Strength I can’t fathom

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Why can some of us handle the ups and downs of life and others cannot? Why do some people choose to end their lives versus finding a way to move on?

I wish I could say that I don’t understand suicide…that I can’t imagine what would lead someone to think they have no other options. I wish I could tell you that it has never crossed my mind. That I haven’t in my darkest moments planned to get it done. I wish I didn’t know that level of personal pain.

But as much as I think I understand, apparently I don’t, at least I don’t know pain to that extent. While I can understand getting to that point, I would never take that final step. I’m not that strong.

Yes, that’s right. I said I’m not that strong. People say that suicide is a coward’s way out. I don’t believe that at all. I don’t believe it because the people I know who have made that choice were some of the happiest most carefree people I’ve ever had the privelege of knowing.

These were the ones making everyone laugh, traveling through this crazy life with smiles on their faces. They were the ones who brought everyone around them up, so much so that know one ever would’ve guessed they were down.

Can you imagine the strength it takes to maintain life at that level when inside you are dying? I know I can’t.

And maybe that’s why this hits me so hard. I cannot wrap my brain around it. How possessing that kind of strength brings you to the point that your best option is exiting life.

Someone said to me, “It’s not that I want to die, but I’m just tired of living.” I can definitely second that sentiment. It’s hard to stay positive in life when the thing you look forward to most each morning is going to bed again that night.

I have tried to find the bright side, any reason to look forward to my existence, but it’s just gone. I’m tired of sleepwalking through life

…but I will continue on. Because as strong as I am, I never have been strong enough to make that final choice to walk away from the hurt and the pain.

I wish like hell that others weren’t stronger than me. That those people who smile when they feel like crying all.the.time would find the courage to stop being so strong and let the hurt out. Maybe then they’d still be here. Maybe then we wouldn’t have to say these kind of goodbyes…
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Where are you happiest?

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Where are you happiest? When are you happiest? These are the questions my dear friend asked. I answered by saying I couldn’t talk about it, I had to get ready for work.

The truth is those questions knocked the wind out of me because I realized that I can’t answer. I don’t know where or when I’m happiest.

My days go pretty much like this:
Wake up and check social media
Get in the shower and cry
Get out of the shower and get ready for work (this may or may not involve more crying and the reapplication of eye makeup)
Go to work
Go to another job or go home
Cry myself to sleep

I wish the crying was an exaggeration, but it isn’t. I don’t plan it like I plan my outfits everyday. It kind of just happens.

I don’t dislike my job. I actually really enjoy the people I work with and I have fun during the day. I enjoy football games. I enjoy the gym. I enjoy the various other things I do to occupy my time. I’m not an unhappy person. I’m not depressed.

But I’m not sure that I’m happy either. And I never really thought about it until I was pointedly asked.

A few months ago, I actually was happy, so I know what it feels like. It feels like having a reason to get out of bed and having something to look forward to everyday.

Right now I’m just going through the motions without get really excited about anything. It’s ok, but it doesn’t make life worth living.

Where am I happiest? When am I happiest? Maybe it’s time to stop going through the motions and actually find the answers!
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Do you believe in soul mates?

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I’ve always thought that I believe in soul mates. Not in the sense that there is one perfect person for each of us, rather that there are people that will reach for our hands and in doing so, touch our souls. It’s rare. It’s precious. In 41 years, I had known two prior to you.

The first is still the one person I turn to when life becomes unbearable. She and I have a bond that has often been tested, but never broken. The second I met by chance. He wasn’t my lover. He was my friend. Again a person I turned to and I mourn his death daily.

Reading the above picture caused my heart to catch in my throat. Because it is describing a soul mate. It is describing how I feel about you.

Standing in my driveway, a few weeks after we tried the first time to say goodbye, wasn’t the first time I felt like there were two sides to me when I am with you, but it was so noticeable because the definition of our relationship had changed.

I wanted so badly to touch you, even just my fingertips on your arm. But I wasn’t allowed…you were no longer mine. I’d spent two weeks feeling an absolute emotional destruction. But somehow standing there in the dark, your truck running in the alley, I was completely at peace. In that moment with you, nothing mattered beyond your presence in my life, right then, right there, you standing beside me was enough. I walked into my house that night with a calmness that I had forgotten I could feel.

It was always like that, though, with you. As much as I always wanted to be close to you, to touch you, all I ever needed was to be in the same room as you to feel a contentment like I’d never known. I could never describe it, so I just told you that you are my happy place.

I stopped believing in fairy tales a long time ago. I believe in myself and I am whole without having anyone in my life. I’ve never needed anyone and I don’t need you. I want you. I crave you in the most primitive of ways. You used to tell me that even in the midst of our most intimate moments, you felt like you needed to be closer to me. I felt the same way. It was almost as if the deepest parts of our souls knew that we could never really be together. Yet the yearning wouldn’t allow us to stop trying.

I can’t imagine a time when the sound of your voice saying my name won’t bring complete peace to my heart. I can’t imagine that I’ll run into you and not want to lay my hand on the side of your face and look into your eyes, desperately seeking to see in them the reflection of my soul. I can’t imagine a time when you will not be the one who simultaneously lights the fire within and brings the peace to my soul.

I still believe in soul mates. For the second time in my life, I am being reminded that there is perhaps no greater tragedy in life than finding your soul mate and then being forced to let him go.

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Give me back my walls…maybe

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I’m not an easy person to love. I protect my heart with a fierceness that knows no bounds since my divorce. I’m so afraid of losing the best parts of me again to another person that I have made an art of building walls to keep people out.

… but not long ago I found love and I allowed him to love me back…and now it’s gone and I’m not sure how to move on. Because of him I stopped protecting my heart. I opened it up, broke down the walls and allowed myself to feel.

But now he’s gone…
And I don’t know who I am without my walls…

In a text conversation with someone whom I pushed away, he said “He probably doesn’t realize what he’s done by getting you to fall in love. That’s no small feat.” To which I replied,  “It didn’t happen overnight.” He responded, “Well I’m impressed. Those walls aren’t easy to break down.

My friend is right. They aren’t. I put up reinforced walls of concrete and steel triple wrapped with a mountain of “I can do this myself” and an ocean of “I’m better off alone”.

…but then I met him. He didn’t come into my life with a sword looking to rescue me from myself. He didn’t even come in with any intentions of finding my heart. It was supposed to be “sex with no strings”.

But one night, one magical, breathtaking night, he kissed me. The kind of kiss that takes your breath away. The kind of kiss that reaches into the depths of your soul and awakens parts of your heart that you never knew existed. The kind of kiss that breaks down those walls and leaves you standing in the midst of emotions you didn’t know you could feel. The kind of kiss that makes you want to hold onto him and never let go.

But I had to let go and it’s been months and I think I want my walls back.

It was easier when I didn’t feel. When you don’t feel, you can’t hurt. And I’ve hurt for so long now. It’s not an all day every day hurt anymore. It comes in waves. Some days it’s only when I wake up, like the waves at low tide gently kissing the shore – small memories of how wonderful our time together was. Other times it hits like a tusnami, unexpected and sweeping me away in an powerful surge of emotion.

The hurting is not so much fun. If only I’d kept my head in the game and not let down those walls around my heart…

But then I would’ve missed the feeling and the feeling part was so amazing. The feeling filled up my heart and overwhelmed my soul. I don’t know if it had simply been so long since I’d felt the touch of a soulmate or if maybe I’d never really known one like that, but the feeling was something that will always stay in my heart.

So I guess that maybe life is better without the walls. Maybe I’m still struggling to find my way again without him in my life, but the pain is worth it because I knew a love that convinced me to stop protecting myself, to recognize that while being alone is good and healthy, life is really so much better when you allow people into your heart.

To my boys

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Dear Jake, Zachary and Colton,

I’m sitting at home on a Friday night watching Disney’s Brave and missing you. Missing you is nothing new, I do it every day. I miss you so much it hurts. I wish things could be different. I wish that I could find my way back to you….

I doubt that you can understand. You may often ask yourselves why. Why did I leave? Why didn’t I come back when I got my license back? Why don’t I love you enough to be with you?

Love is a precious gift, someday you’ll truly understand. In order to love others and I mean really love others, you first have to love yourself. You have to accept and love all the things that make you unique, even the parts that others might tell you are bad or wrong.

I hadn’t loved myself in a very long time when I left New Hampshire. As a result, I wasn’t the best Mama that I could be. Moving to Illinois had more to do with healing myself and making myself whole again than losing my license. I needed to accept my mistakes and the things about myself that I don’t always like…I needed to find a way to love me.

I’ve always been strong and independent. My strength came from pushing aside hurt and pain and fear and simply moving forward. And while that kind of strength is good and necessary sometimes, there are also times when it’s good to fall apart. It’s okay to admit that you can’t keep going and that you need time to cry, time to grieve, times to hurt and then time to heal.

I’m finally getting my time to let all of the hurt in. In New Hampshire, I was far too busy holding our lives together to take the time I needed to fall apart. Being in Illinois has allowed me to begin the process of healing me and loving me…all the things about me.

You may not ever understand. My hope is that whatever damage I’ve caused is not permanent and that you boys will be stronger because of what I’ve put us all through. It’s important that you know how much I miss you and how much I love you. You may not believe it now, but someday I hope you can understand. I love you with all of my heart. And it’s because I love you that I needed to find a way to love myself. You boys are my strength. You are the reason that I want to be better. You are the reason that I have to stay in Illinois for a little while longer.

When I finally come back to New Hampshire, it will be for all of the right reasons and I’ll be able to enjoy being there again. In the meantime, no matter how long we go between visits, always know this:

I’ll love you forever. I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my babies you’ll be.

Love,
Mama

Don’t let your heart be frozen

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#TextCutie

The message we’re supposed to take away from Frozen is that true love is found in sisters, in family, and in women. True love is not necessarily found in Prince charming.

But I think there’s a bigger message at play in this particular Disney classic. One that is equally if not more important for young girls and women to learn:

Hiding who you really are due to fear of what others will think is harmful not only to you but also to everyone around you.

Elsa hurt herself. She hurt Ana. She hurt the people of the town.

And why?

Because she was told by her parents that she needed to be something that she wasn’t.

It wasn’t Ana’s frozen heart that needed thawed. It was Elsa’s.

Elsa spent years building walls around herself under the false assumption that being someone else was best for everyone. Elsa didn’t fit “the mold”. She wasn’t what a real princess should be according to her parents and maybe society as well. Somehow the real Elsa was something that shouldn’t be allowed, something that needed to be hidden away in order to be accepted and liked by everyone else.

Why? Why couldn’t Elsa be herself?

Why can’t we just be ourselves?

Why do we need to fit “the mold”? And who the hell decides the mold anyway?

And why can’t we see that attempting to fit the mold is damaging, self-destructive and it freezes our hearts?

Be who you are and say what you feel. Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. ~Dr. Seuss

Yes, the message about true love thawing a broken heart is powerful. Yes, the message that we need to find love in other women not just a man is something all girls should learn.

But maybe, just maybe, the real message, the most powerful take away from Frozen is this:

Hiding those aspects that are central to your being does nothing but strip you and everyone around you of the opportunity to love you for who you really are. It keeps everyone, including you, from loving the real you.

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Instead of looking for someone to thaw your frozen heart, don’t allow what others think to freeze your heart in the first place. That’s the lesson from Frozen that we should be teaching. That’s the true essence of love.

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The climb

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Have you ever exerted time and energy to get to a place where you feel like maybe you can exhale only to have that bitch known as karma smack you back into reality?

It’s almost a year to the day that my happy little life was turned upside down. It’s actually almost 5 years to the day that it happened the first time. (Clearly Memorial weekend and I do not get along.) I’ve been having vividly real dreams lately about my former life. In fact twice in the past few weeks, I’ve woken up believing that I was in my condo on Rollins Court in Merrimack only to have reality set in moments later as I adjusted to being awake. (Seriously, if anyone could invent an intravenous coffee alarm clock, the world would be a happier place!)

Five years ago my marriage ended. I’ve heard it takes about 3 years to recover, financially and emotionally, from divorce. I believe this to be true. My marriage ended in May of 2009 and in October of 2012 when I moved into the above mentioned condo, I finally felt like I was at the beginning of my book. I had finally turned the last page of the old one and I was ready to start over, ready to provide a better life for myself and my boys.

Apparently I was on a collision course with fate at the time and failed to realize it because in May of 2013 my life fell apart. Four years I spent scratching, clawing and climbing my way out of the depths, only to have someone standing at the top, peeling my fingers off the ledge one by one until I crashed back down to the bottom.

… and I laid there for a long time. I laid there and let shit just keep piling on top of me. I laid there and let life happen around me unwilling to participate. I laid there and felt sorry for myself for a long, long time. I laid there because I had convinced myself that accepting my life as a failure was better than holding onto hope that it would one day get better again.

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Eventually I got up and started climbing again. I mean people have it worse, right? Actually that had nothing to do with picking myself up. I am a firm believer that telling someone to cheer up because others have it worse is complete and utter bullshit. That’s like saying I can’t be happy because others have it better.

Anyway, a year after my unfortunate incident I’m trying to climb back up that mountain called life. I have to be honest. It looks an awful lot like Mount Everest these days, but one step at a time, right?

I think I’m dreaming of my condo and remembering so vividly because I’m tired, more like exhausted, and I don’t know if I have 4 more years of climb in me. I’m older now and whatever youthful optimism might have remained at 36 has long since disappeared at 41. I’ve traveled this road before, the twists and turns, the bumps, the potholes, the road blocks…I’ve run down that road before and I know that there might be water stations and cheering crowds along the way, but the reality is that making it to the finish line is going to be an effort all my own… and I ask myself daily, do I have that kind of effort in me again?

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I’m never going to have it easy. I have accepted that as part of my life. Hopefully I’ll never be in a position where I need to slay dragons either like so many that face serious health or other issues. I have people who love and support me and I have a lot of reasons to keep climbing this latest mountain…

…and I will, even if I get kicked in the face at the top once again.

I don’t need to be anyone’s hero but my own. As down as I may get at times, I have complete faith in my ability to get up most mornings and find something to love about my life even if it isn’t perfect.

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