If you are in a toxic relationship….

It means you are toxic too – ruminate there for a minute.

I was in serious denial at the start. So stinking happy. Blew off every red flag. Looked at his world through my filter.

We weren’t speaking the same language.

It started out with jolts of truth – that didn’t match my version of reality.

Ouch.

I would have long conversations explaining what I saw from my side of the room and convinced myself that this was the work needed to lay the foundation for a solid relationship.

I tolerated things I didn’t vibe with in the name of love.

It wasn’t love. It was a toxic mimic.

Love builds you up. Love supports. Love is honest. Love is pure.

Manipulation is the opposite of love. Lack of respect and boundaries leads to deception and control issues.

Negative behaviors feed on themselves. The death spiral begins.

Can you stop the spin?

Not alone.

Trust is shattered.

It will never be the same again, and quite frankly you wouldn’t want it to be….for that world of false love is how you got here.

How “I” got here.

It hurts to stay. It hurts to leave. It hurts to grow. It hurts to recede.

Avoiding the pain allows it to build up into an avalanche of poisonous emotions demanding to be felt.

The choice to feel them or run from them is always front and center.

Both are exhausting, only one has an end.

You must feel to heal.

Crack open, be gentle with yourself, and work through the pain.

Allow it to be felt. Write, run, meditate, share, cry, honor – let it wash over you.

Be grateful.

Be honest.

Just be.

I can do this. I know I can.

XO

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The struggle is real

Lots of talk about suicide this week.

Kate Spade.

Anthony Bourdain.

Even Robin Williams came up again.

I see notes where people say their door is always open. They are there for people.

If only it was that easy.

It’s not.

I’ve battled depression and have had multiple suicide attempts throughout my life. First one as a tween, last one 3 years ago.

I don’t have the answers.

I appear as Suzy Sunshine to others. I have success in business. I have 3 beautiful boys. I have many friends.

I am also an empath. I feel the weight of the world sometimes. I strive to do more, do better. I beat myself up for my poor choices. I invite others in my life under the guise of love who instead of filling me up, drain me.

I then bear the responsibility of that choice and continue to wonder why the fuck I don’t just get over myself and move on.

I beg the universe to allow me to float through life without such intense feelings.

I give myself a stern talking to in order to jump start another day.

Sometimes I cave and retreat.

Then I get upset with myself again for being an asshole.

I roll with alot, and then one seemingly little thing will derail me.

It wasn’t that one thing.

Telling me your door is open doesn’t help. I can’t even walk out of mine, never mind into yours.

I’m tired.

I’ve tried.

I wish sometimes I was blissfully ignorant.

I put my game face on and get shit done. I know how to do that. I show up and clean up, only to drive myself to empty and crash.

Occasionally I hit the flow. Times are good and I feel like I can accomplish anything.

They tell me it’s in my early childhood where this all stems from. Where those coping mechanisms came from. I’m supposed to write about it, sit with it, explore it, and unravel my tangled emotions.

I’m exhausted though.

Some days a shower seems like a monumental task.

Other days I complete a week’s worth of work in just hours.

Balance.

That’s where I beg for the middle. Why can’t I just have a smooth ride?

Acceptance?

I try. Omg do I try so fucking hard.

I read, I exercise, I journal, I go to therapy, I share, I hide, I do reiki, I attend classes, I take meds, then I quit.

I don’t have the tools necessary to get through this thing called life.

The pain overwhelms me.

There are times when I feel my kids would be better off without watching me suffer.

They deserve a happy mom. Or at least a stable one.

My mom is bipolar – untreated for the majority of her life.

Am I creating a life of struggle for my kids having them grow up with my baggage?

Raw and real – I have no answers. I look for them often, I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars and countless hours in pursuit of peace.

My brain knows it is within me – not out there. I am dumbfounded as to how to access it.

How would I find it if I did know?

I’d walk more. Drink more water. Remove toxic people and have positive routines.

So I push my boulder up the hill another day.

Secretly wishing it would just roll back and go away.

I’m sharing because I know without a doubt that I am not alone in feeling this way.

I am not suicidal today. I am not in the sticky dark. I am still fighting the good fight.

Maybe someone who has been there has a path out. Maybe if it was safe to talk about collaboration holds the answer. Maybe we are stronger together.

Then again, maybe not.

My mind is willing to do anything to grow out of this. My heart is still crying, cracked open and furiously building walls to protect me. My body is tired and can’t participate in either activity at the moment.

I wish my mind could tell my heart how to heal instead of how to build walls.

Ah, and my inner critic just awoke to tell me to quit my fucking bitching, how ungrateful can I get?

Makes me think of that Matchbox 20 song…

All day staring at the ceiling
Making friends with shadows on my wall
All night hearing voices telling me that
I should get some sleep
Because tomorrow might be good
For something
Hold on feeling like I’m heading for a
Break down and I dunno why
I’m not crazy
I’m just a little unwell
I know right now you can’t tell

At night…

This is where my mind spins the most.

I ponder the day and let my brain chase whatever squirrel it finds…

Sometimes it is too much for me…I attempt to quell the noise with work or food or sleep.

Other times I’m inspired, connecting dots and accepting the new vision before me.

And then there are the times when I get stuck in it. The sticky dark is what I call it.

When I lament my choices and am far from kind to myself.

Thankfully those times are few and far between.

I think back to the book “Miracle Morning”…I wish there was one for the evenings too….a plan to adhere to when I’m stymied by choice.

I heard recently that clutter is simply delayed decisions.

While the context of the quote was tangible, it applies to my head as well.

Perhaps the overwhelm would slow down a bit if I stopped spinning my wheels and living in the middle.

It’s an awful place to be. Not one thing, not another.

A nothingness full of everything.

I will tire soon, my eyes will get heavy, and I will be relieved as sleep befalls me.

Hoping to make magic tomorrow.

I see now, by the glow of my phone, that magic is simply waiting for me to clear out the clutter and decide.

Hey Amigo! What’s your Tempo?

I was 18 years old. I had held a job since I was old enough to forge working papers.

The moment was finally here – I could buy a car!

My dad agreed to help, I think it was to double what I had squirrelled away, my memory is blurry though.

Making a whopping $3.35 an hour working the Roy Rogers drive thru, I had amassed a small fortune ($1,500)!

That’s over 500 hours in a brown, polyester uniform, no wonder I always smelled like a french fry!

I began my search in the 2-3k range….scouring used car lots, that free magazine from the gas station, and the classifieds literally every free second I had….all to no avail. I loathed everything I could afford.

And then I found it. The car of my teenage, sassy, freedom driven years. The Isuzu Amigo. Holy crap she was perfect. Bright pink with turquoise accents, sitting up high, ready to conquer the world!

So perfect. Except my barbie mobile cost closer to a cool 10 grand than 3.

Ah, no problemo, said the car salesman. You can finance it!

Wait, what? I can have her?

I have visions of my hair whipping out the window driving cross country….yes, please!

There’s a catch though – I need a cosigner.

Evidently my fast food work history wasn’t enough to prove that I could make the payments each month.

So off to Dad I go.

Please, please, please! I beg, cajole, bargain, negotiate and then he agrees to go with me to the dealership.

That night I sleep with a smile, picturing myself riding along in my new, pink, perfect wheels….

We get there and my Dad is skeptical, he’s wavering for sure, although he really doesn’t want to say yes or no.

(As an adult I now know the feeling of wanting to make your child happy in the moment clashing with the opportunity of teaching them something that will make them happier in the long run.)

As a kid, I had already lived quite a long life and my soul was much older and more experienced than my young years.

Without speaking, I knew Dad was right.

I stopped pushing and let the car go.

My search began again…

And this time I begrudgingly bought a car I could afford.

It wasn’t sexy, it wasn’t pink, hell it didn’t even have air conditioning. But it was all mine from minute one.

I earned it. I owned it. I named her Bessie.

A dull grey, 4 door, Ford Tempo – with a red racing stripe that wasn’t fooling anyone. My friends made fun of it, called it grandpa’s car.

I loved her and her slipping transmission.

Bessie took me places I only dreamt of.

My hair still whipped in the wind.

My thirst for travel was quenched as we crossed into Canada, South of the Border, and all the way to the West Coast and back.

Together we saw Niagara Falls frozen over, Old Faithful erupt, Car Henge in the middle of no where, Las Vegas on and off strip, mist rise in the Smokey Mountains, and so many more beautiful places.

Ma nature didn’t care that I wasn’t driving a hot pink jeep wannabe.

In retrospect I never would have been able to go on those trips if I had a car payment.

I carry the lesson of Bessie with me still today. Following the old school way of paying for my life as I go, avoiding debt, saving my pennies, and travelling the world.

Thanks Dad. XO

When your body attacks

Auto immune – my least favorite words.

I left the doctor in tears yesterday, like full on sobbing. I’ve been dealing with my body wagging war on itself through allergies, eczema, psoriasis, arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, or multiple sclerosis since I was in FIRST grade.

Stress, she said.

I laughed, slightly maniacally.

Then the tears came. I began blubbering about everything from my first 20 year marriage falling apart to my current one that didn’t make it 6 days before he stepped out.

She had baby d escorted from the room to be distracted by some stickers from the nurses.

My sobbing continued.

Covered in new rashes, I feel like a leper. Pain is my normal and I simply cannot take it anymore.

“I’m sorry, I can’t help you.” – she said.

Words I’ve heard before.

Why did I choose this life? What are my lessons to learn and why the fuck is it taking so long?

I’m hanging on by a thread.

I waffle between verbal emotional vomit – where I share every piece of me I have hidden in the shadows and complete isolation – where even I don’t have to look at it.

My big girl panties are worn out. I don’t want to put them on anymore.

I contemplate taking a leave of absence. Handing over my daily stresses and getting my shit together.

Then instead, I fight with my ex, shut my phone off, drink some wine, and go to sleep in Dylan’s bed.

Exhausted, I made it through another day. Sleep is my respite.

I used to have fun. Or did I?

This self pity thing blows and is so counterproductive to any positive changes.

Something has got to give. I ask the universe to show me what it is I am supposed to do today….besides show up. I’ve been doing that to no avail.

For shits and giggles I pull a card.

It’s the card that falls from the pile while shuffling. Fucking universe has an evil sense of humor.

Ok. So we show up and focus on the good.

Take my damn vitamins, sit in the PTA meeting, do the laundry, attend settlement, host a broker’s open, go on the listing appointment, pick the lad up from school, do homework, soccer, dinner….and then crawl back under the covers having survived another day.

Or did I? Did another little piece of me chip away or is this growth? Do I call my current husband back and believe his lies? Do I mark time of death and release him instead?

It is in this space that my body rebels and chooses to attack me.

Lack of a decision is in itself a decision.

And so it goes.

Home

They say you can’t go home again. Or is it that you can? And where is home anyway?

I have several.

I’m at one now. Corolla, NC. I was not born here, I have no family here, I never even visited until I was in my mid 20s – yet I grew up here.

I raised my babies here. I sought refuge in the sound of the surf. I walked the same 3 miles of this shoreline an infinite number of times – seeing something new at every vista. I laughed here. I cried here. I struggled and I revived.

I haven’t been here in about 5 years. A far cry from monthly jaunts and hoa meetings for the better part of 2 decades .

I didn’t know I would be mere blocks from my home, until I was.

Tears well up repeatedly. Memories, fond and fragile pour in.

I say I used to have my shit together. And maybe I did. What does it freaking matter anyway? That was yesterday, a lifetime ago that feels like it never happened. Was it a dream? Did I treasure it like I should have?

Again, irrelevant. I only have this moment. The now. This decision, right this second, where I choose to explore my memories through words.

Tears well up again.

I am grateful. I am sad. I show Dylan all of the places his brothers know so well. I remember his first Easter here, as a baby, and a family of five. I recall naming him in a local restaurant. I look for the wild boar I have yet to find. I fixate on the surf and question the universe too much. I cry for what never will be, what once was, and the missing pieces of hopes and dreams that I seem to have misplaced.

This is home. A safe place to explore and grow – full of history and possibilities.

Accepting the unacceptable

This poured out of me onto my facebook page this morning….

I had an ah-ha last night. The dots connected some more and bits and pieces of what I’ve heard over the years I finally got. So maybe it was more like a “duh”.

Authenticity, our truths, our stories – it is how we see ourselves AND the world around us. Even the most open-minded person shows up with a preconceived notion of how things should be.

Some most will agree with – for example stealing is bad. You would be hard pressed to find someone argue differently when put so bluntly. But does everyone act with integrity on that statement? Not for a second.

Because our lives are not simple, black and white. They are complex with many “if this than that” layers.

When a shake up occurs it’s because our story was rocked. Our truths were shown false and personally this has been a tough one for me.

I’m still stuck in the failure of my first marriage. I believed that you got married, you had kids, you bought a house, you raised a family, you retired, etc. No where in that story did you swap kids back and forth between houses. A mom knows her kids intimately, she didn’t have to wonder what they were thinking or learning, she was involved. Well wait a minute, if I’m not with Dylan when he’s at his dad’s house, I don’t know those things, therefore I’m not a good mom. Well fuck. I am a good mom, wait I’m not. And so the spiral of stress goes when truths are found to be gray instead of black and white.

Take the top stressors from all of those lists…

Divorce, death, jobs, kids, illness, infidelity, marriage.

These are all things that we have some pretty tight stories, rules, and truths about. So what do we do when our system fails? What do we do when a child dies before you? When your health fails? When your partner steps out?

Personally I tried denial. Then I beat myself up. After that didn’t work came slow acceptance that I was wrong, although with a sticky dark side. The depression lasted a while.

See this is where we get to the nuts and bolts of it all. This is where emotional maturity and life skills come into play. This is where we need those tools.

As the world has become more connected it has hindered and helped this process. We are no longer in our cocoon of people who think like us. We are more exposed to deviations of the norm – so much so that deviation IS the norm.

How do we cope with that?

I can tell you fighting it doesn’t work. Life will happen, people will die, health will fail, vows will be broken.

Staying small doesn’t help. If you’re not growing you are dying.

Rewiring our brains to our newly discovered truths is not easy by any stretch. Interrupting the synapses that occur subconsciously is a seemingly impossible task. For we cannot change what we don’t see.

So how then? How do we live authentically, with love and joy, amidst chaos?

We zoom out.

Take in a bigger picture. Allow for more input.

Does it change our wiring? Can you overcome cheating, illness, divorce? Yes. We’ve seen others do it. Change is possible, in fact it’s inevitable.

Some harden, some adjust, some accept, some wither away.

This is where our actions and choices come in. This is where we influence the outcome.

What will you choose today?