’m reminded of, though.  Maybe Facebook could come up with a shitty life events filter or something.  Of course, it may not have even helped with this next one considering that I had intentionally, selectively, mostly forgotten about it.

On February 4, I was reminded that around this time in 2014, I had a second weird psychotic episode that I’ve hardly discussed with anyone, even though everyone basically saw it happen this time.  After quitting my job at the big law firm, going on my round-the-country road trip, and pouring every bit of myself into launching my new law firm at the end of 2013 and into the new year, I lost my mind again.  It was maybe a period of about 48-72 hours without sleep, endlessly searching the internet, convinced I had broken it, writing this crazy manifesto that I still can’t bear to read, and sending “coded” messages to all the friends on Facebook that I felt close to at the time.

Yep.  Facebook memories reminded me that I sent a bunch of psychotic messages to my friends.  Lovely!

I posted a status update blaming it on Facebook, which seems to have gone over okay with most of my friends (except maybe one).  But it was me.  I was only about a year and a half into recovery from my childhood trauma, burned out and running away from myself on my road trip, I came back and immediately poured myself into my work and avoiding everything rebelling, but then I caught up with myself again and lost my mind.  No wonder my business failed didn’t go so well the first time I tried it.  No wonder I could barely motivate myself to get off of the couch for months after.  I have so much shame about it, and Facebook reminded me.

Thankfully, Facebook also reminded me how much I have grown since.

I honestly feel like such a different person than I was those two years ago.   I have worked really hard in therapy to move beyond so many things and it is paying off in my life.  I not only AM lighter (if you didn’t read my post yesterday, though currently stuck in a stall, I am -105lbs now!), I FEEL lighter emotionally.  My spirit is freer these days because of all of my hard work.  I am freer.

I do still fear a return of the psychosis, though.  Even though this second time around was far milder and far less damaging, it still sucked; a lot.  I’m still incredibly embarrassed and and carrying some pretty intense shame because of both of the times that my brain short circuited.  If it happened twice, it can happen a third or fourth or fifth time.  I fear being permanently disabled by my mental health issues.  If my brain can fail me in such dramatic ways, how will I ever be able to be a successful human being like I want to?  What if I’m not cut out for being a lawyer?  What if I cannot actually be a business owner?  I could go on, but I don’t need to.

Definitely some things I need to talk about in therapy.  I have so many good things going on and, despite the bullshit thrown my way this year so far, I feel pretty good emotionally, so I hate to get too much back into the serious stuff.  Finally telling you is pretty helpful (and remarkable, especially since a year-old blog post about the same subject sits in my drafts), but I’m sure telling Sam will help me tie a little bow on this and put it up on a shelf.

No more shame, damnit!  Well, at least a little less shame for now.  Thank God for therapy this week!

Up Swing

Things with the bestie are back to normal (thank God).  Life gets weird sometimes and then it comes back around to a good place, that’s just the way it works.  Since surgery, I’ve been dealing with some shit emotionally and it got in the way.  She’s been dealing with shit emotionally and it got in the way too.  Life.  Now if only the both of us and her kids could stop being sick so we can get back to our regularly scheduled chick dates, that’d be pretty awesome.

I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about being the “other woman.”  I have a hard time even saying or feeling like I was the “other woman,” because we weren’t together really (just a couple weeks before hearing from his girlfriend, we had settled on being best friends with benefits).  He was okay with me having someone on the side, I was okay with him having someone on the side.  Of course, being completely HONEST about it was also part of that arrangement (even though it was scary, I was honest about my dating other people while he kept me in the dark).

Since we did do things that would not have happened if I had known he had a girlfriend who was not okay with an open relationship, though, yeah I guess I’m the “other woman.”  What do I even do with that?  Oh I know, give it back to him, because it’s not my fault.

When anything remotely similar has happened like before, I’ve kicked the guy to the curb immediately.  My intentions were different in those relationships, though; and I was not open to being anything but the only one.

I was REALLY close to kicking this one to the curb just like the others, but the friendship I value more than anything with him makes me want to hang on.  Yes he lied.  Yes he hurt my feelings.  Yes he’s broken my trust in many ways.  But sometimes friends do really awful things to us and we still forgive them and refuse to let the friendship go because we’re all human and we all make big dumb ass mistakes from time to time.   I know I have, and my friends still love me anyways.

I had, and continue to have, confusing romantic feelings for him.  Our chemistry is undeniable and always has been, but his immaturity is so clear now.  That immaturity got him into this situation.  That immaturity is keeping him from really doing what he needs to do to get himself out of the dog house (at least with me).  As I keep seeing glimpses of how his immaturity caused this and is playing out since, the romantic feelings I had seem to be waning.  I don’t have the time or the energy to waste trying to help someone grow up anymore, especially if they’re not willing to put in the effort too.  My life is moving forward, with or without him.

The scale is torturing me again.  I’m hovering around 302, 303, 301 and cannot get my ass to #twoderland!  We got a storm that came through last weekend, I had a crazy busy week, and now I’m sick, so I haven’t been walking since my 3 mi. hike out at Red Rock last Friday (to celebrate being -105lbs!).

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With stalls courtesy of a lack of regular exercise, it’s looking like the next 100 lbs is going to be the real challenge, my dears.   At least I know I’m up for it!

Surgery is slowly but surely teaching me that I am stronger than I ever knew.  I really hoped that this journey would be transformative not just physically, but emotionally and mentally as well; and it is.  I am seeing my worth in a whole different way, from inside.  I am not seeking (as much) validation and approval from outside sources, where it has never been (and never will be) fulfilling.  I am holding my head up high.  I am looking people in the eyes.  I am smiling more.  I am becoming the me that I knew I was and could be.  It’s really quite incredible!

Business is going well, got an article in a local lawyer magazine, and I’m getting some really amazing referrals from the best places.  The next couple of months are going to be really fun too, because I’m going to be back on the radio and am starting a monthly segment on a business show on 4/4/16 (updates will be coming via my law firm Facebook page)!  Life is good!

Have a lovely weekend, friends!

Wait, What?!

I was not at all expecting today to go as it has.  Not one bit of it.  I wish I could make this stuff up (I’m just not that good)…

I’ve written a few times about this guy I’ve been seeing on and off for quite a while.  We met on OkCupid about six years ago and dated for maybe six months or so initially.  Things got really intense really fast (we have always had a strong connection, emotionally and physically), then I got some weird medical news that sent me reeling, and I took out my fears on him and told him that I couldn’t see him anymore.   I regretted it and I regretted how I treated him, because I liked him a whole lot.

Fast forward to a couple of years ago and I ran across his profile again.  I took a chance, reached out, and we quickly fell back into our old feelings.  We talked almost daily after that.

The first year after we started talking again it was a struggle to see him, a struggle to meet up.  I felt like a lot of that was me, though.  I was still processing my breakdown, still feeling pretty new in recovery from my childhood trauma, and had a hard time being social at all.  He expressed an understanding that not many in my life have and he was always there when I needed someone to talk to.  There was a point about a year ago that I wasn’t sure if I could continue on with the relationship because we were seeing each other so little, but we had a serious talk about it and he promised me that we would see more of each other.  He lived up to his word and in this last year we started hanging out more and more.

Our chemistry continued to be electric, just like it was when we started dating six years ago.  We talked about anything and everything under the sun and he was patient and kind and gentle about all of it.  I told him about my break down and he didn’t judge me.  I told him about my childhood and my ongoing tumultuous parental relationships and he didn’t judge me.  I told him about my (sometimes day-to-day) struggles with trust and anxiety and depression and he didn’t judge me.  He has been my rock as I’ve spread my entrepreneurial wings and especially supportive since I started this weight loss surgery journey last year.  He stayed at my house to help me when no one else would/could the week after surgery, he has patiently and gently walked me through my many minor meltdowns figuring out how to eat, and he has encouraged and motivated me as I recently started getting my exercise on too.  Honestly, I don’t know if I could have made it to this point without his support.

It’s no wonder that I fell in love.  How could I not, right?  It was sometimes a very confusing love, but it was love.  It was a love that was growing, and quickly, the more we got to see each other.  I’m not sure that our relationship would always have been romantic and physical as it has been so far, but he and I both talked all the time (yesterday, included) about how we felt like we had a lifelong connection.  It was a love that I hoped, no matter what would happen, we could continue to grow in.  At least until today.

I woke up today full of hope about a busy week, but not long after I opened my eyes and started to prepare for my day, I got a text from his girlfriend.  The girlfriend that he’s been with for the last two years.  The girlfriend he lives with.  Wait, what?!  My hopes and dreams about this relationship came crashing down around me in an instant.

So many thoughts about this man have passed through my brain over the last six years, but never once did I imagine that this kind of lie would be the end of us.  I don’t know that I could have, he had me so snowed.  Hindsight being what it is, there are plenty of things that seem crystal clear now of course, but at the time I had no inkling of what was to come; none whatsoever. I’ve been walking around feeling like I got punched in the gut all day.

I wish I could say that this is the first time that a man chose me as his other woman without letting me in on the secret, but it’s not (normally I find out much sooner, though).  I wish I could say that I felt like it was all their fault, but I don’t.  I mean, I’m the only common element. I can’t help but feel that there’s something inherently wrong with me or, at the very least, my ability to choose a good partner.  I have read plenty of articles about those who have suffered childhood trauma have poor relationship skills in adulthood, after all.  It seems that I’m no exception to the rule.

I am proud of how I handled my emotions today.  Though incredibly difficult, I let myself feel them (can’t eat them away anymore).  I cried a messy cry.  I reached out to all my girlfriends to tell them how much of an asshole he is.  I went on a walk, blasted the Cranberries and moved my body with real purpose (I almost didn’t, because walking reminded me of him too).  I did some work, then had a break.  I did more work and now I’m here.  I’m sad.  Beyond sad.  But I am moving forward.  Looking backwards is not an option for me.

My real fear is being alone forever, being rejected yet again (and again and again).  I want companionship, I want love, I want it all (except maybe kids).  I just don’t know how to get it and keep it.

Thank goodness for therapy this week.

Holding Back

If I could have the conversation I want to have…

Before I begin, you know the gory details of what I have been through in my life and, while I know that you cannot REALLY relate (and I am glad for that), I wish you would try.  Please try to understand that when I say my heart breaks, I mean that it crumbles and bleeds and falls to the floor in agony; after all, it is pieced together with tape and Elmer’s glue as it is.  Please try to understand that when I say that I have fear, it registers in my brain and my body in just the same way as the gut wrenching fear registered when my mother snapped her gun belt before a beating; sharp and quick.  Please try to understand that when I say I love, I love selectively and deeply, into the marrow of my bones.

I have not meant to withhold my feelings and I am sorry that everything came out in a messy texted torrent yesterday, but I have been anguishing over our friendship for months.  Your news uncorked a shaken bottle of champagne.

I have seen a pattern in the way that you have been treating people, the very important and permanent people, in your life lately and it has made me examine my own role there too.  In the last year, and over the past few months especially, whenever one of them doesn’t serve some need within you, disagrees with you or your life choices, or has a difficult time coping with their lives and inarticulately comes to you needing support, you you spout about the incredible difficulties of your own life and the zero fucks you give and you turn them away.  It has seemed so easy for you to let them, to let your love for them, go.  Where do I, a mere friend, a temporary fixture of life, fit into that?  I haven’t been sure.

My heart has been breaking for you over your recent choices.  My heart has been breaking because you are knowingly setting yourself up for future heartbreak.  My heart has been breaking because your children will suffer their own heartbreak when you do.  My heart is breaking because they will take on your burdens and they will carry them for life, because that is what children do.  My heart has been breaking because my heart (and so many others) will break right along with yours when this house of cards crumbles around you.

I have feared that by expressing my concerns, you would reject me as you did them (and I was kinda right).  I have feared that our friendship is as disposable as those relationships appear to be to you.  I have these fears because of my own past, because of our past, and because you and your friendship mean so much to me.

I have felt a real void where the much needed presence of your friendship used to be.  I have needed you for some real nitty, gritty and unpretty lately, but you been aware of little but yourself.  I have needed your help surviving the surge in emotion, flashbacks, and hormones since surgery.  I have needed you when I regretted the decision.  I have needed you in my walk through the hurt of ending my relationship with my mother.  I have needed you, and you are a cheerleader when things are going well, but our textversations all seem to end when the topic turns toward anything of remotely difficult substance about me.  I have felt increasingly rejected and ignored by it, but I have presumed that it was only because you, too, were going through your own heartbreak and could not bear mine as well.

I have struggled with all of these feelings, but I was confident that they would pass as your fog lifted and you got back to your happy.

Then you tell me that you have been happy.  So, while I could understand and process your absence from my life because you are hurting, I could not (and cannot) fathom your absence because you are happy.  Is this our friendship?  Is this what it means to be your “best friend” now that you give zero fucks?  To be there to support you through your darkness, but only have you around when my life is comfortable for you?  Is my ability to be involved in your life contingent on my faking a smile?

I am happy that you feel happy, but I fear that it is a right now kind of happy.  I fear that you have been overtaken by the intensity and intoxication that right now happiness is made up of.  Right now happiness will deceive you (please don’t forget how it blinded you to a narcissistic monster just a year ago).  You let people in so freely and, while I admire that so much about you, I am afraid for the way that you appear to be chasing that right now happiness like a drug.  I fear it because an addiction to that right now happiness will destroy you like any other, my friend.  Like any drug, right now happiness can only fill the holes in your heart for so long before it leaves a wake of devastation in your life.

Don’t be mistaken, that right now happy can last for years.  You, however, deserve forever happiness.  My fear is that you are risking your forever happiness for temporary glee; and it breaks my heart.

Negative Self Talk: Perfectionism

I touched on an important idea in my first therapy session of the new year.  Plenty of my shame-driven negative self talk (and I have a whole lot of it these days) isn’t even my own.  It dawned on me in a way that it hadn’t before: a whole lot of the bad things I throw at myself in my own head began with someone else’s shame (my mother’s mostly), which was was transferred to me before I ever knew what to do with it, and I’ve now adopted it as my own.

The negative messages began early; perfectionism, especially.

Though highly intelligent, my brother and school were like oil and water and never really worked.  He acted out a lot and hated authority (gee, wonder why), and was regularly abused by my parents for that and his bad grades.  I was powerless to do anything about anything that happened growing up, but I got a big message loud and clear: imperfection could be very dangerous.  My good grades, staying squeaky clean, being naive and innocent, over achieving, it all kept me safe.

Perhaps it shouldn’t be any surprise, then, that one of the first panic attacks I remember having came after I got my very first B in second grade.  Perhaps it shouldn’t be any surprise, then, that my anxiety goes crazy and my negative self talk is at its most nasty and vile when I feel like I have failed in even the most minor way.

It can be debilitating, constantly berating yourself at every turn for every little thing.  I am continually working on it in therapy, but lately if I’m not beating myself up about something I think I’ve somehow failed at, how I’m not perfect at whatever it might be, I stop myself only to beat myself up about beating myself up.

Today, for instance.  Since it’s a federal holiday and the courts and 98% of law firms in this town are closed, I’m trying to give myself the freedom to take an additional day off from working to process my life, to write, to do laundry, to enjoy my family, to clean my room, to eat well, to maybe get creative and/or take a walk.  I have incredible amounts of guilt and anxiety over it, though.  I have guilt and anxiety about taking good care of myself on a day when I have the actual ability to take care of myself.  I have to repeat it because it’s so clearly illogical – I have guilt and anxiety about taking care of myself.

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I am not an idiot (that was my favorite self-insult this last therapy session).  I am not dumb either (what I was just calling myself for feeling guilty about taking the day off to continue to care of myself).  I am not a failure at business (like I constantly tell myself I am or will be).  I am not failing at weight loss surgery (appx. 90 total pounds down).  I am not failing at exercise (I got 5 miles in over the last week).  I am not a failure.  And I don’t need to be perfect.

Now how do I let that go?  How do I embrace the idea that I don’t even NEED to be perfect in the first place?  Perfectionism doesn’t serve me anymore; I don’t need to be perfect to stay safe, but the message is still there.  Still loud, still clear.   I suppose I may fight against the message of perfection for the rest of my life (in all kinds of ways), but at least I’m fighting.

Let me try to keep this in mind today as I continue to allow myself the freedom to take care of me before all else…

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2016 Begins With a Bang

2015’s ridiculousness spilled right over into 2016, unfortunately.  It’s been a crazy few weeks, but the worst seems to be over…for now.  Of course, life happens in threes.

I was avoiding therapy at the end of last year because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my relationship with my mother.  Should I bring her in to therapy, be vulnerable in a big way, and try yet again?  Turns out, the answer is no.  I can’t do it.  I’m not ready and I may never be.  I’m back at a point where I have given up on my relationship with my mom.  I mean, we still speak occasionally.  I can still be around her.  So, I suppose a more accurate statement is that I have made the decision to give up on the idealized version of the relationship I have been hoping I might have with my mother someday.  I have to let go of it, once and for all.  We will never have a normal relationship and clinging to the (very false) notion that we might is only hurting me.

Letting go meant sending her an email telling her why and what it meant for us in the future.  It was really hard for a few days; it still is.  But I’m beginning to feel a sense of relief about the decision.  Letting go is freeing up my heart and mind for other things.  I have amazing people in my life that I CAN and DO have normal relationships with that are indescribably wonderful.  I have a business that is slowly building up steam.  I am on a long-haul journey of physical and mental health.  It’s nice to have the ability to turn my energy toward the people and things that actually matter in my corner of the universe, including myself.

Well, as I’m still somewhat reeling from the finality of sending my mom the email I did, my troubled nephew’s problems showed up on my front porch.  Whatever happened, or didn’t, the wrong person got very angry with him.  Thankfully my brother handled it, but scary people now know where my family lives and, if my nephew makes a dumb mistake again, who knows what could happen to any of us.  Hello, anxiety for days.  It really makes me sad too, because I wish there were something more we could do for him.  Unfortunately, though, addiction is a cycle only he can break.

Then, just as we’re getting our feet under us financially, my sister in law loses her job this last week.  Woosah.  Goosfraba.  There really are those days that I’m not sure how much more I can take.  There are days I can not get out of bed because it’s too difficult to deal with everything that happens.

Then I write.  I started walking more often (it’s kinda shameful how far I can’t go, but I gotta start somewhere).  I went back to therapy.  I keep working.  I move what I need to move around.  I’m honest with people that I “don’t feel well.”  I beat myself up in my head (man I am m a super bitch).  I cry.  I laugh.  I’m sad.  I’m scared.  I freak out.  I try to remember the good things.  I reach out.  I isolate.  I just keep living life.  Somehow, I keep living life.  Thank God.

Keep living life, friends.  It keeps going, so we might as well enjoy the ride.  Or at least try to.  Something like that.  :)

 

Deliveries and Stalls

Well, my dad ended up coming over yesterday with my niece’s present.  It was awkward and I wish he’d have given me at least a little advance notice because I don’t like when people come over unannounced, but at least it’s done.  I never did reach out to my mom about what she I wanted to do about Christmas, but it looks like she had enough forethought to send my dad on their behalf.  Or she’s reading my blog – always a possibility.  Either way, had my mother showed up here unannounced it would have been even more unpleasant for everyone involved, so I’m really grateful that it happened the way that it did.

In other news, I’m officially stalled at 80 total pounds lost.  As I’m sure you can imagine, I have been totally not okay with the fact that the scale has been stuck.

When I reached out to my VSG friend Misty recently because I couldn’t take the scale obsessing anymore, she said something like “Yeah, it could be a rough couple weeks.” Womp womp womp. Lol  It’s really so great to have friends that will always keep it real with you during this process, though. While I’ve still been watching the scale, because I know this is just part of the process my perspective about the scale has shifted dramatically.  Rather than get bummed about the gains and give up and eat all the breads and go for ice cream (like I have wanted to do and would have done in a hot minute before surgery), I’m pushing forward and refocusing on what I’m putting in my mouth and when.

Besides, I only have myself to blame.  I totally jinxed myself into this stall on Instagram.  Oops.

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What was I thinking asking for a stall?!

Ah well. I really did have a great time that night and felt amazing.  After all, this journey is so much more about the number on the scale, right?  For me, it’s about nights like that night, feeling like myself, feeling happy, loving what I’m wearing (polka dots are my favorite), feeling and thinking about anything other than the crazy, negative, awful things that lie in the recesses of my brain.  This process is as much about experiencing life again and getting to know my true authentic self along the way as it is about losing weight and gaining health.

So, while I am frustrated about not losing pounds currently, I know that this too shall pass.  In the meantime, I continue to work on figuring myself out and living the life I was meant to live.

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!