The Road to Bitterness

I used to work for a very sad, lonely, bitter woman. You could almost taste anger in the air around you when she walked into the building, and the days were always longer and more difficult when she hung around the office. She didn’t come around a lot, thank goodness, as she had more than one business she ran, & preferred to spend most of her time at the other place.

While I worked for her, I knew some of her story…how she’d lost her husband to cancer the year I graduated high school, and that this was the reason she was so isolated from others. 

But, I could never really wrap my mind around how much his death had affected her, & how she’d let it change her so.

Not until this year’s changes in my own life started affecting me.

You see…

I finally figured out, that when M lost her husband, her whole life came to a screeching halt. 

Because she couldn’t bear to let it move forward. 

He was her everything. He was her balance, her other side to her life’s coin. She was the saver, the conservative, the grounded, down-to-earth realist…while he was the spender, the dreamer, the up-in-the-clouds risk-taker. He lifted her up from the doldrums, and she brought him back to reality.  They worked together, really, really well, but apart, they spun out of control in opposite directions.

And once he was gone…she ground to a halt. And resented that the world around her kept spinning.

She took it as a personal attack, a total offensive affront, that life didn’t just stop out of respect for his death.

As the years kept flowing past, she refused to acknowledge the truth, & held fast. Hoarding things, trying to fill the hole he left behind with stuff, even though it never worked, she kept at it, & still tries to this day, clinging to the past. Bitter & angry, isolated from the people who would’ve helped her move through her loss.

But she didn’t want to.

Without her Balance, she lost her Passion, her Reason to move forward with the rest of the world.

And so, she moved into Bitterness, and remains there to this day.

My story is different than hers, in that I haven’t lost my life-partner to death.

But, I have lost some of the same Balance…some of my Passion…and my Reason to move forward every day. 

My family, my children, have all scattered  into the winds to live their own lives. Natural, and expected, true, and I knew this day was coming. My caretaking days have always been numbered. Children are not meant to live with their parents for their whole lives.  They are, however, meant to grow up, become independent, move out, seek lives of their own, & leave their parents behind.

This, is right, and good, and natural.

However, this also means that I need to search for a new Balance. A new Passion. A new Reason to get out of bed, to move forward with the world…

Or I risk becoming like M…

I can feel the bitterness seeping into me, some days…

I can sense myself becoming short with others, isolating myself from the world, because I can’t bear to witness their happiness, as I sit outside it, alone, and chafed with the cold of that loneliness.

I’m not angry, yet, that they’re happy…truly, I’m not.

But I envy what I do not have, & I can envision a future where I could hate them for it…if I allowed myself to take that road.

This…

This – terrifies me. That I could become such a hateful thing. 

This is not who I am.

I am a woman who loves.

I am a woman who is a Caretaker.

It has always been one of the deepest purposes of my life. To help others. To take care of those I love.

And to contemplate the possibility that I could actually become so bitter towards others for simply being happy ?

I can’t let this happen.

This – is why I need to leave this place.

I need a fresh start.

All I have here anymore is my job.

And, even though I still love what I do…

It’s not enough.

It’s not enough to get me out of bed every morning, because my job is not my Passion.  It’s not my Balance. And it’s not my Reason.

It’s not enough to keep me from the Bitterness…

And that’s frightening.

This is why I’m making my plan. My one-year plan is to save enough money so that I can move. I will sell the house in which I currently live, & I am going to move to another part of the country for that fresh start. 

I know that it will be scary, starting over at my age. At 47, it’s not always easy to start afresh with the job market, but I have skills that I can take with me to, hopefully, help with that. I have worked in my market for 17 years, & have earned the respect of lenders & realtors alike for my work ethic & skills. And, if I have to start somewhere else at ground level, so be it. I’m humble enough to know that “dirt don’t hurt”.

I just have to get there…

And that means getting off the Road to Bitterness, and on to the Road of Acceptance.

I accept that this is where I am right now.

I accept that my life has changed.

And I accept that I will continue to change every day from here on out because I will it. 

I do NOT accept bitterness.

I do NOT accept stagnation.

I have to continue to free myself from the things which are holding me down, or my wings will never lift me off the ground.  

Fearless #FamChallenge

Beloved Nephew and I are doing a writing challenge for a little while, to get the creative forces moving. This is my first installment.

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I’ve found myself wishing lately that I could live my life fearlessly, as I used to be able to…

To not have to worry about things constantly, to feel the constriction of anxiety wrapping itself around my chest and throat.

To be able to simply get up and go when I want to, where I want to, without fretting about how I’m going to get there, is it going to be crowded and dangerous, will I get lost, what if something does happen, then what?

I used to be able to live like that.

I sit here, shaking my head and ruefully laughing under my breath, remembering how crazy it seems now…

On a whim, I would pack up my daughters, toss overnight bags in my car, and we would drive 12 hours to Iowa.

Yes, on a whim.

We would make pit stops at the various “scenic stops” along the way, play, take pictures, get out of the car for a few minutes, chase each other around like hooligans…then back into the car, and down the road we’d go.

We always stayed with family at the other end, even if it was on a couch, or in a sleeping bag on the floor, but it didn’t matter to me, or to the girls, we all loved the away time, & getting to see Gramma, the aunts, uncles & cousins.

Visiting, I called it.

Escaping…is a little more accurate.

Luckily, gas was much cheaper back then, & my girls were happy little travelers, loving our “road trips”.  They ate healthy food from relatives with as much gusto as the junk food from gas stations. And would help clean up any mess they made with our stay before we left again.

Irresponsible, some would call it.

Free-spirited, others would say.

Young…is the terminology I use.

But, I’m not so young, anymore.

Still… I live alone now… And my weekends belong to just me once again. 

Maybe I need to “plan” a Fearless Weekend… And get the Hell out of Dodge.

Get in my pickup, pack an overnight bag, and drive…somewhere…other than here.

Hmm…

*wanders off humming to self and grinning from ear to ear*

Drive Time

I had a lot of drive time today, having had a doctor’s appointment in a city about 2 hrs away. 

It gave me a lot of time to think, since I like to do these drives & appointments on my own, independent little cuss that I am.

(Pain Management Clinic, went for shots in my hands – yeah, both hands)

Anywho…

I know that I write a lot of “dark” posts here on the blog. At least lately, anyway. There hasn’t been a lot of sunshine and unicorns popping up between the lines…not that there ever really were… I mean, really I’m not much of a glitter and frappuccino kind of gal.

I’m much more of a sarcasm and cigarettes kind of sort, you know?

But, honestly…

There are happy, good things in my days.

I laugh at work.

(Usually dark, self-deprecating laughter, but hey, a gal’s gotta start somewhere)

I love my cat.

(The other cat in residence is my son’s, & yeah, OK, I somewhat like her too…but Sally is my baby) ((and they’re both assholes anyway))

I have lilies growing in my flower bed that I planted last fall with my own two hands, and they’re almost ready to bloom. 

There will be many different colors, & I can’t wait to see them! (Cause I can’t remember exactly what I put in!)

I talk to the Beloved Nephew a few nights a week, & love the hell out of him. He’s my best friend, and some days, the only thing that keeps me off the emotional ledge.  We do that for each other often.

(OLLLD picture, from my redhead days, back from before he moved. I miss that kid!)

And, I have my plan in place, and begun, for my transition next fall.  Early stages yet, baby steps. Not quite ready to reveal all yet, as it’s still so new and fragile, but I’m certain it’s what I want. What I need.

But, in the darkness, there are glimmers…

And, while driving, I had a lot of time to reflect on those glimmers of hope, those sparks of light, those small coals of fire I’ll need to hold onto in the days/weeks/months to come.

The 5 day silence was broken today.

I received another email from E, trying to reach out to me, & got a phone call right before I would have normally been off from work, from a strange, unknown, international number. I’m assuming it was from him, letting me know that he’s once again back on this side of the ocean, back on his Caribbean island, and now much closer to reaching me.

I know he’s not finished with me yet…but I can only hope that my continued refusal to interact with him or respond to his overtures will show him how futile his gestures are.

Once trust is broken…

So, I hold the hope, and release the broken.

And the hope glimmers…

Empty the Nest?

How long do I tend the nest for a child who has already flown?

Here I sit, feeling like the worst mother in the world, right now. Tears pooling in my eyes as I type this, because I told OnlySon that I am planning on leaving North Dakota in a year, and he’s angry, albeit trying not to show it. 

He wants everything to remain the same forever, but that can’t happen. Life stagnates if left to sit too long with no forward motion.

And I have been sitting still for many years now, waiting for something to change.

I’m not happy here, anymore.

Too many heartaches and heartbreaks.

Not enough reasons to look forward to getting out of bed every morning.

So, why should I stay?

For a son who has moved in with his father & is now going to be starting a new life of his own, getting a job, being busy with that & dropping by when he needs a shower or to pick up something else I’m storing in my basement or his bedroom?

For a job, which, yes, I enjoy my work – but, let’s face facts, isn’t a life?

Let’s see… Hmm…

What else does North Dakota have to offer me?

Two ex- husbands, one within city limits, and the other an hour away… No, that’s OK.

I’ll pass.

No one has been able to come up with a compelling, or even logical, reason why I should stay beyond my timeline.

I can’t live for my children’s benefit forever. There comes a time when they have to spread their own wings and leave the nest.

This is the way of life.

Why should I stay?

Tell me. When I feel as though there’s nothing left here for me…

Why?

Soul Separation

Something seriously wrong happens to you when your soul separates into more than one piece.

Being a Gemini… This is a familiar, and uncomfortable, feeling for me.

I get too attached to the wrong people, sometimes.

I…have a tendency to let people into my life quickly, if they show me affection & appeal to my caretaker side. I’m a sucker for someone who needs a little TLC, and who doesn’t appreciate being taken care of every once in a while?

I have a soft spot for strays & those with sad eyes…the ones who have been hurt in the past, or are hurting now, and I want to jump in and bandage, comfort and fix.

But – that’s not always a good place for me to invest my emotions.

Because, once they’ve had their fill of coddling & cookies, they get up & walk away without a backward glance. Much like being discharged from the hospital, and not giving the nurses another thought once you’ve left the building.

Except, this nurse…thought there was a relationship there, and, much to her dismay, was quickly disabused of that notion when she was forgotten along with the rest.

Yeah, I was talking to someone.  The Dragon, from my past, who I had come back into contact with around New Year’s, &… I thought we had at least rekindled a friendship, becoming pen pals, at least.  For the last 5 years, I’ve held this man in such high regard that I’ve made him a member of my Chosen Family, which appellation only goes to a very select and small number. 

Namely him and one other, the Beloved Nephew.

There is no romantic relationship with this man, but he has had a huge impact on my life, even though he refuses to see it. 

And, for some reason, he seems to be afraid of this relationship, which baffles me, because I’ve never asked him for anything other than conversation, honesty, & friendship. That’s it.  

And it truly, deeply, hurts, that he seems to have disappeared again…

Leaving a portion of my soul, the piece that attached itself to him, as friend and family, floating, lost out there…aimless and alone.

How many separations can the soul survive… Before it gives up completely?

Or before it ices over?

I need to fix this.

And I believe the only way now…

Is to reunite with my soul-companion.

Beloved Nephew.

Soul-Companions are not romantic soul mates.  They are those people who come into your life – friend, family member – who just – so completely get you that there are no words necessary. They understand…everything…

They don’t always agree with you, but they understand.

You can, and usually do, tell them everything…down to the nitty gritty, the good, bad & ugly. They’ve seen you laugh till you weep, and they’ve held you as you cry till you collapse. They’ve talked you off the emotional ledges, and you’ve done the same for them, bringing the ice cream & booze for the pity parties. You’ve each laced up your “bitch boots” to stomp the crap out of someone who’s hurt your soul-companion, & you’d bring the shovel to bury the evidence without being asked.

There is an almost psychic bond between soul companions that is impossible to break.  Beloved Nephew & I often say we live inside each other’s heads more often than not. 

He’ll call me, out of the blue, because he feels like he needs to… And it’ll be exactly what I need, because I’ve had a rough day.

Or, I’ll text him something I’ve found online, because I know it’s something he needs, & he texts me back saying “How’d you KNOW I needed that RIGHT NOW!?!”

He moved down South to be near his family, while I’m still in the far North… And it hasn’t been easy being away from him.

Not just because we have fun hanging out together.

But because… He just gets it.

And I understand him.

And, I know… For the both of us, because we’ve discussed this, our souls need each other to heal, to grow & to find our next steps.

As family and as friends, and as Soul-Companions.

My timeline is set.

I have a goal.

I am moving forward.