Emotional Revelation – Friendship

It is December and this always leads to the ALL important hunt for Great Christmas Light displays. I remember a house a group of us went to over 10 years ago, but I haven’t been back to it in years, so I asked a friend if she remembered WHERE it was. After a series of back and forth texts, she sent me the location, I saved it in my phone and in my mind this was complete. And then she sent me this text, “We also took Josh there.” And without a blink of an eye I fell off an emotional cliff into a pile of grief.

I have discussed Josh’s suicide with the friends who knew him, I have privately written  about how much I miss him, and I have processed his death in counseling; so I truly believed I was DONE with feeling the HARD feelings. Then I have an instance like this one, that comes out of no where and leaves me emotionally raw. This time it sparked instant anger. I have been doing food delivery for the last 5 months and I have had an AMAZING amount of time to process other things emotionally while driving. Since I am in this journey of feeling the feelings I had to spend some time between deliveries asking the hard questions.

What’s going on? Why is this feeling so intense? Why did this surprise me? Why am I angry? What am I feeling? What is the connection?

In the grief class, they talk about honoring the person’s memory, but accepting that things will never go back to how they were before the loss. So I started to think about my friendship with Josh. How we became friends, what we talked about, what we did together.

Then I began to think about the last time I saw him. And that brought the tears because I had a genuine care for him that was deeper than most. I wasn’t aware enough to recognize the difference between romantic love and a deep intimate friendship love. So when I saw him for the first time in 4 weeks (I had been on a work trip), my heart swelled, my face lit up, and I desperately wanted a hug. In that embrace I said, “I missed you…” but in that moment I felt a deep revealing vulnerability that embarrassed me. So I quickly attached the word “guys”. I have been protecting myself from being really vulnerable with someone ANYONE for years and it is a habit that dies a hard slow death. So instead of telling Josh I missed him and venturing down the road of what that meant, I made it shallow and superficial. This is one of the only things I Truly regret about my relationship with Josh.

In my continued reflection on my relationship with Josh, I began to wonder if there are other relationships in my life like it. I have found if I can detect patterns it helps me make connections to feelings and potential hang ups. Determining whether there are beliefs or attitudes in my life that need adjusting.

Although I quickly realized I didn’t actually find a pattern, but rather the lack of pattern that caught my attention. I realized there wasn’t a single male friend I had been close to since Josh. No one I was truly myself with, no one I trusted, no one I felt free to talk with about anything, no one I had shared my hurts and struggles with. At least not in the way that I did with Josh and not in a way that made me feel safe and cared for.

As I arrived at this emotional realization, it became clear to me that I had done this on purpose. I had made an internal vow to never trust someone with my heart again. That I would strive to intentionally distance myself from any guy that seemed to care about me unless I knew FOR SURE that they meant it.

As a result of this internal vow, anytime I would detect ANY caring or loving feelings I would back away in fear. I would find some reason not to trust them, not to REALLY open up, not to be vulnerable around them for fear I would be hurt again. It wasn’t hurt by rejection (with which I am very experienced), but this catastrophic fear that some how I had allowed myself to care about and care for me would leave me. WOW… What an insight! What an irrational fear! What a way to live my life so separated from people who care.

I haven’t arrived at a place of knowing what to do about this revelation yet. But I know it is coming up because I have a new guy friend in my life. And I find myself constantly fighting with the want to share and the fear of the consequences of developing a deep friendship again. There is such a normal and natural comfort I have with him that I have not experienced since my friendship with Josh. So stumbling upon this realization was quite unsettling and unnerving. So much so that I needed to write it as best I could.  Now to ride the emotional roller coaster that follows, including the occasional emotional hangover


Is Emotionally Hungover a Thing?

If the answer is yes, then Monday morning I was totally and COMPLETELY hungover.  Now granted it was a Monday work day, so sometimes I wonder if I am just being a rebellious teenager. My brain is trying to deny the realities of adult life by pulling my covers up over my head and screaming, “NO I DON’T WANT TO ADULT TODAY.” Meanwhile, my physical body as it attempts to move out into the cold screams, “HERE HERE WE CONCUR. NO ADULTING TODAY.”

However, today felt different.  I was going through the normal process of shaking the cobwebs out of my head.  Reminding myself of the goodness of life and that his is just part of the hard things.  Also attempting to motivate myself with gentle coaching, “IT will feel better with coffee.  You have things you do want to accomplish today.  It is always better once you get going.”  Now whether or not these are really lies just to keep myself from never leaving my cozy, comfortable, perfectly peaceful bed I do not know.

However, after coffee and breakfast and a little time had passed; my brain would still not engage.  Whenever something doesn’t work the way I want it to I start to ask WHY, WHY, WHY questions.  I have been accused of over analyzing things on a regular basis; and there is no point in denying it because that would take up an entire blog post all by itself. During my analysis I am realizing that the emotional revelation (still trying to decide if I can actually write about said revelation yet) I had last night has come at a cost.  I have been very fortunate in the last 2 years of blog silence to have been coached on feeling the feelings (another fabulous tangent for another day).  In short let’s say I have spent almost my ENTIRE LIFE, managing my feelings (which is code for hiding them, muting them, shaming them, and attempting to NOT feeling them).

So I spent my evening holding this emotional revelation in my mind.  It’s like holding a giant crystal with all the facets and edges and turning it around in your hand examining what it does in the light.  Turning it over and over looking at it from all sides and all positions to see what it is made of and attempt to see how it works.  So I did this with the emotional revelation: asking all the why does this matter, how do I feel, what do I think this means.  Then attempting to answer what am I supposed to do with this NOW question.  Which, just for the record, I do not have the answer for yet.  But this examination of the feelings and attempting to describe my connection to it is a new process for me.

My usual MO is to avoid, distract, run, hide, deflect, minimize, or explain away the fact that this is in my past no need to dwell.  As I examined this, I cried, I breathed deeply, I felt a pain deep in my body, which I have learned is where grief lives. It was taking me to a place that hurt, that was sad, that left a mark, that has shaped how I build relationships with people (even though I didn’t know it).  I stepped into the swamp of that grief and let myself feel it.  I let it seep into my thoughts, my emotions, and all the way into my heart.  Even now while I am writing I can feel that tense pressure on my chest, right in the center of my breast bone; which I now know is a sign for me that I am experiencing something deeply painful.  This didn’t take forever but I felt I gave it a significant amount of time to reveal all its “sides”.  And I know I have more to process on it until it is not so magnified.  I was also determined to not let this detract from the amazing weekend I had already experienced: Girls Coffee, Friends Dinner, Christmas Lights, New Church Visit, and Deep Talk Dinner.

But this experience has left me wrung out, mentally tired, dehydrated, physically drained, emotionally spent, spiritually wanting, and searching for a really good breakfast — That’s the same way a hangover feels, Right?


PS – I am struggling with my perfectionistic nature (MUST DO THINGS THE RIGHT WAY OR NOT AT ALL) and my belief in linear story telling (IF THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED BEFORE THEY WON’T KNOW WHY THIS MATTERS) with writing this blog again (And yes I used all caps because I feel these statements YELLING at me).  I FEEL there is so much to tell, there is so much to catch up on, there is so many behind the scenes pieces I HAVE TO SHARE; so please bare with me as I try to sort out what to say and how to say it and what to share later and what to save for a private space.  I appreciate knowing I have an audience: people I know and people I don’t who care about what I am sharing; so thank you for helping me share my story.  Even if it feels like I am not doing it right. 😀

It’s time to do hard things

I have forgotten the purpose of blogging.  It is to express a point of view, more specifically MY point of view.  A place where I can share my thoughts, my stories, my impressions, my life experiences, and my opinions.  But I have spent a couple of years trying to come back here and write my thoughts.  Find a thread of an idea that would make a good blog story.  Try to determine what would be “appropriate” for a blog entry. Trying to craft that perfect opening statement, determine what topic would be of interest to the people who follow me, or display my latest vulnerability about my emotional struggles or spiritual breakthroughs.  Try to put to paper something ANYTHING that resembled a blog post.  Many times the conversation in my head would then devolve into finding a purpose to my blog, or establishing a theme; at which point I would get lost in a maze of “SHOULDS” that would inevitably end in “NEVER MIND” this is too hard.

I, also, ran into the thought over and over again: What about the comments?  What if what I write is perceived as weird or out there or inappropriate by someone somewhere sometime.  And that is when I stop thinking of trying to write.  For fear of the comments.  I filter myself on Facebook because there are things I believe you just don’t put online in social media because of the comments.  Or because of the audience of people who are watching and witnessing your life.  Especially because I feel like I have an eclectic group of friends on my Facebook from various points of views, opinions and such; that I want to maintain relationships with.  But even cruising around the internet reading certain articles and stories and recipes, I accidentally scroll too far and I begin to read the comments and it doesn’t take even an entire computer screen for me to be outrage at the rudeness and inappropriate words posted in the comments section.  Which I believe has contributed to my fear of the comments on my own blog if I were to share my experiences.  Yes, I am the type of person who is influenced by comments.  Comments on my Facebook, comments at work, comments on my personal life, comments on my health (that is code for being over weight), comments on my attitude, comments on singleness, comments on my faith, comments on my choices.  There are comments I hear from people I care about and TOTAL STRANGERS that stick in my mind and run on replay and roll around making a regular appearance over and over again.  This has happened so much in life I have tried various methods of managing the comments so I do not get overwhelmed and choose to hide away from ALL human contact altogether. (This doesn’t work so well for an extreme extrovert who LOVES being social).

In that amazingly thoughtful place my brain likes to analyze things as I am waking up, I decided I SHOULD BLOG THIS VERY IDEA.  I have blogged about emotional struggles, and social frustrations before; THIS could be exactly a good starting point.  I thought it could be something I could craft and write and begin the process of being vulnerable again in written form.  One thing I have been challenging myself to do these days; has been to look whatever fear or anxiety is plaguing me right in the FACE and attempt to figure it out.  Where did this fear come from, when did it start, why does it have power, what does it make me feel, and analyze its purpose and mission.  Sometimes just identifying this fear will lessen its power and control, but it still remains; while other times it will disappear completely.  But in those moments sometimes it is hard to admit I have struggled, sometimes its hard to write the words that match the feelings. Sometimes I am not certain that people will believe me or like what I share, and for whatever reason (probably because that is how I am wired) that is important to me.

So I am starting again to write. I do not promise consistent thought or theme (my life is an interwoven tapestry of cooking, driving, dating or wanting to date, conversations with God, friendship experiences, and striving to improve myself).  I do not promise a regular schedule of posting.  I do not promise a logical expression of thought.  I do not promise to be concise or use few words.  I do not promise to use correct language, grammar, or sentence structure (Grammar Nazi’s please show me grace).  However, I do promise that what I write will be genuine and authentic.  I promise to write the words to match my experiences as best as I know how.  I promise to try to express as much of my life as I can muster. I promise there will be my quirky brand of humor. I can also promise to insert random life stories about my life experiences that strike me as “A GOOD STORY” from time to time without warning.  But writing again is the mission and as a wise person recently has told me to say when I face fear and anxiety despite my default posture to retreat, hide, or play dead: “You can do hard things.  You have done MUCH harder things.  You will overcome hard things.  You can do this hard thing.”  So for today, the hard thing is hitting the Publish button, with a few deep breaths, trusting I CAN continue to do this hard thing.

Why do I bake at Christmas Time?

It is no secret that I love to work in the kitchen, except for the monster pile of pots and pans that require hand washing, it is where I thrive.  It involves hunting down the PERFECT recipe, shopping for all the ingredients for that PERFECT CONCOCTION, and then building it into something AMAZING like a Project Foreman.  Not to mention the Warrior feeling I encounter when I try something new.  There is also this innate desire in me to SHARE what I have created.  Almost like a 2nd grader who wants her hand painted snowman to be displayed for all to SEE. Because if no one ELSE tastes it and experiences it then it didn’t happen right?

The Overachiever escaped into the Kitchen

9 Types of Christmas Cookies

This enjoyment of cooking mixed with my desire to CONQUER new things becomes MONUMENTAL during the holidays.  It varies from cooking the PERFECT Thanksgiving MEAL (not just the turkey but the WHOLE THING), to mastering the perfect rib roast on my own, and then there was my NEED to create the PERFECT Pecan pie.  However, my GRANDEST feat, was one year I made more than 9 varieties of cookie creations.  Some new, some old favorites including the all to important hand frosted sugar cookies.  It was fun, but it was also weeks of work and an exhausting process.

Since then I have tried to reduce my investment both in time and in ingredients. Each year it begins with JUST sugar cookies, ok but I really like the Toffee Crunch.  And then I am at the store and I see these bright GREEN Granny smith apples and I am confronted with the MOST important decision of the season: “Are you going to make THEM this year?”  It’s usually near Thanksgiving time and I have plenty of weekends to consider and I evaluate my Vacation Days and think.  SURE, you have yeast and all the other ingredients already, just pick up a few apples and if you have time you have time.

And after all the Christmas cookies are mixed, cut, baked, and frosted there is a level of exhaustion that sets in just below the JOY of frosting that VERY LAST COOKIE!!! I have also made my own apple cider these last couple years, so I have pounds and POUNDS of Fuji apples hiding out in my peripheral vision.  So the Weekend arrives with PLENTY Of time and energy, so I set to the task and mission.  Chop the apples, make the dough, set up the creation station.  The smell in my home is swirling with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves as the apples cook down into their lovely liquor.

The first half of this project seems simple, melt the butter, grow the yeast, mix with flour put in the fridge.  Easy.  The apple preparation is a little tedious, peel, core, chop the apples (I have tried short cuts and the size of the apple pieces is just NOT quite right).  The next steps do not seem to be that significant, HOWEVER it is about the gentle assembly, careful construction, and the PERFECTLY heated kitchen.  While gently rolling out the dough, adding the sugar, cinnamon, & apple mixture; there is this fight between my perfectionist nature and the baker in me that says IF YOU TOUCH IT TOO MUCH IT WILL RISE LOPSIDED, so STOP TOUCHING it…it’s FINE…IT WON’T LOOK PERFECT IT’S ABOUT THE TASTE!!! (My internal conversations often mirror those of the Movie Inside Out.)

Apple Tea Ring

The last few tries at this recipe I have discovered that the hotter my kitchen is the better the rings rise.  So I boil water, open the preheated oven, close doors and windows, try to close off the kitchen from the rest of the world, just for those 2-3 precious hours (and I wonder WHY my electric bill for December is higher than usual).  YES hours!!! For these little gems must rise for 1.5hrs and it usually takes me about 20-30min to assemble each one.  Then they bake. All by themselves. But we are not done yet, there is drizzle to make and candied cherries to add (I forgot them this year), then wait for them to dry; and wrap in plastic wrap to deliver for Christmas. WHEW!!! I am exhausted just writing the steps.

So this year as I bought the apples, started the dough, but made it to the middle of the assembly process began to ask myself a VERY VERY serious question.  WHY DO YOU DO THIS?  I always give them away and sometimes I struggle to find people who would really enjoy them (gluten free, no sugar and carb avoiding peoples I am sorry). So realizing each year that time is the most precious commodity in life, why would I dedicate so much time to creating this particular goodie, I am SURE there are other baking items that take less time and effort and are just as delicious.

Virginia Wedding CakeAbout a month ago, I found a picture my brother gave me of our Mom.  It is her in the kitchen cutting their 1 year anniversary Wedding cake topper with a smile on her face and dreams in her eyes.  I moved this picture out of my purse and into my kitchen.  Because this is where I remember her most (A close second is her behind her sewing machine in her crafting room). Whether it was coming home from school and sitting at the counter to share my day with her, while she made dinner or learning how to cook by her side when she made cakes and cookies; I see her and feel her in my kitchen.

The Apple Tea Rings as they became known in my house was one of my Mom’s crowning jewels.  She made clever bunny birthday cakes and amazing cookies; but SOME HOW, some way she began making these one year and Someone MUST have said you can sell these; because the next year, I remember the assembly line in our kitchen of what felt like DOZENS of these covering EVERY surface area.   She took them to a Christmas bazaar to sell I can only assume to bring in a little more money for Christmas presents.  I was SOMEHOW a part of this because I remember the various stages and I remember how much care we took to prepare each one to make it BEAUTIFUL and wrap it carefully on cardboard to that is would be sturdy and easily transportable.  ONLY one TEENY TINY hiccup… there was a storm. A blizzard you might say in as much as people in Portland, Oregon think a couple of inches of snow is a blizzard. So even though we were able to get to the bazaar and the rings made it there FULLY intact; there were just NO people to buy them.  In my childhood mind, I remember thinking ALL THIS Work and NO ONE wants them.  Business is a rough gig, man. So we brought almost all of them home, still too many for me to remember the count.

But despite this fiasco, the apple tea rings have always represented the ELABORATE baking my Mom was so good at.  And on the years I do CREATE them, I feel a sense of closeness to her and the memory of us baking together to create something AMAZING.  I feel like I am getting closer to being just like her and in my childlike mind that is the BEST thing I COULD BE – just like her. Even though I know she had her flaws and short-comings; I still aspire to be like her.  The strength she showed while balancing so much: taking care of the family, baking, sewing, AND working it really seems so amazing to me now. So this year I am realizing that in taking the time to make these AMAZING creations it is more than just baking, more than just a TO DO, more than a compulsion to impress people.  The undercurrent really is to be closer to her and improve the talent she gave me all those years ago.

So each time I see those granny smith apples and the thought races across my mind, “Are you going to make THEM this year?” I can now smile a sneaky grin and ask myself if I am up for the challenge. It’s just time after all, time well spent.

I really AM a Feminist!

Words I found myself shouting as I was washing dishes after cooking an amazing batch of enchiladas.  Not necessarily something I would hear myself saying, but not necessarily something that would avoid either. To be honest it is a word and a movement I have struggled knowing if I belonged or if I didn’t.  So many ways I have heard the term used and the movement promoted that I just decided not to think about it.  It seemed complicated and full of crazy extremes that beginning to sort through it just wasn’t worth it.  More detailed in its components than being a Republican and more divided than the many denominations of Christianity where could one even begin.

There I was listening to one of my FAVORITE Apps these days (Umano-gotta love an app that will read to you), when I stumbled across this article, “8 Myths About Feminism Debunked.”  Just as I was worried that it would be dripping with things I didn’t agree with or aspects of politics I don’t agree with, I was pleasantly surprised.  And it all began with the definition of feminism:

The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes... someone who wants equality can’t hate the people with whom they want to be equal.

Yes… YES THAT!!! And without even getting further in the article, my thoughts announce, “I really AM a Feminist!” For as long as I can remember, I have been wrestling with boys for permission to do what they do.  To step up to the starting gate to compete with them on their level.  To challenge them skill for skill, talent for talent, award for aware.  To be measured the same by my work, contribution, and effort as just as good or even BETTER than the men I work with.  I remember this constant theme of my life, “You can be what ever you want to be, even if only men have ever done it.”  I remember stories of many women being the FIRST in many different positions of leadership in sports, in space, in politics, in business; and knowing I wanted to DO that.  I wanted to work that hard to stand out, be better, accomplish AMAZING things.

There have been moments in my life where I feel that intense desire to be a model in life of things a woman can accomplish.  That even though there are set backs and things aren’t perfect, there is a fulfilling life in hard-work and successful accomplishments that can be obtained as a woman that exist outside of marriage and motherhood (Both good things… I have MANY MANY amazing friends who are both). That there are accomplishments to be achieved as an individual based on effort and skill and drive; not gender and position.

I completely believe in marriage, I am hoping to be married one day.  I am falling in love with femininity and what it is like to feel sensual and pretty and glide through life in pretty girlie clothes and makeup.  (Something I didn’t think I could do and be competitive – I am learning more and more how false that is.)  I love gallantry and am extremely inspired by courtesy and chivalry not matter where it comes from.

This article really gave me the opportunity to explore some of my own myths and beliefs about feminism; as well as allow me permission to explore something I have been afraid of JUST because of what other people have said.  But don’t worry I won’t start acting ANY crazier or more hysterical than I already do; and I won’t be adopting the Feminazi title any time soon… IF EVER!!!

This post inspired by the #blogging101 task to Be a good Neighbor by commenting on other people’s blogs.

Because I thought it was clever and cute

As I am trying to follow each step of this #blobbing101 adventure, today is about creating a Title and tagline.  Since I have the title of my blog I like my first thoughts were to SKIP today’s assignment.  But if I recall correctly part of this little process is to WRITE, not necessarily with the intent of producing something AWESOME and interesting.  So I scrolled down the page and found another topic option to be to EXPLAIN why I like my title and tagline.  Well that sounds right up my alley, I LOVE to explain things; I mean it is kind of my job in real life.

A few moments ago, say 3 years, I was in the throws of life when I found people commenting that I should write a book. Whether it was about all my stories, that I tell on a regular basis, or about how to learn how to learn, or the weight loss journey I was in the middle, it really didn’t matter because the theme was WRITE.  The more I contemplated and thought and talked about these mentionings I do believe someone who blogs on a regular basis, mentioned, “You should start a blog.” UH that would be a NO.  And then fast forward to various moments of thinking and wondering.  So there I was dialing the phone and blurted out, “So how do I start This Silly Blog Thing?” And after scheduling a time to discuss how all the details around here work, he mentioned that I needed to pick a title.  I felt a certain amount of pride in my clever little witty blurt, so it became my title.

The tagline seemed to take some development.  Trying to find, in a way, a mission statement of sorts.  Wanting to be as honest and forthright to any potential readers that would wander by; I tried to provide an overview of sorts.  So much of the things that seem to occupy my brain revolve around: the emotions I am feeling or trying not to feel; my life long war with food, exercise, and this silly thing called physical health; and the thing I desire the most in life: a real relationship with God, my friends, and (one day) a significant other (preferably real man).

So as I try to live life out in the real world, I will be attempting to catalog it here in whatever method and fashion it falls onto the page.  No matter what the topic of the hour or day, (especially those days I feel SILLY, dorky, boring, random, confused, or unimportant) I will be faithful to post something.  Even if it is from the archives of life because Heaven knows I can Tell a few stories.

PS. I do believe the last few times I began blogging I was trying too hard to make it into something.  I was constantly caught up in the aspect of WHAT IS THE POINT?  WHO IS MY AUDIENCE?  HOW WILL THIS WORK TOGETHER TOWARDS MY GOALS? (What goals?) So this time I am just writing.  I guess those therapy sessions to work on my perfectionistic personality disorder are really paying off.

There might be something to this blogging thing

Let’s see if participation in this Blogging 101 thing MIGHT JUST MAYBE JUST POSSIBLY get me to actually blog for 3o days.

Sure why not.  It will get me writing about whatever the topic of the day is instead of having to feel compelled to write on the DEEP gut wrenching emotion of the hour. My life has been altered and some of my obligations are no longer demanding attention, so writing might just be possible again.

So assignment #1: Who am I and why am I here…

Now that could be a long story.  Let’s try bullet points instead:

  • 42 years Alive
  • Single Never Married
  • Northwest Resident – Oregon
  • Corporate Trainer – I teach people how to use their computers
  • Extroverted Conversationalist – I love to talk and be around LOTS and LOTS of people
  • Focus on the comedic and sarcastic comments that could or should be said in any given situation

I am here because a friend recommended, well challenged me to write a blog… but that mostly started because I was told by 3 different people in my life that I should write a book all within the same 6 weeks.  That seemed like a little bit of a nudge rather than mere coincidence.  So I started a mis-mash of blog postings on various subjects, which then resulted in a pile of topics I SHOULD write about, only to be overrun by the burden or obligation of doing it RIGHT all the time.  SO there are those ideas that sit waiting to be realized or perfected at some point when I can FIND THE TIME.

Therefore, as with a lot of things I have been experiencing these last 6 months, no more planning, no more perfecting, no more polishing, just DO IT and see what happens.  Success or failure, accomplishment or flop, victory or needs improvement, I DID something.  And that my friends is what I need to begin doing again.

So cheers to Day #1 Back to the Blog and yes I am cheating and re-posting something from say JANUARY!