Love. How Do I Protect Myself?

Love? Is that what it is? I’m not blind. I can see clearly. I can see your pain and it hurts me. I can see your fear and I become fearful. I pushed you away because I cannot handle it. Your fear, pain, and disappointment. Your hopelessness and your trauma. I can not be with you longer than a few minutes before you rub off on me. How can I help you to see the beauty and the miracles that surround us both? How can I help you to appreciate the small things in life? I don’t know how. Not yet. And so I distance myself. I am unable to handle so much negative emotion and so I leave you. Am I a failure for that? Am I wrong for leaving you in your hell so that I can climb out of mine?

As much as I hate my ex, I’m not blind to who he really is. All of my efforts to make things right, all of my efforts to fix the evils in that house were useless. I had to leave, he has to hit bottom before he will ever grow. We all do. I still see him as hurt and lost. I don’t think he sees it, though, and there’s nothing I can do about it. My time with him is over, he’s going to have to find someone else to help, or learn to help himself like I did.

I read. I read a lot. I read books on philosophy, on love, on dreams, and on money. I am in a constant state of learning, and because of this I am growing.

But it’s not just him, that I see. I see the stories behind the story. I see the angry old man and know that things were different when he was a child. I see the depressed woman and know that she once had dreams but now she’s given up on them all. I see the couple in debt who is afraid to dream for fear their dreams will never come true. I see the bedridden lady who refuses to become healthy because this is how she receives attention and she thinks if she weren’t ill that no one would love her. I see these. I also see the teen, who in her passion became pregnant. I know her fear and her embarrassment. I know what it’s like and how tragic life can become. I want to protect them all, I want to love them and to help them. But how? It hurts to allow their energy into my soul.

How can I protect myself from these? I isolate myself, pushing others away so that I can breathe. I run away to the water, to my boat, so that their energy does not reach me. Yet? As I take time to breathe, I cry. I let out my emotions so that they don’t control me. I let myself see God’s beauty in nature so that I can continue to see the beauty in those like these. For all are beautiful in their own way, yes all, even my ex. I love them and it hurts and so I take time for me.

thank you for reading,

me

Advertisements

Morning Thoughts…

Almost Christmas… My tree is small, my bank account is empty, and I can see the back of my cupboard and freezer… money will come soon but it’s definitely tight right now. I wonder why I put myself here and realize I really didn’t. Life has been difficult for the past several years. The ex has been slow on everything. When I moved out he refused to pay child support (and the mortgage) for three months, so credit cards went crazy high… Then with the kids relying on me for everything (and my inability to say no yet) what money I did have went to them and their lives… No one knew how tight things were and no one understood why I would say no sometimes. I can’t blame them, though. I didn’t tell anyone I was out of money. I didn’t tell anyone that I couldn’t afford to pay for their gas, or their dining out… I paid for the wedding that wasn’t meant to be and now I am stuck with more bills than I can pay.

Now what? I wait. I wait for more student loans to come in, I wait for graduation, and I wait for a job. I remind myself that this time is limited. One day, one day soon, I will be able to pay all of my bills. I will be able to say yes to my kids without worrying. I will be able to live my life on my terms. I look forward to those days.

In the meantime? I still live. I make the most of what we do have. I remember we are extremely well off. We have a roof over our heads, heat, clothes, cars and pets. We are all in good health and are happy. Sure, it would be nice to be able to answer the phone (the bill collectors are beginning to get angry). It would be nice to go out to eat whenever we want. It sure would have been nice to have a big tree this Christmas. My younger two kids just couldn’t quite understand why we had to stay small. That was hard. But, we are all learning. We are learning that things are just things and that it’s OK to eat leftovers and to eat at home. We are learning that the house looks better when we stay home.

I could get upset, and sometimes I do. But I remind myself of the good things and that this life is mine. I remind myself that I don’t mind going home any longer. I remind myself that I have made it the sanctuary that I had only dreamed of. I remind myself that our lives are so much better, happier, safer, than they were a short three years ago. Yes, being broke is hard, annoying, especially around Christmas; but it’s worth it.

thank you for reading,

me

Tension?

Tension. I woke up this morning anxious. It’s 7 am and still kind of dark outside. I’m not sleepy but I wish I could stay in my bed where it’s warm, my house feels cold. I always turn the heat down at night and then put it back up in the morning so I did that already. What do I have to be anxious about? The ex has court this morning because he hasn’t paid his share of the property settlement. I’m sure he’ll get off scott free but I hope not. He has a way of almost getting in trouble and then getting more time or just getting a slap on the wrist… it’s frustrating and I try to forget about it since I can’t really do anything… but it’s frustrating.

Yesterday the kids and I went to go find a Christmas tree. We soon discovered that most of them are sold out or dead. The rest? Expensive. Seventy to a hundred dollars for a tree too big for our place. The younger kids started complaining about this being the ‘worst Christmas ever’ and I just wanted to cry because I was having a hard time finding a decent tree that wasn’t too small or dead and that I could afford… Christmas has been the most difficult for the kids to adjust to. Their dad just isn’t very celebratory and I’m broke. We did find a cute little one for forty-five dollars, but it is by far the littlest tree my kids have ever had and they’re disappointed. I tried. I forced myself to stay positive and to keep encouraging them as we decorated the tree and then put lights on outside. My youngest lit a fire in the fireplace and that helped a lot. We ate a good dinner and then watched a Christmas movie as well. All in all, the day turned out well but the moods never really changed. The holidays are the hardest to be positive when the kids are the ones who suffer. It’s not their fault their parents aren’t together any longer and it’s not their fault their father is no use.

As a mom, I want to fix everything. I want them all to have smooth sailing and never an upset day. I don’t want them to struggle through anything and I want to be able to buy them whatever they could possibly want. Yeah, I know, not my job to give them everything. It’s my job to help them grow into great people and to love them unconditionally. I do love them but it’s hard to watch them struggle. It’s also hard to allow them to see me struggle. I can’t really help it though and we’ll all be better off and stronger for our struggles. That’s the way we grow.

Life is supposed to be filled with good days and bad days. We aren’t supposed to have all good days. If we did, how would we know they were good with nothing to compare? How would we grow if we never had to work for it? How would our lives get better if we didn’t know how to handle the difficult stuff? I look back at my life over the last several years and I see how amazing it currently is. I’ve come this far because I have been willing to struggle through it and there’s no way I’d ever go back to who I used to be. The struggles are all worth it.

thanks for reading,

me

Living into a dream

Living into a dream life is interesting. I have goals, tangible ones, and I want to achieve them. But, I’m a lot like most people: big goals, little action. The question today is how do I move beyond what ‘everyone else is doing’ to who I truly want to be? I’m great on a deadline. I am fantastic at procrastinating until the last minute. But this won’t help in the long term. Great for tests but not so much for things like getting out of debt. For the long term I need to be consistent on the little things. Debt for example, would mean consistently eating at home, buying fewer things, selling things that don’t matter to me, paying attention to the money I do have. For school? I know there’s the boards coming in May and June. I want to be ready to fly with those. I want to be an excellent pharmacist and I want to be trustworthy. How do I achieve something like that? The little things again? Of course. I need to study daily and to learn as much as I can. But I see it as an exam… which I normally cram for… Do you see my dilemma?

My life is full of so many things and I live rather randomly most of the time. I’m good in an emergency because I’m great at flying from the seat of my pants; but I don’t want to wait for an emergency to get things done anymore. I love the part of me that decides to go to the beach on a dime and the part of me that can sit and watch a movie with my kids instead of doing anything else. I like who I am. (I could write a book on that statement!) I love life’s interruptions. But, that’s the problem. If I want to reach my tangible goals then I need to set aside time to achieve them. I need to break them down and work them in parts so that I actually succeed. Part of the problem in the past has been that I allowed others to control my time. I have finally learned to say no to something good in order to do something great. I hate it though. I am still learning to manage my time and I’m doing better.

My writing isn’t part of my goals, which is odd. My writing is for my mental health instead. Each morning I wake up early just so I can have some time for just me. I treasure this time so much that I get out of bed despite feeling tired. I’ve made it a habit. If I can make writing a habit then I can also make using my time wisely a habit as well. Is that what I need then? Goals that excite me? Goals that I can’t stop thinking about? Living a life that I dream? Living a life that I love so much that finding the time to build it is easy? That must be the key. If I’m ambivalent toward something I’ll never do it. Again, my passion, is what I need to ignite. I am a passionate woman, I just need to let myself be who I am.

Being debt free doesn’t excite me, not in the slightest! What about being able to actually know that no one owns me? That sounds a lot better. If no one owned me or my time how would I be? I can feel the weight lifting off of my shoulders as I think of this. Now this is a goal I can feel. This is something I can become passionate about. How do I achieve this? There are so many possibilities!

thank you for reading,

me

Being Weird

Weird – out of the norm; state of being that allows unique and unfamiliar traits to be represented; not going with the status quo; being true to oneself; living an abundant life…

I like that word, weird. It’s very useful when you experience an emotion you’ve never experienced before. It’s useful when trying to describe something that is good but completely new. Weird.

I have found that I use that word frequently lately to describe where I am. As I come closer to graduation I am confronted with the fact that I get to choose my life. Weird. I get to decide whether to relocate or to stay local, whether to keep in touch with some people or not. I get to decide if I want to work in a hospital, or a clinic, or a store, or on my own. It’s like I have a multiple choice game, a choose my own adventure kind of life ahead of me. I can decide for myself whether I like the ocean or the mountains or the plains or whatever. I don’t have to do what I’ve always done any longer. The only word for it is weird. Weird.

Why is there no word for being able to choose your own life? Why is it that people typically fall into a place and just make the best, or the worst of it, rather than change the place? Why is it that all of the decisions in the past were based on what other people thought, or did, or didn’t do… why did others pave my path instead of myself? Weird. Seems it’s more common than not that we don’t actually choose which direction we go. Why not?

Why is it we are constantly trying to prove ourselves to people we don’t know or don’t like? Why do we try to do things that we know we don’t care for? Why do we work in places we hate, live in cities we can’t stand, and never ever dream? Weird.

Who is it that decided we would grow up and be a doctor, nurse, teacher, lawyer, game designer, architect? Did we decide it? Did we really choose? Or did we ‘take the advice’ of our parents, our teachers, our peers? Did we try something and fail and decide with only one failure to just give up? Did we decide we weren’t good enough? What a terrible loss! How did we decide to give power to others on how we live our own lives? Why didn’t we just do what we felt best? Why didn’t we get out our hatchets and carve our own path instead? Weird.

I love the word weird. I love being weird. I love creating my own life how I feel is best. I love the fear that comes with the unknown, the knowledge that if there’s a twinge of fear that it’s good, that I will be challenged. I can feel the fear, the excitement, physically. Now that I am learning to listen to myself, my own feelings, now that I am doing that I am beginning to use my body as a measure of which way to turn. If there is a crushing feeling in my chest, if I cannot breathe and my heart begins to break, then I know that is the wrong direction. If the fear is there, the anticipation, the opening of my lungs, the breathing deeply and enjoying the breath then I know that that is the better choice, the better path to follow. All of this time has been wasted listening only to my head, listening to the lies others have told me, and not listening to my heart. Weird.

Maybe we could all be a little more weird. Weird in our own individual ways. Maybe we can actually step up and into who we are meant to be. Maybe we can actually tell it like it is, speak truth in love and let others know how we feel. Maybe we have to start with ourselves. Maybe we need to learn to listen to our dreams, our own individual purpose. There is hope, there is peace but to get there you have to believe. Believe in yourself and trust in your power to accomplish more than you’ve ever knew possible. Let fear be your friend and your guide, who knows what’s on the other side of the bend? It may be a life that you love.

thanks for reading,

me

Ambulatory Rotation

Another month of pharmacy school has gone by, this one at a doctor’s office where I was able to work with an amazing team. Each day we had new people come in to ask questions about the meds, to find out how to get healthy again, to find out how to stay healthy… these people, patients, needed time to digest what their doctors have told them. They needed time spent face to face to go over their conditions and to know that someone was listening to them. We would often spend an hour or more talking with them, getting to know them, finding out their likes and their dislikes, finding out how we can help them take charge of their health. It was humbling.

They would look to us because we understood their conditions and because we understood their medicines. They would trust us when we told them they needed to change something because their kidneys were bad, or because if they stayed on it they’d mess up their hearts. We would help them understand how to take their blood thinners and how to measure their sugars. We did all of this and so much more.

One man came in with blood pressure to the roof and we put him directly with a doctor and recommended what would help right away. An hour later his blood pressure was back down and he understood a little better how dangerous that could be.

One lady came in and just happened to mention she felt like an elephant was sitting on her chest a few nights before, she was there to check her blood thinner. We sent her back for an ECG to make certain she would be OK to go home.

Another couple came in because his blood work didn’t look good, they were scared, they thought this must mean the end is coming quicker than they thought. We were able to give them comfort and reassurance that all he needed to do was change his diet some, drink more water, and have an evening walk every night. Simple things that every one can do to prevent the fears they had that day. His wife began to cry she was so relieved that this was something they could handle.

Another man came in to make certain he wasn’t bleeding internally because of his blood thinner. He had started it because of a blood clot of unknown origin. I see him sitting there and I wonder quietly like the rest why it happened and pray to myself it’s not an early sign of cancer.

Real people, real blood, real dreams, real lives. Dozens of them over the last month. And to think a pharmacist does nothing but count pills? Nonsense.

thank you for reading,

me

Stressing

What is stress?  How can I beat it?  Or can I make it work for me?  No one in their right mind would argue with me on whether I live a stressful life or not.  My life is full of the top reasons for stress out there.  Recent divorce – check, recent death in the family – check, doctorate level classes – check, upcoming wedding (my daughter, not me) – check, financial issues – check, and numerous others.

So why am I still standing?  Still smiling?  Still out there trying to help others?  Sometimes I don’t know.  I know I get statements frequently such as “I could never do what you do.” Or “I don’t have the time to do that.”  Or “You are so much better at that than I am.”…

Too often I do make it look easy.  I keep my worries to myself.  I say “I’m fine.”  I offer to help them.  But when I do these things they don’t know my heart.  They don’t understand that given the choices, I refuse to go any way but forward.  Yes, I could have stayed with my ex.  Yes, I could have given up.  Yes, I could have quit.  Yes I could have decided to not change my life.

I did not do that though.  For me, I’ve had this extraordinary hunger to live.  I thank God every evening for all the things that I have: my kids, my health, my house… I thank Him that my roof doesn’t leak anymore.  I thank Him for giving me shelter from the cold, and from the storms.  I thank Him that I have shoes that fit and clothes that keep me warm.  I even thanked Him for giving my daughter lice… she laughed when I did that. She didn’t understand why.  Why be thankful for lice?  Several reasons, now I understand what it’s like to use the chemicals, to clean everything, to pick through every piece of hair on every child’s head.  I have an amazing understanding of something I only barely knew about before.  I told her how Corrrie Ten Boom, in “The Hiding Place”, thanked God for giving her lice while she was in the concentration camps.  Because of her lice and of those others in her sleeping area, they were no longer targeted for being raped and beaten.  The guards wanted nothing to do with them for fear of contracting it themselves.  In addition, as I am soon to be finishing my doctorate in pharmacy, I’ll be much better at helping others who need it.

I guess “my secret” to loving my life, regardless of the stress that is in it, is that I can ALWAYS find something to be thankful for.  But, make no mistake, it is NOT easy.  I may have made these last few years look easy but they were not.  I had two choices 1- go forward, or 2 – quit in some way.  Quitting did not give me power and so I always chose to move forward.  Sometimes, actually often, it meant walking through the fire to get to the other side… or remembering “the boulder is the path”.  Every moment of the day I have a choice.  I can choose to let things bring me down or I can choose to keep on smiling and keep on trucking.  Moving forward sometimes brings me to a place where I have to stop and feel my feelings.  I have to let myself sit and sob and rest.  These moments happen but they let me be authentic with myself.  Much of this time has been learning to be with me again, learning to love myself.

I hope that you are in a place where you can also be just you and love who you are,

thanks for reading,

me