Archive | March, 2017

Afraid to speak up. Why?

31 Mar

“Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless.”

Jamie Paolinetti – Actor

Just saw this quote today.  After yesterday I am realizing the extent to which I do not speak up.  It’s very limiting, especially in my quest for Freedom in my life.

What holds me back?  I ask myself……………………………….Fear.

I’m going to try an exercise.  You keep distinguishing what is present and characterize it, distinguishing it from being the truth.  (I’m not supposed to give this exercise away, so “don’t try this at home unsupervised.”)

What is present with regards to speaking up?

If I look and see what the fear even is, it feels primitive.  Danger.  There are no words.   “Body sensations”.

If people see the real me, they will tell me how wrong I am and judge and criticize.  “Thought”

No one will want to play with me.  “From the past.”

Sadness. “Emotion.”

Being all alone on the playground in kindergarten.  “Past”

Something’s wrong with me.  “Thought”

I will be alone forever.  “Thought”

Nervous.  Anxiety.  Tightness in chest.  “Body sensations.”

No one can love me.  “Thought.”

Breathing.  Nervous.  “Body sensations.”

I can see that I made that up that “something was wrong with me” when I was 2.  And that I “would be alone forever” when I was 5.  I don’t even know what I did that made me think I was so bad and unlovable.  When I was 2 I think I was crying because they went to the concert without me and they told me not to be upset but I was.  “Thoughts.”

And when I was 5 I was playing on the playground alone.  One day.  Just one day.  And look how it’s affected my freaking life.

My fear is that I am somehow bad and if people find out they will leave me (again).  It is a gripping and physical fear.  So let me really look at that.

What could happen if someone reads this blog or if I speak up to someone?  Will they really leave me in the driveway again?  I don’t think so.  Maybe they won’t want to be friend.  So what?  Then do I really want them to be, really?

Or maybe they won’t agree, or they’ll have an opinion about what I am saying or even tell me I shouldn’t say or publish these thoughts, but so what?  They are not “Responding to me”.  If this is my truth, why should I let people make me think that it is wrong?  It might just be different from theirs, but neither is wrong.

All my life I never even doubted that what others say is right and I’m wrong.  I’ve automatically made myself wrong when criticized or questioned.  It’s freaking crazy!!  I don’t think I’m stupid, as a matter of fact I have never doubted my intelligence.  So WTF?  Why would I think that other people know how I should be or what I should say better than me?

I guess we would call it a “Racket.”  It’s the confused victim.  They are right and I am wrong.  I go over onto the left side of life and lose my energy, enthusiasm, passion, and just about everything good. I become despondent and hide from the world.  (OK, I’m exaggerating a little, but it’s not good on the left side.)

Well, I guess I can give it up if I’m aware of it.  People’s comments are just triggers and I can learn new ways of responding.  Wow!  I could even play with them like I did today on the phone.

“Don’t tell me two hours before the appointment that it’s on,”  my work friend said to me “in that tone that sets  me off.

Instead of crossing over to the left and getting pissy, I just played with her.  “What if I tell you a half hour before instead?”

And, instead of us having a fight, after a minute, she started laughing.  “And you know I would probably go, right?”

And I laughed.  And that was a whole lot better then the other day when I got mad because she was “using that tone.”  And I refused to speak to her for a day.  Very mature, I know, but I was so mad I couldn’t see straight.  Not very productive either.

So, I’m looking forward to a new adventure in speaking up.   I’ll keep you posted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spite? Handwriting?

30 Mar

I was talking to someone today and it got me all f—-d up in the head.

We were at the gym.  He had a workout that I wanted since I won’t be able to work out with him tomorrow.  I was going to take a picture of it.

“No,” he said.

“Why not?”

“I don’t want anyone to see my handwriting.”

Huh?  That made no sense to me.   “Are you afraid of getting in trouble for something?”  I could only think that handwriting could implicate him somehow with the law.

“Yes,”

“Is that your biggest fear?”

“One of them.”

OK, if that’s a fear I guess it would make sense.

“I will take your phone and give it back when you give me my workout book back.”

“Seriously?  I am not going to take a picture.  If you don’t want me to, I won’t. Why would I?”

“For spite.”  Hmm, I thought.  There’s definately alot I could get him back for, but that’s just not me.

“I don’t operate that way.  I like to make people happy, not torture them them like you do.”

Since I wanted the workout, I let him take my phone while he took his shower and I copied the information I needed by hand.

When he was leaving, he gave me back my phone and took the book back.

“Can I ask you a question?”  I asked.

“No, I don’t have time for your bullshit,” he said, putting his bag into the car.

I ignored him and followed him.  He got in his truck and I stood outside his driver door.  I asked him something about “the workout.”  He answered and we said goodbye.

So what bothers me?  Why do I keep going over the conversation again and again in my head?

It took me a few hours to figure it out.  He didn’t have time for my bullshit as if I was the crazy one here.  My BULLSHIT?  SERIOUSLY?  He’s afraid someone will recognize his handwriting on a teeny picture on my phone?  He’s the one who would do something someone didn’t want them to do for spite?  He’s the one who doesn’t trust?

And I wasted my time this morning worrying that I had done something wrong.  It’s time for me to stop that.  Time to stop letting other’s people’s opinions affect how I view myself.

Historically, if someone questions me or accuses me or has a different opinion, I would automatically think they were right and I was wrong.  I would be upset for days.

In my marriage, if I tried to tell my ex-husband something was bothering me, he would deflect the conversation and accuse me of “just always being upset.”  And, like this morning, I automatically doubted myself and tried to figure out what I had done wrong, thinking I deserved the insult for some reason.

Well, I may not be too much farther along then I was in my marriage, but after thinking about this for hours, I did nothing wrong.  And, I don’t think I’m even the weird one here.

So, this “friend” can live his life how he needs to, but I don’t have to question my values or judgements or opinions because they differ from his.  I can trust myself and my values, and that is a new thing for me.  And, if I want to say something, it’s not Bull Shit.  It’s important to me.

So there.

 

 

 

Heart problems? Oh no.

28 Mar

Last night I could not sleep.  My heart rate was not fast, but it was loud.  No matter what part of my body I touched, I could practically hear my heart beating.  I  My chest was tight and I felt afraid.  I wasn’t afraid, I just felt afraid.

The longer I lay there not sleeping, the more and more uncomfortable I became.  I started imagining things.

  • I was being poisoned by the gas heater.  One of my favorites since I moved into this rental cottage.  It has a certain smell that I don’t like.  After a couple of hours of being “poisoned” I decided to open up all the windows around me.  Since it was in the 30’s outside it started getting cold.  I finally got up and put on my winter leopard fleece pajamas over my other night shirt.  Then I got up and piled on the blankets.  I still couldn’t sleep but at least the fresh air would save me from the poison.
  • Then I got afraid that something was wrong with my heart.  Why would it be so loud?  I could call 911.  I could drive to my mother’s.  I could just die in my bed.  Oh well.  So be it.  I had a good life.
  • I still couldn’t sleep.  I started worrying about this blog.  I had given out my blog name to Michael from my seminar.   What if he read it?  What if other people read it?  I got up and wrote a blog about it called Freedom.  It didn’t help me feel free, but at least I was distracted for a few minutes.
  • I still couldn’t sleep.  I tried taking B vitamins, then valerian and hops, and later, after I had been trying to sleep for four hours, at 1:00 AM, I took my mother’s remedy, a little bit of sherry.
  • The next thing I knew it was morning.

I happened to drive past my mother’s house on the way to my office.  I was redirected that way because there was traffic on the Merritt Parkway.  I stopped in and told her about my evening.

“Call the doctor,” she said handing me the phone.  “Uncle Dick had heart problems.  They run in our family.”

“I’m going to wait until my insurance starts in 4 days,” I said.

“I’ll pay.  Just go,” she begged.

I decided to go to the chiropractor instead since I pay him every month anyway.   I explained what was going on.

“Do you have arm pain?  Back pain?  Shortness of breath? Chest pain?  Sweating?”

“No. No. No. And for once I’m not sweating.”

She looked at me.  “No worries.  Your heart is fine. It’s anxiety,” she said.

“But I was calm.  I wasn’t worried this weekend,” I said, confused.

“Did your father just die?”

I nodded.

“Well that could have something to do with this, right?

“I guess.  And I’m probably still stressed about work even though I thought I was fine.

“Exactly,”  she said.

So I left feeling a little calmer.  It’s explainable.  Just a little bit of anxiety.  I’m feeling so much calmer about it.

Until I think about tonight.  What if I can’t sleep tonight?  Uh-oh.  I feel the anxiety coming back.  This is not good.

Hmmm………….Maybe I could just nip it in the bud and drink the sherry earlier if I need to.  Ok I have a plan.  Let’s see if it works.  Good night.

 

Freedom

27 Mar

I was trying to sleep and my heart was racing.  What now?  I thought.

I had thought I had figured out my project.  Passion, love and connected-ness.

And the name was Authentic Self-Expression.

So why was I so nervous?  Because the milestones were to publish 12 blogs.  Great.

But when I was talking to someone from my seminar, he told me I should have it be so many people responding to the blog.

NO!!  I screamed inside my head. That means people will have read it.

Another friend wanted to know the name of the blog.  I didn’t want to tell him.

So why write a blog?  He asked.  Why not write a private diary?

Good question.  I thought about it.

Why was I so afraid for people to read this?

All I can think is that I have lived a life of pleasing people.  Learning to say the right thing.  Being good.  Not making people mad.  I don’t like conflict.

And, this blog is the real me.  The real person inside.  The way I really think.  The struggles I go through.  My authentic self.

And only those very close to me know this me.  The ones that don’t judge.  The ones that don’t make me feel bad for thinking this way or saying these things.

And I have a thing that I bother people.  That they don’t want to listen to me.  That no one can love the real me.

Only in my fantasies can people love the real me.  I can be myself and they still love me in la-la land.

So having people read this terrifies me.  Because it’s the real me in real life.

That’s why I was lying in bed with my heart racing.

The thought of someone reading my blog and knowing the real me makes me feel like I will die.  My fake, pleasing cover will have been blown.  I’m not the nice, good girl I pretend to be.  I have nasty thoughts and I worry all the time.  My nature is negative and I mostly see the bad.  I struggle to see the good alot of the time.   I’m the opposite of Polly-freaking-anna.

.So what if I could be the real me.  The real possibility of this project could be FREEDOM!!!  Freedom from worrying about what people think.  Freedom from trying to please people.  Freedom from trying to get life right.  Freedom from all worry.  Freedom to be my real self.

And, if I could be free, I might relax and enjoy life.  Maybe I could sleep again.  Maybe I would stop eating chips to calm myself.  And drinking wine to numb myself.  And lose those 5 pounds again.

Who knows?  And I might have to deal with the consequences of my self-expression.  .  Sure, I might “go under” a couple of times and think I am doing the wrong thing.  But, if I have gotten strong, I will bounce back quicker then ever.

If nothing else, it will be an exciting journey.  And, who knows, maybe I will tell someone else about this blog.  They might even read it.

(As brave as I sound, my back is in spasms  and my heart is racing.  I will have to look at that.  I can do my breathing exercises and try to sleep.   Hopefully I will feel as brave in the morning.  Good night).

Cracking the shell

26 Mar

I am taking a seminar and we have to pick a project to work on.

I was going to choose relationships, but I realized I have some other stuff to work on.  I’ve been through a lot the past few years – divorce, moving out, my kids going off to college, my rental being over in a couple of months, and most importantly, my dad’s death two months ago.

I realized that I’ve been stressed out and panicked.  From worry.  I’ve been obsessing about all kinds of crazy things  – when to wake up, what workout to do, what to wear, how is my mom, where did my dad go, are my kids ok, did I say the wrong thing.  My mind is constantly in a panic.  And, on top of that,  I’ve kept myself very busy, running from morning to night.  And, when I finally crash into bed, I can’t sleep.

No wonder I’ve been exhausted.

I hired a coach to help me with my relationship issues and to get me off this crazy wheel of torture.  He asked me why I wanted a relationship. What would be present if I had one?

“Happiness,”  I said.

“And if you were happy for the next two weeks until our next call, what would be possible?”  he asked.

I thought about it for a few minutes.  “I could be connected with people.  What matters to me is passion, love and connectedness.  I’ve been too busy to connect with the people I love – my mother, sisters, kids.  It could be a whole new world.”

And it made me think about things.

So yesterday, Saturday morning, instead of running off to the gym early when I was at my mother’s, I stayed until noon.  I helped her with her computer and I made her happy by signing up for JDate.  I didn’t want to sign up, but she was having so much fun that I did it.  I am still tempted to cancel it and get my money back, but I couldn’t do that to her.  So, I’m on it for now.  And she was happy.

I went to the gym later then usual and I survived.  Instead of rushing home, I went to see my friend, Renee, who I hadn’t seen in months.  We took a walk around her new neighborhood and had caught up on things.  It was very enjoyable.

Then, later that night, I went out with two girlfriends that I used to work with.  I hadn’t been out socially for months.  And I have to admit, I almost said no to all of them so I could just hide in my little cottage like I had been doing.   It was a breakthrough for me to force myself to go out.  And it was very nice to see my friends again.

Today, Sunday, I got up early, went to the gym and had a great workout.  I met a sweet little  widower named Vince who decided to take me under his wing.  He told me how to work out.  (I let him.  I was tempted to tell him I’m not a beginner and to stop telling me what to do, but instead, I kept my mouth shut and let him talk.  He was very nice and probably lonely.  And, afterwards I realized that I did learn some new things to do and ways to do things and again, felt a connection to another human being).

Then I rushed to meet Renee for breakfast.  Part of me wondered why I had scheduled this breakfast when I could have been relaxing at home like I usually do on the weekend.  But I had to admit to myself that when I don’t have anywhere to go and sleep late, I feel groggy, lonely, and depressed.  By the evening, I am eating and drinking to numb my feelings.  That could explain the extra five to eight extra pounds I am wearing.

I walked into Renee’s neighborhood little restaurant.  It was crowded with people.  The son of the owners was playing the guitar.  There was energy in the air.  And Renee and I had a great time.  It felt like I was in the world again.  It felt so much better to be surrounded by people instead of hiding alone in my cottage.

So, my possibility is now Happiness, Connection and Being present.  And, my project will involve getting out in the world and also being more consistent writing my blog.  I still need to create an intention and measurable results for the project, but I’m relaxing about discovering it instead of upset because I haven’t figured the right answer out yet.

If I meet a guy, great.  If not, I am already happy.  Just being connected to people again has given me that happy feeling.  It’s like magic.

And it all started with my five smiles to a new life.  I can smile again.  I can push my hair off my face so people can see my eyes.  I can enjoy my new make-up and play with how to use it.  I can take more care of how I look again.

And, I know the five pounds I have gained in the last few stressful months will come off.  I am actually loving my little belly for the first time in my whole life.  I know I looked better a year ago, but I can still love myself five pounds heavier and that’s a breakthrough right there.  The panic is gone.

This week I also learned that when I feel “out of control,”  I go into a mind altering panic mode and can not think clearly.  When I bought the make-up I felt out of control.  When I hired the coach I felt out of control.

But I’m not.  I am 57 years old and I can trust myself.  I am smart.  I know what I’m doing.  I’ve been through a hell of a lot in the past couple of years and I have survived.  I can have compassion for myself and allow my emotions to surface without judgement.

I don’t need a guy to be happy.  I’d love to have a partner in life to travel with, empower each other, and share a passionate loving life, but I’m ok right now.  I can wait until it feels right.  There’s no more panic about being alone.  Because I’m not.  I’m surrounded by a whole world of people and all I have to do is smile.

I feel like I’ve put a little crack in the shell that I’ve been hiding under.  And I think I’m ready to come out into the world again.

 

 

 

Infuriated

5 Mar

I am using this blog to vent.

I was having a wonderful day.  I was cooking, cleaning up, and happy about my success at the gym smiling at 5 people.

I tried grilling some chicken, chicken sausages and eggplant, but after two hours, I hadn’t made much progress.  Since my oven doesn’t work, I was determined to get this stuff cooked.  Seeing my frustration, my neighbor stopped by and offered to check the fire.

“It’s just too cold,”  he said.  “The wind blew out the flame.”
I took the food inside and made it on the stove top.  I sauteed the chicken and made a stew with the sausage and eggplant, adding some canned tomatoes and some of the chicken as well.

My son stopped by with a friend from college.  Like most 21 year olds, they were hungry.  They had several helpings of the chicken and the stew.  Since most of the time no one likes my food, I was very happy that they enjoyed it.  The friend was nice and wants to be in the drug enforcement agency after college.  He had 5 friends that died of heroin overdoses.  It was nice to see someone who wants to make a difference in the world.  He said if he can save one mother from having to cry over her dead child, he will have achieved his goal.  I hope he does more then that.  I was inspired by his passion.

So why do I need to vent?  Well, after they left and I was about to start a project, the door opened.  I thought my son, Jesse,  had forgotten something, but no, it was my ex, looking for Jesse.

Even though Jesse had left, Mark, my ex, came in anyway.  He often stops by when he’s hungry.  I offered him food and he accepted an apple and peanut butter.  He left the dish and knife in the sink.

“Who’s supposed to clean this?”  I asked him.

“I thought you would want to so you could use it again.”  I have no dishwasher and this was a plastic plate and knife.

“Why wouldn’t you think to clean it?”

Because he wouldn’t.  And I started screaming about how he just comes, eats, doesn’t bring anything, and leaves a mess.  He does that at my mother’s as well.

Mark just looked at me, not saying a word.  That got me even madder.  I was trying to understand how a grown man can act this way.  Finally he spoke.

“You want to do everything yourself.  You don’t need help.  You like to be independent.” he said.

“Why would you think that?” I screamed.  “I love when someone offers to help.  I hate doing everything myself.  I hate lugging all my stuff everywhere.  It’s very convenient for you to think that.  Then you don’t have to offer to do anything for me.  BUT IT’S NOT TRUE!!!”

So he actually offered to help. I had him take the garbage out to the curb on his way out.  I walked him out, loading up my car for the next day with work stuff.  When I came back I was fuming.

Why do you even let him in you might ask.  Have boundaries.  Tell me not to come over. You are divorced, you don’t owe him anything.

Well, I tried that.  And, I felt like a bitch.  I guess I feel sorry for him.  He stops over my mother’s as well and she feeds him.   One night I asked him to please at least bring his dish to the sink.  He acted shocked that I would mention it.  Acted like of course he would take his plate up.  Infuriated, I end up screaming at him and looking like a bitch as usual in front of my mother.  I was so mad I went upstairs and told him never to come over again.

The next night he came back as if nothing had happened.  Like in our marriage, nothing I said was ever heard or paid attention to.

Being ignored, not respected, mocked, and treated like I am the crazy one infuriates me. I can’t explain it.   I don’t think I’m a bad person.  But he makes me feel like one.  Is it too much to ask a grown man to clean up after himself, especially if he is constantly getting  free meals and didn’t offer to bring anything or help in any way.  Am I wrong?  Would you be infuriated?

This is what happened during my marriage.  The guy acted so innocent when I was upset that I would think that I was going crazy and the problem was me.  I know it takes two to tango, but often, after being around this man, I feel crazy.

I guess the answer is stay away.  Tomorrow we have a seminar together with our son.  He asked if I wanted to drive with him.  The lazy answer is yes so I can sleep, but I think it’s time to say no.  Be independent.  If I am going to really move on, it’s time to move on.

We are still connected through the kids as a family, but we are no longer a couple.  I think in order to save my sanity, it’s time to say no.

I get sucked in by ass holes who get you to feel sorry for them.  They can be charming, but are completely narcissistic and self oriented.  The last guy had this whole sob story about how terrible his childhood was.  “I just want someone to take care of me.”  So I tried.  And in the end, he would practically spit at me when I offered to help.  It makes me sick now to think about how nice I was and how badly I was treated.  Ugh, don’t go there.

So what can make me more aware next time?

If I’m not getting treated the way I want to, move on.

If they are not available, move on.

If they don’t keep their word and try to blame me for being upset, move on.

If they criticize my words or what I am doing or wearing, move on.

If their words don’t match their actions, move on.

If I feel worse after being around them or talking to them, move on.

if I’m afraid to get them mad and have to change myself to keep them happy, move on.

Ok, well this is a start.  I am feeling a little calmer.  If I keep repeating the same thing that infuriates me (being around Mark), or having to change myself to keep someone happy, then who’s the idiot?  Me.

And, I will not call myself stupid for making these mistakes.  Each man I was with served a purpose.  But, to think I need any of them to love me again is crazy.  That’s amnesia and thinking I am still unlovable.  And I gave that up.

Being in scarcity makes me think I will never find someone else that I am that attracted to.  I will no longer go there in my brain.

I have developed my plan.  I am getting myself out there.  I have signed up for seminars, workshops, programs and vacations.  I will figure out where I will live after June 1.  I will hit my work goals for the end of March.  I will be at my goal weight again.  I will serve others and make a difference.  I will enjoy my life exactly as it is right now.  I will be grateful for what is good.

I can learn from my mistakes instead of going down the path of I am just stupid and unlovable and crazy.  I am tired of that game.  No cheese down that tunnel.

So thanks for listening.  This helps.  Until next time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and I fed them and it was very nice.  I enjoyed the conversation and that they ate what I made.  And liked it and asked for more.

5 Smiles Closer to a New Life

5 Mar

Today I was at the gym again.  It’s a new gym in a new town so I don’t really know anyone.  I had been at my old gym for years and used to walk around talking to everyone like I was in high school.  I flirted and had fun and had a great time.

Until………my sort of ex boyfriend who shall be nameless changed all that.  And even though I am responsible for letting him change me, I still became a different person tehn I was before.

He told me that he hated people like me.  Friendly, flirty, talkative.  That if I was friendly to a guy they thought I wanted to have sex with them.  And, if I wanted to work out with him, I couldn’t talk to anyone.

At first I didn’t believe him.  How could that be?  I was just having fun being friendly .  why would they think that?  I couldn’t believe it.  But, I liked working out with him so I decided I would do what he wanted me to.

And, just like with my ex husband before him, I let him turn me into someone other then my real self.  I became a good girl, trying to please him, not talking to other guys, keeping my head down.  Serious, not smiling, and definately not friendly.

And it didn’t matter that I changed, because he always got mad about something else anyway.  There was no pleasing him no matter what I did.

So then why would I change myself for these guys?  It’s a great question.  One that I’ve been wondering about.  I think I learned to be a good girl when I was small.  My father was a great guy, but a couple of times he got really mad.  And it was scary.  So, I decided I better be good.  I learned to do whatever I had to do to keep him from getting mad.  It worked every time but once.  I forgot to sweep the porch one day.  He told me I was a lazy, selfish, good for nothing.  And, until very recently, I believed that his words were true.

So the pattern was there.  Be good.  Do what they say.  Try not to get yelled at.  And do whatever I had to do to get them to love me anyway.  The problem was, thought, that deep down, I thought I was unlovable.  I didn’t think anyone could love the real me, so, it makes sense that I would try to be someone else, right?  In a crazy sort of way.  Logic doesn’t apply.

So, back to the gym today.  I was there, remembering my post from yesterday.  I decided to do something.  “Say hi or smile at 5 people,” I decided.

So I smiled at a few people and they didn’t smile back.

Don’t give up.  They probably had an ex boyfriend like me.  And then the next woman smiled.  I counted her.  Another young guy asked if I was using the bench.  “No, ” I said.  And he smiled.  2.

A woman was stretching and shaking her head.  I asked what was wrong.  “My friends are always late,” she said.  And we started a discussion.

It didn’t have to be with guys I decided.  Just to get my friendliness back.  2 to go.  I got on the elliptical even though I was finished.  No one looked at me.

Desperate to get my last 2, on my way out, I said hi to the guy at the desk. He said hi back.   I also spoke to the membership girl about a college break discount for my kids.

And then, on my way out, I asked the guy behind me if it was still cold out.  “Yes,” he said.  “but it’s almost spring.”  So that was 6.

And, even though I almost didn’t do it, I forced myself.  These weren’t noble prize  winning conversations, but I still felt like a new person.  I did something I didn’t want to do.  It’s not like I have new friends or a date from it, but if I can say hi or smile at 5 people I don’t know every day, my life just may look different.  Who knows what can happen?

But the main point is that I feel great.  On a high.  I guess that comes from going out of my comfort zone.  Doing something different.  I’m not really sure.  But you can bet I will try it again tomorrow.  It might even become a habit.  And then, who knows what could happen?