Thursday, September 20, 2012

Message received

As my last post shows, I had a rough day this week. It was one of those days I think we all have occasionally:  you  have a mini-meltdown, deeply doubting yourself and being pathetically pouty yet genuinely forlorn. For me, this always coincides with some painfully foggy mix of not knowing which direction I should take my life in, a longing for my younger days and that a different path had been chosen if only I'd known then... and all that jazz.

For those of the Christian faith (and I'm sure other faiths, though I don't know so I won't speak to that), this is the kind of time we'll cry out to God for comfort and discernment. Or at least that's what we're SAYING, but really the words are full of thinly veiled "why me?", "where were/are You?", "why did You put me here in this life and not in Christina Hendricks' life?" "ARE YOU EVEN LISTENING?" undertones.

From what I can tell, many (most?) Christians often feel rather far away from God, or that God is very far away from us (the difference comes down to who left whom). It feels very "so close yet so far away" to me, like God's on the phone chatting away about Snooki and I keep getting the "in a minute" finger in response to my (probably ridiculous and pathetically whiny) "prayers." Life sucks and then you die, I guess.

But then something will happen and I pick up on the detail just before it flashes past me: God calls ME.

The response I get from God is often completely out of context and not at the time I was petitioning for attention, so it can be hard to catch, especially with our over-full lives. I used to see and hear God freely, when I was unencumbered with duties and worries beyond cleaning up my toys and choking down four (four!) lima beans before I could have cake. I would see and hear God in a blade of grass, the taste of sweet clover,  and the deeply comforting rush of "flying" on the swingset when my awkwardness yet again deprived me of friends. 

I still hate lima beans (who likes pale green chalk-flavored beans anyway?) but my God-hearing and seeing ability has been sadly diminished by my ever-growing, never-ending list of duties and worries. Ah, adulthood. 

A few years ago I made the choice to tune back in to that old, fuzzy station; to leave space in my mind and heart so that, God willing, the message will come through. It's a choice I have to re-make frequently. 

Case in point: the day after I made that last post, which in retrospect smacks of an arm-flailing tantrum of sorts, I saw this in my facebook feed, posted by my cousin: 

Having a new baby has given me some incredible emotional highs these past 7 weeks, but also some serious lows which stem from the obvious - lack of sleep, juggling care between toddler and baby, no time to myself, no sense of a routine or order. It's easy to become negative and to get easily frustrated. Today the woman who has been my life coach off and on for many years reminded me of what happens when we enter a state of resistance with her awesome weekly blog. Thank you Kathy for helping me get back into observer mode: 

The very first sentence on this blog post reads, "My model for both coaching and manifestation has three basic parts: choose, align, receive." [emphasis added]

I didn't even have to read the rest of her post - I got what I needed in that fleeting moment before I had to run out the door to pick up my son from school. There it was, an answer to my prayer. 

I have been struggling with a strange situation: I really want to adopt a baby but I am not moving very quickly to make that possible. I have not finished the preliminary paperwork since I received it almost two months ago. I am apparently procrastinating and I really don't know why. Is it possible that I don't really want another child? Am I letting fears like "will my fatigue and fibromyalgia make me a bad mom to two kids?" stop me from moving forward?

I really don't know the answers any more now than I did before reading the post. But thank God I caught the message: "Whose path will you choose, Kate? Yours or Mine? Are you making it possible to align yourself with Me, or are you letting life get in the way?"

Those questions are good and stimulating in a positive way, but it was the last word I heard the loudest, RECEIVE

I am quite sure you cannot simultaneously be in control mode and receive. You know, that whole Let Go and Let God thing. It's amazing how many times I need to be reminded of that, but I am grateful to find it is always still true. 

I'll sign off by sharing what I "heard" later that day as I continued to think about those words, choose, align and receive, was this, "Don't worry about whether or not God is listening, just make sure you are."


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Must. Write. Something.

It's been too long. I say that a lot. Too much. Not for your sake, dear reader (really, a single one), but mine. I used to blog daily. And before that I kept a diary for years. YEARS. And now I have no account of my life aside from blips on facebook. Facebook didn't even exist then.
I have to find more that makes me ME. I feel so afloat, so dependent on others to define me. That's wrong. I should be me regardless of others. Right?         Right?!

In some ways I feel I've come back into my own in so many ways but with that also comes some strange heartbreak at the time that's passed. A pain that cuts through my premature wrinkles and wifely- and motherhood. I want to go dancing. I want to feel free. I want to feel like my whole life is ahead of me. But no. I feel like I am just making the best of where I am. Haven't I always been? Is there not more out there?

I should have been writing all along. So much is already gone. I stopped blogging when i lost my dayjob years ago - God - was that 2005? It's 2012. I am old and I hate it. No, that's not true either. I do love my adult life in many ways. I want to use the fact that I don't give as much as a crap about what anyone else thinks to dance however I want to. Ah, crap. I do care. I want to seem cool. I want to feel relevant. And since I can't feel that way in a career - something that affirms me - I want to do it on the dance floor. I want people to stare, but in awe. Amazed by the clearly "too old" lady owning the dance floor with her good/interesting/somewhat off dance "moves."

Is that all? What else do I have left? Yes, I try very hard to be a good mom. I think I can be a good wife. Maybe - just maybe - I am a good Christian. And while I see how those things are what really matter, my ego ultimately overrides all that and screams, "But what about ME???"

So selfish. So centered on self. Sinner. Sinning. Human.

What I actually did today:
Took child to dentist. Worked on church work stuff. Cooked dinner. Preserved meat and vegetables. Emailed with one of my sisters. Painted with child. Fought with husband over stupid crap. Wrote on my long-neglected blog.

I swear it felt like more than that. It probably was. The food preserving takes a long time.

Is this how I feel every day? I don't think so. Often I am so happy with where I am and what I have and what I've accomplished. But not today. I feel that I am doing a really good job of killing time to avoid what I really want.

You bet your Asheville!

Just got in from our long weekend trip to Charlotte (to see my sis and her fam) and then Asheville to scope it out for a possible wedding location. We had a fun time hangin with my family and laughing off my little nephew's typical 3 yr old "I don't like !" 'tude.

Asheville was great despite the two rain showers - tho it looks like having the wedding at the Biltmore Estate won't be an option. The venues are either too fancy-schmancy (with a price to match) or more "downhome country" for our tastes. But boy are they gorgeous!

"The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none." - Thomas Carlyle

{my advance apologies for the spelling errors. written on a Mac late at night)

I ran into the exhusband ("C") on Friday night. It was a traumatic though slightly cathartic experience. J, some friends, and I were at a long-time haunt of mine, The Local, a bar that holds many late-night Atlanta memories for me. It was actually here where I met C for our first kinda-sorta date in August 2002. And in fact, I was sitting a few stools down from where we had our first conversation years before and was happy to note that I no longer felt C's lingering and stinging ghost of a memory screwing with an otherwise good time.

I am sure the shock was apparent on my face when he when he walked up to me only moments after experiencing that mental relief. Shock, not necessarily surprise. I figured that eventually I'd see him around town. Atlanta, unfortunately, is not big enough to keep us from running into each other. He was suddenly in front of me - I had not seen him enter, something I think I am grateful for - and asked how I was doing. I replied, "I am doing really well, actually!", or so J recalled to me the next day. In all honesty, I only remember bits and pieces of what followed. Possibly because I had been drinking, but I think mostly because I was in full 'Fight or Flight' mode - or more likely switching between the two violently.

Just as I snapped out of the initial shock, I looked up and saw that he was taking advantage of those few frozen mements and was already walking away. Indignant that I should have a moment to do or say something with the preparation he had by seeing me first, I leaned forward quickly and tapped him vigorously on the shoulder. "This is my fiance, J." I stated for the record and tried to use my left hand so he would have to see the lovely and respectfully large engagement ring. C stuck out his hand to J, who unfortunately had not yet put everything together and so I'm sure looked a bit bewildered.

But J, having guessed that this was some sort of ex of mine and having grown up to always be quick to react and assume people are a threat , made sure to squeeze back harder to C's firm grip. Normally I don't really like J's natural instinct to treat strangers, especially men, as enemies until proven as friends, but I was glad for it on that night. It pleased me because in some old-fashioned way it felt good to know that my current man could kick my ex's butt, but also because I knew J got a small amount of revenge out on the man who left me so wounded - this man who made falling in love with J such a pain-staking process because of the damage C had done to my heart and soul.

Then C walked off again and I sat there shaking. So many emotions came up - a measure of fear, bits of sadness and a load of ANGER. He just fucked with my newly-sewn (and still very fragile) seeds of being free of him! I had to get out of there. But not before I told him that I knew about his dirty little secret. Because of some bad experinces with my last blog I won't say what it was here - at least not directly: if you knew C, you probably thought some of his fashion choices were off base and assumed he was not suited to marry me. You (and I, I'd like to point out) were right. However, it's my impression that he is still living a lie. As for why he would marry me - I believe it had something to do with money he expected to receive from his parents based on the fact that his older sister got $30k as a wedding gift. That, and for a minute there I was a damned good "enabler." Any alcoholic with a lick of sense will do anything to keep one of those around, including marriage.

As I exited the bar I also passed this information along to a female friend he was with. (I don't know if they were there "together" - I don't think so, but she was upset to hear the news). J and I left our friends behind and got into his car. I was livid and frantic to get a handle on what had just taken place. After screaming some choice words and J tending to me as best as he could, I called one of my friends we had left in the bar. Apparently one of C's friends had come up to ask why I was saying such things and did I have any proof (I do.) - and to find out why they were automatically taking my side on the matter. My friend's cleverly responded with, "Isn't that what you're doing for him??" J and I were still in the bar's parking lot and I announced I was going back in.

Maybe I wasn't thinking clearly. Maybe I was drunk. Or maybe just I realized that I had an opportunity to tell him what had been on my heart and mind for 2 years. At the very least I knew that I had laid down for him too many times and this time I was going to kick and scream before I just went away. Also, if I didn't do something that night, he might show up there again - and although I know it's not MY bar, I couldn't risk the old ghost coming back to haunt me. On fire, I flew back in there. I'm pretty sure my feet didn't touch the ground between the car and C's group of friends. Everyone's chests flared up, ready for the confrontation. J was ready to put C on the ground, which, again, I can't really blame him for, but luckily a guy we know held J back and reminded him that this was for ME. C's friend, one I knew from before, tried to calm me down, "Hey - it's all in the past..."

"No, it's not in the past." I glared back at him, "This is 2 years of three separate therapists." I think I got his attention because his face changed to a look of concern for me.

I turned to C, "This is about you coming back to my apartment, MY apartment all fucked up on who knows what and going in and out of the bathroom, yelling and scaring the hell out of me. [there's more to it, but I can't even bear to mention it here] This is about my dear, caring Stepfather.."
"Your Stpefather is a wonderful man." C interrupts with that glassy look of 'oh, okay crazy lady' that he used to give me all the time when he was lying straight to my face about the alcohol on his breath.
I didn't let him continue,"Yes, well, you took advantage of him and my whole family. You're a manipulative, arrogant, self-serving asshole."

At this point the girl friend succeeded at getting them to leave. The other guy they were with tried to start a fight with J and when J verbally countered, the guy threw a drink over the booths. Two men we know and work there quickly intercepted J, but only to confirm that we were taking it outside. In fact, C and his group were already out the door and once we got outside they were moving fast down the sidewalk. In an act of pure anger I shouted after him, calling him a wuss, just like I knew he was and pointing out that J was more of a man than he'll ever be and other similar profane comments. And while I am not proud that I acted like that - it was the rebellious punk in my coming out - it's a part of me I like and glad I have. It means I have my own voice and keeps me from being a doormat.

J and I drove home talking wildly about everything. We sat in our driveway for some time talking it out and over. Also, I was having anxiety about going into our house. I'm not sure why, but I think it has to do with your hyper state feeling like it's more exaggerrated in what is supposed to be a safe and calm environment. Kinda like those really drunk nights when the bathroom floor is somehow more comfortable than your bed because the floor doesn't point out but rather matches how miserable you feel. We did go inside eventually (3am I think) and fell asleep.

I woke at 8am in a panic and used my friend's gracious gift of a few xanax to sleep through most of the weekend. When I wasn't sleeping I was going over what I had said and, of course, what I wish I had said. Which was quite a few things and I started beating myself up because of it. Understandably, J became a bit agitated that I was so consumed by this. I know he knows why, but he's had to deal with me dealing with the aftermath of C for our entire relationship of almost 3 years. Despite my having the chance to say even the few fumbled words to C, I hated how having seen him brought everything to the forefront AGAIN. J and I agree(d) that we don't want C in our relationship anymore. I want him OUT.

And yet here I am, typing all about it at 3 in the morning because all of the thoughts that won't leave me alone. Damn it. Damn him.

Life Soundtrack

Opening Credits:
Meditation from Thais - Abbey Road Ensemble, Itzhak Perlman & Lawrence Foster

Waking Up:
Cherio Manoli - Blue States from The Memphis Family Album

First Day At School:
Online - Gnarls Barkley (who I saw recently blasting up the road in a vintage convertible in ATL)

Falling In Love:
Life on Mars? - Seu Jorge (Life Aquatic Soundtrack)

Fight Song:
Tales of a Scorched Earth - Smashing Pumpkins (I swear I am not making this up!)

Breaking Up:
What Does Your Soul Look Like? - DJ Shadow

Prison Food - Ben Folds

Bend and Break - Keane

Mental Breakdown:
I will make You Cry - Nelly Furtado

No Cars Go - Arcade Fire (this song does indeed make me feel more alive like when I was 17 didn't have to give a shit about anything)

Getting Back Together:
Tsunami - Res ("'cuz you're all the things I prayed I'd meet...i know that things are gonna be alright")

Sparkplug Minuet - Mark Mothersbaugh (Ok, so this is freaking me out now. This is from the wedding scene in The Royal Tenenbaums)

Birth of Child:
The Way I Feel Inside - The Zombies

Final Battle:
30 Century Man - Scott Walker (Life Aquatic - so I love Wes Anderson, what do you want?)

Death Scene:
Happy (Reprise) - Jenny Lewis & the Watson Twins

Funeral Song:
Dare - Gorillaz (hell Yeah! Blast that shit till the funeral home windows break! There NOT will be "moment of silence" at my funeral - there'll be a moment of NOISE!)

End Credits:
Ruby - Kaiser Chiefs (well, kinda cheesy, but it was a feel-good movie after all!)


Apparently the last time I posted was last November. Mmm. In my defense, a lot has happened since then. There were the usual time-sucking events like Christmas and sleeping through the winter and then there were baby showers, baby birthing and birthdays. There was also a very sad event - the unexpected death of my (step)Dad, Holger.
In a 2 week period I received three different kinds of cards in the mail: New Baby, Birthday and Sympathy cards. Coen Clark was born Tuesday, February 24th just before 7:00 p.m. I turned 32 Wednesday, March 4th (my Mom was here and celebrated her 60th birthday on Thursday, March 5th) and Holger died late Friday, March 6th of a heart attack. He was only 48 years old. As of right now we are still waiting on the autopsy report that will hopefully explain how an otherwise healthy man was taken away from us.

Jon, Coen and I flew up to Massachusetts for the funeral service when Coen was only 2 weeks and 2 days old. During this time my FB status read: "Bittersweet on Cape Cod" and "Carrying a baby and a heavy heart home"

I am devastated by the loss of my other Dad and Coen's "Guapa" (that's what my niece Samantha calls him). Holger was SO excited about the impending arrival of Coen when he visited us just a couple weeks before. I will never forget the huge smile that came across his face when he saw my giant belly. My heart breaks over and over every time I think of my Mom now being a widow, Johannes now being fatherless, and all of the other roles that Holger filled now being unfulfilled. Over 500 people showed up for the Calling. Many of them were the kids from the current and former church youth group of which he was a leader.

But I have tried to keep myself together for the sake of Coen. I am still allowing myself to grieve, but I'm trying to do so in a way that doesn't interfere with my duties as a Mother. I'll cry, but I try not to when I'm engaging with Coen or trying to get the sleep I need. It's been strange and difficult to feel such sadness and such joy at the same time. 

One thing that has brought me comfort is that I believe Coen was "visited" the morning after Holger died. I feel that some spirit form of Holger lingered over Coen's head and gave him some sort of blessing. 

Like a dog with it's head out a car window

Actually, I am not sure that this post will wind up relating to the title - I put it in there because just as this post entry page came up and I was faced with the "Title" box, a car drove by with a dog's head flopping out the window.

So I've been listening to a lot of audiobooks because my eyes tire very quickly when I read because of the strain to focus. It's hard for me to do this, too - but I enjoy it enough to try to power through it. Some of the books are: "Here If You Need Me" by Kate Braestrup, "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis, "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert and kind of off and on, "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle. Now, before you go and think that I am going to become some drone or cultish freak about any of these books, I'd like to say that I am pretty good at "Taking the Best and Leaving the Rest" and therefore feel that I while I may not agree or feel comfortable with all of the sentiments in these books, there have definitely been some wonderful new insights or means of prespective that I like, admire, adhere to or would like to incorporate into my life.

For example, Elizabeth Gilbert seems to have found great peace and strength by learning and following Yogic and Balinese meditation practices. I would like to have more inner peace and strength myself, but I prefer to lean towards my Christian version of God versus, say, the Buddhist version. For myself, I believe that many of us are praying to, worshipping of and/or following the general same lessons of the same "Higher Power" but that we just take slightly different paths to do so. And so what if they're different. I don't care how you find that spot that is so connected within yourself and to the universe around you as long as it doesn't case harm or infringe on other people and hopefully would instead lead to greater beauty to your life and to the lives of those around you. Although I would say that I do care and would like that people