Out of Sorts

14 Jun

I am just not feeling it today.  I feel like I am running around like a chicken without its head.  I don’t know what it is.  My overall thing that has run me my whole life is to get it right.  I get really frustrated when I can’t “get it right.”

What does that even mean?  Good question.  I think for me it means not getting yelled at.  Being good.  Staying off the radar.  Getting good grades.  Being the best.

And why?  Probably so that I “wouldn’t get left in the driveway again.”  I couldn’t be ok the way I was, but I could be good so it wouldn’t happen again.

And today I am feeling like nothing I do is right.  I had this guy I really loved.  Really, really loved.  And yesterday, I found a card from him from a year ago.  It was the most romantic, loving birthday card I had ever gotten.  “He loved US.”  I remember getting it and I was so happy.

What has messed me up since yesterday, is the heart ache associated with reading it.  The next day, a year ago, everything changed.  I had had a horrible birthday with my ex last year.  He was really mean.  I shared it on a call on June 12 and was pouring my heart ache.  The moderator said, “please wrap it up.  We need to let other people talk.  I hung up, stunned.  That was the second hit.  The third hit was when I wanted to see my guy and talk to him.  He didn’t have time.  He was different.  It was over that day, but it took me two months to really get it.  And, yesterday, looking at that card brought back all the horror of that weekend.  He never really told me what happened.  All I knew was that all of a sudden, instead of “us,” I was the person who had ruined his life.  And i had no idea why.

Until today.  We still work out today and my suspicion was confirmed.

A little background.  I had known him for years.  He said he was divorced.  I had no reason to doubt him.  But last January, I got a call from his wife.  (Huh?)  Well, it turns out he had lied.  His “wife” had found a phone with all of our texts on it.  She went crazy because, not only was he cheating, but because  I had gotten a part of him that she never had.

She started planting lies about me.  He started believing them.  And, as bad as it was, I forgave him for the lies.  But I hadn’t forgiven him for not bothering to “check it out” with me to see if any of it was true.  He just turned against me.   And he wouldn’t talk to me.

I went from soul mate spending the rest of our lives together, to ass hole who had ruined his life overnight.  And, I couldn’t understand it.  And, I’ve spent a whole year blaming myself – for not getting it right.

And, I know I should be over it.  That he is not for me.  That he is a liar, too difficult, controlling, unavailable, mean at times, acts like a child, impatient, and always in a freaking hurry.

But the truth is that I loved my time with him.  It was the happiest I have ever been.  We had a strong connection.  He was my best friend.  There was passion.  I loved having someone who supposedly “had my back.”  I loved being an us.

And, even though it was based on a lie, it was very special.  It was what movies are made of.  It really was.

And telling myself to get over it is like telling myself I should be happy.  (See yesterday).  It just doesn’t work.  It just makes me feel upset about being upset.  And when I’ve talked about it to my friends, I hear stuff like:

  • get a powerful relationship to what is
  • it was just an affair
  • it was just a fantasy
  • it wasn’t a real relationship
  • he was using you for sex (from my late father – I told him I wish he had been using me a whole lot more for sex)
  • aren’t you over him by now
  • I hope you are not still talking about him
  • you deserve so much better

And, while all of that is probably true, thinking they are right (my favorite thing, I’m wrong they are right), has not allowed me to truly grieve and move on.  I feel wrong for not being over it or thinking it was something that it wasn’t.

So let me be honest.  As I said before, it was the happiest time of my life.  I loved this man and really thought I was spending my life with him.  And, I felt like the rug was ripped out from under me.

I can’t control what he did.  I can accept that he did the best he could. And, I can let go of the thought that I will never find anyone else.  I can let go of that he was my only chance at “real love.”  I can appreciate our time together – he gave me the gift of feeling sexy, loving my body, learning how to work out and eat healthy, working hard, and believing in myself.  He validated me at a time during my marriage where I had believed what my ex was saying about me and had lost all sense of myself.

I had felt like God had sent him to help me rebuild my sense of self.   And this man was an instrumental part in that.  And I thank him.  He is no angel now but he certainly was then.  And, I didn’t think I could go on alone without him.

And I have.  I am a much stronger and powerful me.  I get who I am again.  It’s taken a while.

So, thank you for letting me say all that.  I am still sad, and then I remember my dad and get even sadder.  But that’s ok.  Happiness for me is being ok with however I am.  And, I can be happy knowing it’s ok for me to still grieve.

I will enjoy today, accept myself as I am, and get on with what I need to do, tears and all.

Because I am a Rock Star.  And so are you.  Thanks for listening.

 

 

Don’t Tell ME To Be Happy

14 Jun

 

“Rate your happiness on a scale of 1 to 10,”  the discussion leader said.  I was participating in a breakout session called “Happiness”.  It was part of a larger 3 day course.

The two 70 year olds next to me yelled out “8.”  They both laughed and hugged each other.

“I am just so happy to still be alive,” the one next to me said. ” I am happy to be walking, talking, and still be vital.  I thank God every day for my life.  I am happy.”

The second woman giggled and agreed with her.  They couldn’t stop giggling.   I was feeling sick.  Was I going to tell the truth?  They both looked at me, waiting.

“3,”  I finally blurted out.

“What?  How come?” they both chirped, mouths open.

“Well, how can I really be happy when there are things I am not ok with?  I should be a few pounds lower, closer to my quota at work, have a more normal living situation, and have my dream relationship by now.   I am not where I think I should be and I am not happy about it.”

“Tell me more,’  the joy addict next to me said.

“I guess I have a whole list of things that  would need to happen before I could really be happy.”  I switched positions on my chair.    “But, if I really look, I’ll probably never get everything on the list, so I guess I am setting myself up to never be happy.”

Again, they just stared at me. “Tell us more.”

I looked around for an exit path.  I stared back at them.  I felt so wrong, like I should be happy like them.  But I wasn’t.

“All my life I was told not to be upset.  But I was.  So I thought there was something wrong with me.  My core conversation is “I shouldn’t be the way I am.”  So when someone tells me to be happy, it really gets me mad.  And, it makes me NOT WANT TO BE HAPPY AT ALL.  To GET THEM BACK for the way they are making me feel.”

They were just looking at me.

“I guess for me, happiness would be to just be able to be however I am – whether it’s happy, sad, annoyed, frustrated, or mad.  That would make me happy.”

At that point we got interrupted by the breakout leader.

At the end, I thanked the two ladies.  “I just have to ask you something.  Were you telling me I SHOULD be happy?  Because that’s what it felt like.  And I was really getting annoyed.”

“No, not at all.  I admire your authenticity.  It was refreshing and real.”

“Oh,”  Here I thought they didn’t like me.  I guess I was wrong again.  I was not liking these ladies because I thought they were judging me.

 

I hugged both of them.  “Thank you.  You gave me a great gift by pressing me to answer those questions.  I really didn’t want to.  But I learned alot.

What was I going to do with what I learned?

I found out the next morning.  It was my birthday.  My mother wished me a happy birthday on the phone.  It was a nice conversation until…………

She added:  “Be happy today.  Don’t focus on your problems..  Just be happy.”

My good mood evaporated.  “Mom, why do you think I wouldn’t be happy?  What problems do you think I have?”

“I just want you to be happy today.  Why is that the wrong thing to say?  I don’t get it.”

And we argued.  I was a mixture of ashamed at my behanior and pissed off at her comments.  I told some of my friends what had happened and asked for advice.

“Well, why don’t you give others the freedom to be however they are just like you want them to give to you?  they suggested.

“Good idea,”  I said, knowing it is probably easier said then done.   “Thank you.”

I texted my mom.  “Thanks for having me.  I’m sorry I was a brat.”

“That’s ok,”  she answered.  “I love you anyway you are and always will.”

I sent back a smile.

And, I guess I still have a lot of work to do.  But at least I figured out a strategy so I don’t get so stuck.

And……knowing I have one makes me happy.

 

 

 

 

 

“Oh, I have getting my work done a prerequisite to being happy.  First I do my work, then I’ll be happy.  Wow.  Interesting.”

 

 

The Best Gift

10 Jun

Monday is the deadline for my project to obtain 50 comments.  I am in Los Angeles at a course with a couple of hundred people.  I have been asking people to comment.  And, I’m clear, they either will or they won’t.

And either way is ok.  Because I went for it.  I went for a breakthrough result and it’s only Saturday and I am still going for it.  And that feels great.  I’m playing the game.  And, the results don’t actually mean anything.  And, that’s a miracle.

Because a month ago when I went for it and nobody commented, I was devastatingly disappointed.  I quit the whole blog, life, and participating in the world.  I just stopped talking about it and was going to bury it under the title, “bad and idea stupid idea.”

Then I confessed to my seminar group leader.   He told me to get “off it.”  I said no, but after several times, I finally said ok.  And I got back in the game.   And I became alive again.  And realized I am writing this for me.  I love writing this blog.  And, whoever reads it, great.  And if no one does, I am still enjoying the writing.

My daughter and her friend, Laurence are here with me.  And when I told them about my project, they started printing up signs and telling people and passing out slips of paper asking people to comment on my blog.

No matter who comments.  That they were on my side, for me, and willing to put themselves out there for me.  I am kvelling.  I am honored.  I am beside myself with appreciation.

And, my poor baby, Haley, got yelled at.  For putting a piece of paper on the wrong table.  And she is really upset.  And I don’t know how to make her feel better.  I wish I did.  But wait, …….maybe I actually do.  Because what do I want when I’m upset?  ……..For someone to just get it.  To validate me.  To hold me and tell me they love me even though I’m upset.  So that’s what I will do.

And, the other thing she is doing for me is to try to make me have a great birthday tomorrow.  And, even though it’s not turning out like she wanted it to, I am honored.  I am thrilled.  That she cares and that she is trying.

So if it’s just Haley and I, I will be happy.

And I just have to make sure she knows……that she is my gift.  No matter what.

A Sobering Morning

3 Jun

It’s not what you think.  I wasn’t drinking or needing to sober up.

I took my “Operator Retraining” course this morning.  4 hours with a very knowledgeable woman who has her own business working somehow with the DMV.  We learned about safe driving and, surprisingly, how the police officers are incented to come up with new ways to collect revenues.

The reason you ask?  They are given grants for giving tickets.  If they don’t give enough people tickets, they will lose their grants.  The instructor, Heather, told us all sorts of ingenious ways that they are catching people.

They are hiding in trees,  dressing like  the homeless, watching where people go through stop signs.  They are doing whatever they can do.  So be careful.  You will get a ticket if you are holding your phone while the motor is running.  You don’t even have to be driving.

What was more frightening, Heather told us, is that there are people who make a lot of money “causing accidents.”  These people are crooks, but unless caught, they are watching our moves, plotting an accident, and guess who’s fault it is?  Ours.  If we are even going one mile over the speed limit we are the ones at fault.  And, they can sue us.  And, if you don’t have enough insurance, you can spend the rest of your life paying off the suit.  Very scary.

Besides all of that, another reason why I am sobered?  Because, if I have one more ticket in the next 36 months, I get my license suspended for 30 days.  If I get a second ticket, it’s 60 days, and if I get a third, it’s 90 days.  And that’s just for the tame stuff.

Did you know that you could get your car crushed in California for street racing?  Literally they will crush your car – Hondas to Maseratis.  Luckily we are not in California and not street racers.

So if I sound a little scared, I am.  I don’t think I have ever driven the speed limit.  I wouldn’t want to get the cars behind me mad.  According to Heather, who has always driven the speed limit, we can all do this.  We can learn to follow the laws and we should since we have taken her class and get no more second chances.

If a car honks at you or rides up your ass, you call 911.  He is endangering you.  He is a reckless driver.  You don’t have to go with the speed of the traffic.  They are all speeding.  And, if you stay in the right lane going the speed limit, you will get there just as fast.  While hard to believe, I am going to try it.

And, the funny thing was, that driving home, I didn’t even get my phone out of my bag even though I “needed” to make some calls.  I left it there.  And, I drove the speed limit.  And I stopped for yellow lights.  And, I was calm.  Relaxed.  Not anxious.

And, i was overcome with sadness.  I don’t know why.  I think because I realize how out of control I have been for a while.  I hate to admit it, but I’ve been driving recklessly.  Racing through yellow lights, going through some red ones, speeding down residential streets, always in a rush, always ansxious to get to the next place.  My car is a mess and I am always anxious.  And I can see I’ve been running on adrenaline.  So, today, driving home was a new experience.  Nothing to worry about.  I wasn’t afraid of getting caught.  I wasn’t hurrying.

And, Heather says it takes 30 days to change a habit.  So, for the next 30 days I will follow the speed limit.  Obey the law.  Leave enough time to get places.  Stay in the right lane.  It’s really strange to be doing this, but I really have no choice.  If I’m not doing anything wrong, they won’t pull be over.  So for the next 36 months, that’s what I will do.  And, hopefully, the roads will be safer and so will I.

I think before it was some kind of thrill.  Watch what a bad ass I am, I don’t follow the laws.  Well, that gig is up.  I don’t even know what that was about.

And, my son is about to bring over 60 of his closest friends to have lunch at my beach cottage so I really better get moving………..wish me luck keeping my calm!!!!!!!

 

 

Faith vs Fear

3 Jun

I’ve heard about Love vs Fear or Faith vs Fear for a while.  You can’t have both at the same time.  So I course, who wouldn’t pick Love and Faith?  Well, me, I guess, since I had forgotten about it and having been living in high level FEAR!!!!

During my coaching session, I discussed my anxiety and fear.  Of course, only I talked.  But, what I could see was that I worried when I couldn’t see how to accomplish something.  For example:

  • how to hit my goals at work
  • how to find a fabulous guy for my dream relationship
  • how to stop gaining weight and start losing again
  • how to deal with my upcoming move

When I can’t “SEE” how something will get done I get stressed out and anxious.  It’s not fun for anyone around me.

I have been focussing on what I DON’T want:

  • not hitting my goals
  • continuing to meet unavailable men
  • continuing to gain weight
  • being miserable when I move back in with my mom for the summer – HELP!!!!

I remembered during the conversation, that when I had hit my goals, lost the weight, and been more successful, I had been focusing on what I did want, not on what I didn’t.

I had learned how to visualize and affirm my dreams and goals after reading Jack Canfield’s Success Principles.  And it worked.

So, during my coaching call I decided that I would replace my fear with Faith and Relax instead of trying to force things.  And let go.

And of course today I forgot.  I was at my office, worried, forcing myself to make calls.  I wanted to set 2 more appointments and I finally gave up and went to get my hair “done,”  resigned that I would ever be successful again.

On my drive over, I remembered.  I let go of control and decided to have faith.  I would let go of this week’s dismal numbers.  I let the worry go.

And, wouldn’t you know it?  While I was covered in hair dye, I got a call from of my accounts.  She set up an appointment for next week.  A freaking miracle at 4:30 PM on Friday.  Then, I got an email from another account giving me the time for a presentation next Wednesday.  I gave up control and things started happening.  WOW!

Not knowing has paralyzed me for a while.  I decided to have “not knowing” become an Adventure, instead of something fraught with peril, worry and fear.  And, so far, for the last few hours, it’s been really fun.

So, tomorrow, when my son brings 60-70 of his closest friends to my tiny beach cottage to be fed, I am letting go of control.  I am going to have fun while he buys the food, feeds them and cleans up the mess.  I am literally not worried about it.  That is a miracle.

So, I am standing in Adventure, Faith and Freedom.  And, I hope to get a good night’s sleep AND, remember this tomorrow.  Until then, good night.

 

 

Checking It Out Again – So Glad

3 Jun

About six months ago I became part of an on-line book club by responding to an email from my Alma Mater, University of Pennsylvania.

We have read some very interesting books and I have learned about the evolution of Zappos, the Charisma Myth, and the Power of Habits.  I hate to admit I only actually finished one of the 3 – the Zappos one because it was more story then facts and much shorter.

Last week I got an email from Jon, the guy that runs the group.  He was asking for volunteers to be discussion leaders for our next book, “Getting Things Done – the art of stress-free productivity.”

I thought about it for a few days and then said yes.  I thought maybe it would motivate me to keep up with the reading this time and finish the book.

“Getting Things Done” is fascinating to me.  It’s about getting out of your head and being present.  Lately I have woken up in the middle of the night panicked.  “What am I supposed to do?” my brain screams.  Some nights it’s hard to get back to sleep after such a violent awakening.

So, I thought this book was very relevant for me.  It says to capture everything that you are thinking about that is incomplete or that you think should be different, and that you have some commitment to changing.  When this stuff is in your head, it occupies valuable mental space and energy, preventing you from being powerful and present.

I’m not explaining it very well, but I think the concept is great.

A few days ago I got an email requesting the discussion leaders to put a post on the group’s linked in page.   Here is what I put:

 “It’s possible….with a clear head and a positive sense of relaxed control”

As I get older, I have trouble sleeping. My worries and concerns flow through my brain causing a mixture of panic and concern. I look forward to learning how to to be able to be present and “on”, even though I have have so much going on, and being able to get a good night’s sleep.

Does anyone else relate?

I was proud that I did it.  I felt good until the next day when I saw what Jon posted.  His post sounded intellectual and referenced a New York Times article.

I wanted to die.  I was so embarrassed.  My post was so immature, elementary and personal compared to his.  These thoughts were taking up my mental space.

In a conversation with my coach I told him about my post and how stupid I felt.

He said, “thank you.”

Silence.  “I guess I could email the guy and ask him if he wants me to resign.  If he does, I will.  I’ll know I am not cut out for this intellectual discussion.”

Just identifying what I could do about it, took my concern out of mental space and into a doable action.  I emailed Jon this morning when I woke up.  I felt better regardless of his answer.  I had done something about it instead of just worrying.

Here was his response:

Your post looks great to me! I think its helpful to get at that side of things, because in a group of a thousand members there are definitely participants who have the same interests. If you’re posting, they may be comfortable sharing in a similar way. Let me know if you’d like to continue.
Best Regards,
Jon

I was so happy.  Wow!!!  Of course I’ll continue.  How cool was that?

Once again, checking it out made a huge difference in my mental state.  I gave up my disempowering interpretation of myself (which seemed true) by finding out what was actually true for the other person.

Not only am I not worrying, but I feel free, proud and happy.  What a difference!!!!!

I can’t wait to keep reading.

I Thought I was a Good Driver

31 May

I got an envelope in the mail from the Department of Motor Vehicles yesterday.  I figured it was my vehicle registration or license renewal since I’m close to my birthday.  I opened it up.

“What the hell is this?”  I asked myself.  “Operator Re-Training?”

It must be a mistake.  This morning I called the number on the bottom of the form. I waited on hold for 30 minutes.  Finally someone answered.  I gave her my license number and name.

“You have had 3 violations in the past 3 years.”

Impossible, I thought.  She must have me confused with someone else.  I asked what they were.

The first was September, 2014.  Oh.  I remember it distinctly.  I was driving from the gym to work one morning.  I had my protein shake in one hand and the phone in the other. I was sharing on a wisdom call.

“And, I asked my hairdresser if she could show me how to blow dry my hair.    I actually admitted I didn’t know how,………Wait, oh no, I’m being pulled over, …..gotta go.”   I hung up the phone.  Damn, I thought.  I really wanted to tell them the rest of the story.

“What’s going on?” I asked the officer, confused, after pulling off the road.

“You were holding your phone.  That’s illegal.”  He checked my license and registration.  I couldn’t find my insurance card.  I had filed for divorce and was trying to be independent.  This was one of the things my ex used to do.  SHIT, I thought.  I must not have put it in my car.

“I could take you right to jail for this,” the officer told me.  “But I am letting you go with just a ticket.”  He explained that holding my phone was illegal and that I should use my bluetooth or headphones in the future.

Next, I got a speeding ticket in Ridgefield.  I wasn’t going very fast.  I didn’t think it was fair, but, it was easier to just pay the ticket then go to court, so I just sent my money in.

Then, a few weeks ago, I was putting my weight watcher points into my app while at a red light.  The light changed, and I started driving.  I didn’t think the policeman standing in the middle of the road was motioning to me, but apparently he was.  I was surprised.  I wasn’t talking or texting, I was just calculating my points.

But, I didn’t argue.  I sat on the side of the road where the officer checked my credentials like a good little girl.  I didn’t even pick up my phone.  I wasn’t going to press my luck.

So I sat there waiting for him, hoping my credentials would be ok this time.  I remembered the past August when we were taking Haley, my daughter, to college for the first time.  I was already upset thinking about my little baby leaving home.  And, we had gotten a late start.  We stopped at a bank so she could deposit some cash she had saved.   I looked up and there was an officer coming over to my window.

“Oh, hi”  I said smiling, thinking he was just being friendly.

“Did you know you were speeding?”

“Ummmm, no,”  I answered, stunned.

“You sped right past me.”  he said.

“I DID?”  I put my head in my hands. The stress of the last few weeks overtook me.  We were emptying our house since it was being torn down to be rebuilt.   I was finally moving out of the house, two years after our divorce was final, and this morning, the last of my kids was moving out.   I burst into tears.

“I SHOULD NEVER HAVE WOKEN UP THIS MORNING,”  I said.   “I CAN’T TAKE THIS.  AND WE ARE SO LATE!!!”

“License and registration,”  he said, a little more gently.

I looked in the glove compartment, they weren’t there.  I started panicking.  I tore the whole thing apart and neither was there.  I knew I had insurance.   But I must have forgotten to put the new card in my car.  AGAIN.  And, I didn’t remember getting an updated registration either.  This was not good.

“I could compound your car for this,”  he said.  He shook his head.  And walked over to his car.

Thankfully he could see that the registration and the insurance were valid.

“You can’t drive to New Hampshire without the documents,”  he said.  “I will let you go, but do not go out of state.  Go home and get the papers.”   We spent another hour looking for them at home and then finally got on the road.

I had been lucky, I thought.  A couple of times.  And, thankfully, that afternoon in Bridgeport, my credentials checked out.  I got a ticket, paid it, and promptly forgot about it.

Until today.  This was serious.  I’ve had 3 violations within a 36 month period.

If I get one more in the next 36 months, I will lose my license for 30 days.  No second chances.  No classes to take like this time.  If I get another one after that, my license is suspended indefinitely.

My first thought was:  my life is ruined.  No more speeding.  No more recruiting calls while driving.  How am I going to live?

My second thought was:  it’s not cancer.  It’s not an illness.  Maybe this will save my life or someone else’s.  All I have to do is slow down and not hold my phone.

And, after a few hours to think, I realize I have been lucky.  I haven’t been driving like I tell my kids too.  I’ve been reckless and making jokes about my carelessness instead of taking it seriously.

This is a wake up call.  And, I will survive this.  I’ll just have to be careful.  I definitely won’t be getting to places as fast as I had been.  I’ll have to leave more time to get there.

And,……. maybe I’ll become the good driver I thought I was and be helping make the world a safer place in the process.